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News

Process breakthrough integrates moulded plastic features and inserts with high quality carbon composite components

ProDrive : 17 January, 2014  (Technical Article)
A new process from Prodrive will make carbon composite components easier to incorporate into premium and luxury vehicle interiors. Features normally added in a separate operation, such as clips and inserts for threaded fasteners, can now be moulded directly onto the back of high quality composite panels, producing a more cost-effective part than a conventional bonded assembly, and one with greater mechanical strength. Already producing parts for the first two production applications, both premium automotive interiors, the process removes a major barrier to the wider use of composites.
In most automotive applications, Prodrive supplies the vehicle manufacturer directly, satisfying rigorous quality demands, especially for prominent interior surfaces. “Parts made using our new process have passed the full range of OEM tests and we are now ramping up to supply production vehicles,” explained Prodrive Composites engineering manager, Gary White.
 
“One of the challenges of using carbon composite panels is the provision of fastenings for their attachment, which can lead to costly, intricate components,” he added. “Conventionally, the approach is to create a complex carbon shape to carry the fittings. By moulding onto the finished composite, we can match the convenience of an injection-moulded plastic part at a fraction of the cost, while providing the low weight, strength and superb display surface of carbon.”
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