Magna has opened a new Composites Center of Excellence (CoE) in Esslingen, Germany. The purpose of setting up the center is to help European vehicle manufacturers to meet the increasingly tough emissions norms by focusing on the development of lightweight structures and external components which are made of advanced materials.
Commenting on the new center, Magna Exteriors President Grahame Burrow said that the use of lightweight composite parts can help to reduce the weight of a vehicle by 30 to 60 percent when compared to steel. This is why many automotive manufacturers are replacing steel with more lightweight materials like aluminum and carbon fiber so that they can meet their goals with regard to vehicle weight.
The new Center will deal mainly with the development of structural components like vehicle subframes, and external components like hood sand door panels. Magna will be working with several leading European car manufacturers at the new facility in Germany. One of the companies is interested in composites for making vehicle frames while another is looking into advanced composites which can be used for making structural rear vehicle modules. There is also interest in the use of composites for developing ‘class A’ exterior panels.
The new center of excellence has a new 2,300-metric-ton Engel V-Duo press which is the most modern equipment available for thermoset compression molding of reinforced plastic or sheet molding compound materials. The use of this press will make it possible to develop, test and demonstrate full-size automotive parts using a wide range of thermoset composite materials and compression molding process settings. The press is also directly connected to a testing laboratory where temperature cycles, climatic cycles, various static and dynamic tests, and microscopic examinations are performed.
Magna has another Composites Centre of Excellence near Toronto, which was established in 2010 in collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada. Some of the popular components made by that Centre of Excellence include a carbon fiber hood developed for the 2016 Cadillac V-Series and a current project with Ford Motor Company to test the feasibility of carbon fiber vehicle subframes for possible mass production.
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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