Magna International Inc. (Paris, France) says its Magna Exteriors and Interiors operating unit, which has U.S. plants in Grabil, Ind., and Spartanburg, S.C., together with strategic development partner Zoltek Inc. (St. Louis, Mo.), has developed a low-cost carbon fiber sheet molding compound (SMC) for carbon fiber composite parts and systems in high-volume automotive applications to support automakers' lightweighting initiatives.
According to a March 12 announcement, Magna Exteriors and Interiors and Zoltek, a leading producer of commercial-grade carbon fiber, jointly developed the carbon fiber SMC, using Zoltek's Panex 35 commercial-grade carbon fiber combined with Magna's proprietary EpicBlendSMC formulations and production expertise.
The SMC, called EpicBlendSMC EB CFS-Z, is part of the firm's EpicBlendSMC product line and allows Magna to offer global manufacturers an expanded range of lightweight parts, subsystems and semistructural applications for automotive, commercial truck and other markets. Additionally, the EB CFS-Z SMC is for sale directly to molders through Magna Exteriors and Interiors.
Magna Exteriors and Interiors says it recently won new business for a semistructural component based on its EB CFS-Z SMC technology. Furthermore, one of Magna's SMC compounding facilities has installed proprietary SMC production equipment that is optimized to compound Zoltek's Panex 35 carbon fiber. Together, the partners have extensive core manufacturing capabilities to serve customers in both North America and Europe, minimizing the cost and need to import carbon fiber or precursor materials into these markets.
"We are working with global OEMs every day to develop lightweight solutions that help meet the increased fuel economy and decreased emissions of future vehicle programs," says Mike Andrews, VP of Operations, Magna Exteriors and Interiors. "With our EB CFS-Z SMC technology, we are now meeting the requirements for high-volume applications that call for low-cost, high-performance carbon fiber materials."
Magna Exteriors and Interiors Corp. (www.magna.com) is a full-service global supplier of automotive exterior and interior systems. It design, engineer and manufacture front- and rear-end fascia systems; exterior trim; Class A composite panels; top systems; underhood and underbody components; structural components; sidewall and trim systems; cockpit systems; cargo management systems; and overhead systems for automotive, commercial truck, consumer and industrial markets.
Magna International is a leading global automotive supplier with 313 manufacturing operations, 88 product development, engineering and sales centers in 29 countries, and more than 118,000 employees. Product capabilities include body panels, chassis components, seating, powertrain systems, electronics, mirrors, closures and roof systems and modules, as well as complete vehicle engineering and contract manufacturing.