25th July 2016 by Richard Yen
We’re almost at the end of our look back at last year’s Altair Enlighten Award entries. Today it’s the turn of a combined entry between Automotive Performance Materials (APM) and Faurecia who took one of the two runner-up spots in 2015.
For their entry, Faurecia and APM nomination picked up on something of a hot topic in automotive design at the moment, the use of more environmentally materials that meet performance and weight targets while addressing concerns over recyclability.
Faurecia worked with Interval, an agricultural cooperative in France and Automotive Performance Materials (APM) to develop application of a hemp-based product that is injection moldable employing natural fibers. Interval harvests and de-fibrates hemp to supply it to Automotive Performance Materials, which transforms and mixes the product with a thermoplastic resin to create NAFILean.
NAFILean (Natural Fiber for Lean Injection Design) integrates a natural, hemp-based fiber with polypropylene, and allows for complex shapes and architectures. However it is not just a material, but rather a full, validated concept for car interiors that includes the complete package of design tools and simulation, in order to allow a complete reshuffle of the architectures of instrument and door panels and center console architectures.
The companies combined their expertise to use the material within the interior of the 2013 Peugeot 308, successfully saving 20 to 25 percent weight savings in comparison with standard plastics.
In addition to the weight saving advantages, the nomination also stated that NAFILean reduces the overall environmental impact by 20 to 25 percent through the components’ life cycle.
The judges saw fit to award this nomination with a runner-up spot thanks to its excellent weight saving results while still keeping an eye on the sustainability of the material. As we chase commercial advantage, environmental impact can often be a consideration that is pushed down the list of priorities. With this entry, Faurecia and APM proved that these two pressures do not need to be mutually exclusive.
Download a PDF of this nomination – Faurecia NAFILean