Faurecia and the Fraunhofer have announced the signature of a framework agreement to jointly perform R&D work on “Engineering and prototypes for advanced industrial processes for composites” for applications in the automotive field.
The main aim of the agreement is to further develop composite industrial processes applied to structural parts enabling weight reduction (20% to 50% compared to traditional materials) while keeping costs, quality and performance under control to respond to and anticipate stringent automotive criteria.
Faurecia sees the agreement as an important step in the development of expertise in the strategic field of plastic composites – a technology which is expected to experience massive growth in the coming years.
As environmental regulations become more stringent, there is a growing demand for lighter vehicles and consequently new and lighter materials. Composite materials should enable a weight reduction of up to 50% for both structural and body parts. Composite parts are expected to find increasing application in the fields of automotive seating, interior systems and body parts (both structural and non-structural).
Faurecia’s objective is to implement these innovative materials in mass serial production of automotive parts by 2020. To that effect Faurecia has already set up a global network of R&D partnerships in the field of composites, one of which is with Ecole Centrale de Nantes – an innovative and competitive French Engineering School where it operates a Chair dedicated to composites.
Earlier this year, Faurecia acquired the automotive business of Sora Composites, a company with an established expertise in the field of composite plastics and the use of glass and carbon fibres for automotive applications. The parts produced include body and structural parts for both mainstream and premium automakers.