Automotive parts supplier Magna International Inc. has opened a new European composites centre of excellence in Esslingen, Germany, to develop lightweight structural parts and exterior components in advanced materials for European automomakers.
Magna’s new composites centre of excellence in Esslingen, Germany, features a new Engel 2,300 metric ton press.
“Lightweight composite parts can deliver weight reductions of 30 to 60 per cent over steel,” said Grahame Burrow, Magna exteriors president. “It’s easy to see why automakers are pursing these materials, and we’re ready to deliver innovative solutions to help them meet their goals.”
The centre will primarily focus on developing structural components, such as vehicle subframes, and exterior body parts, such as door panels and hoods. Magna is already working with several European automakers, including joint development on two projects: an advanced composite structural rear vehicle module and a structural composite subframe.
The centre has a new 2,300 metric ton Engel V-Duo press that Magna said is well-suited for thermoset compression molding of reinforced plastic or sheet molding compound materials. “It enables development, demonstration and testing of full-size automotive parts using a wide range of thermoset composite materials and compression molding process settings,” Magna said. “The press also links directly to a testing laboratory where temperature cycles, climatic cycles, various static and dynamic tests, and microscopic examinations are performed.”
Magna opened its first composites centre, near Toronto, in 2010 in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada. Projects undertaken there include a carbon fibre hood developed for the 2016 Cadillac V-Series and a current project with Ford Motor Co. to test the feasibility of carbon fibre vehicle subframes for possible mass production. The new site in Germany will allow Magna to develop similar research projects with European automakers.
Magna is headquartered in Aurora, Ont.
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