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Advanced composites for lightweighting land transport structures using pultrusion process

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MOTIONPult (Advanced composites for lightweighting land transport structures using pultrusion process)

Reporting period: 2017-06-01 to 2017-09-30

MotionPult was born to solve land transport vehicle needs: Cost-effective, high quality and lighter structures to comply with EU automotive standards to reduce average CO2 emission (75g/km by 2025), as land transport is responsible for around 20% of total EU CO2 emissions from fuel combustion. EU automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) will be forced to significantly reach EU CO2 targets and to improve fuel efficiency. Between the alternatives, the usage of lightweight materials can compete in cost against powertrain efficiency measures (37-50 €/g vs 97-133 €/g of CO2 reduction). Lightweight leads to fuel Efficiency Technologies: for automobiles, every 10% mass reduction can reduce 0.08 g CO2 emissions/km, and for railcars: 4.6 less tonnes mean a 1.7% reduction in operational energy consumption and an associated cost saving of € 27,000/vehicle/year .

MotionPult will be focused on manufacturing structural parts, such as powertrain, chassis, and elements of the body in white (BIW), whose has been targeted by the automotive & railcar industry as main parts for light weighting. Our innovation relies on 2 pillars: 1) new class of hybrid (glass: carbon fibre 15-25% vol.) composite profiles with improved mechanical properties, 2) The first pultrusion process fully continuous that allows to perform ready-to-ship structures in one step (30% faster rate, saving a 50% weight of the gel-coat vs traditional pultrusion), and with improved surface/ aesthetics.

Through Phase 2, we aim to 1) to tailored 10 profiles and manufacture 3 dies for each of profiles; 2) To scale-up & optimize injection system with 2,000 tonnes/year production capacity (0,5KW/h energy consumption, speed 100-120 cm/min). 3)To asses’ technical performance verification of the injection system & economic sustainability for 10 different profiles (0,5 KW/h, speed 110 cm/min, Pressure range 100-300 Bar, and 60-100 ºC mould Temperature). 4)To test & certify 10 profiles with 3 different grades each, to be suitable for automotive use. We will count with EOM’s validators, Talgo and Irizar. 5) MotionPult will be launched into EU market by 2020. During the first 5 years’ commercialization, we will employ 8 new people, and our accumulative sales & profit will be worth 48,5M€ and 8,7M€. Project profitability is demonstrated with 580% ROI.
The main objective of this FS was to ensure that MotionPult meets the technical, commercial & financial requirements for its successful implementation and commercialization.
Main results: 1) We have adapted structural automotive pieces to be pultruded. We optimized & tailored lay-out of 10 profiles for the automotive & railway industry (bumpers, reinforcement bars, etc). We calculate profiles composition for 3 different grades (A,B,C), and studied profiles’ mechanical performance criteria evaluating its mass saving in stiffness- or strength-critical applications. To conclude that MotionPult composites offers better stiffness & strength performance and greater mass savings than alternative materials (other composites, Mg, Al and steel).

2) Optimised injection system operation parameters: pressure*volume*temperature for 10 different profiles. Simulation (by Siemens AG 2014 software) of all technical parameters to detect & solve potential problems during the coating process.

3) Technical & commercial risks analysis

4) Key partners: a) POLYMAT (linked third party) to perform all mechanical tests to certify our composites. b) OEM’s for final composite profiles’ validation: Talgo & Irizar, c) SGL, carbon fibre supplier, d) ACICAE, Basque country automotive cluster, commercial ally to create EU sales networks. e) AIC-automotive, R&D centre for specific automotive testing. f) AESICOM, spanish fibre reinforced polymers cluster, to increase MotionPult collaborations in Europe. We have received supporting letters from OEMs and stakeholders.

5) Market analysis & commercialization strategy: we will focus on land transport, mainly in railcar and automotive sector.

6) Patentability study: we confirm a freedom to operate analysis and Intellectual Protection Strategy to protect injection system technology, dies as utility models and trademark, to extend MotionPult around Europe.

7) Financial viability: Fiber Profil detailed cost breakdown of profiles materials requirement, labour cost, installation cost, transportation, average 40% margin after general expenses, that determined profiles selling prices ( “A” 7,5 €/kg, “B” 8,7 €/kg and “C” 10€/kg).

8) Business plan from a detailed 5 years sales forecast: Revenue of 48,5 M€ from total sales of 5,9M tonnes with average profit margin of 40%. Profitability of MotionPult is proven for Fiber Profil with IRR= 72%.
MotionPult composites are unmatchable light weighting materials, with superior mechanical performance and are cheaper than alternative conventional CF composites or Al. alloys. MotionPult will help to comply with EU CO2 emission standards and automotive recycling Directives. MotionPult project breakthrough is summarised in 2 objectives: A) new pultruded hybrid composites, competitive solution for the automotive market; by an B) improved pultruded process.

A- New class of hybrid pultruded composite materials, glass: carbon fibre (15-25% vol. CF)- 1) Improved material properties: a) More resistant, Higher strength (1100 MPa); Improved elastic modulus (180 GPa), b) High Chemical resistant, c) High Impact resistance: 60-99 KJ/Kg vs 60 KJ/Kg Al; d) Low Coefficient of Thermal Expansion; e) 75% weight reduction compared to steel, and 40% vs other CF composites; f) Improved aesthetics. 2) Competitive Price: 10 €/kg saved. 3) 100% recyclable.

B- First pultrusion process fully continuous thanks to a new injection system that allows to perform ready-to-ship structures in one step, adapted to vehicle parts production. 1) 40% Reduction in resin consumption. 2) 25% Lower waste produced. 3) Eco-friendly technology: requires 1/6 of energy used by Al alloys. a) 30% Decrease time consumption (from 70 to 100 cm/min). b) Improved finished surface quality & curing process. c) 30% Reducing processing cost to 1 €/kg polyester/ fiber carbon vs traditional pultrusion process. d) 30% Output/ production rate increased. e) Reliable, stand-alone & automatization system.
During our first 5 years of commercialization our objective is to sell a total of 5,9M tons that will provide €48,5 M revenues. We will target Europe as the 2nd bigger car producer, specifically main automotive manufacturer countries for MotionPult strategic geographical launch: Germany (3rd world manufacturer), Spain, France and UK. The four of them represent 70 % of 2016 EU's automotive production. Our market launch in 2020 will be in Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal. In 2022: UK, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and East Europe; and by 2023 we will launch MotionPult in USA and rest of Europe. Our payback period will be short, within the 3rd year (2022) our investment will be refund, when we foresee a positive cash flow which will help us to reinvest earnings to aid company’ growth. Fiber Profil will increase its personal in 30 new jobs: 5 administrative, 5 R&D technicians, 15 workmen and 5 sellers.