Magna sets up a new Composites Center of Excellence in Esslingen, Germany, with a new Engel 2,300-metric-ton press. The setting up of the Center of Excellence in Esslingen, Germany will help European automakers to meet increasingly stringent emissions requirements with lightweight structures and exterior components made of advanced materials.
Grahame Burrow, Exteriors President of Magna, said, “Lightweight composite parts can deliver weight reductions of 30 to 60 percent over steel. It’s easy to see why automakers are pursuing these materials, and we’re ready to deliver innovative solutions to help them meet their goals.”
Development of structural components, such as vehicle subframes, and exterior body parts, such as door panels and hoods will be the main focus of the new center of excellence. A large number of European automakers are participating in the joint development projects with Magna at the new center. One of the automakers is interested in investigating advanced composites for use in structural rear vehicle modules, while another one is keen to look at composites for vehicle subframes. Development of “class A” exterior panels using composites has also gained interest in automakers.
The center is equipped with a new 2,300-metric-ton Engel V-Duo press most suited for thermoset compression molding of reinforced plastic or sheet molding compound materials. It helps in the development, demonstration, and testing of full-size automotive parts using a wide range of thermoset composite materials and compression molding process settings.
In 2010, Magna opened its Composites Centre of Excellence jointly with the National Research Council of Canada near Toronto. Development of carbon fiber hood for the 2016 Cadillac V-Series was carried out. Currently, Magna is carrying out a project in association with Ford Motor Company to test the feasibility of carbon fiber vehicle subframes for possible mass production.