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We share a common goal and purpose and that is to leave this world better than we found it.

"It is my goal at TMNA R&D to lay a foundation for others to follow that envisions a more sustainable future and begin a materials development and management project that propagates itself locally and then globally.

INCA has already begun to develop a vision for a master plan of Vehicle Life Cycle Management building off existing models that exist in Europe and fashioning them into INCA’s vision of sustainable and smart technologies for North America and beyond. INCA understands the need to begin sustainable development of materials management that they can perfect locally and then propagate it globally as it demonstrates success locally. We share a common goal and purpose and that is to leave this world better than we found it.

The promotion and in fact mandating Life Cycle Management of recyclable materials must become part of our long-term planning to preserve and extend the opportunity to extract the maximum value achievable from non-renewable polymers. We must provide a path that deviates from the current End-of-Life Process where the interiors end up in landfill or are burned whereby adding to Greenhouse Gas emissions."

SCOTT OPPLIGER
Principal Engineer
Toyota Motor North America, Inc.
Research & Development

AUTOMOTIVE PRE-PREGS

The automotive industry utilizes resin infused panels (pre-pregs), to mold 3D interior trim components such as door panels, seat backs, headliners, and package trays. Pre-pregs can incorporate glass, polymer or carbon fiber reinforcement and come in various forms including flat panels or non-woven fabrics. Manufacturing non-wovens involves blending natural fiber and thermal-melt polymer fiber such as polypropylene, then depositing this mat on a moving belt. The material is consolidated, carded, cross-lapped, and sent through a needle-punch system to interlace the final product. Tier 1 customers re-heat these non-wovens, surface them with cover stock, and compression mold them into final components. While non-wovens have proven to be of great value to the automotive industry, they depend upon expensive natural fiber such as jute or kenaf imported from Southeast Asia. They also use a much higher percentage of polymer fiber, another significant expense.

Toyota truck

Stronger, Lighter, Less Expensive, Renewable

INCA has developed a methodology to produce multilayered mats of hemp fiber, infuse these mats with foamed thermal melt resin, and consolidate the material on our twin-belt press to produce thermoformable pre-pregs for the automotive industry.

These pre-pregs will be stronger, lighter, and less expensive than competitive non-woven mats and panel products. They will sequester rather than generate carbon, be made of renewable resources, reduce vehicle weight, improve side impact resistance, and be formulated to be recovered and reprocessed back into future car parts once automobiles have reached the end of their useful lifecycle.

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