ELG Carbon Fibre is investing to expand capacity to recover fiber from uncured prepreg and laminate feedstock for its Carbiso MB product line for reinforced thermoplastic compounds. The market leader in recycled carbon fiber materials is responding to demand from large volume, commercial applications. This growth has been driven predominately by development projects and technical collaborations with leading automotive and aerospace OEM’s and Tier 1s during the past two years.
|Carbon fiber masterbatch series incorporates recycled chopped fiber with resin carriers such as PA 66.|
ELG’s existing UK facility currently houses highly specialised reclamation and conversion equipment that supports the manufacture of recycled carbon fiber products to be reintroduced into the supply chain. In 2016 to promote the use of recycled carbon in the composites industry, ELG installed a custom built, nonwoven production line to manufacture carbon fiber and hybrid thermoplastic mats in aerial weights from 100-500 gsm and widths up to 2.7 m. These products are currently being used in production automotive programs.
ELG is now directing resources into the commercialisation of Carbiso MB products for the reinforced thermoplastic compounds industry. MB products are masterbatches produced through the conversion of high grade, chopped fibers into a pellet form and tailored to applications that would traditionally have used chopped virgin carbon fiber. An example of such a product is Carbiso MB PA66/60—a masterbatch consisting of 60% polyamide (PA) 66 and 40% carbon fiber.
ELG’s technical partner Sanko Gosei has been integral in the development phases of the MB range. Both parties have conducted extensive trials replacing glass fiber reinforced compounds with ELG’s recycled carbon fiber reinforced compounds in a variety of demonstration parts and achieved impressive weight reductions.
To support this growth in the production of finished products, ELG is upgrading its pyrolysis furnace to increase it’s output capacity beyond the current 1,000 tonnes of carbon fiber per year. This upgrade will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2018, after which ELG estimates it will be able to deliver 1,700 tonnes of carbon fiber products to its customers from the Coseley plant each year.
“We are very focused on investments that offer customers a viable, high volume alternative to costly virgin carbon fiber”, comments Frazer Barnes, Managing Director ELG Carbon. “Recycling carbon fibres and converting them into consistent, affordable products is now a reality and we can deliver products in the significant quantities required at the speed the industry demands.”