The big players continue to make moves to further develop their carbon composite manufacturing capabilities, signaling a growing future for the high-priced, light weighting material.
This month, Toray Industries takes over Dome Carbon Magic Ltd (DCM), a Japanese producer of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) parts for racing cars. The new name for the company is Toray Carbon Magic Co Ltd. Toray also acquired a 75% stake in Dome Composites (Thailand) Co.
In 2008 Toray developed a position in CFRP transfer molding with a stake in ACE Advanced Composite Engineering GmbH. Resin ransfer molding (RTM) is the future for manufacturing complex CFRP parts that do not require Class A surface finish. Automotive structural parts that replace metal assemblies will be a key target.
Another company actively conducting research in RTM is Plasan Carbon Composites, the U.S. unit of the Israeli composite juggernaut. PCC has an RTM machine in its Wixom, MI R&D center and is expected to make announcements of breakthroughs within a year.
Separately, Magna International Inc. announced that its Magna Exteriors and Interiors (MEI) operating unit, together with strategic development partner Zoltek, have developed what they call best-in-class capabilities in providing carbon fiber composite parts and systems for high-volume automotive applications.
Specifically, MEI and Zoltek developed a low-cost carbon fiber sheet molding compound (SMC) that uses Zoltek’s Panex 35 commercial carbon fiber combined with Magna’s EpicBlendSMC formulations and proprietary production capabilities.
Chomarat announced TPreg, a continuous thermoplastic pre-impregnated reinforcement.