New, recyclable thermoplastic resin helps speed up production.
In 2011 the Japan-based Teijin Group built the body structure of a four-seat concept car using its carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP). The body was formed in one minute and weighs only 47 kilograms, a fifth of a comparable steel structure, achievements that represent a new world of mass production applications for carbon fiber composites.
Carbon fiber has 10 times the strength, but just a fourth of the weight of steel. Composite materials made of carbon fibers and resins are already widely used to reduce the weight of aircraft and other industrial materials. However, conventional thermoset-formed carbon fiber composites are rarely seen in mass production due to their slow takt time.
Teijin solved this problem by developing a thermoplastic resin that softens when heat is applied and quickly hardens when it cools, all without losing its desirable properties, making it ideal for mass production applications. It can also be recycled and reused. Teijin has branded this technology as Sereeboâ„¢, an acronym for Save the Earth, Revolutionary & Evolutionary Carbon, and is now bringing it closer to commercial use in high-volume production.
Teijin is currently working with automakers worldwide, including General Motors, to accelerate development of Sereebo-branded composites for mass production of reduced-weight vehicles that meet demand for energy savings and CO2 reductions. Teijin is spearheading the collaborative effort, which involves technical facilities in both Japan and the USA and a pilot plant in Japan. Collaborative developments with consumer electronics makers and precision equipment makers are also in progress, and Nikon has already adopted Sereebo to manufacture structural parts for a digital SLR camera.
Visit the Teijin Group website for more information.