Yasunari Hotani, General Manager, Advanced Composites Business Development Group, Teijin Composites Innovation Center, Teijin Limited, joined Teijin in 1983 and is responsible for promoting the Teijin group’s carbon fiber thermoplastic composites business within the global market. For three years he was on assignment to Toho Tenax Col, Ltd., the world’s second largest manufacturer of carbon fibers and a key member of the Teijin group, where he lead the business development, sales and marketing for automotive, aerospace and industrial fields.
Read more about how composites are driving the automotive industry in the March/April issue of Composites Manufacturing.
What is Teijin’s focus in the automotive sector and how does that apply to the composites industry?
Teijin develops and supplies material-based solutions with high functionality and next-generation technologies that not only improve comfort and safety, but also contribute to resolving issues related to environmental performance such as reducing CO2 emissions and saving energy. These include carbon fiber composites, polycarbonate resin, aramid fibers, polyester film and fibers, among others.
What do you see driving the automotive industry in terms of lightweighting right now and why?
Moves toward tighter limits on vehicle CO2 emissions, already being seen in Europe and elsewhere, are expected to spread to the rest of the world. Automakers are facing a pressing need for technical innovation to reduce CO2, such as making lighter weight cars and developing electric vehicles.
Looking down the road, what materials or processes do you see becoming standard in composites for automotive lightweighting?
Against the backdrop of stricter CO2 restrictions, we anticipate growing demand for CFRP [carbon fiber reinforced polymer] replacing high-tension steel and other materials. Carbon fiber is an advanced material 10 times stronger than steel at only a quarter of its weight. CFRP has the added advantage of being highly resistant to deformation and to both acid and alkaline corrosion. It has potential for helping to meet demands for energy saving and CO2 reduction in the automotive field.
Is there a certain area you are most confident in, and why?
Teijin developed the world’s first mass-production technology for molding CFRTP [carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic] components within a minute, the ideal time required by automakers for vehicle mass production. The technology enables integrated molding of components, which can drastically reduce the number of components used in a vehicle. CFRTP components, which have the potential to realize unprecedented weight reductions, are expected to find wide-ranging applications for automobiles and other industrial uses. Not only does the improved production efficiency make mass production feasible, but the ability to modify the shape after molding is expected to open the way to recycling through reuse, reforming, or other means.