Continental Structural Plastics (CSP, Auburn Hills, MI, US) and Mitsubishi Rayon Co. Ltd. (MRC, Tokyo, Japan) announced on the second day of JEC World 2016 that they have established a memorandum of understanding (MOU) regarding the development and manufacturing of innovative carbon fiber structural components for the automotive industry in North America. Under the MOU, CSP and MRC have agreed to commence detailed studies through which the two companies intend to substantiate the establishment of an equity-based joint venture.
Specifically, the new joint venture will produce compression molded components made from carbon fiber-reinforced plastic materials, which could include carbon fiber sheet molding compound (SMC) and prepreg carbon fiber compression molding (PCM). Components will include Class A body panels, as well as non-Class A structural automotive applications including pillars, engine cradles or supports, radiator supports, frames and rails, bumper beams, underbody shields, door inners and intrusion beams, say the two companies.
“This agreement represents a tremendous opportunity for us to work jointly with one of the world’s largest manufacturers of carbon fiber to introduce a new generation of lightweight components for the auto industry,” says Frank Macher, chairman and CEO of CSP. “The expertise that exists between our two companies will enable us to develop and bring to market carbon fiber components that are cost-effective for mass production.”
“By working together with Continental Structural Plastics, we gain access to tremendous expertise in composites, and in developing structural applications for light vehicles,” says Akira Nakagoshi, general manager, Composite Products Division at MRC. “We look forward to the opportunity to further expand MRC’s composite material technologies among automakers in North America, and are hopeful for creating better relationships among people, society and our planet.”