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      05-09-2014, 12:11 PM   #1
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Post BMW to Triple Carbon Fiber Production Capacity on High Demand

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BMW to Triple Carbon Fiber Production Capacity on High Demand
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BMW Group and SGL Group to triple production capacities at Moses Lake carbon fiber plant

Additional investment of 200 million US dollars
Medium-term capacity of 9,000 tons per year
Moses Lake to become the world’s largest carbon fiber plant
Workforce in Moses Lake to be stepped up to 200

Munich / Wiesbaden / Moses Lake- May 9, 2014... Due to the high demand for carbon fiber in automotive production, SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers is going to triple the capacity of the carbon fiber plant in Moses Lake, WA (USA). This has been announced today by the joint venture partners, SGL Group and BMW Group, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the planned site expansion. The expansion will be funded by an investment of 200 million US dollars, in addition to the previously invested 100 million US dollars. The site expansion, scheduled to be completed by early 2015, will make the plant in Moses Lake the world’s largest carbon fiber plant. With the anticipated creation of 120 new jobs, the headcount at the joint venture in Moses Lake is going to rise from currently 80 to about 200 people. Due to the automated production processes, the expansion of the site in Moses Lake will make it possible for the BMW Group to apply carbon fiber material also in other model series in the future, at competitive costs and in large quantities.

At present, the Moses Lake plant operates two production lines, exclusively for BMW i, with an annual output of approx. 3,000 tons of carbon fiber. Already this summer, SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers will commission a third and fourth production line in Moses Lake, which are currently being built, thus doubling the plant’s capacity to 6,000 tons per year. Today’s groundbreaking ceremony for a fifth and sixth production line has been the first step toward tripling capacities to 9,000 tons annually in the medium term. The energy needed for the carbon fiber production is fully generated from hydropower.

“With its highly automated carbon fiber production and stringent quality standards, Moses Lake is setting new standards in the industry. At present, the site is the world’s fastest growing carbon fiber producer. Together with the BMW Group, we are doing pioneering work to establish CFRP as a material in large-series automotive production.

In a mix of materials, CFRP offers new opportunities in lightweight construction for an eco-friendly mobility,” explained Dr. Jürgen Köhler, CEO of SGL Group.

Dr. Klaus Draeger, Board Member Purchasing and Supplier Network at BMW AG: “CFRP is a key material for the automotive industry of the 21st century. In our endeavor to identify increasingly lightweight materials in order to reduce a vehicle’s weight and thus its fuel consumption and carbon emissions, this material plays a crucial role. As part of an intelligent mix of materials, we will apply carbon also beyond our BMW i and BMW M models in the future. Thanks to the pooling of the SGL Group’s expertise and our knowledge in large-series production of CFRP components, we will be able to produce the ultra-lightweight high-tech material also for other model series, at competitive costs and in large quantities.”

The carbon fiber plant in Moses Lake is a key element in the strategy pursued by the two companies, which anticipates the industrialized large-series production of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) for the application in future vehicle concepts. Up to now, carbon fiber produced in Moses Lake is exclusively used for the BMW i models. Since the start of the year, the Leipzig plant has built over 5,000 BMW i3 vehicles. At present, the production output stands at 100 units a day. Furthermore, the BMW Group has been applying the ultra-lightweight high-tech material also in its BMW M models for the past ten years.

Andreas Wüllner, CEO of SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers: “In the course of only four years, SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers has managed to become the world’s largest carbon fiber production site. The automotive industry will increasingly turn to CFRP because it is a material of the future.”

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      05-09-2014, 12:25 PM   #2
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Awesome stuff. This is the BMWi project starting to pay dividends to the full line of BMW cars. I guess the G11 7-Series and the new X7 will be the first series production models using the expanded capacity CFRP coming out if Moses Lake. Hopefully they'll offer factory tours some day, would be fascinating to see the production process first hand.
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      05-09-2014, 01:04 PM   #3
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good news!
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      05-09-2014, 01:05 PM   #4
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So awesome....
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      05-09-2014, 05:20 PM   #5
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Great news!!
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      05-09-2014, 06:23 PM   #6
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Wow this bodes well for the future of the weight of BMW vehicles.
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      05-09-2014, 06:26 PM   #7
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This will put pressure on aftermarket companies. But still can be a motivating factor to become more creative
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      05-09-2014, 08:33 PM   #8
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Wow this bodes well for the future of the weight of BMW vehicles.
Sure hope this trickles to m cars and non m
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      05-10-2014, 02:15 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by antzcrashing View Post
Sure hope this trickles to m cars and non m
That is exactly why they are increasing production, to supply regular series BMW cars with CFRP. It's in the article...
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      05-10-2014, 05:06 AM   #10
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Good direction but I cannot help the feeling that it is channeled towards the Eco and marketing benefit rather true performance gains as would befit BMW.

