Hexcel beefs up BMW B-pillar

Hexcel is to have its innovative CFRP technology introduced in the BMW 7 Series where it is used to save weight and reinforce the metal shell of the B-pillar.

Hexcel supplies BMW with preforms made of unidirectional carbon prepreg set in various orientations and combined with adhesive. The prepreg is made from Hexcel's HexPly M77 resin system that cures in 1.5 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius.

To meet the requirements for series production in the automotive industry, Hexcel has installed a fully-automated production line in Austria that converts unidirectional prepreg into bidirectional preforms in seconds. The process allows prepreg plies of different weights and orientation to be combined in the same ply-book and includes automated cutting, camera-assisted ply positioning, integration of adhesive and automated packing.

This cell makes B-pillar preforms for up to 500 cars each day allowing Hexcel to meet the high production rates required by automotive manufacturers and the high quality expectations of premium car manufacturers. Hexcel's CFRP solutions are used in standalone and hybrid applications to help not only lighten cars which contributes to overall CO2 reductions, but also helps to improve performance and safety through increased strength and durability.

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