Faurecia and the Fraunhofer ICT (Institut für Chemische Technologie) have signed a framework agreement to jointly perform R&D on “Engineering and prototypes for advanced industrial processes for composites”.
The French supplier of car seats, emissions control technologies, interior systems and automotive exteriors said the agreement will help further development of composite industrial processes applied to structural parts enabling weight reductions - of between 20% to 50% compared to traditional materials - while maintaining costs, quality and performance.
A composite is a plastic part made of resin and reinforced with fibres, such as glass or carbon.
Faurecia said it identified Fraunhofer as a world-leading centre of competence in the field of composites and their industrial processes. The institute already has its own pilot production lines enabling validation of these new composite technologies and processes.
Faurecia also said it expects to experience strong growth in the technology. "As environmental regulations become more stringent, there is a growing demand for lighter vehicles and consequently new and lighter materials. Composite materials should enable a weight reduction of up to 50% for both structural and body parts. Composite parts are expected to find increasing application in the fields of automotive seating, interior systems and body parts (both structural and non-structural)" it company claimed.
Faurecia’s objective is to implement these innovative materials in mass production of automotive parts by 2020. To that effect Faurecia has set up a global network of R&D partnerships in the field of composites, one of which is with Ecole Centrale de Nantes - an innovative and competitive French Engineering School where it operates a Chair dedicated to composites.
Faurecia previous acquired the automotive business of Sora Composites
Earlier this year, Faurecia acquired the automotive business of Sora Composites, a company with expertise in composite plastics and the use of glass and carbon fibres for automotive applications. The parts produced include body and structural parts for both mainstream and premium automakers.
The world's sixth-largest automotive equipment supplier
Faurecia claims to be the world's sixth-largest automotive equipment supplier with four key Business Groups: Automotive Seating, Emissions Control Technologies, Interior Systems and Automotive Exteriors. In 2011, the Group posted total sales of €16.2 billion.
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, with over 20,000 employees and an annual turnover of more than €1.8 billion. The Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT has long-standing expertise in all aspects of polymer engineering, especially material and process development for high-volume composite production for the automotive industry.
Faurecia signs R&D agreement with the Fraunhofer ICT for advanced industrial processes in the field of composites