Mazda develops bio-based engineering plastic, says ‘no’ to paint
Mazda Motor Corporation, in association with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation has developed a bio-based engineering plastic, which can be used for manufacturing the exterior design parts of automobiles.
Mazda has taken this initiative to lessen its impact on the environment. The plastic that is made out of plant derived materials will ensure reduced usage of petroleum resources and minimal carbon dioxide emissions. The plant derived material can be dyed and it will emit lesser volatile organic compounds. Dyed parts manufactured from bio-based engineering plastic also provide a finish of higher quality. The bio-based plastics are suited for the external vehicle parts as it assures mirror-like finish of the surface.
Mazda will showcase the prototype, ‘Mazda Biotechmaterial’ at the Eco-Products 2014 from December 11 through to December 13, 2014 at Tokyo Big Sight. Eco-Products 2014, is one of the largest exhibitions of environmental technologies and environmentally-friendly products and services in Japan.
For many years now, Mazda has been developing new technologies in the field of biomass. The company has developed the first high-strength heat-resistant plant-derived bio plastic for the automotive industry that could be used for the auto interior parts. Mazda has also developed world’s first bio fabric for vehicle seat upholstery that is made from fibers (derived from plants).
However, plastics have always delivered high quality finish. Besides that, plastics also ensure resistance from different types of weather conditions and scratch. Achieving these characteristics through bio plastics could be a challenge. As per Mazda, the company has been able to develop a material that would suit both exteriors and interiors. The company has been able to achieve this through proper optimization of the composition of a recently developed, highly moldable, durable bio plastic base material with coloring agents and additives. However, the patent for this composition is pending.
By using this material, Mazda will be able to manufacture parts that will assure the same durability and better finish as in the case of conventionally painted ABS plastic parts.
Mazda that is all set for the launch of the Mazda MX-5, globally in 2015 will use the bio-based engineering plastic for the first time. The company will use the bio-based engineering plastic for the exteriors of other models.
Mazda MX-5 is one of the biggest-selling sports car. Mazda launched the face lifted MX-5 at the Paris Motor Show in 2012. The car is quite distinguished for its front bumper and grille. Mazda Motor Corporation started manufacturing tools in 1929. After that, the company started producing trucks for commercial purposes. The company introduced its first passenger car models in early 1960. Soon after that, it started developing rotary engines. The company is one of the leading automobile manufacturers in Japan and has been exporting to US and Europe for over 30 years.
Mazda has been proactive in developing new technologies that will contribute towards building a sustainable society. The company aims at developing more products that will suit environmental standards while delivering driving pleasure and maximum safety.
Seeing, Mazda’s contribution in the past towards bringing up ‘green’ initiatives, this does not seem to be impossible. In 2009, the company started leasing Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid vehicle. The car’s seat fabric contained a high-heat-resistant polylactic acid (PLA)-based plastic called BIOFRONT that was developed by Teijin (a Japanese chemical company). BIOFRONT overcame conventional bio plastics’ problems with hydrolytic degradation in high heat and humidity and also resulted in excellent moldability without any loss of heat resistance.