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Rheinmetall Automotive strengthens expertise in lightweight engineering and production

Through its subsidiary KS Kolbenschmidt GmbH, the Neckarsulm-based company has now acquired¬ a 24.9-percent stake in ¬Carbon Truck & Trailer GmbH, Stade/Germany

Automotive supplier Rheinmetall Automotive, a member of the Technology Group Rheinmetall, is systematically expanding its longstanding expertise in automotive lightweight engineering. Through its subsidiary KS Kolbenschmidt GmbH, the Neckarsulm-based company has now acquired¬ a 24.9-percent stake in ¬Carbon Truck & Trailer GmbH, Stade/Germany.

Carbon Truck & Trailer (CarbonTT) is a start-up company founded in 2013 ­with currently 12 employees, until now family-owned. The company, which is located in the ‘CFK Valley Stade’ competence network, develops and manufactures innovative load-bearing structural components made of carbon fiber-reinforced­ plastic (CFRP). CarbonTT is focused on the cost-effective series-production of CFRP chassis for light commercial vehicles.

CFRP is up to 70 percent lighter than steel and 30 percent lighter than aluminum. This weight reduction permits less fuel consumption, increased payload, and/or a greater range for battery electric vehicles. CarbonTT managing director Gerret Kalkoffen: “Lightweighting will be a major contributor to reducing vehicle emissions and supporting e-mobility. Our production technology allows OEM’s to cost-effectively utilize CFRP components, improving vehicle efficiency and creating value for their customers. We are excited to welcome Rheinmetall Automotive onboard and to grow the business together.”

For Rheinmetall the aim of the cooperation is to support CarbonTT to industrialize the production process to OEM standards and to organize the corresponding quality system. In addition, the contribution of other Rheinmetall techniques and products opens up a strategic option for the development of additional lightweight applications as well as integrated modules and systems.

The Hardparts Division of Rheinmetall Automotive is contributing its more than one hundred years of experience in the demanding implementation of automotive manufacturing processes to the cooperation and at the same time diversifying into a new material and field of ­business. Helmut Freiermuth, head of Rheinmetall Automotive’s Hardparts division, commented­: “This new commitment not only strengthens our existing expertise in designing and manufacturing structural parts, but also expands and diversifies our lightweight engineering activities to include the use of CFRP materials, that will become increasingly important in the future against the background of further necessary weight savings and the shift to electromobility”.

SOURCE: Rheinmetall Automotive

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