BURSCHEID, GERMANY (May 15, 12:30 p.m. ET) — Automotive interiors supplier Johnson Controls Inc. said May 14 that it is to exploit its expertise in natural-fiber processing technology in parts for vehicle exteriors.
And the group said it is already supplying a well-known automotive manufacturer with these carbon fiber components.
“Lightweight construction is one of the key challenges for future vehicles,” commented Han Hendriks, vice president of global product development, interiors at Johnson Controls Automotive Experience, in a news release. “We can draw on our technological know-how for the production of carbon body parts.”
Previously, the production of very light carbon components involved a great deal of effort and a considerable amount of manual labor, according to JCI.
“We are one of the pioneers in the automotive industry for large- scale production of carbon parts, thanks to our innovative production process,” noted Hendriks. “We are pleased to be able to transfer that technology for use in vehicle exteriors.”
The new process is based on a wet-press process used by Johnson Controls since 2003 to produce wood-fiber components for vehicle interiors.
In the adapted process, a carbon-fiber mat pre-moistened with resin is placed between the forming tools and then pressed. During the pressing cycle, the excess resin leaks onto the edge of the mold. That results in a very high fiber density in the body parts, the company said.
Johnson Controls declined to tell Urethanes Technology International what resin is being used.