Lightening the load for future mobility
After taking the sport and leisure sector by storm with its ultralight composite materials containing flax fibres, Bcomp (in Fribourg) has now grabbed the attention of the motor and aeronautical industries.
Durable, strong and light. These three adjectives best describe the properties of the plant-fibre-based materials developed by Bcomp. Established in 2011, the company has amassed an in-depth knowledge of how flax performs in different composite materials. “The uniqueness of our biocomposites is down to the way we structure the fibres to create a high-tech material,” explains CEO Christian Fischer. The technology patented by Bcomp consists of a mesh that can be mixed with different resins to strengthen thin-walled structures, making them significantly lighter than standard materials.
Ski manufacturers were the first to get excited about these properties, and a third of Bcomp’s earnings are in the sport and leisure sector, with a presence in Europe, South America and to a lesser extent China. Bcomp has also made a big impact in motor sports, their flax fibre solution performing just as well as carbon but costing 30% less and generating 75% lower CO2 emissions on average. And it is in the field of mobility that Bcomp has a huge growth potential today.
Lighter = more fuel-efficient
Bcomp is already working with a number of commercial motor manufacturers – hardly surprising when their biocomposite components are 40% lighter than those made of standard materials, thus reducing fuel consumption. A very timely solution given that the European Union is imposing drastic vehicle CO2 emission reductions on the motor industry. And to satisfy the same demand for lighter components, Bcomp is taking part in a major project to manufacture internal parts for aircraft cabins. Lastly, it is worth mentioning that the company has been developing ultralight satellite components with the European Space Agency (ESA) for some years now.
As a result, Bcomp has won several awards for its innovative products. In Christian Fischer’s view, the most prestigious award received so far is the Swiss Economic Award, in 2016, because this award demands particularly high standards of due diligence. Other major industrial awards won by Bcomp include two JEC Innovation Awards, in 2014 and 2018. We haven’t heard the last from them…
Advanced & recycled materials