BMW, Boeing form R&D partnership

Staff Report
Published Dec. 12, 2012

BMW Group and Boeing Co. announced a research-and-development partnership today to share knowledge on carbon fiber and manufacturing automation.

The R&D work will be done in Washington state, where BMW has a carbon-fiber plant and Boeing assembles 787 Dreamliners, instead of South Carolina, where both companies also have operations.

With the release of the BMW i3 in late 2013, followed later by the BMW i8, the BMW Group will bring two vehicles with a carbon passenger cell onto the market for the first time and Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner is made up of 50% carbon fiber material.

“Boeing has many years of extensive experience using carbon fiber in the field of aviation, while the BMW Group has earned a significant competitive advantage through its use of special manufacturing methods for series production of carbon fiber parts,” Herbert Diess, member of the board of BMW AG, said in a news release. “Through this cooperation we can merge know-how between our industries in the field of sustainable production solutions.”

As part of the collaboration agreement, Boeing and the BMW Group will share carbon fiber manufacturing process simulations and ideas for manufacturing automation. The collaboration agreement between the two companies is the first in the history of either company, according to a news release.

“This collaboration agreement is a very important step forward in developing the use and end use of carbon fiber materials,” said Larry Schneider, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of product development. “It is especially important that we plan for the end of life of products made from carbon fiber. We want to look at ways to reclaim and reuse those materials to make new products. Our work with the BMW Group will help us attain that goal.”

As part of its SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers LLC joint venture, the BMW Group has built a carbon fiber plant in Moses Lake, Wash., in partnership with the SGL Group. The carbon fibers produced in Moses Lake will be used exclusively for the BMW Group’s BMW i3 and BMW i8.

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Added: 13 Dec 2012

This is a great development for South Carolina . We have the world's leading carbon composites and carbon fiber reprocessing facility located in Lake City , South Carolina . The company is MIT-RCF , LLc which is fluent in automotive and aerospace grade carbon products reprocessing , including end of life articles . MIT-RCF's parent , Materials Innovation Technologies were recently awarded a broad and powerful patent in PTO participating European countries for producing 3 dimensional articles using reclaimed carbon fiber .

Mark Housley