Carbon fiber integrated into large-scale car production

 SGL Group reports that has made carbon fiber performs as part of large-scale production of the BMW 7 series.

The company says that this is the first time carbon fiber is making its way into large-scale production in the premium car segment.

‘A few years ago, carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) in the automotive industry were mostly used as design elements,’ it said. ‘Later, CFRP was applied in structural components in special edition models and luxury sports vehicles produced in small numbers. Especially driven by the BMW i3 and i8 models, CFRP had a breakthrough in the automotive serial production.’

The vehicles feature ‘Carbon Core’, a hybrid construction method which can offer substantial weight reduction and also helps to improve the driving dynamics by lowering the vehicle’s center of gravity. Overall, the new 7 series generation is up to 130 kilograms lighter than the previous one, despite

The carbon fiber material for the hybrid roof frame construction comes from SGL Group, while the carbon fibers will be produced by the joint venture SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers (SGL ACF) in Moses Lake in the US State of Washington. 

The carbon fiber material for the BMW 7’s hybrid roof frame construction comes from SGL Group.
The carbon fiber material for the BMW 7’s hybrid roof frame construction comes from SGL Group.

New milestone

 As a next step in the value chain, specific preforms will be manufactured using the fibers in a fully automated textile production processes. The preforms are then delivered directly to the BMW Group for CFRP parts manufacture. After the BMW i models, the overall volume of carbon fiber used in the new BMW 7 series makes this the second largest serial production project industry-wide.

 In addition to the carbon fiber products for the roof frame, SGL Group will also supply carbon fiber fabrics and recycling materials, developed in cooperation with BMW. The products, which are made from recycled fiber, will be used in the C-pillar and in the trunk compartment partition.

‘The use of our carbon fiber based products in the new BMW 7 series is another milestone in the large-scale serial application of carbon materials in the automotive industry,’ said  Jürgen Köhler, CEO of SGL Group. ‘This project also further underlines the great potential of carbon fibers for innovative automobile applications.’

This story is reprinted from material from SGL Group, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.