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SGL Carbon produces composite leaf springs for Ford Transit

Since midyear, SGL Carbon has produced longitudinal leaf springs made of glass fiber-based composite for Ford Transit rear axles in series. The springs are used in combination with the Transit Skeleton chassis. Thus, they are applied where high payloads play an important role, for example in caravanning models or specific commercial vehicle variants of the Transit. In comparison to conventional leaf springs, the innovative composite leaf spring weighs about 50 percent less while offering increased security standards. The serial application is supported by a one-to-one compatibility with standard steel springs.

Largely automated production of glass fiber-based composite leaf springs at the component facility of SGL Carbon in Innkreis, Austria.
Largely automated production of glass fiber-based composite leaf springs at the component facility of SGL Carbon in Innkreis, Austria.

This is Ford’s first leaf spring project with composites in series worldwide. SGL Carbon delivers the leaf springs ready to install to the Ford-Otosan assembly plant in Kocaeli, Turkey.

“The design of these composite longitudinal leaf springs for the Ford Transit Skeleton chassis is yet another milestone in the development of production-ready lightweight leaf springs. They are not only characterized by their special material properties and semi-automatic production, but especially by their high compatibility with various customer model variants,” explains Sebastian Grasser, Head of the Automotive Composites – Fibers & Materials business unit at SGL Carbon.

In addition, for the first time ever, the leaf springs are manufactured on the basis of pre-impregnated glass fiber fabrics produced at the SGL Carbon site in Willich. The SGL Carbon component plant in Innkreis, Austria, is responsible for the development and serial production of the springs. Leaf spring concepts are an important part of the SGL Carbon strategy to support the automotive industry with innovative lightweight solutions made of glass fiber-based components.