Mike Martin

A first-time exhibitor at the show is aiming to win over the aerospace industry to an environmentally-friendly plastics substitute material for use in aircraft interiors.

Kafus did it with the automotive industry, signing a strategic collaborative agreement with Ford's Visteon division to develop and manufacture mat and panel products.

The raw material is kenaf, a type of industrial hemp which is turned into a non-woven mat. All kinds of material can be used as a covering and it is easily moulded.

From the Bio-Composites division of Kafus, it offers a substitute for reinforced plastics such as glass-fibre reinforced polypropylene which can shatter, poses hazards for staff making it and which cannot be recycled.

"It is economically competitive, up to 30% lighter, shatter-resistant, has very good dimensional stability and is 10 times quicker to mould than plastics," says David Saltman, vice-president of marketing and new product development.

"You can imagine that the speed of the process translates quickly to the bottom line."

Kafus is aiming for FAA certification later this year.

Saltman sees applications in aircraft interiors such as overhead bins, seat backing and panels.

The company began talking to the aerospace industry at the last Farnborough air show. "There is big interest in taking weight out of aircraft, so you can see the value there," says Saltman.

Source: Flight Daily News