Carbon fibre wheel manufacturer signs supply agreement

German manufacturer Henkel has announced a strategic material supply agreement with Australia carbon composite manufacturer Carbon Revolution.

Henkel will invest in dedicated manufacturing facilities to be built at its existing plant near Melbourne.

The agreement focusses on the production of carbon wheels, which can offer up to 40-50 per cent weight savings in comparison with aluminium wheels. Automotive wheels are also a significant source of mass, due to their rotating, unsprung nature.

“The collaboration with Carbon Revolution is targeted at providing various global OEM carbon wheel programs with the best solutions available and includes active support from Henkel via dual production capacities in the Europe and locally in Australia,” said Konrad Brimo Hayek, senior business development manager for automotive components at Henkel.

To date, Carbon Revolution’s carbon fibre composite wheels are used in sports cars, and have seen handling benefits due to the reduction in unsprung rotational mass. This leads to better steering feel and traction as well as improve accelerating and braking response, in part due to the lower inertia from carbon fibre composite wheels.

The sustainability of the vehicle is also improved, as carbon fibre composite wheels enhance fuel or electrical power efficiency and help automotive manufacturers reduce the CO2 emissions of vehicles, as Brett Gass, Carbon Revolution chief technology officer highlighted.

“As lightweighting components, carbon wheels can make a significant contribution to minimising the energy consumed when spinning the wheels up and dragging them back down every time the car is accelerated or slowed. This saves fuel on combustion engine vehicles and battery power on hybrid and fully electric vehicles, maximising their range,” said Gass.

Henkel, known for its adhesives, sealants, and functional coatings, will provide a global distribution network and increased production facilities for Carbon Revolution.