Feature Story Clean Energy & Ocean Solutions

Hanwha Advanced Materials: Composite Materials for More than Just the Hypercar

April 19, 2018
  • The all new composite seat back is strong as steel but much lighter and simpler to assemble
Hanwha Advanced Materials Principal Research Engineer Kong Yong Sik delivered a keynote speech at JEC World 2018 in Paris

Hanwha Advanced Materials Principal Research Engineer Kong Yong Sik delivered a keynote speech
at JEC World 2018 in Paris

Hanwha Advanced Materials piqued the curiosity of visitors at JEC World 2018 in Paris, France with an intriguing new seat back for SUVs. Unlike the seat backs currently on the market, this seat back is made entirely out of composite materials. No steel was used to reinforce its structure.

"No one's ever thought of not using steel when making automotive seats," said Kong Yong Sik, the Principal Research Engineer responsible for the seat back's development. "Everyone's been preoccupied with trying to simply reduce the amount of steel they use."

Some visitors were skeptical that an all-composite seat back could perform as well as a steel-frame seat back. They were pleasantly surprised to see that it had passed even the most stringent safety tests with flying colors. They were even more surprised to learn that the prototype seat back is up to 30% lighter than the traditional steel seat back.

This revelation could be a revolution for the next generation of seat back designs. Automotive manufacturers are constantly on the lookout for new solutions that can shave off even a few ounces. Hanwha Advanced Materials just demonstrated that it is possible to reduce a significant amount of weight without sacrificing quality or safety. This will be of significant interest to car makers all over the world.

"Weight reduction is the one big unchangeable trend in the automotive industry," says Kong Yong Sik. "Regardless of gas, electric or hybrid vehicles, lightweight solutions mean less fuel consumptions overall."

Few manufacturers have considered using composites outside of high-performance vehicles. Hanwha Advanced Materials' prototype seat back proves that composite materials have wider applications that open up a brand new range of design possibilities for passenger cars.

Hanwha Advanced Materials, already the global leader in Lightweight Reinforced Thermoplastics and Glass-Mat Thermoplastics, hopes to begin full-scale production of its new composite seat back by 2019. The company estimates that it will be able to manufacture at least 600,000 units per year globally once production begins. Kong Yong Sik is keen to continue experimenting with the materials and even sees his seat back concept taking to the skies.

"People will always need to go places, even in the flying cars of the future," Kong says. "Weight reduction will go hand-in-hand with developments in mobility technology so we're going to keep working to find new applications for composite materials."

Hanwha Advanced Materials

Founded in 1965, Hanwha Advanced Materials’ vision is “A high-tech materials company that protects the values of humanity and the environment.” To achieve this vision, we’re developing an innovative line of products and technologies that are more environmentally conscious while catering to the needs of our customers around the world. We produce lightweight composite materials and thermoformable components for automobiles, highly efficient advanced film for solar energy, and high-performance coating films for mobile phones and display. We have also developed local production plants and R&D centers in South Korea, the US, Europe, and China. Our global sales continue to rise.

For more information, please visit: www.hwam.co.kr/en

Hanwha Group

Founded in 1952, Hanwha has grown quickly by anticipating and responding to changing business environments with a balanced business portfolio that includes energy & materials, aerospace, finance and retail & services. Our expertise and synergy in key areas have catapulted us into the seventh-largest business in South Korea and a Fortune Global 500 company. Hanwha continues to grow rapidly as we strive to pursue global leadership in all of our businesses. We are building a robust foundation for sustainable development and a brighter future for everyone.

For more information, visit: www.hanwha.com