With the automotive industry heavily focusing on lightweighting for improving fuel economy, Shape as always, is eager to support our customers with innovative, lighter weight components. For years we’ve been developing bumper solutions that are some of the best in the industry, utilizing ultra-high strength steels, unique aluminum alloys, and patented cross section designs. Still the need to do even better continues.
Shape is now developing a unique technology to bring carbon fiber bumpers to our customers.
Carbon fiber is an extremely lightweight, but expensive material, not traditionally suited for automotive high volume programs and the common car. However, Shape’s roll forming process and design experts have found a way to market and manufacture one nonetheless. Zeroing in on pultrusion (due to its relative speed and likeness to roll forming) as the best process for the job, Shape, with a partner in Germany, has already made and tested production-intent bumper beams.
“This is a great demonstration of Shape innovation, but it takes foresight, innovation and partnerships,” said Danni Schertzing, commercial manager. “One significant partnership was officially formed last month with a signed commercial agreement allowing us to use a patented process owned by Thomas Technik.” Thomas Technik is a family-owned German pultrusion company with several process patents around curved pultrusion, a few of which are key to furthering our development.
There have been many teams involved in the development, maturation and commercialization of this new technology. It is an exciting step that demonstrates our connection to industry demands, customer needs and innovative Shape capabilities.