Shaping Tomorrow's Vehicles: SMC Automotive Alliance Steps Up to Recycling Challenge 950834
The use of reinforced polymers, especially SMC (Sheet Molding Composite), in the design of automobile parts has grown significantly since their first use some 40 years ago. Forty million pounds of SMC was used in 1970 and a projected 200 million pounds are slated for use in the auto industry in 1995. In the past five to ten years, environmental pressures demanding the responsible recycling of all materials have increased. The SMC Automotive Alliance (SMCAA), a joint effort of SMC molders and their raw material suppliers, has been proactive in developing answers to this challenge. In the past five years, cooperative research and development programs with automotive OEMs and the recycling business sector have led to the commercialization of processes to recycle and reuse both post-industrial and eventually post-consumer SMC in new automotive applications.
This paper discusses commercial processes used to convert post-industrial and post-consumer SMC scrap into new, “green,” raw materials and details the subsequent compounding, molding, and qualification work to produce in-specification automotive parts.