Auto Service World
News   March 17, 2017   by Adam Malik

Magna prototype sheds subframe pounds

Magna, in co-operation with Ford, developed a prototype carbon fiber composite subframe which reduces mass by 34 per cent compared to a stamped steel equivalent.

Don’t tell Magna how much weight you’ve lost so far as part of your New Year’s resolution. It may pale in comparison to what the automotive supplier is planning to do as it as it looks to shed weight from vehicles through a new prototype.

Magna teamed up with Ford to develop a carbon fiber composite subframe prototype which reduces mass by 34 per cent in comparison to a stamped steel equivalent, the company said in a news release. It’s all in the pursuit of reducing emissions and boosting fuel efficiency through lower weight.

Two molded and four metallic parts replace 45 steel parts in the prototype — an 87 per cent drop in the number of parts. Adhesive bonding and structural rivets join the moldings.

Magna and Ford partnered on research and development of ways to find benefits and challenges of using carbon fiber-reinforced composites in chassis applications. Seeing how the subframe is an integral part in the structure of a vehicle, it created a challenge and the result is the carbon fiber subframe prototype

“We are able to take a clean-sheet approach with design, materials and processing, collaborate with the customer and within our product groups, and deliver a solution with the potential to really move the needle in terms of aggressive lightweighting without sacrificing styling or performance,” said Grahame Burrow, president of magna exteriors, at JEC World 2017 in Paris recently.

The design has passed computer-aided engineering analysis performance requirements, Magna said. The prototypes are being produced by Magna for testing by Ford at the vehicle level, which will look at evaluate corrosion, stone chipping and bolt load retention. A recommended design, manufacturing and assembly process will also be developed.

“We must continue to work hard to achieve these lightweight solutions at the most affordable costs,” said Mike Whitens, director of vehicle enterprise systems at Ford Research and Advanced Engineering.

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