The product can reduce vehicle weight, enhance fuel efficiency and payload capacity, arrest carbon emissions and decrease operational costs
LONDON - 10th August 2012 - Based on its recent research on the carbon fibre composites for transportation market, Frost & Sullivan presents LAMILUX with the 2012 European Frost & Sullivan Award for New Product Innovation for its new carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) product. This can be manufactured using a highly automated and faster production process in widths up to 3.2 meters. Conventional CFRP sheets are produced in widths up to 1.5 meters with longer lead times.
"A new affordable composite product that can be supplied in lesser time while catering to the impact and stiffness requirements of vehicle parts can go a long way in easing the concerns of the automotive and transportation composites industry and can become a harbinger of hope in the wake of stringent environmental legislations and high fuel costs," says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Sandeepan Mondal. "With its new product, LAMILUX proves its competence not only in terms of innovation but also in understanding the unspoken needs of the customer by drawing upon its years of experience and expertise in the fibre reinforced plastics market, with particular applications in recreational and commercial vehicles."
LAMILUX’s CFRP sheets surpass conventional materials in terms of better strength and stiffness properties, and excel in reducing vehicle weight, enhancing fuel efficiency, reducing operational costs and increasing indirect operator revenues through increase in maximum payload capacity. The added width of the sheets allows them to be used in flat panel/sandwich applications, where width and thickness requirements are critical.
LAMILUX uses a novel production process that enables higher throughput rates without compromising on the quality of the finished product. At its state-of-the-art production facility developed in-house, CFRP sheets can be manufactured in a single production line at rates up to 4 million sq. meters per annum for thicker sheets and at rates up to 6 million sq. meters per annum for thinner sheets. LAMILUX owns four such production lines, which can cater to increased demand. The economies-of-scale also kick in at such high manufacturing rates and this helps to keep the production costs down.
In addition, LAMILUX can produce CFRP sheets using all major thermosets such as unsaturated polyesters, vinyl esters and epoxies. Compared to fibreglass, steel and aluminium – commonly used in commercial and recreational vehicles – CFRP sheets manufactured by LAMILUX boast of superior characteristics. Compared to fibreglass, CFRP sheets are 10 times higher in terms of tensile strength as well as 20 times higher in terms of E-modulus. The strength and stiffness of the CFRP sheets can also be manipulated by using different proportions of carbon fibre and resin matrix and LAMILUX’s production process enables such modification.
"Using LAMILUX’s CFRP sheets in truck bodies can make the parts 30-50 percent lighter and 3 to 4 times tougher," noted Mondal. "In a prototype testing done by LAMILUX in collaboration with a customer, it was found out that these CFRP sheets could trim approximately 2,000 kilos from the total truck weight and reduce fuel consumption by 20 percent. This also reduces the carbon footprint of the vehicle."
In addition to this, the gelcoat applied to the sheet during the production process, enables high glossy finish, protects the material from UV radiation and ensures excellent weather resistance. The CFRP sheets are available in customized shades and in lengths up to 12 meters.
Along with its primary markets, which are recreational and commercial vehicle segments, LAMILUX is also marketing its CFRP sheets to automotive and sports equipment markets. For instance, the low thermal conductivity of the CFRP sheet can ensure optimum insulation for refrigerated trucks or the gelcoat application and the in-line painting process makes the CFRP sheets easy to incorporate in products such as skis and snow boards.
Overall, the features and capabilities of the affordable CFRP sheets, produced by LAMILUX in a rapid and large-scale industrial process, clearly demonstrate its commitment to new product innovation. In recognition, Frost & Sullivan is pleased to present the New Product Innovation Award in the European carbon fibre composites for transportation market to LAMILUX.
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has developed an innovative element in a product by leverage leading edge technologies. The award recognizes the value added features/benefits of the product and the increased ROI it offers customers, which in turn increases customer acquisition and overall market penetration potential.
Frost & Sullivan's Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.
LAMILUX Composites GmbH has been producing fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP) under the brand name LAMILUX for just over 60 years. Due to its technologically advanced continuous manufacturing process, the large manufacturing capacities and the wide product range, the medium-sized company is the leading European producer. LAMILUX supplies customers around the globe in a wide range of sectors, such as the automotive and recreational vehicle industries, refrigerated store room and cell assembly, the construction industry and many other industrial sectors. In 2011, LAMILUX and its 550 employees achieved a turnover of 143 million Euros. The family-managed company is based in Rehau, Bavaria.
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