Magna International Inc. has collaborated with Ford Motor Company to develop a prototype carbon fiber composite subframe that reduces mass by 34 percent to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency. The prototype subframe achieves a remarkable 87 percent reduction in the number of parts by replacing 45 steel parts with two molded and four metallic parts. Magna and Ford jointly investigated mass-reduction potentials and technical challenges of using carbon fiber-reinforced composites in chassis applications.
Grahame Burrow, President of Magna Exteriors, speaking at JEC World 2017 in Paris, said, “When we are able to work in close partnership with a customer at the beginning of their design and engineering processes, it’s an opportunity to bring our full Magna capabilities to bear. We are able to take a clean-sheet approach with design, materials and processing, collaborate with the customer and within our product groups, and deliver a solution with the potential to really move the needle in terms of aggressive lightweighting without sacrificing styling or performance.”
Magna improved the design using computer-aided engineering (CAE) analyses and composite materials and manufacturing processes to reduce the weight.The design has passed all performance requirements and prototype subframes are tested at Ford.
Mike Whitens, Director of Vehicle Enterprise Systems within Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, said, “Collaboration is the key to success in designing lightweight components that can give our customers fuel economy improvements without compromising ride and handling, durability or safety. Magna and Ford working together on this carbon fiber composite subframe is a great example of collaboration on advanced materials.”