Mitsui, FE form partnership for automotive composite applications

Both companies will work to accelerate the expansion of the automotive carbon fiber market.

Mitsui & Co., Tokyo, and Forward Engineering GmbH (FE), a German design and engineering company, have entered into an equity partnership for automotive composite applications. Mitsui and FE, through this equity partnership, will respond to the need for vehicle light weighting by globally expanding design and engineering services for autobody and parts made from carbon fiber and other composite materials. Both companies will also help to accelerate the expansion of the automotive carbon fiber market, and to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.

Mitsui will use its global network and business activities to promote FE's automotive lightweight design and engineering services. It also aims to expand its presence in the automotive carbon fiber market by leveraging FE's advanced knowledge and experiences relating to automotive parts made from composite materials.

FE has an extensive track record in design and engineering activities relating to autobody and parts made from composite materials, since the time it was part of Roding Automobile GmbH, to reduce the weight of mass-produced vehicles.

Whereas Mitsui is expanding its global business relating to carbon fiber materials. For example, in April 2015, it entered into a cooperation agreement involving composite materials and an equipment lease agreement with the Innovative Composite Center of the Kanazawa Institute of Technology. Under those agreements, Mitsui has commenced joint development of new manufacturing methods for automotive parts and other products using carbon fiber composite materials. In March 2016, Mitsui acquired a stake in Hexagon Composites ASA, a Norwegian manufacturer of carbon fiber reinforced high-pressure cylinders, and Hankuk Carbon Co., Ltd., a South Korean carbon fiber composite product manufacturer.