BMW Motorrad Develops Rear Swinging Arm Made of Carbon Fibre
As part of the "MAI hiras+handle" project, a process was developed to build cost-effective carbon fibre composite materials (carbon fibre-reinforced phase, CFP) in structural components subject to high levels of continuous stress. “Our production technique uses CFP in the form of high-strength endless fibres where this is required by the stress pattern, while an injection mould part with short CFP recycling fibres is used where the stress levels are not as high. In this way, we developed a cost-efficient design that can be scaled according to requirements by inserting endless fibres with varying levels of strength in the same tool," says project manager Elmar Jäger.
In addition, scalability is enabled by using a variety of composites and metal inserts. This means that the component properties can be specifically adjusted with just one tool at cycle times of less than one minute, permitting a wide range of different components for production. The maximum strength can be adjusted with additional CFP panels that can be thermoplastically joined. The project also involved successful testing with welding robots. "The insights gained consistently build on the BMW i3 as the basis for the use of CFP in serial production and include interesting aspects in terms of the future development of new BMW motorcycles and automobiles", says Dr. Joachim Starke from BMW, who has overall responsibility for funding projects in the area of lightweight composite fibre. BMW Motorrad received the 2018 JEC Innovation Award in the Leisure & Sports category for the development and manufacture of a rear swinging arm made of carbon fibre.