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4th July 2019, Tokyo

Further expansion and material innovations from Teijin

The latest Kogakuin University Solar Team vehicle. © Teijin

The latest Kogakuin University Solar Team vehicle. © Teijin

Teijin continues to expand in the composites sector and its materials have meanwhile been extensively employed in the latest solar-powered, carbon-reinforced vehicle developed by the Kogakuin University Solar Team for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.

The Japanese corporation has just announced the acquisition of composite and component supplier Benet Automotive from Jet Investment.

Benet, headquartered in Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic, is a Tier One supplier of composite components to the automotive industry, offering advanced carbon and glass fibre-reinforced composites, as well as the painting and assembly of vehicles.

The company specialises in reinforced reaction injection muolding (RRIM), a low-pressure process using polyurethane and both conventional autoclave and resin transfer moilding (RTM). It has three facilities in the Czech Repubic and one in Germany to serve European automotive OEMs including Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Skoda. The company had 720 employees and recorded sales of €35.2 million in fiscal 2018.

In August last year, Teijin acquired Inapal Plásticos a leading automotive composite supplier in Portugal and in January 2017 Continental Structural Plastics, a world leader in automotive composites based in North America. It is also currently installing a glass and carbon-fibre sheet moulding and compound (GF-SMC and CF-SMC) at the French facility of Continental Structural Plastics.

Bridgestone World Solar Challenge

A range of Teijin materials have been employed in the latest Kogakuin University Solar Team vehicle for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge which will take place in Australia from October 13 to 20.

 Teijin is providing technical support for solar panels and other components in the solar car, as well as conventional support for a wide range of materials and products designed to maximise the comfort and performance of the team members.

GH Craft, Teijin’s composite-structure design, development and evaluation unit, is engaged in all facets of composite-structure fabrication for super-lightweight vehicles, including design, moulding and structural evaluation. The company is providing the Kogakuin team with expert technical support, including a technician who will provide in-race mechanical and technical backup, aiming to help the team achieve its first victory in this challenging race.

The car will use high-performance materials and technologies from Teijin including:

  • Ultra-lightweight fabric made with Tenax carbon fibre for the body. Teijin and Sakai Ovex developed the ultra-lightweight, 0.06-mm-thin carbon fibre fabric which will be incorporated in 2010.
  • Panlite polycarbonate (PC) resin for the windows to reduce body weight and improve driver safety. Compared to glass, Teijin’s Panlite is 200 times more impact-resistant and weighs only half as much.
  • Technora para-aramid fiber prepreg for the wheel wells for lower air resistance to reduce vehicle weight and add durability. Teijin's Technora para-aramid fiber boasts eight times the tensile strength of steel and yet is just one-fifth the weight.
  • Teijin Frontie vertically lapped nonwoven polyester fabric for seat cushions to minimise weight while enhancing rider comfort. It is Teijin Frontier's nonwoven fabric made of fibers oriented vertically (upward) to make it resilient, breathable and lightweight.
  • Nanofront ultra-fine polyester fibre for the team's driving gloves for extra-positive steering.
  • Teijinconex meta-aramid fibre, a heat-resistant and flameproof material, for the team's driving suits to help protect riders from the harsh race environment.
  • Deltapeak hybrid polyester fabric is in the team's uniforms.

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