Scion selected as a finalist in the 2016 KiwiNet Awards
For immediate release
12 May 2016
Scion and licensing partner Sonae Industria are one of twelve finalists in the 2016 KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards announced today.
The awards comprise several categories with Scion and Sonae Industria selected as a finalist in the MinterEllisonRuddWatts Research & Business Partnership Award. Together they have successfully established a commercial value chain for wood fibre reinforced plastics, known as Woodforce.
Plastics with wood fibre are stronger and stiffer than plastics alone, but, until recently, handling the bulky fibre has not been commercially feasible. Scion’s patented process forms wood fibre into “dice” that can be made in existing MDF plants and easily added to a range of plastics.
Business Development Manager Jeremy Warnes says with most opportunities for composite plastic manufacture being outside New Zealand, Scion looked for an MDF manufacturer with a global reach who could be key party in a complex and unfamiliar value chain.
European MDF manufacturer Sonae Industria was granted an exclusive licence for the technology in North America and Europe. Sonae owns and has developed the Woodforce brand.
The commitment of both partners working with the full value chain has led to the optimisation of Woodforce and the compounding process, putting the partners in a strong commercial position. End products that meet demands for lighter weight, thermal stability and sustainability are being trialled and approved by major automotive manufacturers. The wide exposure to companies along the value chain has also led to relationships with other manufacturing industries to develop new products.
“Ultimately, the product will end up in plastic parts such as in cars, appliances, furniture and a wide range of consumer goods,” says Mr Warnes.
“The commercial potential is very large. Figures are hard to define for a range of reasons, such as do we define the dice our partner sells, or the plastic products that are manufactured using our technology. It also depends on uptake and commercial reality of a competitive environment. However, we believe that the potential could ultimately be in the 100’s of millions in business generated on a global scale.”