|NaBasCo washbasin (photos: NPSP Composites)|
A sanitary unit made of the Natural Fibre Composite NaBasCo has reached the third position in the Biomaterial of the Year Award 2008 awarded by the nova-Institut GmbH and Reifenhäuser Extrusion GmbH & Co. KG. The producing company NPSP Composites presented the sanitary units at the international congress “Raw Material Shift & Biomaterials” in Cologne in December 2008 together with the other finalists of the competition: “Bio-Pen”, a ball point pen made of the bioplastic Biograde by FKuR GmbH (1st position, see news of 2009-01-20) and shoes made by Barkcloth with the agro-textile Barktex (2nd position, see news of 2009-01-20).
The Biomaterial: NaBasCo
|Detailed look of the material|
Fibre reinforced plastic, or composites, is a relative new material which is more and more finding widespread applications around us. Composites combine two or more different materials and combine their properties into a material with unique properties. The use of composites is growing because of their specific advantages, like high form freedom, limited weight, good strength to weight ratio, long lifetime and the low maintenance needed. Composites constructions are approximately 80% lighter than steel and 30% lighter than aluminum.
NaBasCo (Nature Based Composites) are composites for which the most sustainable solution is found, without compromise to quality. Currently, NaBasCo composites are produced combining natural fibres, like flax and hemp, with conventional thermoset resins, like polyester and epoxy. In the near future, NaBasCo will be available combining natural fibres and bioresins.
NaBasCo materials have physical properties comparable to conventional glass fibre reinforced polyester at lower environmental impact. It features particularly superior qualities regarding low weight, good acoustics and electromagnetic radiance permeability. In one of its applications, an environmental benefit of 30 to 40% has been confirmed. NaBasCo has been applied in several products, in some for environmental reasons and in others for technical reasons, or both. Applications other than the toilet units are sign posts, audio horns, and radar casings. Additionally, several prototypes with NaBasCo have been developed together with the customer, like the front part of a train, different chairs and a façade element.
|After a gelcoat and the pre-cut fibres are
applied to the mould, the inner mould is closed
together with the outer, a vacuum is applied
and resin is pumped through the mould.
The Product: Sanitary Units
The use of NaBasCo in the award-winning sanitary units – a wash basin unit and a toilet unit – had environmental as well as aesthetic reasons. They were developed fort he use in public toilets of Staatsbosbeheer, a Dutch organisation responsible for the management of extensive nature reserves in the Netherlands. Since working towards a sustainable living environment for man, plant and animal is central to the organisation, NaBasCo fits well into their mission. Of equal importance were the esthetics of the units. Therefore, a choice was made for a combination of hemp, flax and sisal in combination with a polyester resin blended with a white pigment. So far, NPSP has turned out several dozen of the sanitary units.
The Enterprise: NPSP Composites
The dutch company NPSP Composites manufactures fibre reinforced thermoset plastics for construction and design, transport and industry in close collaboration with its clients. NPSP Composites was founded in 1998. With the Flaxcat, NPSP Composites’ first high profile product, the company demonstrated the feasibility of natural fibre reinforced composites. Nowadays, the company has evolved into a company producing composites products like chairs, front parts for trains, audio horns, promotion material and a lot more. The goal of NPSP Composites is to develop sustainable composites with reduced environmental impact.
NPSP Composieten BV
Tel.:0031-23-551 23 28
Source: NPSP Composites, 2008-12.