Analysis of new materials As part of Technology Management in the plastics production facility, new materials are examined to assess their processability and possible design implementation. The main focus is on the question as to which design can be implemented with which technology to do justice to the requirements regarding quality, processability, economy and reduction of the environmental impact [including the carbon dioxide emissions]. To this purpose Technology Management carries out material analyses, during which the technical feasibility is also investigated. Potential for lowering the environmental damage could be, for example, organically based plastics. For this reason, in 2014 Gira tested WPC plastics [Wood Plastic Composites]. These lignin-based plastics are processed with wood and cork as fillers. In practical use these materials can only be partially processed with injection moulding methods. The moulds and processes must be designed specifically for the plastic. Due to the high wood content, deformation can occur, as the moulded parts absorb water. In practice this results in changes to the dimensions. Ultimately this material is basically interesting, but it became apparent that these plastics are not yet suitable for Gira as they do not allow the company to meet product requirements.
Use of re-granulated material Potential improvements with regard to the reduction of environmental damage can also be achieved by the use of re-granulated material produced from recycled plastics. Gira can both produce re-granulated material itself [refer to the Material Recycling Project in the Plastics Production Facility] and also purchase it. Before it is used, the re-granulated material has to be certified in the same way as any other material to ensure that it meets the technical requirements. Furthermore we are currently examining whether re-granulated material can also be used in future in products with high volume products.