Fri 27, Apr 2018
Magna International has delivered a prototype of a carbon fiber composite sub frame that reduces mass by 34 percent compared to making a stamped steel equivalent.
The new component, being tested in a Ford Fusion sedan, weighs 34 percent less than a traditional metal sub frame and replaces 45 steel parts with two molded and four metallic ones.
The sub frame undergirds the front quarter of the vehicle, providing a place to attach the engine and wheels. Magna's prototype, developed with Ford, explores new ground in using lightweight but pricey carbon fiber in structural parts of a vehicle.
"We delivered a series of parts to the customer at the end of last year, and they've already started component testing," said Andrew Swikoski, Magna's global product line director for lightweight composites. "By the end of the year, we'll know whether the technology is ready for production or not."
Carbon fiber is lightweight and strong, making it a good substitute for steel as engineers race to shave weight from cars to boost fuel economy. But carbon fiber is also costly.
Swikoski said Magna's sub frame not only reduces weight by more than a third, but it also cuts tooling investment by 30 to 40 percent by reducing the number of subcomponents needed.
Magna's carbon fiber composite blends multiple materials to stay affordable, Swikoski said.
According to the sources, implementation of the sub frame could be an important step toward helping Ford reach its sustainability goals. Since 2015, Ford engineers have been working to develop new production processes using low-cost, high?volume carbon fiber composites for its products. The company has been working with DowAksa to reduce the energy needed to produce carbon fiber components, cut the cost of raw materials and develop recycling processes.
News & Image Source: compositesmanufacturingmagazine.com