Mafic recently began operations at the world’s largest basalt fiber production facility in Shelby, NC. TMG, located in Rockford, MI, is a thermoplastics manufacturer, distributor and leader within the automotive industry in sustainable plastics directly serving the Auto OEMS and their Tier manufacturing suppliers. Together, the companies will focus on combining their respective expertise to promote the unique mechanical properties that basalt fiber attains.
Basalt fiber is a drawn continuous fiber similar to glass (i.e. fiberglass) and to fibers made from carbon or aramid. To produce the fiber, mined basalt rock is first washed and then placed into a furnace at a temperature of approximately 1500 °C. The resulting melt is extruded through a “bushing”, a precious metal block with thousands of microscopic holes, each producing a single filament.
Upon leaving the bushing, the fiber filament hardens, and a sizing is applied to improve its properties before the fiber filaments are wound with other finished fibers into a strand.
Basalt fiber is a sustainable filler as compared to glass fiber yielding a 50% reduction in emissions output during manufacturing of the fiber.
The fiber, both chopped and continuous, provides superior mechanical properties compared to glass fiber for injection molded-able thermoplastics used in a variety of auto parts. Specifically, it offers improved tensile, flexural, and impact properties compared to currently used materials.
In addition, the fiber offers a clear value proposition in nylon resins as a replacement for existing filled materials. Basalt Fiber can be blended with other fibers providing an excellent balance of cost and performance targeting structural automotive applications. Basalt Fiber filled thermoplastics provides an excellent value and balance of mechanical properties offering an environmentally friendly filler technology which may lead towards achieving cost, weight and sustainability targets.