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TPI Composites has been awarded a $3M program by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) under the 2015 Vehicle Technologies Program to design, develop, and demonstrate an ultra-light hybrid composite door.
TPI has a long history of designing, producing, and testing lightweight vehicle structures. TPI will be leading a team of industry and academic participants with knowledge in vehicle design and composite materials, including Creative Foam Corporation, Hexion Inc., KraussMaffei, Saertex, LLC, Center for Composite Materials at the University of Delaware, and a global automotive OEM.Part of the challenge of widespread composite adoption in automotive applications is the ability for composite structures to achieve both cost targets and high volume production rates. The ultra-light composite door program will be designed to meet all structural, safety and NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) performance goals while addressing cycle time and cost constraints. According to the 2015 WardsAuto survey of automotive engineers and designers, “lightweighting and use of lightweight structural materials” is the top technology for reducing mass to meet upcoming government CAFÉ standards for fuel efficiency. While this program is focused on the door, the material systems and manufacturing processes could be applied to many other areas of the vehicle including the chassis and body structure.More information: www.tpicomposites.com