Boeing and the BMW Group have signed a collaboration agreement to participate in joint research on carbon fiber recycling and share knowledge about carbon fiber materials and manufacturing.
Boeing and BMW are both pioneering the use of carbon fiber in their products. Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner is made up of 50 percent carbon fiber material and BMW will introduce two vehicles with passenger compartments made of carbon fiber in 2013. Recycling composite material at point of use and the end of product life is critical to both companies.
“This collaboration agreement is a very important step forward in developing the use and end use of carbon fiber materials,” said Larry Schneider, Commercial Airplanes vice president of Product Development, who represented Boeing at the signing in Seattle. “It is especially important that we plan for the end of life of products made from carbon fiber. We want to look at ways to reclaim and reuse those materials to make new products. Our work with BMW will help us attain that goal.”
“Boeing for us is a suitable partner for collaboration in the field of carbon fiber,” said BMW AG for Development Board Member Herbert Diess. “Boeing has many years of extensive experience using carbon fiber in the field of aviation, while the BMW Group has earned a significant competitive advantage through its use of special manufacturing methods for series production of carbon fiber parts. Through this cooperation, we can merge know-how between our industries in the field of sustainable production solutions.”
As part of the collaboration agreement, Boeing and the BMW Group will also share carbon fiber manufacturing process simulations and ideas for manufacturing automation.
BMW opened a plant in Moses Lake, Wash. in 2011 that will provide carbon fiber parts for the 2013 i3 and i8 models. Both new models will be assembled in Leipzig, Germany.
Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire was instrumental in securing the location for the BMW plant and promoted the partnership between Boeing and BMW.
“This exciting partnership between two global players and industry leaders is a win for our state,” said Gregoire. “This will help Washington further develop our capabilities and leadership position in the game-changing technology of carbon fiber. I’m pleased that BMW and Boeing have joined forces as this is a logical next step for the industry.”
The collaboration agreement between Boeing and the BMW Group is the first in the history of either company. The BMW Group is made up of BMW, Mini, Husqvarna Motorcycles and Rolls-Royce automobiles.