Composites - in automotive
The introduction of thermoplastic composite materials in the automotive industry is for TenCate a key objective of its business development. Its market potential is principally based on the significant reduction in CO2 emissions from cars that the European Commission considers necessary and the substantial weight savings that are being achieved thanks to the use of composites.
The automotive industry is searching for energy-saving solutions. Thermoplastic composites make low production costs possible, have a rapid processing time and high toughness. The development of these composite materials and processes for mass production will take several years and to utilize these the automobile industry must undergo the required adjustments to its production infrastructure.
Composites steering wheel
The TenCate Advanced Composites plant in Langley Mill (Nottingham, UK) has been a dominant supplier, mainly to the tooling market, as well as to the Formula One racing market for many years. In these markets they still use almost exclusively thermoset composite materials. Unlike these materials, thermoplastic composites are ideally suited for use in mass production.
Staff at the TenCate Advanced Composites plant in Langley Mill and the Alfa Romeo 4C
In the case of the Alfa Romeo 4C this involves job production - some four thousand cars each year. TenCate supplies composite materials for the entire monocoque through the Adler Group. The central passenger cell reduces vehicle weight and creates a highly rigid and safe basic structure.
The aim of the strategic alliance formed in 2013 between BASF, TenCate and OwensCorning, producer of fibreglass reinforcement, is to develop optimal solutions in thermoplastic composites for mass production in the automotive industry.
A ful carbon fibre-reinforced composite wheel for cars in the higher segment has been developed together with Kringlan Composites.