Monday, 17 December 2012

BMW and Boeing are collaborating on carbon fibre

BMW and Boeing are going to collaborate with the manufacture of carbon fibre and the research into recycling it. They plan to share manufacturing knowledge and explore the opportunities for automation in the manufacturing process.  Both companies use carbon fibre extensively in their products and are pioneering the use of this material so a joint effort between the companies makes sense.

Flying High - Silver Dream machine

This is the first time that either company has united with another in this way.  Both companies build machines which, of necessity have to be strong, light and fast - the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a case in point using 50 per cent carbon fibre material, as are some BMW motorcycles with 100 per cent carbon fibre fairings and chain guards .

Because of their extensive use of carbon fibre, it is essential to both companies that they recycle composite material at the point of use and at the end of the product life, so research is going into this, to find the best ways of doing it.

Herbert Diess, a member of the Board of BMW AG for development said about the collaboration:

"Boeing has many years of extensive experience using carbon fibre in the field of aviation, while the BMW Group has earned a significant competitive advantage through its use of special manufacturing methods for series production of carbon fibre parts. Through this cooperation  we can merge know-how between our industries in the field of sustainable production solutions.”

Many Hands make light work

Larry Schneider, vice president of Product Development of Boeing Commercial Aeroplanes comment, illustrated both BMW and Boeing's desire to recycle and keep the end use of the products as green as possible:

“This collaboration agreement is a very important step forward in developing the use and end use of carbon fibre materials,” 
“It is especially important that we plan for the end of life of products made from carbon fibre. We want to look at ways to reclaim and reuse those materials to make new products. Our work with the BMW Group will help us attain that goal.”

Carbon Fibre in Moses Lake

As part of its SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers LLC joint venture, BMW has built a new state-of-the-art carbon fibre plant in Moses lake, Washington state, USA.  This plant is a step towards the automation of ultra-light carbon fibre production, for use in future vehicles. This plant should push the project forward and provide jobs at the same time. Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire supports the project, saying:

" I’m pleased that BMW and Boeing have joined forces as this is a logical next step for the industry.”

We are sailing...

So between them they've got the sky and the land covered - just need to start work on a carbon fibre ship now...

From a press release from BMW


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