new approach to composite materials

From: Elaine Hunt (
Date: Fri May 28 1999 - 18:15:03 EEST

I attended a seminar on the following material and found it fascinating.


  Ford and Kafus Lead Industry With Initiative to Create More Eco-Friendly
Car Interiors

  BOSTON, January 12, 1999 - Kafus Environmental Industries (AMEX:KS) and
Visteon Automotive Systems today announced the signing of an agreement
under which the two organizations will collaborate on the development and
production of natural fiber composite materials for use in automobile
interiors. The decision to
  use natural fiber composites is a first for Visteon in the North American

  Under the terms of the agreement, Kafus Bio-Composites, (Kafus-Bio), a
wholly owned subsidiary of Kafus Environmental Industries, will work in
concert with Visteon to develop various non-woven mats and panel products
made from a combination of kenaf and other natural fibers. Kafus
Bio-Composites will manufacture proprietary composites under Visteon
trademarks. Visteon will then produce and market finished components such
as door panels, seat backs and package trays for Ford Motor Company and
other auto makers.

  "This agreement with Visteon is the first major step toward Kafus' long
term goal of becoming a global leader in the bio-composites field," stated
David Agneta, Kafus Bio-Composites president. "By combining various
polymers with kenaf fiber from our fields in South Texas, we can produce
stronger, lighter and safer components for the automobile industry. We
also see significant applications for thistechnology in furniture
manufacturing, building and construction, packaging and, eventually, the
aerospace industry."

  Stephen M. Delaney, vice president of interior systems for Visteon,
stated: "Automotive customers are looking for 'green' products and Visteon
takes environmental stewardship and customer service seriously. Natural fiber
  composites offer weight savings, performance enhancements and remarkable
recycling capabilities. Kafus Bio-Composites will help Visteon accomplish
our environmental and product development objectives."

  Kafus Environmental Industries, through its subsidiary, Kenaf Industries
of South Texas, is North America's leading grower, processor and developer
of kenaf. This fast-growing, drought-resistant relative of hibiscus is
capable of growing 14 feet in seven months, without the use of extensive
pesticides or herbicides. The outer "bast" fibers of the kenaf plant are
an ideal substitute for fiberglass in the production of reinforced plastics.

  Kafus Bio-Composites will blend bast fiber with various polymers to
create flexible non-woven mats. Visteon will then form these mats into
rigid three-dimensional automotive trim components in a one-step molding
process that is expected to cut current production times in half. Kafus
is currently planning a multi-million dollar North American facility that
will include fiber blending machinery, a mat line and a fully equipped R&D
facility. The new factory has a design capacity of 50 million square feet
of mat annually. Kafus plans to strategically develop similar facilities
throughout the world.

  Kafus Environmental Industries is led by its chairman and founder, Ken
Swaisland. "We are committed to becoming a world leader in the
manufacturing of superior commodity materials made from sustainable
resources," stated Swaisland. "In addition to this venture, our current
projects include the world's first medium
  density fiberboard plants able to use 100% recovered urban wood waste;
the production of tree-free newsprint and other paper products; the
manufacturing of a cement/fiber alternative to wood and metal siding; and
the conversion of animal and food processing waste into feed and organic

Opinions, suggestions, and other controversial matter VOID where prohibited.
Elaine T. Hunt, Director
Clemson University Laboratory to Advance Industrial Prototyping
206 Fluor Daniel Bldg. Clemson, SC 29643-0925
864-656-0321 (voice) 864-656-4435 (fax)

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