Auto Composites: Understanding materials use in automotive structures
The automotive end market has, for years, been the Holy Grail of the composites industry. The mantra has been that if composites can meet even modest cost and cycle time targets, their lightweighting benefits will make them an easy and obvious choice for primary automotive structures. The reality is much more complicated and sobering, resulting in only modest composites penetration in cars and trucks over the last decade. This presentation will provide an overview of how automotive OEMs make materials use decisions, and the motivations and drivers behind those decisions — including cost, the value of mass, the location of mass, supplier dynamics, CAFE standards, weight class parameters, customer expectations, and organizational inertia. This presentation will also offer guidance on how to make a strong business case for composites use in cars and trucks, and how to help automakers de-risk the transition from legacy to advanced materials.