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Innovation Director in Emerging Technologies at Elastopoli
Keith, a chemist by training has been working with the Elastopoli team during its period of rapid expansion and globalisation. This has seen the company transitioning from a niche supplier of aesthetic, acoustic materials for the musical instrument sector to large scale manufacturing capability able to cater for demand from global manufacturing supply chains in the automotive, electronic goods (speakers) and industrial equipment sectors.
Keith started his industrial career with Johnson Matthey in the UK followed by a move to Avantium Technologies in the Netherlands. Since then he has focused in bringing emerging technologies to market, working with Universities, companies large and small, as well as the European Commission. He is also a part-time tutor in Nanotechnology at Oxford University.
Read more about Keith and his work here.
Abstract Title: AQVACOMP biocomposites for the automotive sector
Abstract: Originally, our (nano)-cellulose fibre reinforced thermoplastics were used in the manufacture of musical instruments such as guitars, violins, cellos and clarinets composites – driven by a desire to replace endangered “tone-woods” such as ebony. By virtue of Horizon2020 SME Instrument Funding, Elastopoli has branched out include the much larger consumer electronics and automotive industries where not only is bio-based reinforcing with new light weighting possibilities seen as advantageous, but also acoustic and haptic properties of Aqvacomp are also seen as a desirable market option in the automotive sector for speakers and facia parts. Aqvacomp composites have improved mechanical properties, matching those of glass fibre reinforcing and surpassing mineral filled thermoplastics. From a technical perspective, the single most important feature is its 3D reinforcing capability. Whereas glass fibre reinforcing is strongly oriented (anisotropic) but lacks properties to perpendicular direction Aqvacomp offers uniform reinforcing in all 3D directions (isotropic). This leads to improved design options and simplifies the mould design.
As we can control the size and shape of the reinforcing cellulose fibres very precisely we can reliably simulate injection moulding with Aqvacomp composites with commercial simulation software – an aspect not usually associated with natural fibre composites. This breakthrough was empowered by the FP6 project VIM and driven rapid introduction of our materials into supply chains for automotive and consumer goods.
To satisfy increasing demand, Aqvacomp has announced the startup of the new factory in Rauma, Finland Q4 2017.