CompositesWorld, publisher of High-Performance Composites and Composites Technology magazines, as well as the CompositesWorld Weekly newsletter, reports that one of its seminars scheduled for the Carbon Fiber 2013 conference, Dec. 9-12 at the Crowne Plaza Knoxville in Knoxville, Tenn., USA, will focus on the viability of composites manufacturers to meet the volume demands of production automaking.
Chris Red, principal of Composites Forecasts and Consulting LLC (Mesa, Ariz., USA) will present “Emerging Opportunities and Challenges for Carbon Fiber in Passenger Automobiles – Is the CFRP Industry Ready for Mass Production?”
Recent activity to address increasingly stringent and costly vehicle emissions requirements has sparked many of the world’s most reputable automobile brands to develop more affordable, high-volume techniques to manufacture carbon fiber composite parts. The result has been a dramatic reduction in the time and cost required to produce the automobile body-in-white. The original McLaren F1 CFRP “Monocells” were reported to require more than 4,000 hours each to layup and cure using aerospace materials and autoclave processes, representing an expense of hundreds of thousands of dollars per vehicle. Modern passenger safety cells are now being produced at a rate of around 80 per day, with finished component costs reduced by two-thirds since 2000, and to nearly 1 percent of those early examples.
2013 is especially significant due to the start of sales of the BMW i3 – which is targeting annual unit volumes of around 30,000 vehicles. The i3 and other programs are expected to drive the market for advanced composite automotive structures to from 13 million lb in 2012 up to a conservative estimate of 40 million pounds (and 3.25 million individual components) by 2016. If the experience gained over the next two years is favorable, it is possible that the market for carbon fiber composite automotive components could grow an additional 60 million lb annually by 2022.
The seminar provides a “ground-up” analysis of the market and opportunities for carbon fiber composites within the 75 million vehicle/year passenger vehicle market over the next 10 years.
Visit the Carbon Fiber 2013 website for more information about the conference. Carbon Fiber 2013 sponsors are C.A. Litzler, Harper International, Knoxville Oak Ridge Innovation Valley, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Izumi International Inc.