BMW, Boeing Collaborate on Carbon Fiber Production

BMW, Boeing Collaborate on Carbon Fiber Production

Air and ground met at the horizon since day one, but now the two are gathering over over something else — carbon fiber.

BMW and airplane manufacturer Boeing announced a plan today to collaborate on carbon fiber recycling, manufacturing and automation. The two transportation giants will share information with one another in the hope of gaining new ground with the increasingly implemented material.

Carbon fiber is favored for its light weight and strength, but the manufacturing process is significantly slower than shaping steel and aluminum. It’s also 50 percent and 30 percent lighter than the two materials respectively.

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The extra man hours required for production make parts more expensive, which is why automakers most frequently reserve the material for high-end products where consumers are accustomed to paying high premiums.

Last year, BMW muscled in on carbon fiber manufacturer SGL Carbon after Volkswagen bought a stake in the company. In the past, Volkswagen has also worked with Boeing to develop carbon fiber products for Lamborghini.

The airplane manufacturer is an attractive partner because it already makes extensive use of carbon fiber. For example, 50 percent of it’s 787 Dreamliner is built of the material.

[Source: Reuters]