22 December 2011 21:38 [Source: ICIS news]
NEW YORK (ICIS)--Germany’s SGL Carbon said on Thursday that innovation in carbon fibre manufacturing processes can potentially change the automotive industry.
“Carbon fibre technology will fundamentally change the car industry, becoming increasingly important in the quest for lighter weight materials to reduce fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions,” said Scott Carlton, president of SGL Carbon, in an interview with ICIS.
The automation of carbon parts is key, with processes being continuously developed and improved to enable serial production. The automotive industry is working on the automation of composites part production to extend the use of carbon fibres in automobiles.
“With SGL Automotive Carbon Fibres, we are proving that sustainable innovations will provide for a cleaner individual mobility of the future. The new greenfield carbon fibre production facility in Moses Lake, Washington, US, is a milestone in the use of carbon fibres for serial production in the automotive industry,” Carlton said.
SGL Automotive Carbon Fibres is a joint venture between the BMW Group and SGL Group. Through this joint venture, SGL Carbon will manufacture carbon fibres and carbon fibre fabrics for the BMWi series, which will be launched in 2013.
“The automotive sector has significant potential and will continue to grow. This growth however is contingent upon market success of the BMWi series,” said Carlton.
Carbon fibres are currently used in various racing vehicles, concept studies and small-scale serried production in car making. Some manufacturers, including the SGL Group, have gained experience in the use of carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) components in small-scale series production, such as B-pillars, bumpers and CFRP roof.
One of carbon fibre’s major feedstocks is acrylonitrile, whose prices have been relatively strong in Asia but falling in the US.
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