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Susan Gan, General Manager at Swancor: Embracing a holistic approach to sustainable development

Swancor has once again chosen to emphasise sustainability to pave the way for a future marked by the circular economy. JEC Composites Magazine took the opportunity to meet with its leaders to discuss the international expansion of the Taiwanese group. This article has been published in JEC Composites Magazine n°156.

Susan Gan, General Manager at Swancor: Embracing a holistic approach to sustainable development
READING TIME

4 minutes, 40 secondes

In 2023, Swancor’s ‘Recyclable Thermoset CFRP Composite Bike’ won a JEC Innovation Award. This year, during JEC World 2024, Swancor demonstrated how to use EzCiclo and CleaVER system to achieve a closed loop of thermosetting composites industry. The booth was organised around four central messages.

First of all, waste reduction, with Swancor’s plastic waste-derived epoxy hardener EzCiclo, the new eco-friendly one that helps PCB manufacturers surpass SDG goals. “This material can be applied to any product using PCB, including general electronic products, automotive or network communication products, etc.”, explains Jackson Lin, assistant manager at Swancor’s International Business Unit, and a well-known speaker of the group on JEC World.

Swancor also underlined its solutions based on bio-­materials: an electric car body made with the recyclable thermosetting resin EzCiclo and ­linen fibres, and its low dielectric biobased bismaleimides resin for CCL ­applications. “Bismaleimides resins made from bi-based offer two product specifications with biocontent of 42% and 67%, according to ASTM D6866-22. The material can be used as a low dielectric constant co-curing additive and performs good flexibility after self-curing, to improve the toughness of materials in CCL”, points out Jackson Lin.

Swancor and Siemens Gamesa strengthen their cooperation

Without surprise, Swancor also emphasised recycling at JEC World, highlighting ­recyclable thermosetting ­resin EzCiclo and decomposed liquid CleaVER, a technology that can separate resin and fibres for recycling and both can be reused. EzCiclo already counts customers like Zhuzhou Times New Material Technology, Ming Yang Smart Energy or Siemens Gamesa, for example. Regarding Siemens Gamesa, a few days after the event, Swancor announced that they had signed a Letter of Intent (LOI): “Starting in 2026, the resin supplied from Swancor to Siemens Gamesa will be all recyclable. This partnership ­represents a significant stride in applying recyclable thermosetting epoxy resin EzCiclo within wind turbines, and it marks a pivotal milestone for Swancor in advancing a green circular economy.”

At last, the teams of Swancor gave several applications of their expertise. Were exhibited on the booth a wind turbine blade nacelle cover made with recycled oligomer; a truck panel part made from recycled carbon fibres; a car front bumper frame made with recycled glass fibre pellets; and a camping table made from Swancor’s recycled carbon fibres veil.

Swancor exhibiting at JEC World 2024
Swancor exhibiting at JEC World 2024

JEC Composites Magazine: Swancor has been experiencing significant growth over the past several months. Could you remind us of your flagship projects on the agenda?

Susan Gan: Founded in 1992 in Taiwan, with a historic factory in Nantou, Swancor has experienced rapid growth. The business groups of composite include fine chemical and carbon fibre composites, articulated around five product sites: Nantou, Taiwan; Shanghai, Tianjin and Jiangsu in China; and one in Malaysia. Right now, we are focusing on sustainability and circular economy and this year, we establish a Technical Service Office in Rotterdam, Netherlands. This strategic move allows us to enhance our presence in Europe and better serve our customers in the region. We will also expand to Romania with a recycling line, it will be our base camp in Europe. In addition, as part of our growth strategy, we will also open a new production site in Türkiye. We still have many projects in China, with our well-established subsidiary. We’ve already started to recycle wind blades in China.

JEC Composites Magazine: Talking about China, can you make an intermediate assesment of your recycling demonstration line expected this year in the country?

S.G.: The setup is anticipated to be completed by April. Our strategy in China is twofold: we are focusing on both EzCiclo and microwave pyrolysis technologies. Initially, our approach involves assisting our customers in managing their existing waste, but we are encouraging them to explore the benefits of EzCiclo as a sustainable alternative.

JEC Composites Magazine: Coming back to your projects, Swancor has just opened new headquarters in Taiwan, isn’t it?

S.G.: In order to show our implication to our customers, actually we open our new headquarters in Taiwan in March, an outstanding building. Swancor Innovation Park covers an area of 2,600 m2. The design took sustainability as the core concept, the building obtained the Gold level Green Building and Silver level intelligent Building certification.

JEC Composites Magazine: EzCiclo can be considered as the culmination of a long research programme, but business-wise, what perspectives does it open to you?

S.G.: Initially, our focus was on reducing emissions associated with both our production processes and the use of our products by customers. Six years ago, we embarked on the development of EzCiclo, and in 2021, we filed the necessary patents. The subsequent presentation of our solution at JEC World 2022 marked a significant milestone. Beyond the wind energy industry, and a projection of 400,000 tons of discarded wind blades in 2030, the interest comes today from the automotive industry, especially the Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV). They produce a lot of pressure vessels and they are working on the way they will be able to recycle them in the future. In general, the field of applications is huge as this material can be applied to any product using PCB, including general electronic products, network communication products, etc.

Swancor's booth at JEC World 2024
Swancor’s booth at JEC World 2024

JEC Composites Magazine: Given the varying levels of market maturity, isn’t the global synchronisation of a circular economy the biggest challenge facing both industries and society in general?

S.G.: Absolutely, there are indeed differences among us, but we all share one planet. At Swancor, we recognise the importance of global cooperation in addressing environmental challenges. Our strong partnerships with customers like Siemens Gamesa, who have committed to using 100% recyclable materials by 2030, exemplify our collective efforts towards sustainability. We’re witnessing a significant industrial movement in this direction, with major players like Apple leading the way. However, achieving a sustainable industry requires more than just goodwill. Our founder, Robert Tsai, believes that while these are challenging times, creating a sustainable industry is not only possible but also essential. By working together, implementing effective regulations, and incentivising sustainable practices, we can pave the way for a greener and more resilient future for generations to come.

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JEC Composites Magazine n°156
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