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Exel partners with Fairmat

Reconstitution process uses robotic tools equipped with machine learning to disassemble carbon fibre components.

16th April 2024

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Mäntyharju, Finland

Transport/​Aerospace, Industrial

Exel Composites, headquartered in Mäntyharju, Finland and Fairmat, the French pioneer in recycling carbon fibre and manufacturing advanced recycled materials, have announced a new partnership.

Fairmat will recycle Exel’s carbon fibre composite scrap at its Nantes manufacturing facility to produce second-generation carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) chips and high-performance composite units, significantly reducing waste. The scrap will be transferred from Exel’s two plants in Finland. 

Traditional waste-management techniques involving pyrolysis or solvolysis use significant amounts of energy, mitigating the environmental benefits of recycling used carbon fibre. By contrast, Fairmat’s reconstitution process uses proprietary cutting technologies and robotic tools equipped with machine learning to disassemble the carbon fibre components and convert the pieces into CFRP building blocks. 

“Fairmat’s recycling methodology enables its products to retain the high strength and stiffness of the original embedded fibres,” explains Kim Sjödahl, senior VP of technology and sustainability at Exel. “This is often compromised by other recycling methods that involve chopping and milling carbon fiber. 

“Combined with its minimal energy input, Fairmat’s process is genuinely game-changing for sustainability in the composites industry. What’s more, the successful recycling of process waste also opens possibilities to recycle the end-of-life waste from our customers.”

“The partnership with Exel aligns with our mission to build a closed-loop ecosystem that keeps high-value products from going to waste.” adds Benjamin Saada, founder and CEO of Fairmat. “Fairmat is here to enable a wave of sustainable progress, putting advanced recycled materials at the heart of forward-thinking industrials worldwide, to make product manufacturing more circular.” 

Using AI tools such as digital twins to model different 3D arrangements during the design phase, Fairmat can assemble its CFRP chips into a variety of layouts and structures. These simulations enable it to customise the mechanical properties of the resulting product, such as extremely low weight for transportation components and localised, unidirectional strength for impact surfaces.

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