24 June 2005
24 June 2005
Exit Engineering have designed a one-piece carbon fibre steering wheel using an automated process to widen the appeal of its patented technology.
Exit Engineering, the Italian composite manufacturer, state that carbon fibre steering wheels were once the exclusive domain of the top-end yacht market, with the small production and high price excluding many of the yachtsman from owning one.
Exit claim to have changed this by widening the market for carbon fibre steering wheels due to a industrial process that aims to bring down the costs. Exit Engineering’s patented continuous shell construction are engineered with advanced simulation technology and manufactured in a controlled environment with industrial processes.
The company hope that the streamlined production will bring its carbon wheels into direct price competition with aluminium wheels, which are generally regarded to be inferior in terms of strength, weight and style.
The new range of steering wheels represents a step forward for the company, having won a nomination at the 2004 DAME awards in Amsterdam with their first carbon fibre wheel.
The new model features a wide section 3 spoke design which they claim achieves higher strength by using wider spokes. Built with Exit Engineering's patented continuous shell method, the wheel comes out of the mould in one piece. The company say that the result is a strong, autoclave cured, prepreg carbon fibre monocoque structure.
Exit said that the wheels are built with female moulds, which are coupled on the middle plane. The wheels are then laid-up with various prepreg carbon fabrics: Twill200 g/m2 on the outside with different kinds of rehinforcements on the inside, both twill fabrics in different weights and unidirectional tapes. These are then vacuum bagged with tubular bags on the inside and autoclave cured for 120 minutes with a curing cycle reaching 120° C and 6 bars.
The new range comprises wheels of the following diameters: 935 mm (36.8”), 1200 mm (47”) and 1640 mm (64.6”) models. The 7 spoke 1840 mm (72.4”) original design completes the range.
The Steering wheels are on the market from €2.395 for the smaller sizes.
Toho Tenax is introducing a high-tensile, highly shock-resistant prepreg that incorporates carbon fibre developed for aerospace applications and carbon nanotubes (CNTs).
NTPT is collaborating with the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne - Swiss Centre of Technology (EPFL) and other partners to research discontinuous fibre composite tubes for high performance applications.
Hexcel is promoting its range of composite materials for skis, snowboards and other high performance winter sports equipment at ISPO Munich 2018 on 28-31 January.