Here's to the Dreamers
Welcome to the first post in our weekly column From the Editor aimed at bringing our readers the week's news from the auto industry.
Recently I posed a question to a group of materials experts if they agreed that steel would remain the dominant material for the car body-in-white for many years to come. The answers I received were surprising not for the timeline that they laid out, but for their reasoning behind that timeline.
One in the group noted that, "Steel is good today...But, we must all begin working diligently to cause the switch over to CF/composites. Our transportation systems use >50% of our petroleum products consumed in this world." However, even as the need to move toward more sustainable materials drastically increases, cost and efficiency remain a factor and at the moment, steel is able to be products at a rate of 10 parts per minute on a single tandem press line while the innovators of composite materials work to be able to produce at 2 parts per minute. The same visionary that is currently working to bring production to a level that would make auto manufacturers consider the switch away from steel believes that we are still 40-50 years away from carbon fiber achieving a truly dominant position in the car industry. Nevertheless, the dreamers keep working to drive innovation to someday make it possible.
Here's to those dreamers...