Natural appearance

At the annual international congress and exhibition “Plastics in Automotive Engineering”, International Automotive Components (IAC) is presenting solutions for sustainable interiors made more feasible by the company’s strategy of vertical integration. IAC produced the fully specified natural fibre composite glove box lid on the standard Ford B-Max line at IAC Bals, Romania. (photos: IAC)

The green glove box lid is the first interiors application produced by IAC under volume conditions of a new, proprietary polypropylene (PP)/sisal composite. The material has been developed and fully specified within a three-year modelling and simulation project spearheaded by the Ford Research & Advanced Engineering Center located in Aachen, Germany, and sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Nutrition, Agriculture and Consumer Protection. The component has been manufactured on the current Ford B-Max line at IAC Bals, Romania. As a result of this exclusive R&D partnership, IAC is pursuing opportunities to deploy natural fibre composites in all colours and for a variety of interior components across its product portfolio. The industry demand for sustainable materials manageable within existing processes also drove the development of IAC’s hybridfleece moulding. This is a technology for producing fleece out of natural fibre, glass or recycled carbon fibre to be moulded into interior structural applications using a standard injection moulding machine. Compared to traditional components, hybridfleece moulding products can achieve weight savings of up to 50% while retaining the specified stiffness and functionality, says IAC. IAC’s proprietary mat formulations and in-house fleece production is claimed to ensure consistent good fleece quality backed by exclusive sourcing agreements. Hybridfleece moulded armrest with recycled carbon fibre IAC hybridfleece moulding is also said to offer remarkable material flexibility in the fleece formulation and can be used for a variety of high performance hard trim interior products. Finally, it reduces process complexity, as the hybrid matrix production and the injection of stiffening ribs or retainers take place in one step in the same moulding tool with no need for additional welding or glueing. The load floor sandwich combines bio-resin with a honeycomb paper core made out of recycled paper for sustainable interiors. Helping OEM customers improve the vehicle’s overall carbon footprint with renewable, sustainable and recycled interiors materials is the goal of IAC’s bio-resin load floor sandwich. The composite is made of natural fibre mats with a bio-resin binder and a paper honeycomb core obtained with recycled paper. The bio-resin sandwich can be used for the load floor substrate and has improved material properties and weight performance in comparison to traditional polyurethane (PU)/glass and paper honeycomb systems. Additionally, it is a viable alternative as it is a glass-free technology that can be manufactured within a standard thermoset press moulding process at a low scrap and waste rate. FastKast for producing two-colour skins As an extension of its proprietary slush technology FastKast, IAC has developed the capability to produce skins in two tones in the same tool. For the last year, IAC FastKast customers have enjoyed instrument panel skins of good appearance and longevity at reduced thickness.

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