Nissan’s Breakthrough: safer and lighter vehicles in carbon fiber

In order to meet consumer’s demands for safety, comfort, and autonomy, the various automotive companies continuously seek innovation in various fields. One of the driver’s needs is for example the lightness of the vehicle in order to achieve the expected results.

The choice of materials becomes the top priority.

Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics (CFRP) are commonly used in various industries such as aerospace. In the case of the automotive sector, they were too expensive to industrialize both in terms of time and cost.

Hideyuki Sakamoto, EVP of Nissan Motor Co. explains

“We have always considered CFRP as a material for future generations of cars. But when it comes to reality, CFRP can be used only for limited models and appears to be more challenging for mass-market production. Indeed, costs are high, and complex designs are required to shape CFRP. The challenge was to industrialize its production process in order to reduce costs and development time.”

CFRP mass production project

Starting from 2015, ESI Group supports Nissan in the design of industrial products and production methods of different vehicles, supporting its CFRP challenge

In 2018 their collaboration strengthened, the two companies kicked off the CFRP mass production project

The process of Compression Resin Transfer Molding (C-RTM)

However, Nissan’s engineers have adopted a new approach with the help of the ESI solution. To overcome the difficulty of modeling the CFRP parts, they applied Compression Resin Transfer Molding (C-RTM) method. This process involves:

  1. forming carbon fiber into the right shape
  2. setting it in a die with a slight gap between the upper die and the carbon fibers
  3. injecting resin into the fiber and leaving it to harden

Nissan’s engineers elaborate a system to reproduce the permeability of carbon fiber resin. by visualizing the flow behavior of resin in a mold using an in-mold temperature sensor and a transparent mold. In fact, they observed and compared the behavior of the resin flow in two different molds:  in a die using an in-die temperature sensor and a transparent die

The result of the successful simulation was a high-quality component with shorter development time. Using this Virtual Prototype of the product, Nissan triumphed in its mission creating:

  • a high-quality component
  • with a development time reduced by 50%
  • reduced by 80% of a single molding
Cristel de Rouvray, CEO of ESI Group adds

“We are proud of the support we have brought Nissan over the years and throughout this project. We have helped them succeed in the full development process, from the design to the manufacturing of mass-produced CFRP parts, thus enabling their breakthrough for lighter and safer vehicles. Nissan’s success embodies our mission to enable industrial players to commit to outcomes. With our Smart Manufacturing solution and our historical expertise in materials, we helped them reach their ambitions”


Subscribe now to our quarterly Compositi newsletter
to stay updated on news, technologies and activities 


Source: ESI Group

Leggi anche

Leggerezza, versatilità, estetica: il focus si sposta sul comfort e l’auto del futuro diventa uno spazio per vivere e lavorare. Covestro vuole andare incontro a queste richieste dell’industria automobilistica con la ricerca sui materiali….

Leggi tutto…

Carbonform is an agreement between three companies from Abruzzo that aims to mass-produce carbon fibre components for the automotive industry. The network contract for the development of ‘press forming’ technologies – through the conversion to compression molding of carbon fiber parts of a production plant that previously processed metal – was signed a few days ago by ACS – Advanced Composites Solutions, Susta and U.Form….

Leggi tutto…

Successful development of a lightweight thermoset based on renewable and regional raw materials. This article – published in the March issue of Compositi Magazine – talks about plastics for a green future. …

Leggi tutto…

The chassis patented by BMW is similar to that of the supersport S1000RR. The innovation lies in the composition of composite panels from different materials (carbon fiber, aramid and synthetic composite) that are screwed to the structure to change the resistance…

Leggi tutto…

The biennial agreement was renewed between the racing team of the university, Unibo Motorsport, and the Ducati Foundation. thanks to the sponsorship and technical support of Ducati, strengthens the partnership that allows the team of the University of Bologna to give students innovative training courses and to carry on the Unibo Motostudent project on the track, in international races, with an electric motorbike designed by the students…

Leggi tutto…