Cobra Advanced Composites launches visual finishing components based on flax fibers

Flax fiber visual finishing components. Photo Credit: Cobra Advanced Composites

In response to strong demand from major OEM customers, Cobra Advanced Composites (CAC, Chonburi, Thailand), the automotive business of composites manufacturer Cobra International, has launched a line of ready-to-use flax fiber visual finishing components. to production. New natural fiber composite solutions offer a sustainable option over traditional carbon visual components, says CAC.

CAC has been supplying automotive OEMs with lightweight composite components since 2006, focusing on visual carbon fiber prepreg parts and building a reputation as a global supplier to high-end car and motorcycle OEMs. As new European regulatory targets rapidly approach, manufacturers have asked CAC to develop alternative composite technologies using more sustainable materials.

CAC used flax fiber prepregs with autoclave treatment to create the new components. Low-density flax fibers, typically grown in Western Europe, are much less energy-intensive to produce than carbon fiber, offer good impact resistance and high vibration damping. This makes them suitable for a wide variety of parts including interior and exterior components.

The new CAC program gives OEM customers several options for including sustainable natural fibers, with the company now offering:

  • Standard visual carbon twill outer ply with flax fiber backing ply. This option retains the classic carbon fiber look of a twill weave carbon fiber fabric, but replaces the backing plies (often two plies) with a woven linen pre-impregnated material.
  • Visual linen twill outer ply with flax fiber backing ply. Maximizing natural fiber content with 100% flax fiber reinforcement produces a durable construction.
  • Flax fiber components painted in body color. CAC produced fully painted flax fiber parts, offering a natural fiber composite option for components where a visual fiber finish is not required.

By leveraging its strengths in clear coated carbon fiber manufacturing and the natural fiber expertise developed in other business units, CAC believes it has successfully met the challenges of processing flax to meet the standards of strict automotive quality. By working with the world’s leading suppliers, CAC can color the protective lacquer, epoxy resin system and even the flax fibers themselves, creating natural fiber components with a wide palette of potential colors and shades.

“Developing the highest quality flax-based visual composite solutions for our OEM customers has been challenging yet rewarding,” said Michel Roeffaers, Commercial General Manager, CAC. “I am proud of the results the team has achieved with CAC now offering a full range of natural fiber composite options that perfectly complement our traditional carbon fiber visual parts.”

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