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Audi, Jaguar Land Rover Take Top Prizes at JEC Composites Innovation Awards

Image courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover redesigned rear body structure of Jaguar I-Pace
The carmakers earned a spot in the winner’s circle, respectively, for the seamless integration of a flexible solar film and for a composite rear end tailored to electric vehicles.

Every year, an international jury representing the composites value chain identifies major innovations in various end markets and nominates the standouts for the JEC Composites Innovation Award. The end market categories include Automotive & Road Transportation; Aerospace; Building & Civil Engineering; Design, Furniture, & Home; Equipment & Machinery; Maritime Transportation & Shipbuilding; Sports, Leisure, & Recreation; and Renewable Energy.

Here are the winners in the two automotive categories (other category winners are listed at the end of this article).

Automotive & Road Transportation — Surfaces

Winner: Seamless Integration of Flexible Solar Film in FRP

Company: Audi AG

Image courtesy of Audiflexible solar film in car rooftop

With partners Mubea Carbo Tech and Apollo Power, Audi seamlessly integrated a flexible solar film with a fiber-reinforced rooftop using high-pressure resin transfer molding (RTM). The solar film can be also incorporated into a hood using this high-volume process that infuses self-extinguishing polyester resin into biaxial fiberglass fabric, the largest of which measures 4 x 6 meters (approximately 13 x 20 ft) and weighs 250 kg (551 lb). Use of natural fibers instead of glass can potentially dramatically reduce the CO2 footprint when coupled with solar. Further, complex 3D shapes with higher degrees of draping can be realized for rail or aerospace applications.

 

Automotive & Road Transportation — Structural

Winner: Tucuna

Company: Jaguar Land Rover

Image courtesy of Jaguar Land Roverrear body structure of Jaguar I-Pace

Developed with multiple partners including Broetje Automation and Toray, Tucuna is an enabler for future battery electric vehicles (BEVs) as demonstrated by the redesign of the entire rear body structure of a Jaguar I-Pace. Unlike traditional fabric-based manufacture using resin transfer molding (RTM) or autoclave technology, which are non-viable for volumes of 40,000 units-plus/year, the process lays unidirectional fast-cure continuous carbon or glass fiber to form a skeleton, which is then connected using carbon- or glass-fiber sheet molding compound (SMC).

Other category winners:

Aerospace — Application

Diab (Sweden): 100% thermoplastic panel for cabin interiors

Aerospace — Process

MTorres Disenos Industriales S.A.U. (Spain): Innovative Infusion Airframe Manufacturing System

Building & Civil Engineering

Windesheim (Netherlands): Structural Re-Use of Thermoset Composites

Design, Furniture, & Home

Kairos (France): Kairlin, a new recyclable and compostable material

Equipment & Machinery

Fibraworks GmbH (Germany): Winding the future — fibraforce technology

Maritime Transportation & Shipbuilding

Voith Composites SE & Co. KG (Germany): Marine rotor blades made of Voith Carbon4Stack

Renewable Energy

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (Denmark): RecyclableBlade

Sports, Leisure, & Recreation

Bcomp Ltd. (Switzerland): Race-ready bond between thermoset and thermoplastic bio-composites

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