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Johnson Controls, Jacob Plastics, others join forces against metal

CAMISMA is the name of a new project that brings together automotive seating and interiors specialist Johnson Controls with partners in the plastics processing, supply and research communities. Their goal is to develop lighter cars in which carbon fiber-reinforced composites or other materials are used to replace steel and other metals. Working on the project with Johnson Controls are plastics and chemicals suppler Evonik, plastics processor Jacob Plastics GmbH, carbon fiber supplier Toho Tenax Europe and the technical university in Aachen. All are based in Germany.

CAMISMA is an acronym of the German for "carbon fiber/amide-/metal-based interior structural parts in multi-material use." In addition to the companies' efforts, the project has the support of the country's ministry for education and research. The project is scheduled to run for three years.

The developmental focus of this project will be multi-material systems that have the potential to replace metal, as the project's partners assume that light weighting by simply using a thinner sheet of steel has reached its end. Carbon fiber-reinforced plastics will be a focal point though companies note that as yet these remain too expansive for use in most cars, and the processing of CF-reinforced parts needs improvement. "We plan short cycle times (of these parts) that will be economically feasible even for high-volume production," commented Matthias Berghahn, director of energy efficient customer solutions at Evonik's Science-to-Business center.

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