Scion & Sonae Industria: Woodforce

A New Zealand Research Commercialisation Success Story

Working with an International partner to commercialise high performance wood fibre-reinforced plastics.

The Scion and Sonae partnership has successfully established a commercial value chain for wood fibre-reinforced plastics.

Plastics with wood fibre are stronger and stiffer than plastics alone, but, until recently, handling the bulky fibre has not been commercially feasible. Scion's patented process forms wood fibre into "dice" that can be made in existing MDF plants and easily added to a range of plastics.

With most opportunities for composite plastic manufacture being outside New Zealand, Scion looked for an MDF manufacturer with a global reach who could be key party in a complex and unfamiliar value chain. European MDF manufacturer Sonae Industria was granted an exclusive licence for the technology in North America and Europe.

Sonae owns and has developed the Woodforce brand. The commitment of both partners working with the full value chain has led to the optimisation of Woodforce and the compounding process, putting the partners in a strong commercial position. End products that meet demands for lighter weight, thermal stability and sustainability are being trialled and approved by major automotive manufacturers.

The wide exposure to companies along the value chain has also led to relationships with other manufacturing industries to develop new products.