Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation

Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Hitoshi Ochi, hereinafter "MCC") announced that its carbon fiber composite material has been adopted for the high cycle press molded (Prepreg Compression Molding [PCM]) roof of the top model RS 5 Coupé in the Audi A5 series of premium sports coupe which were launched in June 2017 by the Audi Sport GmbH. The roof is made using the PCM method and delivered to Audi by Wethje Carbon Composites GmbH (hereinafter “Wethje”), a MCC Group company in Germany which manufactures carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) auto parts.

In line with the tightening of fuel efficiency regulations and carbon dioxide emission controls, interest in vehicle weight reduction has been growing in the automotive market of Europe and particularly Germany, and the trend of using car parts made of CFRP that combines high strength with lightweight is accelerating. Using PCM mass production molding technology for the CFRP material developed independently by MCC, the laminated prepreg material (sheet-shaped carbon fiber intermediate material impregnated with resin) is compressed and formed using a press. With a cycle time of about five minutes, it is possible to mass produce automotive components. In addition, as the surface of the molded part is extremely smooth, Class A paint coating is possible and it can also be used as for exterior panel parts. However, by further improving the method of construction this time, it is possible to form a roof having an outer layer, made of carbon fiber instead of being painted, which requires a very high level of quality.

MCC’s CFRP was adopted by Audi Sport because its advantages have earned high recognition from the automaker. These advantages include a substantial reduction in the vehicle weight (approximately 40% reduction compared to the same part formed using aluminum), improvement of driving performance, lower center of gravity due to the weight reduction, and the achievement of mass production of a roof with an outer layer made of carbon fiber that combines high quality with an attractive design.

The Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Group's "APTSIS 20" mid-term management plan aims for achieving sales of JPY 100 billion from the carbon fiber and composite material business in 2020. To meet this target, MCC will actively expand its operations targeting fast-growing automotive applications and other industrial areas.

[About Wethje]
Company name: Wethje Carbon Composites GmbH
Location: Bavaria State, Germany
Founded: 1979
Businesses: Development, manufacture, and sales of car parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP)
*In addition to the autoclave method for small-scale production, the company possesses the technical capability to support the PCM method for high cycle press forming and resin transfer molding method for medium-scale production.

[New Audi RS 5 Coupé]
[Roof of the Audi RS 5 Coupé using MCC’s CFRP, optional specifications]

Photos: courtesy of Audi
Corporate Communications Div.,
The Mitsubishi Chemical Group
  • TEL:+81-3-6748-7140

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