– Plasto was early to make more sustainable choices and invests heavily in research, it is inspiring, says research leader Ole Vidar Lyngstad in SINTEF Manufacturing.
Ole Vidar is employed in a 25% research position at Plasto and has worked closely with the company for over 10 years.
The right material for the right use
– Plasto is at the forefront with their innovative mindset. Compared to the rest of the industry, they put sustainability on the agenda and involved research at an early stage, says Ole Vidar, who started as a researcher at SINTEF in 2009. At that time, he had worked in the plastics industry for several years at Plastal. With his education as a civil engineer in materials technology, he is material-independent and concerned with the right material for the right use. The choice to work with plastic was a bit random, but this material with unique properties has always interested him.
Recycled material on the agenda at an early stage
The ties between the research and industrial environment at Raufoss and Plasto at Åndalsnes go far back in time. At Raufoss, the car industry has been an important and demanding customer, and given Plasto access to an industrial competence environment.
– I got in touch with Plasto early in my job at SINTEF, and they caught my interest through their flexibility, robustness and the fact that they dare to invest in research. For several years, Plasto has been highly regarded by Norway’s smartest company, and that says a lot about their ability to adapt to being able to run industrial production in a high-cost country. They were early on looking at the use of recycled materials and have been at the forefront of their industry. It is often the customer who encourages looking at changes in material, while Plasto has in many cases led its customers in their material choices and encouraged more use of recycled material. It is inspiring to work with such a visionary company.
Today, Ole Vidar is the contact person between Plasto and research organizations in several research projects. He keeps Plasto up to date on various sources of funding and is at the forefront of applications for funding together with Plasto.
– In addition, I have been responsible for various tests of the recycled material. We compare it with primary plastic and find the acceptable level for a normal area of use. There is a reason why plastic is a problem, because it is so good that it does not degrade during use. So what is good enough for use in new products? It is a nice balance, says Ole Vidar.