naperlou, I think it's important to remember that high volumes do not drive all progress/R&D, especially outside of electronics. Back in the day, when so many technologies were developed for high-ticket, long lifecycle products in industries such as mil/ and early comms and even electronics at one time, being a vertically integrated company that made a lot of your own materials and/or components was not unusual. IBM was a prime example.
Beth, I'd make the same bet about customer base overlap for those two companies, although it's also true that carbon fiber had an early presence in sports equipment such as golf clubs. This isn't the first time these two have worked together, as DN has covered in the past: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=212241 That overlap may explain, in part, how they can afford a composite research center, as naperlou asked. It seems that many non-US sports car companies are run by, or were at least begun by, members of the upper classes, at least in England and Italy, as expensive hobbies.
It makes more sense for Lamborghini to have a composites research center that would lead to such a dynamic fabric than, say, Toyota. Smaller, high-end companies act as the catalyst. And, large,mass market companies translate what's needed for their market.
The matte look is very intersting. I'd love to touch a swatch and see if they incorparate this into their apparel line someshow.
It is interesting that a car company, with volumes this low, should have a composites research center. Of course, it is important to what they are trying to do as a company, but that is not a trivial thing. When I was in the aerospace industry we had a composite laba and made our own composites from raw materials. I assume that this technology will eventually get out into the more general marketplace as time goes on and Lambo proves that its technology works in the rigors of a high performance auto.
Interesting post, Ann. Funny (but not totally unexpected) that Calloway Golf and Lamborghini are teaming up on composite development. Two very different applications, but similarity in the need for lightweight, flexible materials. And want to bet they may have overlap in customer base?
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