Faurecia and the Fraunhofer ICT (Institut für Chemische Technologie) announce the signature of a framework agreement to jointly perform R&D work on “Engineering and prototypes for advanced industrial processes for composites” for applications in the automotive field.
The objective of the agreement is to further develop composite1 industrial processes applied to structural parts enabling weight reduction (20% to 50% compared to traditional materials) while keeping costs, quality and performance under control to respond to and anticipate stringent automotive criteria.
Faurecia has identified the Fraunhofer ICT as a world-leading center of competence in the field of composites and their industrial processes, whose reputation in the automotive sector has spread well over the German and European borders. The Fraunhofer ICT already has its own pilot production lines enabling validation of these new composite technologies and processes.
This framework agreement is an important step in the development of Faurecia’s expertise in the strategic field of plastic composites – a technology which is expected to experience strong growth over the coming years. As environmental regulations become more stringent, there is a growing demand for lighter vehicles and consequently new and lighter materials. Composite materials should enable a weight reduction of up to 50% for both structural and body parts. Composite parts are expected to find increasing application in the fields of automotive seating, interior systems and body parts (both structural and non-structural).
Christophe Aufrère, Vice President Technology Strategy, Faurecia explained: “I am very proud for Faurecia to start working with the Fraunhofer ICT, a worldwide reference in the field of industrial and composites processes. The combination of Fraunhofer’s expertise and Faurecia’s product approach and industrial capabilities is expected to be a winning partnership for both parties in this strategic field.”
Prof. Dr. Frank Henning, Deputy Director of the Fraunhofer ICT and Professor for Lightweight Technologies at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) stated: “It is a great privilege for the Fraunhofer ICT to work with Faurecia, one of the world’s leading tier one automotive equipment suppliers. The application of composite materials by Faurecia will ensure wider market uptake of this technology in key automotive markets worldwide.”
Faurecia’s objective is to implement these innovative materials in mass serial production of automotive parts by 2020. To that effect Faurecia has already set up a global network of R&D partnerships in the field of composites, one of which is with Ecole Centrale de Nantes – an innovative and competitive French Engineering School where it operates a Chair dedicated to composites.
Earlier this year, Faurecia acquired the automotive business of Sora Composites, a company with an established expertise in the field of composite plastics and the use of glass and carbon fibers for automotive applications. The parts produced include body and structural parts for both mainstream and premium automakers.
Faurecia is the world’s sixth-largest automotive equipment supplier with four key Business Groups: Automotive Seating, Emissions Control Technologies, Interior Systems and Automotive Exteriors. In 2011, the Group posted total sales of €16.2 billion. On December 31, 2011, Faurecia employed 84,000 people in 33 countries at 270 sites and 40 R&D centers. Faurecia is listed on the NYSE Euronext Paris stock exchange.
About Fraunhofer ICT
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, with over 20,000 employees and an annual turnover of more than 1.8 billion euros, is Europe’s leading applied research institution. The Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT has long-standing expertise in all aspects of polymer engineering, especially material and process development for high-volume composite production for the automotive industry.
Olivier Le Friec, Manager Media Relation
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Dr. Stefan Tröster, Head of Department General Management
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Source: Faurecia, press release, 2012-11-08.