As part of their bid to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions, automotive manufacturers and suppliers are trying to use new materials like carbon fiber and aluminum. Renowned automotive supplier, Faurecia has turned to plants to make parts that can help achieve both these goals.
Faurecia has tried incorporating material derived from a type of hemp in order to reduce the reliance on plastics for making injection-molded auto parts.
Commenting on this initiative, Laurence Dufrancatel, Faurecia’s innovation and materials global domain manager said that automotive suppliers are facing a lot of regulations across the world with regard to carbondioxide emissions. The obvious solution is lightweighting. Faurecia is trying to do this through an an injection process and compression that uses plant material while simultaneously eliminating plastics so that the process is even more beneficial to the environment.
One of the injection molding projects was used to make a product called NAFILean in 2010. As part of the project, hemp-based fibers and recyclable polypropylene were used to produce an injectable material which is used as a component of interior door panels, center consoles and instrument panels, interior door panels. The material is even lighter than plastic.
Faurecia has been producing NAFILean parts and supplying them to Peugeot for its 308 model from 2013. The outcome is 25 percent weight savings when compared to conventional plastic-based technologies, and 20 percent savings with regard to the overall footprint.
By the end of 2016, Faurecia had developed the next generation of the material, that the company calls NAFILite. NAFILite is an injection-molding foam, that has been reinforced with NAFILean’s hemp fibers.
This material is injected into a part, causing it to expand and stiffen. Dufrancatel said the process leads to increased part resistance and better weight savings while requiring less of the injected material.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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