Latest carbon fiber reinforced plastics technology: Automotive World 2017

Sekisui Plastics and Asahi Kasei exhibit foam resin and CFRP composite materials



lid made from a CFRP and foam resin composite material
Trunk lid made from a CFRP and foam resin composite material
(exhibited by Sekisui Plastics)

  Automotive World 2017 was held in January 2017 at Tokyo Big Site. This report will focus primarily on the exhibitions for The 7th Automotive Lightweight Technology Expo, which was held as part of the event.

  What stood out among the exhibitions were the technical displays of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP), with each booth drawing large crowds.

  Sekisui Plastics and Asahi Kasei showcased materials sandwiching foam resin with CFRP. Although the materials are thicker than ones singularly made from CFRP, they are being promoted as a lighter material.

  Ichimura Sangyo, part of the Toray Group, exhibited samples of processed carbon fiber-reinforced thermo plastics (CFRTP) that use carbon fiber fabrics and can be stamped. Suncorona Oda showcased CFRTP materials called CFRTP random (non-continuous isotropic) sheets, which are easy to process. Additionally, ARRK exhibited suspension arm parts made from CFRTP, Asano showcased molded items combining CFRTP and aluminum, and Ube Exsymo displayed laminated products using CFRTP materials.

  To summarize the comments from the representatives at each booth, in order for CFR(T)P to be used as a material for automobile parts, there are still many issues that need to be cleared. As processing techniques for mass production are still being developed and established, the issues that remain are the costs of the materials, the lack of empirical evidence to prove their effectiveness, and the need to train technicians that can design and produce parts using CFR(T)P materials.

Related report:
JSAE Exposition 2016: CFRP application trends in Europe (Jul. 2016)
Recent trends in CFRP development: Increased usage in European vehicles (Jul. 2015)
Carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastics and high-tensile steel sheet processing (Mar. 2015)

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