Germany – The composites company is supplying BMW with preforms made of unidirectional carbon prepreg set in various orientations and combined with adhesive. The carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) technology is used to reinforce the metal shell of the B pillar, while saving weight.

In order to meet demand from the automotive industry, Hexcel has installed a fully automated production line in Austria which takes only a few seconds to transform unidirectional prepreg into bidirectional preforms. The prepreg is made from HexPly M77 resin with a cure time of 1.5 minutes at 160°C. Hexcel’s production process enables prepreg plies of different weights and orientation to be combined in the same ply-book and includes automated cutting, camera-assisted ply positioning, integration of adhesive and automated packing.

Hexcel says the production line can turn out B-pillar preforms for up to 500 cars per day, allowing it to meet the high-volume needs of automotive manufacturers as well as the strict quality expectations of the premium OEMs.

Besides the BMW 7 Series, Hexcel’s CFRP solutions are used in standalone and hybrid applications to reduce vehicle weight as well as to improve performance, strength and durability.