Originally announced on Earth Day, 22 April 2022, the Demonstration Project for carbon fibre circularity has now moved into the testing phase with the four sports equipment manufacturers that form part of the Alliance starting to build prototype equipment with AFFT, the product name for the realigned Carbon Fibre tape that has been made from end-of-life carbon fibre sports products.
The IBU is one of the partners in the Carbon Fibre Circular Alliance that has confirmed on World Environment Day that the reclamation step of carbon fibres from end-of-life components has successfully been completed. These are now being realigned into unidirectional tapes using AFFT (Aligned Fibre Formable Technology), that equipment partners Wilson, SCOTT Sports, OneWay and Starboard will be using to manufacture prototypes over the coming months.
Wilson, the US-based 100-year-old manufacturer of rackets and sporting goods, has already started testing their batch of AFFT tape, that is made from the fibres of a broken racket, to build a 50% recycled racket and initial results are very encouraging with the fact let specifications within normal ranges.
Bill Severa, Global Innovation Director R & D - Racquet Technology at Wilson said: “What an exciting project to be involved with. This week we prototype a tennis racket with 50% recycled carbon fibre. We just started play testing this racket with excellent results and we are very excited about the future working with Lineat and the CFCA.”
SCOTT Sports, the Swiss-based producer of bicycles, winter equipment and sportswear, will be building a ski prototype over the summer, made from realigned fibres from a SCOTT Sports bicycle frame. OneWay, part of Fischer Sports, will be using AFFT to build and test a ski pole, while Starboard, the manufacturer of boards will be building a paddle blade with the realigned fibres from a mast.
“We have been delighted with the response to Carbon Fibre Circular Alliance’s Demonstration Project. With this first step in the innovation completed, we are now working with manufacturers to use the re-aligned fibre tapes to build and test equipment. We are very excited about the future opportunities that this offers both the sports and commercial sectors in general, opening up a true circularity solution. Later this year Lineat will be able to start producing the unidirectional tape on a bigger scale with our automated AFFT machine in our new site in Filton,” comments Gary Owen, CEO at Lineat Composites.
In parallel, the Alliance will be assessing all elements involved in the manufacture of AFFT to ensure that the process follows a strict circularity model from equipment collection, breakdown and reclamation of carbon fibre equipment to the production processes for the AFFT tape.
“Our ambition with the Alliance is that we work with Sports Federations, manufacturers and advisors to ensure that we operate within a circular economy model. With sport already the third largest user of carbon fibre, and this due to increase particularly in high-performance sport in the coming years, we need to apply a circularity mindset.
We are very grateful for the support from the equipment manufacturers that form part of this Alliance. With today’s World Environment Day’s theme of ‘Only One Earth’, it is only by working collectively that we can make a real change and address the real challenge of end-of-life carbon fibre,” comments Dee Caffari, Chair of the World Sailing Trust, the charitable organisation that is running the Alliance with its partners from the IBU, International Olympic Committee, International Tennis Federation, World Sailing and UCI, the International Cycling Union.