Magna is opening a new Composites Centre of Excellence in Esslingen, Germany, with the aim of helping European automakers meet increasingly stringent emissions requirements with lightweight structures and exterior components made of advanced materials.
“Lightweight composite parts can deliver weight reductions of 30-60% over steel,” says Magna Exteriors President Grahame Burrow. “It’s easy to see why automakers are pursuing these materials, and we’re ready to deliver innovative solutions to help them meet their goals.”
The centre will primarily focus on developing structural components, such as vehicle subframes, and exterior body parts such as door panels and hoods. Several European automakers are pursuing joint development projects with Magna at the new centre, the company reports. One is interested in investigating advanced composites for use in structural rear vehicle modules, and another wants to look at composites for vehicle subframes. There is also interest in developing Class A exterior panels using composites.
The centre has a new 2300 tonne Engel V-Due press that is suited for thermoset compression moulding of reinforced plastic or sheet moulding compound materials. It enables development, demonstration and testing of full-size automotive parts using a wide range of thermoset composite materials and compression moulding process settings. The press also links directly to a testing laboratory where temperature cycles, climatic cycles, various static and dynamic tests and microscopic examinations are performed.
Magna opened its Composites Centre of Excellence near Toronto in 2010 in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada. Projects include a carbon fibre hood developed for the 2016 Cadillac V-Series and a current project with Ford to test the feasibility of carbon fibre vehicle subframes for possible mass production.
Image provided by Magna
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