Magna Exteriors, a Canadian auto parts maker, has partnered with the Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE) to investigate the viability of integrating wood fibre in plastic auto parts.
“Currently, Magna moulds a number of components and sub-systems using long glass filled polypropylene (LGFPP) for global automotive manufacturers,” reported Pulp and Paper Canada. “In certain applications glass fibre can be substituted with wood fibre while providing the required mechanical and physical properties and offering a lower cost and lighter weight option.”
According to William Harney, executive director of research and development for Magna Exteriors, the goal of the project is to develop a product that “can reduce the cost and weight of auto parts can be addressed in part with high performance wood-fibre reinforced plastics.”
Integrating wood fibres into plastic products isn’t a new phenomenon. Dissolving pulp (or specialty cellulose), for example, is often used to create acetate textile fibers, cellophane, photographic film, medical surgery products, and tire cords.
CRIBE intends to invest $1.3 million on this research, but they’re not the only partner in the deal. The government of Alberta, through Alberta Innovates-Bio Solutions, has already jumped on the project and collaborations with the Alberta Bio-materials Development Centre (ABDC), Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures and the National Research Council (NRC) are in the works to develop the research.
In addition to those partnerships, a Canadian pulping company will be selected as a technical advisor to support the development of processed wood fibres and as a future candidate supplier, said Pulp and Paper Canada.