Automotive centre collaborates with Partner Network and joins three projects for joint business and technology development
Teijin Group just became one of the +80 AZL Partner Companies. Teijin is a technology-driven global group offering advanced materials solutions in the fields of automotive components, safety, security and disaster mitigation all while focused on environmental value, demographic change and increased health consciousness.
Along with their entry into the AZL community with more than 600 international experts active in the composite industry, the Teijin team also participates in three initial projects to analyze business opportunities in the segments of: bio-based composites; a multi-material design EV battery enclosure; and the development of a database for SMC formulations with harmonized techniques and parameters for material characterization.
Yutaka Yagi, Managing Director & General Manager of Technology of the new established Teijin Automotive Center Europe GmbH will be one of the key contacts representing Teijin in our joint partnership activities for business development and technology development.
You know the composite industry for a very long time, working for Teijin in Japan, the USA and now Germany. What differences do you observe for the US, European and Asian composites markets?
I have been working for Teijin over 20 years and strongly working for automotive composite business since 2008 after establishment of Teijin Composites Innovation Center. Back then, high-performance composite materials like carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) were not common in the Japanese automotive industry. (Except for special project like Lexus LFA which Teijin was proudly being able to support by our Carbon Fiber technology. Therefore, we developed Sereebo, a carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) technology which realizes a production interval (takt) time of just one minute. We also developed high-volume production methods for this ultra-strong, ultra-lightweight material in collaboration with automotive OEMs.
As one of the fruits of our efforts, we gratefully got an opportunity from General Motors to bring this technology to a production vehicle through our joint development project that kicked off in 2012. During this period, I learned that US automotive composite market has long history with many interesting applications. I also learned about CSP has been producing various automotive parts including Class-A body panels & systems, pickup truck boxes and vehicle roof systems for more than 50 years. I really noticed the U.S. market has a lot of energy and enthusiasm for bringing new technology into actual products.
After spending exciting 8 years in US, I moved to Germany in February to help Teijin further establish its composites technical expertise in Europe. I am still learning about this market, but I do know that Europe also has long history with many innovative composite applications and sophisticated manufacturing processes. We really want to be a positive, impactful member of this great and challenging market as we collaborate to bring new innovative solutions.
What is the motivation for setting up the Teijin Automotive Center Europe and what role will composites play in the center’s activities?
Our group companies in EU are supplying composite parts to automotive customers in European market already. The Teijin Automotive Center Europe is a new base for technical functions to handle concept, designing, prototyping, evaluations, marketing and technical research for next-generation automotive components. We will utilize our combined company’s materials and technical expertise to provide multi-material solutions for next-generation vehicles. We recognize that the automotive industry is currently undergoing drastic change, and facing many challenges, including the pandemic, and the push toward electrification and automation, but we strongly believe that composites technologies will result in solutions that bring value to the automakers and consumers.
Why did you decide to participate in the joint business development and technology development activities of the AZL partner network at times determined by Corona? What is the importance of collaborating in a network for you?
I have learned that the German technology and industrial cluster / consortium has been creating significant innovation and creating value to society by utilizing great technologies resulting from collaboration among the partners. In particular, the AZL partner network seems very close to industry and to bringing new technology and products to market quite effectively. Therefore, we could not find any reason not to join this great network. We really want to learn from this network, but also want to be a positive, contributing member to bring the value to this network.
What do you understand by sustainability and what are Teijin’s activities in regards to sustainability?
Since the beginning more than 100 years ago, Teijin has supported prosperous and comfortable lifestyles under our corporate philosophy of enhancing “Quality of Life,” while minimizing the negative impacts of our activities on the environment and society. Staying true to our philosophy and also guided by United Nation’s sustainable development goals, we are committed to contributing to the realization of a sustainable society by providing value to solve social issues through three solutions: (1) environmental value solutions; (2) safety, security and disaster mitigation solutions; and (3) demographic change and increased health consciousness solutions. We also identified important socialissues by considering our vision towards 2030 and then thinking backwards on what we need to do to achieve that vision. As a company that believes in “chemistry that puts humanity first,” we consider how to enrich the lives of people in the future in a manner that goes beyond chemistry based on substances and materials.