Apr. 28, 2010
Toray, Daimler Agree to Jointly Develop CFRP Automobile Parts
To be adopted in Mercedes-Benz models
Toray Industries, Inc. (headquarters: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President: Sadayuki Sakakibara; hereinafter referred to as “Toray”) today announced that the company has signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with German automobile major Daimler AG (headquarters: Stuttgart, Germany; Chairman: Dieter Zetsche; hereinafter referred to as “Daimler”) to develop automobile parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP).
The two companies plan to promote the joint development of diverse CFRP automobile components by utilizing High Cycle Resin Transfer Molding (RTM), an innovative CFRP molding process technology developed by Toray. Under the agreement, Toray, in addition to developing optimal CFRP materials, handles design and molding processes, with Daimler being responsible for developing technologies for joining of the parts. By bringing together respective technologies, the companies plan to develop a molding method with significantly shorter molding cycle. The companies aim for adoption of the newly developed parts in Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz model within next three years.
As the world's largest manufacturer of carbon fiber, Toray has identified expansion of its Carbon Fiber Composite Materials Business in the automotive field as one of its top priorities. In June 2008, the company established the Automotive Center (AMC), a comprehensive development base for automotive applications, and a center for developing technology and applications for CFRP products, the Advanced Composite Center (ACC) in April 2009. These centers serve as the core entities of the A&A (Automotive & Aircraft) Center in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, its comprehensive technology development center for automotive and aircraft applications, and are involved in the development of optimal materials and processes for automotive applications.
Daimler has positioned environment responsiveness as its most important strategy and has been actively promoting development of new environment-friendly technologies. Daimler has set a target of reducing the weight of the body-in-white up to ten percent for all models under its Mercedes-Benz series compared with their existing models, with the aim of improving fuel efficiency and reducing exhaust gas emissions. This net reduction will over compensate the weight increases coming through additional safety and comfort innovations as also green technologies in the power train. In order to achieve this goal, Daimler has been following the policy of allocating the right material in the right place in its development activities, and as part of that initiative it intends to actively expand the use of CFRP parts and the range of vehicle models using such parts.
Currently, reduction of the weight of vehicles for improving fuel efficiency is one of the important issues in the automobile industry, and adoption of carbon fibers is expected to gain momentum in the coming days as a means to realize significantly lighter vehicles. Through this collaboration with Daimler AG, the leading manufacturer of high-end automobiles with, Toray aims to establish mass production technology for CFRP auto parts and further expand its carbon fibers and advanced composites business in the automobile field. Toray is determined to make contributions to the efforts to tackle global environmental issues through expanded applications and wider use of its advanced material “Torayca” carbon fiber in the environmental and new energy fields.