Coats joins General Motors LLC led Department of Energy Project

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Coats are joining a team, led by automaker General Motors LLC, to develop a tailored fiber-reinforced composites solution for volume manufacturing of structural battery enclosures in electric vehicles under a US Department of Energy cooperative agreement (DE-EE0009204).

Coats is providing expert knowledge and innovation in tailored fiber-reinforced composites technology to help develop lightweight, high-performance, and cost-effective structural battery enclosures.

Ronan Cox, President, Performance Materials Coats, said: ‘This is an exciting opportunity to innovate with a group of companies led by a global automotive leader to develop a composites solution at scale. Lighter, stronger and cost-effective composites solutions form part of the journey towards a zero-emissions future in automotive. It is excellent recognition of our expertise and also means Coats is contributing towards a more sustainable future for the industry.’

This latest collaboration builds on previous work with GM in developing lightweight, intrusion-resistant composite floor reinforcement structures. Coats will be proposing LatticeTM and Lattice ConductiveTM technologies to design and manufacture ultra-light composite material products. Lattice is an optimized continuous fiber laying technique that creates preforms with no waste and was demonstrated on a complex floor reinforcement component. Lattice Conductive allows for the integration of conductive paths and electronic circuitry in molded composite components. Coats then use its proprietary Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) tools to create a 2D Lattice continuous fiber preform that can be fabricated into a 3D preform mold.

Lattice technology reduces cost by generating zero waste preforms by placing fibres only where needed. It is also cost-effective because there is a 50% reduction in the steps required to fabricate the 3D preform for molding.

Dr Venkat Aitharaju, Staff Researcher, GM Research and Development said: ‘Coats Lattice Preform technology is a system that shows promise and may help make a positive business case for lightweight solutions.’

The development will be resourced from the Coats Innovation Hub at its Sevier site in North Carolina, US. The project is due to run until December 2023.


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