Wednesday, November 4, 2009

BMW Group and SGL Group formed a joint venture to manufacture carbon fibres

BMW Group and SGL Group have formed a joint venture to manufacture carbon fibres and fabrics for the automotive industry.

”This joint venture with the BMW Group is a milestone for the use of carbon fibres on an industrial scale in the automobile industry," says Robert Koehler, CEO of SGL Group, which will have a 51% share in the joint venture. "For the first time, carbon fibres are taking on an important role in series vehicle manufacture. This confirms our strategy and shows that carbon fibre technology is becoming increasingly important in the materials substitution process to lighter material. This material will help to reduce CO2 emissions and save natural resources.”

The joint venture plans the construction of two new sites: one in North America for the carbon fibre production; and the other in Germany for fabrics.

The investment in the first stage of development for both production sites will be €90 million. Construction of the production facilities will begin in 2010. Production is expected to start in the first half of the next decade.

In the final stage of development, annual carbon fibre and fabric consumption is expected to be in the range of several thousand tons a year.

The joint venture will create more than 180 jobs.

German car maker BMW and carbon fibre manufacturer SGL Group, of Weisbaden, Germany, have cooperated in the area of carbon fibre composites for many years.

"This joint venture is designed to be a classic win-win situation," notes Norbert Reithofer, BMW AG Management Board Chairman. "We are acquiring pioneering future technologies and raw materials that we need for our Megacity Vehicle on competitive terms. The SGL Group is moving into the automobile business with us as a strong partner. With our concepts within project i, we are breaking new ground when it comes to vehicle architecture, lightweight design and the use of materials.”