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Sonae Indústria and Crown Research Institute Scion of New Zealand signed an agreement that extends Sonae Indústria’s exclusive “Woodforce” licence to commercialize the wood fibre technology for polymer reinforcement to North America.
Sonae Indústria Group has held the exclusive European licence since mid-2011 and in December of that year launched the technology as “Woodforce”, a name that accentuates the strength and consistency of the wood-fibre polymer product.Since then Sonae Indústria and Scion have successfully worked together to scale-up the manufacturing and start commercial activity in the European market. This licence extension was a logical step for Sonae Indústria. “Woodforce has been designed for efficient mass production in an existing MDF plant”, says Christophe Chambonnet, Woodforce’s Global Manager. “Our business model has been validated by larger compounders, moulders and OEMs. The mechanical performance, industrial friendliness and environmental benefits have convinced many major companies. Our ability to deliver the same product, with the same specification and quality on each continent is the global plan that makes Woodforce a superior natural fibre option.”Manufacturing capability in North America, in addition to Europe, will increase Sonae Indústria’s ability to better service global customers in a cost effective manner. A process is underway to identify a manufacturing scenario for North America.As part of this new agreement, Scion and Sonae Indústria have agreed on a timeframe to access the Asian market. Invented by Scion, the technology binds wood fibre in pellet form to produce ‘dice’. A major advantage of Woodforce over agricultural fibres is that they are delivered ready to use in the compounding process. This ease and accuracy of handling means the dice can be fed directly into conventional extruders, from which the compound can then go into injection moulding as well as profile extrusion for processing as fibre-reinforced plastics.MDF wood fibres are cost effective and enjoy non seasonal consistent supply. Wood-fibre reinforced plastics are stronger, lighter and have a lower environmental footprint than many plastics they would replace. Applications are wide-ranging and include automotive parts, appliances, electronics, household goods, furniture, and more. More information:www.woodforce.com