Mitsui & Co. (Tokyo, Japan) will work with the Innovative Composite Materials Research and Development Center (ICC, Hakusan, Japan) of the Kanazawa Institute of Technology (KIT) on experimental research for new production methods for the fabrication of automotive parts and other industrial products using carbon fiber composite materials.
Mitsui has discussed various collaborative schemes with the ICC and end users under the coordination of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). Through this initiative, Mitsui will purchase experimental equipment, which will be made available to a business consortium―including end user companies―led by the ICC. The aim of this collaborative initiative is to jointly develop and implement new manufacturing methods for a wide range of components and products, including automotive parts, using carbon fiber composites.
In Europe, motor vehicle manufacturers play a leading role in the establishment of structures encompassing all stages from the supply of materials to processing, and in some cases carbon fiber composite materials are already being used in key structural members for motor vehicles. There is an urgent need for the establishment of mass-production systems for carbon fiber composite materials for use in automotive parts and other products in Japan, according to Mitsui.
Mitsui and the ICC will continue to work under the coordination of METI to build a supply chain in Japan through industry-government-academia collaboration.
The ICC is one of Japan's biggest research centers in the field of composite materials. It was established by KIT in July 2013 to explore the potential for carbon fiber composite materials through the convergence of technologies from different industrial sectors and fields. It aims to bring together industry, government and academic researchers from throughout Japan to develop innovative technologies.
Mitsui plans to establish manufacturing methods and know-how that will bring reductions in processing costs, and build a supply chain for supplying automotive parts for use in mass-produced vehicles. Mitsui will also explore manufacturing automotive parts from lightweight materials.