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Ultra-Light Hybrid Composite Door Design & Rapid Manufacture

TPI Composites and our partners Hexion, Krauss Maffei, and the University of Delaware, have completed the design of an advanced composite driver-side commercial passenger car door. The project goals for this component include a 42.5% weight savings and less than a $5 cost increase for every pound of weight saved in the door. The program includes the development of manufacturing processes, fabrication of tooling and component molding and assembly of multiple doors for demonstration of manufacturing rate, cost and suitability for use in a full-scale automotive application.

These door components will endure the same static and dynamic proof tests, as well as Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) -214 side impact testing, as the existing metallic door to validate equality.

To date, the project team has begun manufacture of prototype parts. The main door components are manufactured using both high pressure resin transfer molding (HP-RTM) and liquid compression molding (LCM). These highly automated process technologies, along with suitable resin formulations, enable composites to support high volume automotive production. It is this automated low-cycle time solution that enable composites to become a viable alternative to metals in high rate automotive manufacturing.

TPI would like to recognize the Vehicle Technologies Office within the Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for support of this program