Industry News
WPCs return in new Focus Electric
6 years, 4 months ago Posted in: Industry News 0
WAYNE, MI - DECEMBER 14: A 2011 Ford Focus mov...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Back in 2003, Tier 1 automotive supplier Faurecia closed down the German company SAI Automotive AG, formerly called Lignotock, in the German town of Sontra.

The reason given was that following the winding down of certain platforms for the VW Transporter, the VW Golf, the Mercedes SLK, the Mitsubishi Carisma and the Volvo V40, there were no more orders for the Lignotock wood polymer composites (WPCs) it manufactured.

Eight years later, the name Lignotock is back, as part of the new Ford Focus Electric, hailed for its eco-friendly attributes.

Lignotock WPCs will be employed behind the cloth on the doors. Derived from 85% wood fibre, they provide both a weight reduction and better sound-deadening benefits compared to conventional glass-reinforced composites, Ford says.

The Focus Electric combines recycled and renewable materials, green technologies and new manufacturing processes to make it as green as possible.

“An electric vehicle is already considered a green vehicle, but Ford wanted to go a step further by looking at ways to make the materials inside it more eco-friendly as well,” said Carrie Majeske, Ford’s product sustainability manager. “Using recycled or renewable materials in lieu of petroleum-based materials allows Ford to minimise the amount of virgin materials used in the Focus Electric.”

The Focus Electric is not only green in areas where customers expect it to be, but also in places they might not, like in the seat cushions. Soy-based foams, which are used on more than 20 Ford vehicles, will also be used in the Focus Electric, with seat cushions shaped from 8% soy-based content.

“One of the more impactful things we are doing is finding a way to increase the use of recycled materials in resins,” said Majeske. “We have a strategy that specifies the use of a large quantity of post-consumer recycled material in a range of plastic applications. PET bottles and milk cartons eventually become part of components like underbody shields, wheel arch liners and air cleaner assemblies.”

By using more recycled content in resins, Ford can further reduce the amount of oil-based plastics in vehicles. This also cuts down on overall oil consumption. Applications of the post-consumer plastics also include carpets, roof lining and replacement bumpers.


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