EuCIA adds thermoplastics processing data to eco impact calculator

The Eco Calculator is constantly evolving to meet industry needs and this latest development follows the recent addition of data for core materials for RTM and vacuum infusion processes.

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The European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA) has added new thermoplastics data to its Eco Calculator, the online tool which enables composites companies to calculate the environmental impact associated with the production of their products. The Eco Calculator is constantly evolving to meet industry needs and this latest development follows the recent addition of data for core materials for RTM and vacuum infusion processes. Further additions will be announced next year. The Eco Calculator is available free of charge at ecocalculator.eucia.eu.

The new data for glass fiber thermoplastics materials encompasses both the compounding into granulate and the molding of the part. For example, a user can take a polypropylene with 30% glass fiber and filler and calculate the environmental impact of producing that compound, and then, in a second step, calculate the environmental impact of using that material in an injection molding process. The conversion data is suitable for processing of polypropylene, polyester and polyamide with a wide range of glass fiber contents. Customers in all industry sectors are increasingly asking for detailed information on the environmental impact of a product or component. While sustainability is a key driver for the selection of composite materials, the life cycle assessments (LCAs) frequently used to evaluate the environmental impact of a product are complex, time consuming and expensive, often requiring specialized software and/or consultants. The results are also dependent on the LCA system employed and the data used, which can often be out of date. For small composites companies this approach is not affordable, especially if they produce a diverse range of products in low volumes. To address this issue, EuCIA designed the Eco Calculator, a low cost, fast and easy to use tool which enables composites manufacturers to clearly communicate the environmental impact of their products to their customers.  

The Eco Calculator incorporates a pre-defined set of materials and processes, based on data EuCIA has collected over the past three years. Users are also able to enter their own data to generate a more precise result for their individual products and processes. The materials and processes included in the tool are under continuous review for quality and consistency, and new data is regularly added to extend and improve its scope and accuracy.

Further data additions to the Eco Calculator will be announced over the coming months. Companies wishing to contribute to the development of the tool are invited to contact EuCIA.