A few high-end automotive manufacturers have used carbon fiber and other composites in a limited manner to reduce the weight of their high-performance models. Now, in a move to make the use of such materials more commonplace, “mass market” automotive manufacturer, Ford recently joined the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) as a charter member. The Letter of Intent Ford submitted includes a commitment to spend USD 5 million over a period of five years in order to qualify as a charter member of the Institute which is associated with the University of Tennessee and the US Department of Energy. Patrick Blanchard, Ford’s Technical Leader for Composites, will join IACMI’s Board of Directors. IACMI was set up with the goal of increasing production capacity and the number of manufacturing jobs in the domestic composites industry.
Speaking about the move, Blanchard said that the decision to invest heavily in researching the use of advanced composites is in line with Ford’s sustainability strategy. The company’s goal is to work with the entire vehicle supply chain to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy through the use of advanced composites.
Ford is not the first OEM to become a member of IACMI, but it is the first one to commit to such a heavy investment. Other automotive members which are members of IACMI are Volkswagen and Hyundai which committed to the tune of USD 1 million in order to qualify as “premium” members.
Ford has also announced that it will try out composites like carbon fiber in its new Ford GT supercar. This is expected to cut the weight of components by almost 60 per cent when compared to steel.
Craig Blue, IACMI CEO said that that IACMI was proud to take on Ford as a charter member as the company has a proven track record of success when it comes using innovative technologies like the use of carbon fiber and aluminum to reduce the weight of components.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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