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Continental Structural Plastics starts up joint venture China composites operation

Composites technology leader Continental Structural Plastics (Auburn Hills, MI) is ready to begin production operations at its joint venture manufacturing facility in Tangshan City, Hebei Province, China. The 322,000-square-foot CSP Victall facility will manufacture lightweight composite components for the automotive, heavy truck and bus, construction and agriculture markets in China. The joint venture will also compound and sell advanced composite raw materials out of this facility.

"CSP Victall specializes in developing, formulating and compounding advanced, lightweight materials that help car makers reduce overall vehicle weight and emissions," said Frank Macher, chairman of the board of CSP Victall and chairman and CEO of Continental Structural Plastics. "We see tremendous opportunity for lightweighting in China, especially given new Chinese regulatory policies and the push toward vehicle electrification."

Dignitaries including Frank Macher, chairman of the board
of CSP Victall and chairman and CEO of Continental
Structural Plastics (far right) inaugurate the advanced
composites processing joint venture in Tangshan, China.

Today, 3.8 million tons of composites and plastics are used by Chinese vehicle OEMs, compared to 7.6 million tons used by North American OEMs according to Continental Structural Plastics.

Manufacturing equipment to be installed in the new CSP Victall facility includes a Dieffenbacher fully automated LFT-D line - the first in the world to be equipped to support the application of carbon fiber and higher temperature resins in addition to mainstream glass and polypropylene (PP) materials.

The scope of equipment being supplied by Dieffenbacher at CSP Victall includes a 4300-ton compression press and a trim press for LFT-D in-line compounding, a twin 3-inch extruder with an output of approximately 1,500 lbs./hour, convection ovens and complete automation. The line is capable of a 30-second cycle time, and with double belt-loading, has an output of approximately one million components per year. Additional equipment in the facility includes locally-sourced Tianjin Tianduan 3300-ton presses, an advanced composite compounding line and robotic routers. The facility will also feature the latest in dust control technology, including a centralized vacuum system and dust booths.

In addition to its standard density advanced composite called Tough Class A (TCA), CSP Victall will provide Chinese automakers the opportunity to incorporate CSP's proprietary TCA Ultra Lite technology in vehicles. This space-age, ultra-lightweight composite material competes with aluminum for weight savings, but at a significant cost reduction. This material, currently in production on the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette, is 40 percent lighter than steel, is e-coat oven capable and offers a superior surface finish.

"For automakers in China and around the world, our Ultra Lite material offers distinct advantages over metals for body panel and structural applications," Macher explained. "In addition to the weight and cost-savings that come with TCA Ultra Lite, car makers will benefit from its styling flexibility and its natural resistance to corrosion, denting and dinging."

CSP Victall is a 50:50 joint venture between Continental Structural Plastics and Qingdao Victall Railway (Group) Co., Ltd., a leading Chinese manufacturer of modular products and parts for high speed trains, intercity trains and other transportation equipment.

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