Owens Corning (Toledo, OH), in its role as a leading global producer of glass fiber reinforcements for composite systems, has joined a strategic alliance with BASF (Ludwigshafen, Germany) and TenCate Advanced Composites (Nijverdal, The Netherlands) with the goal being to develop optimal solutions in thermoplastic composites for automotive mass production.
According to Owens Corning Group President Arnaud Genis, “There is a critical and growing need in the automotive industry to have lighter, stronger and more environmentally efficient products. Glass fiber solutions are not fully leveraged and by combining the talent and resources of Owens Corning, BASF and TenCate—all industry leaders—we will be able to take significant weight out and find the optimum solutions for our customers quickly, and with the highest quality design and structure.”
BASF contributes comprehensive knowledge in the production and formulation of thermoplastic resins to the alliance, with TenCate bringing its expertise in composites manufacturing and Owens Corning offering the technology to develop superior and tailor made fabrics and glass reinforcement solutions.
“A dramatic reduction in processing cost will be essential for the success of composite materials in automotive lightweight construction,” explains Martin Jung, head of Structural Materials Research and spokesman for BASF Research directed at the automotive industry. Jung continues, “Continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites, such as tapes and laminates used in thermoforming processes, have huge potential for structural parts. By working together with Owens Corning and TenCate we form a strong alliance for the development of these thermoplastic composites.”
Dave Clark, Global Group Director of TenCate Advanced Composites, states: “The alliance with Owens Corning, BASF and TenCate combines leading glass fiber, resins and thermoplastic prepreg technology which is essential for enhancing innovation power and building a reliable supply chain for automotive composites.”
Global emission standards for vehicles continue to increase the need for lighter vehicles that maintain strength and durability. Compared to metal parts, fiber reinforced plastic composites can be 30-50% lighter. Thermoplastic composites help increase fuel efficiency in automobiles and reduce costs for consumers. Thermoplastic processing also dramatically reduces production cycle times. Additionally, these products have no limitations in shelf life and can be recycled.