Japanese car manufacturer Mazda has developed a new bioplastic that eliminates the need for a paint job. There is no car that can get through a few years without a few minor scratches. This will soon become a matter of the past, if the new technology developed by Mazda is as promising as it sounds. Mazda says its solution is more environment friendly, minimizes normal wear and tear and reduces the need for polishing a car.
Mazda worked closely with Mitsubishi Chemical to come up with the revolutionary new “bio engineering plastic” that is made up of Isosorbide, a non-toxic compound obtained from plant matter. This new plastic that can be used for making the outer shell of vehicles is not only weatherproof but is also highly scratch resistant and meets all the safety standards. It can also be easily fashioned into any desired shape.
Generally, the outer shell of vehicles is made from a mix of metal, oil-based polycarbonates, and painted resin (ABS). The bioengineering plastic which is classed as a bio-polycarbonite is used as a substitute for the painted resin and eliminates the need for painting the vehicles as part of the production process. It is also robust enough to create a structure that can pass all safety inspections.
Depending on requirements, the plastic can be made as reflective as a mirror, finished in a range of colors, or even transparent. Irrespective of the finish, there is no need for painting. Use of this process will mean that there will be no more harmful paint emissions (VOC – volatile organic compounds) during production. Though the plastic is more expensive to manufacture, automotive companies can save costs related to the painting process thus ultimately cutting costs.
Mazda will begin with the use of the bio-plastic for small sections of the exterior of its new Roadster RF compact convertible that the company will be shortly launching in the Japanese market. The plastic will be used to a greater extent in the interiors of a few other new models like the Demio compact car, the Axela sedan, the Roadster, and the CX-9 SUV.
Eventually, Mazda has high hopes of using the plastic for the entire car body in view of the wide range of benefits provided by this new plastic including lack of the need for paint, cost savings, potential for less scratches and the beneficial impact on the environment.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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