Toray recently announced that in August 2018, it plans to open its new R&D center, dubbed Automotive Center Europe (AMCEU), to support the growth of new materials for environmentally friendly vehicles in Europe. Located near Munich, Germany, the building will consist of an office block and a laboratory block (including showroom) will have a total floor area of about 3,400 m2.

The decision to create the new R&D base was spurred partly by the success of Toray’s Automotive Center (AMC) in Nagoya, Japan, which since 2008 has helped the company grow in the automotive sector. Toray says that thanks to the Nagoya center’s activities, net sales of materials for automotive applications grew about 10 percent per year in the period from fiscal year 2014 to 2016.

“Building on the experience with AMC and further driving the expansion of Toray Group’s automotive related business, AMCEU will play the major role of a core technology development base in Europe that is capable of handling new applications and offering one-stop service to customers in Europe,” the company said. “It will offer comprehensive solutions combining advanced materials (intermediate base materials) such as carbon fiber composite materials, resins and films and technologies for mastering them (molding and design) as to how to bring out the materials’ characteristics as well as experiments, evaluation and technological support.”

Toray notes that European automobile manufacturers have been making great strides in the global automotive industry. The region has a high demand for carbon fiber composite materials in the automotive field and has been leading development for the adoption of more resins in auto parts.

“[Europe’s] fuel consumption regulation is the toughest in the world and the region leads the rest of the world also in initiatives regarding themes such as reducing vehicle weight and electric vehicles,” the company said.

The new R&D center will contribute to Toray’s medium-term management program, which includes development of new materials, building methods and structures required for environmentally friendly transportation equipment such as electric vehicles jointly with major customers (OEMs and Tier 1 companies) and to achieve environmental goals, which are becoming stricter, and contribute to the realization of a low-carbon society.