14 May 2015
NEW CARBON FIBRE MANUFACTURING PROCESS DRIVES DEMAND
Prodrive Composites has won projects worth more than £5 million on four new British sports cars. The cars will be built in the UK by three different vehicle manufacturers and Prodrive will supply a range of composite components as a tier one supplier.
New manufacturing processes are driving down the cost of producing carbon composite components enabling vehicle manufacturers to specify them on medium priced sports cars.
Components being manufactured for each sports car include carbon aero packs with rear wings, diffusers and front splitters, as well as further exterior trim parts such as bonnet vents and sills. In one case Prodrive will be producing a full carbon interior. Several of these components will be made using Prodrive’s patented TPP injection process which was introduced in 2014 and which can half unit costs.
The new contracts come as the company this week achieved ISO/TS 16949, the automotive industry recognised quality standard for OEM suppliers.
“Carbon composites used to only be the domain of exotic super cars, but new manufacturing processes are bringing down their cost and we are increasingly being asked to quote for parts on sports cars and mid-priced luxury cars,” said Dominic Cartwright, Prodrive Composites managing director. “Having the TS 16949 quality award ensures we can continue to work with these and other international car manufacturers that increasingly will only work with accredited suppliers.
Prodrive Composites is already manufacturing the composite bodywork and interior for a British super car as part of an ongoing £20 million contract, as well as a number of projects in the marine, aerospace and space industries. These contracts have seen the company increase its workforce from 70 to nearly 180 in just the last 18 months.
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