Supplier plans to produce a carbon fiber composite wheel

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: June 2, 2014 4:07 pm ET
Updated: June 2, 2014 4:10 pm ET

Image By: Bill Bregar Karl Wagner, Mubea Carbo Tech GmbH CEO, speaks at JEC Americas in Atlanta about his company's composite wheel.

Related to this story

Topics Automotive, Resin Transfer Molding

ATLANTA — A factory in Austria soon will begin producing automotive wheels from a hybrid of carbon fiber composites and aluminum, European composites entrepreneur Karl Wagner said at the JEC Americas trade show.

When the Salzburg wheel factory begins operating in July, Mubea Carbo Tech GmbH will be able to build 20,000 of the wheels a year. The wheels have a carbon-fiber reinforced outer rim, the tire fits onto. The more-visible portion, known as the center star, is aluminum.

“We started with the development of this wheel about four years ago,” Wagner said in a technical session on automotive composites held May 14 at JEC Americas in Atlanta. Mubea Carbo Tech and European car makers have tested the wheels, and they meet automotive standards, he said.

Wagner said German automakers will begin using the wheels on some 2016 models. The hybrid wheels are made by a fully automated resin transfer molding process.

About two years ago, the company also began developing all-carbon-fiber-reinforced wheels, with no aluminum, Wagner said. One key technical challenge is the connection holes where the wheel bolts onto the vehicle’s hub.

Using composites for car wheels cuts weight. It also reduces the rotation mass of the wheel, so it has quicker acceleration and, when braking, a shorter stopping distance, Wagner said. A fully composite wheel is 30 percent lighter than an all-aluminum one, he added.

Wagner founded Carbo Tech Composites GmbH in 1993. In 2011, he sold a majority of the business to automotive supplier Mubea Group. On May 5 — a week before the JEC conference — Mubea announced it was buying Wagner’s remaining shares and would take 100 percent ownership of Carbo Tech.

Wagner said he is no longer the CEO, but he will remain at Mubea Carbo Tech.

Carbo Tech Composites gained a reputation in motor sports, such as Formula One cars. Since it started, the company has made about 5,000, one-piece monocoque chassis of carbon fiber composite, he said. The firm also makes other car body parts, as well as industrial components.

Now, wheels account about 65 percent of total sales, Wagner said.


Comments

Supplier plans to produce a carbon fiber composite wheel

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: June 2, 2014 4:07 pm ET
Updated: June 2, 2014 4:10 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Illinois injection molder expands

July 21, 2014 1:23 pm ET

Automotive supplier All-Rite Industries Inc. has added two new injection molding machines to its operations.    More

Image

More head-up displays going into cars, with improved information, graphics

July 21, 2014 10:48 am ET

Head-up displays with "augmented reality," the technology that employs much of the windshield as a display area for data and images, is poised to...    More

Image

This is one bump that looks good on a car

July 18, 2014 1:34 pm ET

PSA Peugeot Citroen Group is using plastic for both design and protection on the exterior of one of its newest cars.    More

Image

New Smart cars start production

July 18, 2014 10:46 am ET

Daimler AG has launched new versions of its Smart ForTwo and ForFour city cars, which, as in previous models, make extensive use of plastics in...    More

Image

Continental Structural Plastics buying 5 Magna SMC plants

July 17, 2014 4:35 pm ET

Automotive and construction supplier Continental Structural Plastics has signed an agreement to buy five sheet molding compound facilities from the ex...    More

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events