Cobra Advanced Composites Launches Sustainable Flax Fibre Visual Finish Components For Automotive OEMs

CHONBURI, Thailand — October 10, 2022 — In response to strong demand from leading OEM customers, Cobra Advanced Composites (CAC), the automotive business of composite products manufacturer Cobra International, has launched a range of production-ready, flax fiber based, visual finish components.  The new natural fibre composite solutions offer a sustainable option compared to traditional carbon look visual components.

CAC has supplied automotive OEMs with lightweight composite components since 2006, focusing on visual carbon fiber prepreg parts and building a reputation as a leading global supplier to the premium car and motorcycle OEMs. With new European regulatory targets approaching fast, manufacturers have requested CAC with developing alternative composite technologies using more sustainable materials.

CAC has used flax fiber prepregs with autoclave processing to create the new components. The low density flax fibers, typically cultivated in Western Europe and much less energy intensive to produce than carbon, provide good impact resistance and excellent vibration damping making them suitable for a wide variety of parts including interior as well as exterior parts.

The new CAC program provides OEM customers with several options to include sustainable natural fibers, with the company now offering:

  • Standard visual carbon twill outer ply with flax fiber backing plies. This option maintains the classic carbon look of a twill weave carbon fabric but substitutes the backing plies (often two plies) for a woven flax prepreg material.
  • Visual flax twill outer ply with flax fiber backing plies. Maximizing the natural fiber content with 100-percent flax fiber reinforcement produces the most sustainable construction.
  • Body color painted flax fiber components. CAC has productionized fully painted flax fiber parts, providing a natural fiber composite option for components where a visual fiber finish is not required.

By leveraging its strengths in clear coated carbon manufacturing, and natural fiber expertise developed in other business units, CAC has successfully navigated the challenges of processing flax to meet the tough automotive quality standards. Working with leading global suppliers, CAC can color the protective lacquer, epoxy resin system and even the flax fibers themselves, creating natural fiber components with a huge palette of potential colors and shades.

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

Posted: October 10, 2022

Source: Cobra International Co., Ltd.