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26th October 2017, Ludwigshafen

New curves for composite furniture

The winner of the 2017 AVK Innovation Award for new products and applications was Ludwigshafen, Germany-headquartered BASF for its new acForm binder technology which enables manufacturers to make 3D-moulded furniture parts cost-efficiently.

Industrially-manufactured wood products are normally used as panels, such as particle board, medium-density fibreboard (MDF), oriented strand board (OSB) or plywood, and until now, curved or moulded parts have rarely been made using these materials.

BASF and its partner Sonae Arauco aim to provide a new wood material for the furniture and interior design industry. © BASF

BASF and its partner Sonae Arauco, headquartered in Maia, Portugal, now aim to provide a new wood material for the furniture and interior design industry.

The two companies have developed a thermally mouldable composite which can be processed into an intermediate product using existing panel production equipment. This can then be stored for a long period and later moulded into 3D components or stamped with a structured, decorative design. The stable MDF panel can then run through the complete industrial process without the need for additional technical changes to equipment.

The major advantage of the product is that it can be moulded simultaneously in all three spatial axes. The simplification of the process and shorter pressing times also increases productivity significantly. The product’s improved moulding properties enable designers to create a wide range of new forms and styles. It can be used to make traditional moulded parts, such as seat shells and backs, as well as deeply structured, bent or curved components. Further applications include chairs, door fronts, furniture fronts, room dividers, partition walls for open plan offices, structured floor coverings and panelling for walls or ceilings – here the form can significantly improve room acoustics.

As such, it opens a whole new world of opportunities for furniture and interior designers. BASF is confident that further research will uncover new applications and unlock the full potential of this material.

AVK, the Federation of Reinforced Plastics, is headquartered in Frankfurt and the oldest association of the German plastics industry. It promotes all composite materials, but especially glass fibre materials (GFRP).

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