Toho Tenax, the core company of the Teijin’s carbon fibers and composites business, has developed a lightweight multi-material roof cover for a fuel-cell bus made with composites. The roof cover is adapted for the world’s first mass-produced fuel-cell bus, which was developed by Toyota.

The roof cover, according to Toho Tenax, is a combination of “carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), aluminum and other lightweight engineering plastics.” The company adds that the roof cover has a visually appealing surface, can be manufactured in one large piece with complex shapes and is suitable for mass production.

“In the face of tightening environmental regulations worldwide, the automotive industry is developing lightweight vehicle bodies that achieve enhanced fuel efficiency while maintaining road stability,” the company wrote. “Since the bus carries high-pressure hydrogen gas tanks in its upper structure, lightweight body components in the top part of the vehicle are crucial.”

Toho Tenax collaborated with GH Craft Ltd., the Teijin Group’s composite structure design, development and evaluation unit, to develop the multi-material roof by leveraging Toho Tenax’s high-performance carbon fiber and mass-production know-how and GH Craft’s molding technology.

Over the past year, Teijin has worked toward enhancing its presence as a tier-1 supplier to automakers.  Last year, Teijin acquired Continental Structural Plastics, a global leader in automotive lightweight composite technologies, for $825 million. The company said that it made the acquisition with the hope of establishing a foundation for an automotive composite products business in North America. CSP officially joined Teijin in January 2017.