Reducing the environmental impact is increasingly gaining importance for companies. The replacement or targeted use of synthetic materials such as glass and carbon fibres can support reaching this goal. As a result, the demand for natural fibres is growing. The Oldenburg-based company BÜFA Thermoplastic Composites recognised this trend as supplier of raw materials and semi-finished products for the production of thermoplastic lightweight components. In cooperation with BPREG, supplier of natural fibre-based composites, they serve the increasing demand for sustainable materials. The products are unidirectional prepregs Tapes, woven prepregs and woven fabrics. The semi-finished thermoplastic products offered consist of a polypropylene polymer matrix reinforced by flax fibres.
“BPREG Composites’ prepregs, meaning the pre-impregnated textile based semi-finished products, are thermoplastic sheets reinforced with aligned natural fibres. They combine the advantages of recyclability and moldability of thermoplastics with carbon neutral bio-based reinforcement. The potential waste savings in production occurring reduce the pollution on the environment”, explains Dirk Punke, managing director of BÜFA Thermoplastic Composites GmbH & Co. KG. “There are also solutions with biodegradable thermoplastics for applications that should go beyond recyclability”, he continues.
The UD prepregs, tapes and fabrics can be processed by tape laying, thermoforming, vacuum forming, press forming and injection moulding (back injection as well as over moulding). This leads to short cycle times with a high design flexibility for bio-based composite solutions. For example, these materials are used in interior design for wall panels, cabins, designer and luxury furniture, or for aircraft interiors by the application of specific fibre orientations and ply thicknesses.
The thermoplastic semi-finished products consisting of flax are suitable for thin and at the same time lightweight noise barriers. The team at BPREG Composites specialises in industrial offerings for natural fibre-based lightweight technologies. Due to their focus on sustainability, the company aligns well with the philosophy of BÜFA Thermoplastic Composites. “It’s not just a supplier’s product that matter for us, but precisely the positive attitude of a company. BPREG Composites ideally complements to the supplier portfolio regarding new developments, especially for enabling possible collaborations with other partners”, Punke concludes.