Teijin Limited announced that its Sereebo carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) has been selected by General Motors (GM) for use in select pickup box applications. This is the first use of CFRTP for structural parts in a high-volume production vehicle.
Sereebo will be used to manufacture the optional CarbonPro pickup box jointly developed by Teijin and GM for the GMC Sierra Denali 1500 and GMC Sierra AT4 1500. Specifically, the pickup box’s inner headboard, side and floor panels will be made with Sereebo.
The CarbonPro bed weighs 25% less than a traditional steel bed, removing roughly 60 pounds of vehicle mass. Its grained surface also negates the need for bed liners, potentially saving further vehicle mass. The CarbonPro bed design also enables best-in-class cargo volume, increasing the already class-leading volume of the Sierra’s roll-formed steel bed by 1 cubic foot.
2019 GMC Sierra Denali CarbonPro Edition. The CarbonPro bed features indentations specifically designed for tires of dirt and street bikes. Two additional tie-down locations are installed at the front of the bed.
Following production startup in early June, GMC Sierra CarbonPro Editions for both vehicles will begin appearing at select GMC dealerships in the US this summer. The CarbonPro panels will be produced at Continental Structural Plastics’ Huntington, Indiana, manufacturing facility.
Sereebo used for CarbonPro contains randomly-orientated, isotropic carbon fiber in a polyamide matrix resin. Manufactured using with the world’s first mass-production technology for CFRTP, the molding time for Sereebo is approximately one minute—significantly shorter than the molding time for conventional carbon fiber reinforced thermoset plastics (CFRP).
Compared to steel, CarbonPro is 40% lighter, offers 10 times greater impact resistance, is more corrosion-resistant, and is even more readily recyclable. Finally, because of its material characteristics, Sereebo offers extended design flexibility and freedom, which allowed GM engineers to mold in many of the unique features of the CarbonPro box.
Teijin has been developing leading-edge composite product technologies and applications since establishing the Teijin Composites Innovation Center in 2008. In 2011 the company developed the world’s first mass-production technology for CFRTP, realizing a production interval (takt) time of just one minute.
Teijin subsequently established a technical facility in the US and a pilot plant for the fully integrated production of CFRTP in Japan. Since branding its CFRTP product as Sereebo in 2012, Teijin developed high-volume production methods in collaboration with domestic and international partners, including GM.
After acquiring CSP, a global leader in automotive lightweight composite technologies in 2017, Teijin established an organizational framework for composites production, sales and evaluation in North America.
Teijin is expanding its product portfolio ranging from materials to component design, as well as its global supply chain, in an effort to help automakers reduce vehicle weights. Teijin also aims to become an automotive solution provider by expanding its offerings beyond carbon fiber and glass fiber materials, for which the company is actively collaborating with other materials manufacturers. The automotive composite products business of the Teijin Group is targeting annual sales of US$2.0 billion by 2030.