Recycled bottles used for Volvo truck parts

Volvo Trucks is using polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) resin, made in part out of recycled plastic bottles, for the brackets of the side air deflection system in all seven models of its 2012 Volvo VN family of heavy trucks — the first time an upcycled material made from post-consumer recycled content has been used in a North American heavy truck, according to the resin manufacturer.

“The need to improve fuel efficiency and dramatically reduce weight is pushing truck manufacturers to find light-weighting solutions,” said Kenneth Miller, sustainability general manager for technology and innovation at SABIC Innovative Plastics, maker of the Valox iQ resins used by Volvo. “For example, some heavy truck manufacturers are trying to reduce their models’ weights from six tons to five tons.”

SABIC worked closely with Volvo to achieve a sustainable materials solution that was also a high performing one, providing application development and technical support. Upcycled Valox iQ resins have comparable or better performance than conventionally manufactured materials, including excellent resistance to impact, chemicals, and stress fatigue, Miller said in a report by Design News.

Additional weight reduction is achieved in the Volvo truck family through use of SABIC’s Noryl GTX resin for the fenders, Cycoloy resin for the grille, and clear Lexan resin for forward lighting, Miller said.

SABIC’s Valox iQ resin contains up to 60% post-consumer recycled content and can help reduce the resin’s carbon footprint by up to 49% compared to virgin PBT resins, according to Michael Gilbert, Innovative Plastics general manager.

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