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Audi partners with Voith to develop automotive composites

Are Audi and Voith taking the lead in developing the materials for automotive production? Carbon fiber elements along with other composites create lighter, yet structurally sound components and are a rapidly changing aspect of the automotive universe.
Posted: February 16, 2011 - 1:02PM
Author: Don Bain

To this end, Audi has formed a partnership with Voith GmbH to develop a highly automated process chain for high-volume automotive production using fiber-reinforced materials.

The goal of the agreement is the development of new high-tech materials, in addition to industrialization and process engineering for conventional fiber-reinforced polymers. This is likely to evolve environmentally compatible fiber composites ideal for use in the automotive industry with respect to total energy balance and process engineering.

“Fiber-reinforced polymers offer weight and strength advantages, which we have already put to use in the Audi R8 and the Audi RS 3, for instance. We want to use these advantages for high-volume production as well, and therefore the focus of our partnership with Voith is on specific car projects,” said Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG.

Voith has done a lot of work with carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) for components of paper production machines or drive engineering. The collaboration with Audi will help to bring their extensive expertise with CFRP into the automotive arena.

“For Voith, technologies for the use of fiber-composite materials in industrial production are a key strategic competence. Given the ever-greater requirements for efficiency, coupled with the need to protect the environment and conserve resources, we are certain that this competence will be demanded by more and more markets in the future,” said Dr. Hubert Lienhard, CEO of Voith GmbH.

Audi has long been involved in the use of composites. Aluminum, steel and magnesium are used in conjunction with CFRP to benefit lightweight construction.

The auto company promotes the development of such composites, for use in automotive production, at its Neckarsulm site in Germany, in a technical research unit focused on fiber-reinforced polymers as part of the Lightweight Design Center.

Composite polymers will continue to play an important role in the material mix of the automobile. The partnership with Voith should further the great potential of fiber-reinforced materials for innovative automotive architecture.