BMW is using Hexcel CFRP technology to save weight and to reinforce the metal shell of the B-pillar in the BMW 7 Series. Hexcel supplies BMW with preforms made of unidirectional carbon prepreg set in various orientations and combined with adhesive. The prepreg is made from Hexcel’s HexPly M77 resin system that cures in 1.5 minutes at 160 °C.
To meet the requirements for series production in the automotive industry, Hexcel installed a fully automated production line in Austria that converts unidirectional prepreg into bidirectional preforms in seconds.
The process allows prepreg plies of different weights and orientation to be combined in the same ply-book and includes automated cutting, camera-assisted ply positioning, integration of adhesive and automated packing.
This unique, fully-automated production cell makes B-pillar preforms for up to 500 cars each day, thereby allowing Hexcel to meet the high production rates required by automotive manufacturers and the high quality expectations of premium car manufacturers.
Hexcel’s CFRP solutions are used in standalone and hybrid applications to help not only lighten cars, but also help to improve performance and safety through increased strength and durability.
Hexcel is a leading advanced composites company that develops, manufactures and markets lightweight, high-performance structural materials, including carbon fibres, reinforcements, prepregs, honeycomb, matrix systems, adhesives and composite structures, used in commercial aerospace, space and defence and industrial applications such as wind turbine blades.