Burscheid, Germany -- Automotive interiors supplier Johnson Controls said 14 May that it is to exploit its expertise in natural-fibre processing technology in parts for vehicle exteriors.
And the group said it is already supplying a well-known automotive manufacturer with these carbon fibre components.
"Lightweight construction is one of the key challenges for future vehicles," commented Han Hendriks, vice president of global product development, interiors at Johnson Controls Automotive Experience, in a company announcement.
"We can draw on our technological know-how for the production of carbon body parts."
Previously, the production of very light carbon components involved a great deal of effort and a considerable amount of manual labour, said Johnson Controls.
"We are one of the pioneers in the automotive industry for large- scale production of carbon parts, thanks to our innovative production process," noted Hendriks. "We are pleased to be able to transfer that technology for use in vehicle exteriors."
The new process is based on a wet-press process used by Johnson Controls since 2003 to produce wood-fibre components for vehicle interiors.
In the adapted process, a carbon-fibre mat pre-moistened with resin is placed between the forming tools and then pressed. During the pressing cycle, the excess resin leaks onto the edge of the mould. This results in a very high fibre density in the body parts, the company said.
Johnson Controls declined to tell UTI what resin is being used.