Chopped carbon fiber SMC the focus at Lamborghini; autoclave a technology of the past


With its key performance characteristics being 0-100 kmh and 200 kmh acceleration times and the lap time around Germany's Nürburgring circuit, power-to-weight ratio has always been of primary importance to Italian supercar maker Lamborghini (Sant'Agata Bolognese). The company was one of the first adopters of carbon fiber composites in its vehicles in the 1980s and takes pride in developing all is carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) components in-house at its Advanced Composite Research Centre (ACRC).

While autoclave-cured thermoset-based composites have played the primary role in lightweighting efforts at past years at Lamborghini, the automaker has always conscious of costs even in the realm of supercars. The company is now actively embracing it lower cost technologies in its latest models, in particular chopped glass fiber sheet molding compound (SMC). Speaking to PlasticsToday at the JEC Asia show in Singapore, ACRC and Body in White (BIW) Structures Engineering Head Luciano De Oto said, "We are moving away from autoclave altogether as we believe it is a technology of the past. Chopped carbon fiber-reinforced SMC is the key technology moving forward for both BIW and aesthetic parts." Lamborghini operates a dedicated "out-of-clave" development center at its headquarters that is developing SMC, thermoplastic, injection molding and resin transfer molding ( RTM) technologies for its vehicles.
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