Daimler to Build Carbon Fiber Plant

The race in the field of the so called carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) industry is on between German manufacturers Daimler and BMW. After the latter already announced the construction of a CFRP factory in the US in collaboration with the SGL Group, Daimler is now following its lead.

After back in April this year the German manufacturer partnered with Toray Industries for the production of the material and use it in the 2013 Mercedes Benz SL-Klasse, the carmaker now says it will be building its own production facility in Germany.

According to Automobilwoche, citing Daimler’s head of research and pre-development Bharat Balasubramanian, the carmaker is currently working with Toray to find ways to optimize the resin transfer moulding (RTM) process and shorten the production process.

Daimler's entrance in the race is based on the experience the carmaker already has with using the material. So far, carbon fiber bodies can be found in the 2,000 McLaren SLR models sold. The new CFRP plant is supposed to help Daimler produce around 25,000 to 30,000 carbon-fiber bodied cars per year.

“The SLR has brought more vehicles onto the roads in this material than any other producer and thereby also shown that CFRP can very well fulfill the extreme safety requirements for the raw structure,” Balasubramanian told the source.

As for rivals BMW, the first chance to use carbon fiber to build a vehicle will be the ActiveE, followed by the Megacity vehicle in 2013. The Megacity will be built around a carbon fiber and aluminum chassis, with its body panels using composite materials or carbon fiber, in an effort to keep the weight down.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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