Faurecia, the world's sixth-largest automotive equipment supplier, plans to start using composite materials in the mass serial production of automotive parts by 2020.
Faurecia, which posted sales of €16.2 billion in 2011, notes composite parts are expected to find increasing application in automotive seating, interior systems and body parts (both structural and non-structural), three of its four key business sectors.
|“It is a great privilege for the Fraunhofer ICT to work with Faurecia, one of the world’s leading tier one automotive equipment suppliers. The application of composite materials by Faurecia will ensure wider market uptake of this technology in key automotive markets worldwide.”
|Prof. Dr. Frank Henning, Deputy Director of the Fraunhofer ICT and Professor for Lightweight Technologies at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
The objective of the agreement with the Fraunhofer ICT (Institut für Chemische Technologie) is to further develop industrial composite processes for the production of structural automotive parts enabling a 20-50% weight reduction compared to traditional materials while keeping costs, quality and performance within automotive requirements. Fraunhofer ICT is a leading centre of competence in the field of composites and in the automotive sector. It already operates pilot production lines enabling the validation of new composite technologies and processes.
Faurecia has already set up a number of R&D partnerships in the area of composites, and earlier this year, it acquired the automotive business of Sora Composites, which has two plants in France where it produces both carbon and glass fibre composite body and structural parts using processes such as resin transfer moulding (RTM) and sheet moulding compound (SMC). Sora Composites' customers include Renault, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Aston Martin, Audi, Lotus and McLaren Automotive.
The development of materials and processes to enable the mass production of composites parts for the automotive market is a hot topic at the moment. Here are a few more ongoing collaborations – some are focusing on thermoplastic composites, others on thermoset:
- BASF and TenCate team up on automotive thermoplastic composites;
- European Thermoplastic Automotive Composites consortium formed;
- BASF and SGL to develop carbon fibre thermoplastics for automotive applications;
- UK project to develop lower cost, lightweight composite vehicle structures;
- Automotive companies select their composites partners.