Vision and Mission
Reducing the weight on our planet
Reducing the weight on our planet
“Knauf Industries Automotive's mission is to reduce the weight of modern cars, so they can travel longer distances while leaving a smaller carbon footprint.”
There is no doubt that the path of development that the automotive industry has undergone so far is impressive. Today's cars are faster and safer than ever before in history, and thanks to smart technologies, they can now even replace drivers in some aspects. Despite the consistent development of technology and the crucial role which vehicles play in our lives, they still generate quite high CO2 and NOx emissions.
For example, trucks and commercial vehicles with internal combustion engines are responsible for 83% of all emissions in the transportation sector. Our goal is to provide modern, ultralight foamed plastic automotive parts that will help make the next revolution in the automotive sector a reality.
With a lighter design, cars require less energy to power the propulsion system, which means they burn less traditional fuels or can be powered entirely by green renewable energy. At Knauf Industries Automotive, we know exactly how to achieve this!
Ultralight EPP expanded plastic components are the perfect answer to this problem, as they successfully replace parts made of other materials such as traditional foams that are difficult to recycle, bituminous compounds, felt materials and even sheet metal components.
Thus, they reduce the dead weight of vehicles and limit their energy requirements, while making them more environmentally friendly. The excellent properties of foamed materials in terms of acoustics, impact absorption or thermal insulation mean that such components provide ideal travel comfort and, in electric cars, also increase battery life.
“It is estimated that an average of about 300 kg of parts made of such materials can be found in modern vehicles, which is as much as 20% of the weight of a car with an unladen weight of 1,400 kg.”
However, the real revolution turned out to be the invention of foamed polypropylene (EPP), which has a cellular structure consisting in 95% of air. Due to its excellent properties related to, among other things, mechanical strength, shape memory, thermal or acoustic insulation, as well as half the weight compared to hard polypropylene (PP), EPP began to gradually displace it from traditional areas of application.
Today, the content of EPP foam in cars is only 2 kg, although it can be found in the entire body structure - from the trunk filling and rear car seat, to the front seats, the dashboard, front hood module, including the air intake and the shock absorber in the bumper.
It doesn't stop there, however. In modern electric cars, EPP has proven to be an excellent material for electric car battery cell housings and mounting components, and in hydrogen-powered vehicles for secure fuel tank covers.
“Replacing components made of traditional materials with parts made of expanded polypropylene (EPP) translates into reduced CO2 emissions, at the production stage as well as in the subsequent operation of vehicles. Foamed polypropylene has a unique strength-to-weight ratio and therefore displaces heavier material solutions wherever possible.”
This is because foamed polypropylene (EPP) not only lowers the tare weight of cars, but also reduces the environmental burden of parts production. Namely foamed parts require significantly less raw material than, for example, hard plastics, and have the same or even better properties.
We take into account all the processes at every stage of the supply chain, from the manufacturer of the smallest component, through the OEM companies, to the car factory. Automotive production requires regular transportation of thousands of parts between factories, hundreds of kilometers apart. This generates a sizable carbon footprint, especially since a large portion of the deliveries are made by road transport.
Again, modern EPP processing technologies are helping to change the face of the automotive sector. The returnable packaging produced from it is 50% lighter than their counterparts made of traditional plastics. This translates into a reduction in the weight of the entire load, allowing more components to be transported at one time, reducing the amount of fuel burned and emissions.
In addition, EPP has excellent absorption, thermal insulation and electrical insulation properties, so it effectively protects transported goods from various types of damage, eliminating the problem of damaged lots and waste requiring management.
Despite their light weight, EPP shipping containers are much more durable than their traditional PP counterparts, as their lifespan is estimated to be around 10 years. This saves a considerable amount of raw materials and energy that would have to be spent on new reusable, especiallynot to mention single-use, packaging. Since our solutions are mono-material - manufactured from 100% EPP, they can be easily recycled at the end of their useful life. One of our flagship solutions for returnable logistics is ultralight EPP packaging. Our design teams isare also able to adapt their parameters to any type of content, specific production line or individual transportation requirements. It's also worth noting that lighter packaging also means less physical strain for people involved in unloading the cargo. This means fewer injuries and safer working conditions.
We include all aspects of sustainability in the automotive industry in our comprehensive vision. Innovative lightweight material technologies are not only friendly to human health and the environment, but also make it possible to increase the efficiency of production processes and design vehicles of the future that are environmentally friendly in everyday use.
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