The Composite Recycling Technology Center (CRTC) and Coseley, U.K.-based ELG Carbon Fibre Ltd demonstrated the manufacture of an automotive seatback made from recycled carbon fiber
composites at the Automotive Lightweight Materials Summit in Detroit, Mich., on Aug. 22-24, 2017.

The goal of the project was to demonstrate manufacturability of the materials, to test flow and
compaction into the various features, and to provide samples for non-destructive and destructive
testing. According to the CRTC, the project successfully addressed all issues to develop final prototypes.

“[The project] will lead the way forward to entering production in automotive interiors with fast-cycle molding of recycled carbon fiber/thermoplastic materials at highly competitive costing,” CRTC wrote.

The next step to pursue production opportunities in high-volume applications.

“This is a very exciting project and I am very proud of the entire team who worked hard to turn this seat from a vision into reality,” said David Walter, CRTC CEO. “The close collaboration with the team from IACMI and ELG made this project a big success.”

The bucket-style seatback is approximately 24-inches high and 19-inches wide, with side flanges of
nearly 5-inches at their deepest. It utilized 1.3 kg of ELG’s Carbiso TM PA6 60% SM45D. The recycled
fiber/nylon 6 resin was molded at CRTC in a hot compression cycle at 435 F, using their Wabash/MPI
300-ton hot-platen press.

The seatback was molded in IACMI’s aluminum tool that was previously developed for a pre-production prototype evaluation project.

From its new, state-of-the-art facility leased from the Port of Port Angeles, Wash., the CRTC has been recycling and reuse of tons of uncured carbon fiber composite scrap that would otherwise go to landfills. The CRTC’s focus is to create jobs and drive economic development in Clallam County, Wash.

Under a new contract with IACMI, the CRTC will pioneer ways to automate processing of this scrap and remanufacture it into new products. This technology breakthrough is essential so carbon fiber
scrap can be processed in high volumes, fulfilling the enormous potential for energy savings and carbon reduction and creating a global composites recycling industry.

The CRTC also has a multi-faceted agreement with Toray Composite Materials America for scrap carbon fiber supply and materials development, and continues to work very collaboratively with this strategic partner.

For more information visit www.compositerecycling.org.

  • Geoff Wood

    Slight correction – the title should identify that it is the first using ELG’s recycled carbon fiber. We do not know if it is the first using recycled carbon fiber as others (Carbon Conversions, BMW, etc.) may have done this with their recycled materials.

    • CM Magazine

      Thanks, Geoff. Correction has been made.