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First automobile roof frame made of natural fiber

Apr 07, 2016

Together with the International Automotive Components Group (IAC), a global leading supplier to the automobile industry, BASF has developed the worldwide first roof frame for cars that is entirely made of natural fiber. The Acrodur® 950 L binder by BASF ensures the necessary loading capacity and heat resistance of the lightweight component. As an alternative to phenolic resins, the water-based and low-emission binder strengthens the natural fibers and thus enables an environmentally compatible, dimensionally stable and, above all, lightweight solution for car roof frames.

The IAC FiberFrame lightweight component is used in the new E-class of Mercedes-Benz. Cars fitted with the roof frame have been available from dealers in Europe since the beginning of April 2016.

Reduced fuel consumption through lighter roof frames

“Natural-fiber roof frames based on Acrodur 950 L are around 40 percent lighter than roof frames made from metal. Hence, we help car makers achieve their sustainability targets because lighter vehicles consume less fuel and have lower carbon emissions,” explains Thorsten Habeck, Head of Marketing for Dispersions for Fiber Bonding at BASF.

IAC, one of the worldwide leading manufacturers of car interior systems, has developed the innovative lightweight concept and produces the roof frame based on Acrodur 950 L. “It was easy to integrate the BASF binder into our production system. The natural fiber components that are strengthened with Acrodur are ideal to mold; they are environmentally friendly and save time during the production of the composites,” says Fritz Schweindl, Director Advanced Engineering at IAC, adding “Furthermore, the product is low in emissions, which means that it is safer to work with.”

Acrodur binders are used to strengthen natural fiber mats that are further processed into molded parts. Acrodur possesses important qualities as, for example high environmental compatibility, simple and unproblematic processing, assembly and molding of semi-finished products. The binders are used for the production of high-quality lightweight applications in the furniture and automotive industry.