Nissan Showcases new CFRP Process That Reduces Moulding Times by up to 80%

Company say the new process cuts moulding times from 3 hours to just two minutes

The Japanese automaker says it has created a new way to speed up the development of car parts made from carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) by up to 80%, making it possible to mass-produce strong, lightweight components for more cars.

While the benefits of carbon fibre have long been known, production costs can be up to 10 times more than that of traditional materials, and difficulty in shaping CFRP parts has hampered the mass production of automotive components made from the material.

Nissan says it has found a new approach to the existing production method known as compression resin transfer moulding. The existing method involves forming carbon fibre into the right shape and setting it in a die with a slight gap between the upper die and the carbon fibres. Resin is then injected into the fibre and left to harden.

Nissan’s engineers developed techniques to accurately simulate the permeability of the resin in carbon fibre while visualising resin flow behaviour in a die using an in-die temperature sensor and a transparent die. The result of the successful simulation was a high-quality component with a shorter development time.

Executive Vice President Hideyuki Sakamoto said in the live presentation on YouTube that the CFRP parts would start being used in mass-produced sport-utility vehicles in four or five years time, thanks to a new casting procedure for the poured resin. The cost savings come from shortening the production time from about three or four hours to just two minutes, Sakamoto said.

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