Automaker Audi and mechanical engineering firm Voith GmbH formed a development partnership to produce high-volume, carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). Bradley Stertz, public relations manager for Audi of America, Inc., says Audi will manage the partnership between the automaker and Voith.
“Voith is an extremely innovative partner that views fiber composite materials as a key strategic competence and enjoys vast expertise in process technology,” says Stertz. The family-owned company goes back almost two centuries.
“Composites fit into a pretty strong strategy for lightening vehicles,” Stertz says. “Audi and Voith agree that the market for the standard use of FRP materials offers great potential for growth.” He says that on the Audi side, the company gains Voith’s experience in using CFRP in industrial plant design. Voith has used lightweight construction components in both paper machines and drive engineering, and they are moving this experience into the automotive sector, Stertz says.
“Current technologies for the processing of CFRP are suitable only for small volumes,” Stertz says. Audi AG is “developing solutions for larger quantities and for use in volume models, with an eye on sound financial parameters. We are working on several very promising solutions.” The automaker’s overriding lightweight construction strategy will be to use the smallest possible amount of the right material in the right place, he says.