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Sirmax Develops PP Compound with Recycled Content for Auto Interiors

Boasting 30% recycled resin content, the Green Isofil grade retains properties of virgin plastic while slashing carbon footprint.

Stephen Moore

January 4, 2024

2 Min Read
blue plastic resin
Image courtesy of Sirmax

At a Glance

  • Carbon footprint reduced by 21%
  • Sustainable granite, fabric, and wood appearances also on offer
  • R&D drives global expansion

Italian compounder Sirmax has developed a recycled plastic door panel material that can address issues related to the maintenance of mechanical properties, unwanted odors, and the presence of volatile organic compounds on the surface of interior finishes. The company has formulated a polypropylene (PP) compound with 5% talc additive and containing 30% recycled material derived from post-consumer waste (PCR).

This PP compound from the Green Isofil family resembles the mechanical and aesthetic characteristics of virgin plastic, offering a valid alternative, according to the supplier. The improved material retains impact- and scratch-resistant properties, resolves stickiness and odor, but, most importantly, its carbon footprint is reduced by up to 21% compared with 100% virgin raw material. This material is part of a wider range of products that can result in sustainable door panels but can also be applied to other car components such as the glove compartment and center consoles.

Automotive’s transformational shift

"The automotive world is going through an epochal transformation — the increasing adoption of the electric car is undeniable proof of this,” said Sirmax Group President and CEO Massimo Pavin. “But there are also issues around post-consumer plastic use and end-of-life waste. Car manufacturers are asking questions about redesigning cars that can be sustainable even after they are used, and we are accompanying them on this transformative journey," said Pavin.

Pavin added: "We are achieving excellent results in the automotive sector thanks to the work of our R&D centers. This is driving our expansion efforts, particularly in India, where we plan to establish our third plant by 2026.”

Investing in US, India markets

Sirmax recently made investments in the United States and is also upgrading its existing Palwal plant, a joint venture with the Tipco Group in India.

In the United States, Sirmax dedicated an entire production line to its PP-based flame-retardant compound at its Anderson, IN, facility.

In India, Autotech-Sirmax India is adding four extrusion lines to boost capacity by 15,000 tonnes/year, thereby doubling capacity at the site. Once its third plant is built in southern India by 2026, capacity on the subcontinent will reach 82,000 tonnes/year.

Plastic simulates stone effect in car interior

In line with transforming market needs, Sirmax’s latest frontier in product innovation lies in its Naturally Inspired material range. Through special finishes and embossing, polymers from this range can simulate natural effects such as stone, marble, granite, fabric, wood, or a starry sky. Depending on customer specifications and their CO2 reduction goals during the product's lifecycle, the percentage of post-consumer and bio-based materials within the formulation can be included in different percentages.

With the Naturally Inspired line, Sirmax proposes a new interpretation of automotive components. It does this by re-creating the tactile and visual experiences of natural materials and by offering alternative design materials for car interiors. This approach also reduces the use of fabric upholstery, saving assembly time and costs.

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 a proud dachshund owner.

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