Plasman Boosts Recycled Plastic Research

The automotive industry is determined to use more recycled plastic in manufacturing. In a unique research project, Plasman has provided practical solutions for processing recycled plastic while keeping quality and finish.

Starting in 2025, a quarter of all plastic parts in Volvo vehicles will be made of recycled or bio-based plastic. Volvo’s initiative is just one example of how the world’s car manufacturers are transitioning to more sustainable manufacturing.

The challenges are many, especially regarding the car’s plastic components.

“We have had little knowledge about how recycled and bio-based plastics behave in finished car parts. We are now happy to be part of growing that knowledge,” says Andreas Annerstedt, head of Plasman’s Research and Development unit in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Unique properties

In 2020, the Swedish research institute RISE invited Plasman to take part in a study on how recycled plastic performs in finished car parts. In the project, which involved Volvo Cars, Volvo Trucks, and several other companies, Plasman molded, painted, and tested parts with a higher proportion of recycled plastic.

The results exceeded expectations.

“Our tests show that we can manufacture parts with recycled plastic while maintaining properties and functions. This means that we can meet suppliers’ requirements in future manufacturing programs, and that feels really good,” says Andreas.

Recycling the recycled

More knowledge is needed on how well recycled plastic holds up throughout the car’s lifespan. Andreas and his team are also looking into “recycling the recycled”.

“Let´s say we manufacture a bumper that is mounted on a car, and a few years later the car crashes. Then we want to get the part back to us and melt it down into a new bumper. Recycling the once recycled plastic, so to speak!”

Plasman will soon take part in a new research project that will investigate how the design process can simplify recycling by reducing the use of adhesives, metals, and plastic blends.

“We need to keep pace with research. Contributing to a more sustainable automotive industry gives us a strong competitive advantage,” says Andreas.

Project Facts

The research project started in 2023 and will last for two years. RISE leads the project with 15 partners in the automotive industry, subcontractors manufacturing the components, car dismantlers/workshops, recyclers, compounders, material suppliers, and industry associations.

The RISE project uses recycled plastic sourced from both industrial waste and household waste. 29 test rounds have been conducted with the manufacturing of car and truck components. The tests have concluded that recycled plastic can be used in car components, even in parts with high safety and surface finishing requirements.

 


About Plasman

Plasman is a leading global manufacturer in bumpers-fascias, grilles, exterior trim, and subsystem components. As One Driving Force™, our diverse team of talented employees in 11 countries is driven by a commitment to outperform in all areas from engineering design to state-of-the-art manufacturing processes. Plasman’s headquarters are in Oldcastle, Ontario. Further information about Plasman is available at Plasman.com or follow us on LinkedIn.