Magna opens composites centre in Germany – Magna composites Germany
Canadian-headquartered automotive parts supplier Magna has opened a new European composites centre of excellence in Esslingen near Stuttgart, Germany for development of lightweight structural parts and exterior components in “advanced materials” for European automotive OEMs.
Equipment in the centre includes a new 2,300-tonnes clamping force V‑Duo vertical version of the V-Duo 2-platen injection moulding machine from Engel Austria that can compression mould fibre reinforced thermosetting plastic materials and sheet moulding compounds (SMC).
Magna refers specifically to applications such as under-hood sub-frames, door panels and vehicle hoods. These applications have been so far developed at Magna’s composites centre of excellence set up in 2010 in Concord, Ontario. They can now be additionally developed for European OEMs in the new Esslingen centre.
One example of such applications mentioned by Magna is the carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) hood of the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V coupe and CTS-V sedan, produced at Magna’s Polycon Industries subsidiary since August 2015 on a Siempelkamp press in Century Tool & Gauge tooling.
Barrday Advanced Material Solutions supplied the unidirectional (UD) CF epoxide prepreg used in the hood’s production. The application received the body exterior category fourth place in the SPE Central Europe autom0tive awards.
Another example mentioned by Magna is ongoing investigation with Ford into feasibility of mass production of CFRP vehicle under-hood sub‑frames.
Among “several European automakers already pursuing joint development projects at the new centre”, Magna says that while one is considering sub-frames and another rear vehicle modules, there is also OEM interest in developing Class A paint-ready surface quality “body-in-white” exterior panels.
Plastics News Europe has seen Magna displaying an example of the Cadillac CFRP car hoods in Europe at eg the IAA 2015 automotive industry fair and the 2016 VDI plastics in automotive engineering congress.
Andrew Swikoski, composites global product line director at Magna Exteriors told PNE at IAA 2015 that the hoods are compression moulded in epoxide (EP) resin impregnated preforms (prepregs) with overall 10min cycle time including 8min cure. The hoods weigh 25‑30% less than aluminium hoods, while providing increased stiffness and improved aerodynamics, Swikoski told PNE.
In the prototype CF-SMC sub-frame prototype developed by Magna with Ford in 1Q 2017, 45 stamped steel parts have been replaced by two adhesively bonded and riveted moulded parts and four metal parts, reducing weight by 34% (9.3kg) and saving 30-40% on tooling costs. The sub‑frame would typically provide a place for attachment of the engine and wheels, while contributing rigidity and crash management.
The CF-SMC part has been made from 25mm long chopped 50k industrial grade Zoltek Panex 35 carbon fibre in a modified version of Magna’s EpicBlend CFS-Z SMC vinyl ester resin based SMC.
Six EpicBlend CFS-Z pre-preg fabric patches, placed between the SMC charges and compression co-moulded to the CFS-Z SMC, provide for additional tailored reinforcement to selected areas of the sub-frame where higher mechanical properties are needed.
Swikoski also revealed that the SMC is also used to overmould stainless steel sleeve inserts at body mount locations, that the part includes integrated composite crush cans and that energy absorbing front horns are also produced in CF-SMC. Undirectional (UD) fibre reinforced laminates applied on both sides of the sub-frame provide additional selective reinforcement.