CFRTP for high-volume production vehicles, claimed as world’s first

CFRTP for high-volume production vehicles, claimed as world’s first

Japan’s Teijin Limited says that its Sereebo carbon fibre-reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) has been selected by General Motors (GM) for use in select pickup box applications. This, the firm says, is the world’s first use of CFRTP for structural parts in a high-volume production vehicle.

Sereebo will be used to manufacture the optional CarbonPro pickup box jointly developed by Teijin and GM for the GMC Sierra Denali 1500 and GMC Sierra AT4 1500. Specifically, the pickup box’s inner headboard, side and floor panels will be made with the CFRTP. Following production startup in early June, GMC Sierra CarbonPro Editions for both vehicles will begin appearing at select GMC dealerships in the US this summer. The CarbonPro panels will be produced at Continental Structural Plastics’ Huntington, Indiana, manufacturing facility.

The CFRTP used in the CarbonPro contains randomly-orientated, isotropic carbon fibre in a polyamide matrix resin and is said to be manufactured using what it said to be the world's first mass-production technology for CFRTP. The moulding time for Sereebo is approximately 1 minute, which is significantly shorter than the moulding time for conventional carbon fibre reinforced thermoset plastics (CFRP). Compared to steel, CarbonPro is 40% lighter, offers ten times greater impact resistance, is more corrosion-resistant, and readily recyclable. Finally, because of its material characteristics, Sereebo offers extended design flexibility and freedom, which allowed GM engineers to mould in many of the unique features of the CarbonPro box.

Teijin established a carbon composites innovation centre in 2008. In 2011 the company developed the world’s first mass-production technology for CFRTP, realising a production interval (takt) time of 1 minute. Teijin subsequently established a technical facility in the US and a pilot plant for the fully integrated production of CFRTP in Japan. Since branding its CFRTP product as Sereebo in 2012, Teijin developed high-volume production methods in collaboration with domestic and international partners, including GM.

After acquiring CSP, a specialist in automotive lightweight composite technologies, in 2017, Teijin established an organisational framework for composites production, sales and evaluation in North America.

Teijin says it is expanding its product portfolio ranging from materials to component design, as well as its global supply chain, in an effort to help automakers reduce vehicle weights.

The automotive composite products business of the Teijin Group is targeting annual sales of US$2 billion by 2030.


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