Teijin has developed
thermoplastic molding technology that speeds up the production of carbon fiber
reinforced plastic (CFRP) parts by a factor of five. Conventional CFRP uses
thermosetting resin and requires at least five minutes for molding. Parts are
formed in less than a minute with the new process.
Teijin also developed
technologies for welding thermoplastic CFRP parts together and for bonding CFRP
with materials such as steel, both of which are expected to reduce the use of all-metal
constructions in automotive assemblies. Some OEMs, particularly in Europe, have
favored greater use of aluminum in car frames to reduce weight. America OEMs
have made greater use of new lightweight, high-strength steels.
By impregnating carbon fiber
with thermoplastic resin, Teijin developed three intermediate composites for the
production of CFRP designed for use in mass-production vehicles. The actual materials
used will depend on strength and cost considerations. Teijin says that various
thermoplastic resins can be used, including polypropylene and polyamide (nylon).
The new intermediate
materials are as follows:
- Unidirectional intermediate: ultrahigh strength
in a certain direction.
- Isotropic intermediate: optimum balance of shape
flexibility and multidirectional strength.
- Long-fiber thermoplastic pellet: high-strength
pellet made from carbon fiber, suited for injection molding of complex
As a demonstration project,
Teijin has developed an electric-vehicle (EV) concept car that features a frame
made entirely from thermoplastic CFRP and weighs only 103.4 lbs, or roughly one
fifth the weight of a conventional automobile's cabin frame. The four-seat EV
is capable of speeds up to 37 mph and has a cruising range of 62 miles.
The CFRP innovation fits into
a revised and amped-up R&D strategy at the Teijin Group. "In order to deal
with rising nations, we must conduct research and development in a more
efficient manner and at a faster pace and to respond more promptly to the
changing market environment," says Toshiaki Yatabe, chief technology officer
The Teijin Group, which has
positioned automobiles and aircrafts as one of its key growth markets, has been
developing CFRP for such applications through collaboration between the Teijin
Composites Innovation Center and Toho Tenax, the core company of the group's
carbon fibers business.
Looking ahead, the Teijin
Group aims to accelerate its expansion of advanced composite materials, one of
the pillars of the group's long-term growth strategy. On April 1, Teijin is
establishing a new business group named the Carbon Fibers and Composites
Business Group, by integrating its current business units for carbon fibers and
Going forward, Teijin intends
to develop mass production applications for CFRP in automobiles and many other parts
that require certain levels of structural strength, such as machine tools and