Thatcham Adds Carbon Fibre Composites Training

Thatcham’s Automotive Academy have announced details of a new course for their technical vehicle repair training portfolio.

Introduction to Carbon Fibre and Other Composites will familiarise delegates with the repair processes associated with composite materials, an increasingly common component within modern vehicle structures.

Like all training at Thatcham’s Academy, this course is delivered by specialists drawing on their first hand experience from vehicle research projects, in this case including Aston Martin and McLaren.

Having delivered composites training for McLaren dealers worldwide, Thatcham Academy instructor and lead for this course, Mark Turner, explained more,

As with many new technologies we expect to see an increasing use of these materials filtering down from the very high end vehicles to the mainstream within a short space of time. Dealing with carbon fibre composites provides some unique challenges and technicians need to have the basic understanding that this course provides before they attempt to tackle a real world repair.

According to BMW, their i3 electric car, which launches this year, will be their first inclusion of Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastics (CFRP) on what they hope will be a volume selling vehicle. GM has announced that they expect to be using CFRP in their vehicles from 2015, whilst Honda are focussing their research on CFRP struts for sub frames and suspension mounting. Audi’s Q7, due later this year is also thought to feature aluminium and carbon fibre as part of a weight loss programme, Ford have recently demonstrated a prototype carbon fibre bonnet that it claims could cut vehicle weight and therefore boost fuel economy, whilst Daimler have reported that CFRP components will feature in new Mercedes models from 2012.

Thatcham’s one day, theory based course will cover all aspects vital to effective repair including composite forms and structure, joining types, repair processes, inspection and testing for damage and repair versus replace and will provide candidates with a Thatcham CPD certificate on completion. As well as repairer technicians, this course is ideal for Bodyshop managers and owners, Vehicle Damage Assessors and Engineers.

For those who wish to specialise in this area, a more in-depth, 3 day practical course will be available at the Academy. Andy Atkins, Technical Training Manager from McLaren, who attended the pilot of the course said, “An extremely useful course, which I would have no hesitation in recommending to those who are keen to get grounding in this area. There’s no doubt that bodyshops will be seeing an increasing use of these materials as all manufacturers continue to lightweight and refine their vehicle designs. Thatcham have more experience than most in this area.”

The first running of this course will be held at the Thatcham Academy on the 6th March, with follow-up dates scheduled for 19th March and 10th April, with prices starting from £199 for the day.

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