Second place in the Bio-based Material of the Year awards program went to Germany-based HIB Trim Part Solutions GmbH (Bruchsal) for its lightweight vehicle trim parts made from renewable raw materials.
Over the past years, many companies have developed natural fiber–reinforced PP granulates, with limited market success. HIB Trim part Solutions has developed what it calls Nature 50 granulate, which consists of long hemp fibers (> 50%) mixed with PP and additives in an innovative cold-press technology (no extruder). The granulate can then be extruded and injection molded in serial molding tools.
The long hemp fibers result in a unique design and a good Charpy impact property to the material, making it suitable for automotive parts. Compared to PC ABS GF20, Nature 50 offers a reduction in weight of between 18 and 20%, in addition to various other desirable properties, such as good impact strength, shrinkage and heat expansion. The appearance of the molded parts can be varied through coloring.