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Sicomin’s “GreenPoxy” Brings Bio-Resins to Boardsports

With growing demand for sustainable hardware within the boardsports industry and with more and more companies switching to bio components, SOURCE sat down with Sicomin’s Export Manager Marc Denjean to get a better insight on how the advanced epoxy manufacturing company is involved in the shift towards bio.

Please tell us about the company’s history and its product range.
Sicomin has been producing epoxy resins for over 40 years. Water sports are in our blood, and the products we manufacture in Southern France are used to create surf and wind surf boards, foils, skis, masts and other watersports equipment. As well as epoxy resins for all production methods, we supply composite materials such as core materials, fabric reinforcements, fillers and accessories such as inserts for surfboards.

We place a strong emphasis on innovation. We have a dedicated R&D facility where we create new formulations and can tailor a bespoke solution that satisfies our customer’s most challenging specifications.

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Image credit: Cobra

Can you explain your GreenPoxy bio resin product family?
Our GreenPoxy family is a complete range of epoxy materials that derive a high proportion of their carbon content from sustainable bio-based feedstock. In simple terms, we use industrial waste products (glycerol from oleochemical production) to replace molecules traditionally derived from the petroleum industry, lowering greenhouse gas emissions and reducing energy consumption with a greener, more sustainable chemistry.

We have worked hard to formulate the largest range of green resins on the market today, with a bio system created for each manufacturing process. The GreenPoxy range includes laminating and clear coating resins for traditional surfboard production techniques as well as specialist resins such as those for hot pressing skis and snowboards. We even make foaming bio-epoxy resins that form a lightweight foam core material inside a part.

Currently, hardeners for epoxy resin still tend to use petroleum based materials, however we plan to formulate a 100% bio-based epoxy resin for boards in the future.

Tell us about the surfboard brands you work with.
Our resins are used to manufacture boards for a huge number of surf, windsurf and SUP board brands including NOTOX, Fanatic, Starboard, Decathlon and NSP. We have a solution for every board maker, from the small custom shapers and artisanal producers to the mass production specialists who run production line processes outputting thousands of boards per month.

You have also launched the product in wintersports, how has this been received?
Yes, GreenPoxy resins are now as likely to be found on the mountains as in the oceans!

We have seen a massive increase in the demand for more sustainable materials from winter sports brands as our customers (ZAG, Nidecker, Movement…) become more aware about the materials used and search out products that have the lowest possible impact on the environment. With the GreenPoxy range we have products suitable for all production techniques from the small batch manufacturers to the offshore board and ski factories that build for several brands.

GreenPoxy resins have been formulated to replace existing resin systems, providing the same properties and uncompromising performance with no need to adjust the production machinery or processes.

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Image credit: Borealis

Please take us through the ECOBOARD Project Gold Level qualification you received.
The ECOBOARD Project has done fantastic work to provide true third-party assessment and qualification of both board makers and raw materials in the surf industry. ECOBOARD focusses on reducing carbon footprints, increasing the use (and reuse) of renewable, recycled and up-cycled inputs, and reducing toxicity within the surfboard manufacturing process. To be a Gold Level raw material, a resin must have at least 25% bio-carbon content, have received USDA Bio-Preferred certification, use a sustainably managed supply chain, and have been the subject of a peer reviewed life cycle assessment. GreenPoxy 56 is a clear, laminating epoxy specially created to combine excellent mechanical properties and a clear, high gloss finish that more than meets these targets. With 41% of its carbon content from plant origins, GreenPoxy 56 is the most sustainable Gold Level resin system available today. Our GreenPoxy 33, Surf Clear Evo and Bio Foaming formulations are also accredited.

How fast do you think demand for sustainable resins will grow and do you foresee any new applications for the technology?
Bio-based resins are a key part of our future. We expect demand to continue to increase as manufacturers try to do better, and customers demand products that are kinder to the environment. We were determined that availability shouldn’t impact the uptake of more sustainable materials, so we have invested heavily in our production capacity, ensuring that all GreenPoxy products are available in industrial volumes. We also see GreenPoxy being used for larger applications, as the composites industry builds on the bio-based resin success story in board sports and starts to follow the same path in larger structures such as yachts, buildings and wind turbine components.

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