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Source of low-cost carbon fiber-reinforced automotive injection molding compounds for lightweight construction via closed-loop technology for sustainable recycling management

Stephen Moore

October 5, 2017

2 Min Read
Albis to acquire carbon fiber composite recycler

Effective January 2018 Albis Plastic GmbH will acquire WIPAG Group, specialists in processing and production of carbon fiber compounds for injection molding that employ recovered carbon fiber, with sites in Neuburg (Donau), and Gardelegen (both in Germany).

"In Albis Plastic, we have found a partner for whom innovation and sustainability are equally as important as they are to us. This move will ensure the further development of our eco-friendly technologies and our company," says Peter Wiedemann founder and CEO of WIPAG Group.

WIPAG’s carbon fiber-reinforced compounds employ recycled reinforcing material, which lowers costs for automakers.

With this acquisition Albis, the Hamburg distributor and compounder of technical thermoplastics, has invested further into its recycling activities. WIPAG's innovative recycling technology takes waste carbon fiber, which comes mostly from the automotive industry, and processes it into reinforced carbon fiber compounds. In future, Albis will offer polypropylene and polyamide carbon fiber-filled (PPCF) compounds, which offer excellent mechanical properties and low density. With PPCF compounds a significant weight and cost advantage compared with highly-filled, glass fiber reinforced PA types can be achieved, providing potential for exploitation of light-weighting requirements.

From 2021, newly registered cars in the EU will only be permitted to emit on average a maximum of 95 g of CO2 per kilometer. Automotive OEMs and suppliers will need to comply with these new CO2 emission limits to avoid penalties. Over the last few years, weight reduction concepts such as metal substitution and engine downsizing have been extensively utilized but cost efficient CFRP concepts provide new opportunities for weight-saving.

"In WIPAG, the ALBIS Group has gained a company which, on the one hand, has cutting-edge and forward-looking CFRP technology and, on the other, has years of experience in the closed-loop recycling business," says Philip O. Krahn, CEO of Albis Plastic. Closed-loop describes techniques such as the composite separation of instrument panels or the removal of paint from bumpers as part of the materials recycling process. These highly-developed closed-loop processes provide an ideal opportunity for eco-friendly production.

Furthermore, WIPAG also receives high-quality recyclable PP from post-industrial and post-consumer applications, from various sources, for use in its process. "These open-loop activities provide an excellent platform for our Altech ECO PP compounds and expand our range of high quality Near-to-Prime Recycling Compounds, which are already used in numerous applications for the automotive industry," says Bernd Sparenberg, Vice President Technical Compounds at Albis.

WIPAG counts among its existing clients automakers such as Audi, Ford, GM, Jaguar, Peugeot, BMW and Renault.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and is a proud dachshund owner.

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