Design Engineering

Magna, CRIBE to add wood fibre to auto parts

By Design Engineering Staff   

General auto parts Magna R&D

R&D effort to reduce auto parts’ weight and cost while boosting Canadian pulp and paper industry.

The Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE) announced that it is investing $1.3 million in a partnership with Magna Exteriors and Interiors on a project to integrate wood fibre in auto parts.

Currently, Magna moulds a number of components and sub-systems using long glass filled polypropylene (LGFPP) for global automotive manufacturers. In certain applications, however, glass fibre can be substituted with wood fibre while providing the required mechanical and physical properties and offering a lower cost and lighter weight option.

For its role in the partnership, Magna will develop high-volume process and product technology that integrates wood fibres from Northern Ontario and Canadian-sourced pulp into its automotive parts. Once initial testing is complete, the goal will be to increase percentages of wood fibre for further optimized performance. In a second phase of this project, the knowledge gained from using wood fibre in automotive parts will be transferred to high-volume consumer and industrial products.

A Canadian pulping company will be selected as a technical advisor to support the development of processed wood fibres and as a future candidate supplier. For lab-scale material development, Magna Exteriors and Interiors will work together with pulping companies to develop wood fibres that can be commercially available on a large scale.


Magna also plans to collaborate with Alberta Bio-materials Development Centre (ABDC), Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures and the National Research Council (NRC) to develop the technology .

“Magna is proud to have been chosen as development partner for this important project to introduce low-cost sustainable materials into products for our customers,” said William Harney, Executive Director, Research and Development for Magna Exteriors and Interiors. “The dual challenges our industry faces to reduce the cost and weight of auto parts can be addressed in part with high performance wood fibre reinforced plastics. This in turn will provide improved fuel economy for consumers in a cost-effective, sustainable solution.”


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