By Dr. Cameron Chai
Japanese company, Teijin has been declared as the overall winner at the ICIS Innovation Awards for 2011 in recognition of its technologies related to the large scale production of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). The company also won the Best Product Innovation Award.
Teijin was chosen for the award as its technology greatly helped in reducing the time taken to mould automotive body parts in less than a minute. The technology also used thermoplastic resin-based materials to weld the CFRP body parts with each other and to bond them with materials like steel. The environmental rules and regulations for the automotive industry have become stricter thus creating a need to manufacture lighter vehicles through the use of light-weight materials such as CFRP. Components are conventionally made from heavier metals such as aluminium and steel. However, if CFRP has to be used for body parts, the production cycle time, cost, consumption of energy and CO2 emission levels of CFRP should be reduced. All these requirements were matched in the technology provided by Teijin, which it developed in collaboration with Toho Tenax and Teijin Composites Innovation Centre.
The ICIS Innovation Awards focus on technologies that significantly reduce the usage of fossil fuel and carbon emissions. It endeavours to recognise technologies that are invented towards this end. Teijin has already won the ICIS Innovation Award-Innovation with Best Environmental Benefit, for the year 2010 for developing the ECO CIRCLE closed loop recycling system especially for polyester.