Toray Industries, Inc. has signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with Daimler AG to develop automobile parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP).
The two companies plan to promote the joint development of diverse CFRP automobile components by utilizing High Cycle Resin Transfer Molding (RTM), a CFRP molding process technology developed by Toray. Under the agreement, Toray is responsible for developing optimal CFRP materials, and handling design and molding processes; Daimler is responsible for developing joining technologies.
By bringing together respective technologies, the companies plan to develop a molding method with significantly shorter molding cycle. The companies aim for adoption of the newly developed parts in Mercedes-Benz models within next three years.
As the world’s largest manufacturer of carbon fiber, Toray has identified expansion of its Carbon Fiber Composite Materials Business in the automotive field as one of its top priorities. In June 2008, the company established the Automotive Center (AMC), a comprehensive development base for automotive applications, and a center for developing technology and applications for CFRP products, the Advanced Composite Center (ACC) in April 2009. These centers serve as the core entities of the A&A (Automotive & Aircraft) Center in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, its comprehensive technology development center for automotive and aircraft applications, and are involved in the development of optimal materials and processes for automotive applications.
Through this collaboration with Daimler AG, Toray aims to establish mass production technology for CFRP auto parts and further expand its carbon fibers and advanced composites business in the automobile field.
SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers LLC, the joint venture between SGL Group and BMW Group, recently announced that it will build a carbon fiber manufacturing plant in Moses Lake, WA. (Earlier post.) The new facility is an important element of both companies’ strategy to commercialize viable manufacturing of ultra light weight carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) for use in future vehicle concepts.
The fibers manufactured at Moses Lake will be used exclusively for BMW Group’s upcoming electric-powered Megacity Vehicle, a new vehicle for urban mobility set to be launched before 2015 under a BMW sub-brand.