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Toho Tenax and Kawasaki to develop mass-production CFRP springs for railcar trucks

News International-French

4 Jan 2016

Toho Tenax, the core company of the Teijin Group’s carbon fibers and composites business, announces that it has agreed with Kawasaki Heavy Industries, to jointly develop a carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) leaf spring that can be mass-produced for railcar trucks.

The leaf spring was initially developed in 2013 and is already used in Kawasaki’s new-generation railcar truck, the efWING.

Toho Tenax will help establish an integrated system encompassing everything from the carbon fiber’s original yarn to the actual CFRP leaf springs. The new mass-production system will enable the efWING to be marketed on a global scale.

“Teijin Group is accelerating its downstream strategy by leveraging its high-performance carbon fiber, with one such result being this joint development with Kawasaki Heavy Industries,” says Teijin Group Executive Officer Takashi Yoshino, who is also general manager of the group’s Carbon Fibers & Composites Business Unit and president of Toho Tenax. “Teijin Group aims to expand its carbon fiber and composite businesses by increasingly focusing on innovative transportation solutions, a key element focus of our downstream strategy.”

Conventional railcar trucks use side frames and independent coil springs made of steel, but the efWING is the world’s first to combine these components in a simplified solution made of CFRP. The lighter materials and simplified design help to reduce the truck frame’s weight by some 900kg per railcar. Benefits include more efficient running costs and lower CO2 emissions, as well as the reduction in the risk of wheel derailment.

About the Teijin Group:
Teijin is a technology-driven global group offering advanced solutions in the areas of sustainable transportation, information and electronics, safety and protection, environment and energy, and healthcare. Its main fields of operation are high-performance fibers such as aramid, carbon fibers & composites, healthcare, films, resin & plastic processing, polyester fibers, products converting and IT. The group has some 150 companies and around 16,000 employees spread out over 20 countries worldwide. It posted consolidated sales of JPY786.2 billion (USD 6.6 billion) and total assets of JPY 823.7 billion (USD 6.9 billion) in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015.

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