14 April 2023

At the cutting edge of materials innovation



At the cutting edge of materials innovation

Designers, fitting-out firms, are you looking for the ideal material for your project? The FCBA* technical centre has a materials library you can consult: the “Innovathèque®”, a rich seam of materials that have good potential. It’s a great resource, but FCBA doesn’t stop there: it joins forces with industrial companies to develop solutions and turn ideas into output. We meet Justine Rouger, Innovation team leader at FCBA’s Living Area Fitting-out activity centre.

* foresty & timber for construction and furniture institute




How do you contribute to the development of innovation in the fitting-out sector ? 

We operate a permanent watchdog. That’s how come we have over 2,200 product references in our Innovathèque® innovations library, which embraces materials—be they concrete, glass, metal, or plastic—as well as processes like 3D printing or cutting and systems for assembly, light etc.
Among these references, 90% are solutions already on the market and 10% concern experimental materials with good potential, notably as regards environmental impact. A notable inclusion in this category pending large-scale commercialization is “Le Pavé®”, a material made from plastic regrind converted by a unique process, Le Pavé® comes in large sheets, lending itself to many fitting-out uses.

With our teams of researchers, chemists, and designers, we also help creators of material solutions optimize their innovations and identify industrial partners interested in undertaking high-volume production. One of our major targets is to further the emergence of locally produced materials that have less carbon impact and to promote these innovations as widely as possible to fitting-out professionals. 

How about giving us some examples of materials you have jointly developed?

I could mention the Respire project that we conducted with our project partners Evertree, a start-up, and Panneaux de Corrèze, an industrial manufacturer. MDF is a big issue in fitting out as these boards use glues and resins that give off formaldehyde and/or isocyanate, which are both detrimental to indoor air quality. Evertree has developed a very innovative, 100% bio-based resin made from canola and sunflower meal, both guaranteed GMO free. The calculated advantage of 20% for this resin’s carbon footprint leaves the competition behind. Alongside this, Panneaux de Corrèze was seeking ways to bridge the final ecological gap in its production, 95% of which is from renewable resources. The new resin offered a decisive asset in holding the course. This innovation is a world’s first.

Are bio-based materials the solution for lessening the fitting out carbon footprint?

Well, yes and no. And therein lies the interest of calling on a technical centre like the FCBA for assistance. There still isn’t much structure to regulations on bio-sourcing. There are plenty of compliance labels, but the frames of reference aren’t easy to compare, being based on each producer’s own declaration. Certification, which we have made one of our missions, is the only reliable guarantee of an accurate assessment of a material’s carbon footprint. For example, certain bio-based materials don’t match the performance of a petroleum-based recyclable material because the lifecycle analysis factors in emissions generated at each step of production, including transport. I encourage you take a look at the webinar we organized with CETIM on this matter.

Find out more on :
Institut Technologique FCBA

Also discover the "Cocorico : local innovation, global resilience catalogue" a compilation of Made-in-France material innovations.





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