Magna and Ford build lightweight carbon-fiber composite subframe

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Magna International has developed a prototype carbon-fiber composite subframe, which reduces mass by 34% compared with making a stamped steel equivalent, in close cooperation with Ford Motor Company.

By replacing 45 steel parts with two molded and four metallic parts, the prototype subframe achieves a dramatic 87% reduction in the number of parts. The moldings are joined by adhesive bonding and structural rivets.

The carbon-fiber subframe was developed as part of an R&D project between Magna and Ford to investigate potential mass-reduction benefits and technical challenges of using carbon-fiber-reinforced composites in chassis applications.

Magna’s engineering team combined its unique, full-vehicle knowledge on the design, materials and processing to address the challenge of reducing weight using composite materials and manufacturing processes.

The design has passed all performance requirements based on CAE analyses and the prototype subframes are now being produced by Magna for component and vehicle-level testing at Ford.

In the testing phase, the two will evaluate corrosion, stone chipping and bolt load retention, which cannot be measured in CAE. The project team will also develop a recommended design, manufacturing and assembly process with the experience gained during the prototype build and subsequent testing.

May 31, 2017

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John joined UKi Media & Events in 2012 and has worked across a range of B2B titles within the company's automotive, marine and entertainment divisions. Currently editor of Automotive Testing Technology International, Crash Test Technology International and Electric & Hybrid Marine Technology International, John co-ordinates the day-the-day operations of each magazine, from commissioning and writing to editing and signing-off, as well managing web content. Aside from the magazines, John also serves as co-chairman of the annual Electric & Hybrid Marine Awards and can be found sniffing out stories throughout the halls of several of UKI's industry-leading expo events.

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