By Dr. Cameron Chai
Teijin and General Motors have collaborated in order to develop sophisticated carbon fiber composite technologies for potential bulk usage worldwide in GM trucks, cars and crossovers.
The co-development agreement includes the usage of a quicker and effective method to manufacture carbon fiber composites, known as carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic technology (CFRTP) developed by Teijin. The carbon fiber composites can be used on mainstream vehicles.
Limited, a leader in the carbon fiber and composites industry, and General Motors, announce an agreement to co-develop technology to reduce vehicle weight and improve fuel economy Thursday, December 8, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Teijin
Senior Managing Director Norio Kamei (left) and GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky shake hands after signing the documents. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)
According to Steve Girsky, Vice Chairman of GM, the company’s association with Teijin has enabled altering the manner in which carbon fiber is utilized in the automotive industry. He also felt that this technology is truly revolutionary and shows the dedication of GM in offering innovative solutions.
In order to establish the association, the technical hub of Teijin Composites Application Center will be developed by Teijin. The center will be developed in the early part of 2012 in northern USA. Carbon fiber composites are capable of minimizing the vehicle weight significantly as carbon fiber is more robust than regular-grade steel and yet is only one-fourth of its weight. The proprietary breakthrough of Teijin is its capability of fabricating in bulk, carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic components with cycle times less than a minute. Previously used carbon fiber-reinforced composites utilize thermosetting resins and need a very long timeframe for molding. Due to this time factor, carbon fiber use is restricted in high-volume vehicles.
Frost and Sullivan recently awarded Teijin a 2011 Global Automotive Carbon Composites Technology Innovation Award for the technology. Additionally, ICIS Innovation Awards 2011 selected the technology as the winner in the Best Product Innovation category and as the overall winner.
It has become highly essential due to stringent global environment standards and fuel economy regulations that vehicle mass should be considerably reduced by utilizing lightweight materials instead of aluminum or high-tension steel.
Norio Kamei, Teijin’s senior managing director stated that CFRTP technology will definitely play a key role in GM’s plan to introduce carbon fiber components into mainstream vehicles. He believes that the company’s visionary association with GM will enable the use of green composites in the automobile industry.