All I can say is it would be amazing if the material became more of structural item to truly distinguish the line u with performance and economy and less of a garnish for to please the marketing guys. i range exempted of course.
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      05-10-2014, 07:32 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by antzcrashing View Post
Sure hope this trickles to m cars and non m
That is exactly why they are increasing production, to supply regular series BMW cars with CFRP. It's in the article...
Saying something and it happening are different... Bmw said this M3 (2015) was getting CF chassy way back, instead all it got was CF roof, ie costs were inhibitive to produce this for production parts and its still unseen whether that will change. Also out of curiousity I got an insurance quote for an i3, its absurd, likely due to high probability of totaling the CF frame
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      05-10-2014, 07:37 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N & M
Good direction but I cannot help the feeling that it is channeled towards the Eco and marketing benefit rather true performance gains as would befit BMW.

All I can say is it would be amazing if the material became more of structural item to truly distinguish the line u with performance and economy and less of a garnish for to please the marketing guys. i range exempted of course.
You make it sound as if this is a bad thing. Improving eco footprint and public perception is vital for the longevity of the performance car business
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      05-10-2014, 01:31 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by antzcrashing View Post
Saying something and it happening are different... Bmw said this M3 (2015) was getting CF chassy way back, instead all it got was CF roof, ie costs were inhibitive to produce this for production parts and its still unseen whether that will change. Also out of curiousity I got an insurance quote for an i3, its absurd, likely due to high probability of totaling the CF frame
Ah, ok. Under that context, your original comment makes more sense to me. I hear what you're saying. It seems now that BMW is actually producing their own CFRP that the reality is closer of the regular series cars and M cars getting a more intense CFRP treatment.

It might have been a desire or goal with the current gen M3/M4 but timing didn't work out. It seems to me to make sense by using this sizable investment to improve all newly developed BMW cars now that that a fully functioning production facility for CFRP.

Keep in mind the development process of several years likely makes it that models coming out within the next several years which have already been under development likely won't benefit from this as they're too far along their development cycle to make substantial changes. However within a generation or two I think it'll be more ubiquitous across the full range of BMW models.

Surely BMW didn't make a $2 billion investment into this technology of mass producing CFRP to only keep it for a select niche set of vehicles.
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      05-10-2014, 01:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Also out of curiousity I got an insurance quote for an i3, its absurd, likely due to high probability of totaling the CF frame
That's just a matter of bad information in your insurance company. Please change your insurance. In Germany insurance price is about the same as in ordinary cars. If you crash your i3 CF cell, an ordinary car is definitely a total loss also! And pay attention to what is CF and what's plastic - latter is much cheaper to repair than conventional metal and i3 and i8 do have it all around to take small hits.
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      05-10-2014, 03:07 PM   #15
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Sure hope this trickles to m cars and non m
If we look ahead to the next BMW M5.
It will be more advanced in Carbon technology than the new M3. Perhaps you can say extensively more advanced in its application. Of course the benefits of Its lightweight chassis ( the standard 5er load bearing area will be CFRP) will provide more hardcore dynasm than before and utilise its 600 + horsepower effectively but Efficiency is considered important too for some markets. So there will be advanced technology to help with emissions.
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      05-10-2014, 03:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
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That's just a matter of bad information in your insurance company. Please change your insurance. In Germany insurance price is about the same as in ordinary cars. If you crash your i3 CF cell, an ordinary car is definitely a total loss also! And pay attention to what is CF and what's plastic - latter is much cheaper to repair than conventional metal and i3 and i8 do have it all around to take small hits.
That's not the first time I have heard about the insurance aspect in the USA.
They need to educate themselves regarding what is applicable.

I recommend the customer should actually confront anyone who says otherwise and educate them.
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      05-13-2014, 10:57 AM   #17
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Isn't this company in Moses Lake, WA the same company supplying carbon fiber to Boeing for their game-changing 787 Dreamliner?
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      05-13-2014, 01:00 PM   #18
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A lot goes down at ML...

Aliens get their carbon wheaties form there too

It is what keeping them from destroying us
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      05-13-2014, 01:27 PM   #19
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Isn't this company in Moses Lake, WA the same company supplying carbon fiber to Boeing for their game-changing 787 Dreamliner?
SGL Group is the parent company of HITCO, which supplies CF parts for the 777 and possibly the 787. However their plant is in Gardena, CA, whereas the plant in Moses Lake is, from my understanding, a joint venture between BMW and SGL Group directly. Meaning the plant in Moses Lake will only supply BMW with CF, unless BMW decides to get into the CF business.
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      05-13-2014, 02:09 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by ddk632 View Post
SGL Group is the parent company of HITCO, which supplies CF parts for the 777 and possibly the 787. However their plant is in Gardena, CA, whereas the plant in Moses Lake is, from my understanding, a joint venture between BMW and SGL Group directly. Meaning the plant in Moses Lake will only supply BMW with CF, unless BMW decides to get into the CF business.
I was talking to chemical engineering classmate about carbon fiber a decade ago. We said that whoever comes up with a cheap and quick way to mass produce carbon fiber will make a mint. Looks like it's finally happening. Car companies will leap-frog over Aluminum and go straight to carbon. The future is bright for renewable materials.

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