EELCEE – unique composite technology
Ongoing development projects have verified a weight saving potential of over 30 percent with EELCEE's technology. The company has started new development projects for leading OEMs and system suppliers and aims to start first series deliveries of composite cores in 2013.
Manufacturing the composite core
EELCEE and subsidiary EELCEE SA, located adjacent to École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Lausanne, has implemented numerous concept development projects with vehicle manufacturers and global subcontractors since 2008. The purpose of the projects has been to verify EELCEE’s patented composite technology. The results have shown significant weight reductions in a large number of application areas with the same or improved performance. The unique aspect of this technology makes it possible to offer these performance improvements at competitive prices by significantly reducing cycle times. This is an important technology breakthrough and a prerequisite for a bigger breakthrough in the use of composites in the automotive industry.
EELCEE’s founder Prof. Jan-Anders Månson has led composite development at EPFL since 1990. Right from the start his intention was to reduce cycle times and to use the expensive but extremely strong and rigid composite fibers in a more intelligent way. His work has resulted in a number of patents and in the spin-off, EELCEE AB, which is now going to commercialize the new technology.
EELCEE will support its customers in their development work which involves analyzing and applying composite solutions in future vehicle models. In addition to development support, EELCEE will produce and sell customized composite cores – the actual heart of the future lightweight composite components.
The attractive attributes that composites in general offer are of interest to the automotive industry, but in the area of reducing consumption, composites have not up to now managed to break through on a large scale. Examples of composites in the automotive industry already exist, but are mainly for premium vehicles and a limited number of applications. The composite market consists of a number of segments where different sheetforming methods are perhaps the best known. Here composites replace the current body parts on components where weight is important, e.g. the roof or the trunk lid. Another segment is structural parts where composites are used to reinforce structures or make them lighter. Here composite sheets are often used. These are pressed at a high temperature in the same way as steel or aluminum. EELCEE operates in this segment and is achieving great design freedom at a very attractive cost level with the help of its unique integration of the composite core, which provides strength and rigidity using conventional plastic processing methods. There is great interest in composites today, but when the performance of composites can be combined with the right manufacturing cost level, the market for alternative materials will open up for high-volume segments as well.
The past year - 2012
In 2012 EELCEE expanded its organization. Björn Wessman, formerly with Volvo Cars, was appointed as CEO at the end of the summer. He brings unique composite, application and simulation knowledge to EELCEE. The highly positive results from the ongoing development projects confirmed a weight saving potential of between 30 and 70 percent. During the year EELCEE sold a large number of development projects to OEMs and system suppliers for a number of key applications, such as seat structures. Also in 2012 the company worked on upgrading and expanding its production facility with the aim of starting the first production assignment in 2013.