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