Magna International Inc. has opened a new European composites center of excellence in Esslingen, Germany, to develop lightweight structural parts and exterior components in “advanced materials” for European automakers.
"Lightweight composite parts can deliver weight reductions of 30 to 60 percent over steel," Grahame Burrow, Magna exteriors president said in a March 7 news release. "It's easy to see why automakers are pursing these materials, and we're ready to deliver innovative solutions to help them meet their goals."
Equipment in the center includes a new 2,300-tonnes clamping force V‑Duo vertical version of the V-Duo 2-platen injection molding machine from Engel Austria that can compression mold fiber-reinforced thermoset plastics and sheet molding compounds (SMC).
Magna is working with several European automakers already, including joint development on two projects: an advanced composite structural rear vehicle module and a structural composite subframe.
In 2010, Magna opened a composites center in Concord, Ontario, and it cited work it has done there with carmakers on a carbon fiber hood developed for the 2016 Cadillac V-series, and an ongoing project with Ford Motor Co. to test the feasibility of carbon fiber subframes for mass production. The new site in Germany will allow it to develop similar research projects with European automakers.
The company also cited interest from one automaker in developing Class A paint-ready surface quality “body-in-white” exterior panels.