Continental Structural Plastics Inc. (CSP) held a grand opening ceremony for its Chinese joint venture CSP Victall.
The 322,000-square-foot facility in Tangshan, Hebei province, is ready to begin production, the Auburn Hills, Mich.-based company said. It will produce lightweight composite components for the automotive, heavy truck and bus, construction and agriculture markets in China. It also will compound and sell advanced composite raw materials.
The plant will feature a fully automated Dieffenbacher LFT-D machine — a unit that combines compounding and compression molding of long-fiber-reinforced plastics. According to the companies, the line is the first in the world to handle carbon fiber and higher temperature resins, in addition to mainstream glass fiber and polypropylene. The line is capable of a 30-second cycle time, and with double belt-loading, has an output of approximately 1 million components per year.
Additional equipment includes locally sourced Tianjin Tianduan 3,300-ton presses, an advanced composite compounding line and robotic routers. The facility will also feature dust-control technology, including a centralized vacuum system and dust booths.
In addition to its standard-density advanced composite Tough Class A parts (TCA), CSP Victall will offer CSP's proprietary TCA Ultra Lite technology. According to CSP, the ultra-lightweight composite competes with aluminum for weight savings but at a significant cost reduction. CSP said the material is currently in production on the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette. It's 40 percent lighter than steel, e-coat oven capable and offers a good surface finish.
Chinese automotive OEMs currently use 3.8 million tons of composites and plastics annually, compared to 7.6 million tons used by North American OEMs, CSP said.
“We see tremendous opportunity for lightweighting in China, especially given new Chinese regulatory policies and the push toward vehicle electrification,” said Frank Macher, chairman of CSP Victall and chairman and CEO of Continental Structural Plastics.
CSP Victall is a 50/50 joint venture between CSP and Qingdao Victall Railway (Group) Co. Ltd., a Chinese manufacturer of modular products and parts for high-speed trains, intercity trains and other transportation equipment.