Magna, Ford alliance develops prototype carbon fiber composite subframe
In pursuit of lower vehicle weight to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency, Magna International Inc., in cooperation with Ford Motor Company, developed a prototype carbon fiber composite subframe which reduces mass by 34% compared to making a stamped steel equivalent.
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 is the result of a research and development project between Magna and Ford to investigate potential mass-reduction benefits and technical challenges of using carbon fiber-reinforced composites in chassis applications. The subframe is a key part of a vehicle’s structure, typically providing a place to attach the engine and wheels while also contributing rigidity and crash management.
Magna established its first Mexico facility in Puebla in 1991. Currently, the company operates 30 manufacturing sites and one engineering & product development center with more than 24,000 employees in the country.
Its Body & Chassis division operates six production facilities located in Cuautitlan Izcalli, Hermosillo, Puebla, Ramos Arizpe, San Luis Potosi and Silao, as well as an engineering center in Toluca.
Speaking at JEC World 2017 in Paris, Grahame Burrow, President of Magna Exteriors, said the company has been “a pioneer in the use of lightweight materials for many years now.”
“First, we launched the CF hood for the Cadillac CTS/ATS-V series, followed by a carbon fiber grille opening reinforcement for the Mustang Shelby Cobra GT500. Applying our expertise now to a structural component like the subframe is another step forward as we continue to help our OEM partners meet their goals,” Borrow added.