Magna, Zoltek to develop new carbon fiber SMC material

Zoltek's Panex 35 carbon fiber will be combined with Magna's EpicBlendSMC material to produce EpicBlendSMC EB CFS-Z, and will be targeted toward vehicle battery enclosures and other automotive applications.

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Magna Exteriors and Interiors, an operating unit of Magna International Inc. (Aurora, Ontario, Canada) and Zoltek Cos. Inc. (St. Louis, Mo., USA) on March 27 announced an exclusive global collaborative partnership to develop low-cost carbon fiber sheet molding compounds (SMC). 

The newly developed carbon fiber SMC material will use Zoltek’s Panex 35 commercial carbon fiber combined with Magna’s EpicBlendSMC SMC formulations and production expertise. The new material, named EpicBlendSMC EB CFS-Z, will be part of the Magna Exteriors and Interiors’ EpicBlendSMC product line, allowing Magna to offer an expanded range of lightweight parts and sub-systems for automotive, commercial truck and other markets. Additionally, Magna Exteriors and Interiors will be able to offer the EB CFS-Z sheet molding compound for sale directly to molders.

"With this collaboration, we now have a strong partner in the development of carbon fiber SMC," says Bob Brownlee, president of Magna Exteriors and Interiors. "This partnership further positions our company to produce and deliver light-weight products that help our customers meet the demand for more cost-effective energy efficient solutions."

EpicBlendSMC EB CFS-Z lends itself to lightweight structural applications with 50 percent carbon fiber (by weight) and is particularly suitable for electric vehicle battery enclosures due to its excellent electromagnetic interference shielding properties. Furthermore, the material can be used in the molding of complex shape applications.

“Our partnership with Magna is a very important step forward for Zoltek’s foray into the automotive industry and key in speeding up the development of high-volume applications for low-cost, high-performance carbon fiber materials within that industry,” Zsolt Rumy, Zoltek’s chairman and CEO, says. “The great synergy between our two companies resulted in the Magna/Zoltek technical teams having developed this all-new low-cost carbon fiber sheet molded compound in an extremely short period of time.”