Hexcel’s (Stamford, CT, US) CFRP technology is being used in the BMW 7 Series where it is used to save weight and reinforce the metal shell of the B-pillar. Hexcel supplies BMW with preforms made of unidirectional carbon prepreg set in various orientations and combined with adhesive. The prepreg is made from Hexcel’s HexPly M77 resin system that cures in 1.5 minutes at 160°C.
Hexcel has installed a fully automated production line in Austria that converts unidirectional prepreg into bidirectional preforms in seconds. The process allows prepreg plies of different weights and orientation to be combined in the same ply-book and includes automated cutting, camera-assisted ply positioning, integration of adhesive and automated packing.
This fully-automated production cell makes B-pillar preforms for up to 500 cars each day.