CYTEC Industries Inc recently opened a US$13 million application centre in Heanor, UK, adjacent to its existing manufacturing and R&D site. The opening marks another milestone for the advanced composite and process materials supplier in its strategy to develop new technologies for the automotive market. To find out more, we spoke to Alexander Aucken, Cytec Global Automotive Manager.

What are OEMs looking for in terms of new composites?

The OEMs are looking for composites that offer the most optimised technical and commercial performance that allows [them] and their tier one and two part suppliers to create the lowest total system/programme cost with as little complexity as possible. The OEMs are telling Cytec that they are looking ultimately for a multi-material solution (metals, thermoset composites, thermoplastic composites etc), where the right materials are used on the most suitable applications.

How will your new centre in Heanor support those requirements?

Cytec’s new application centre has been created with two fundamental objectives: The first is to allow us to rapidly develop and improve our composite materials to meet the total-cost needs of the automotive industry. It is not sufficient to just be able to offer excellent composites to our customers. Cytec needs to fully understand the part application designs, the production manufacturing processes, the waste issues and the quality issues, to be able to further develop and improve our materials from both a technical and commercial perspective. The second is for us to work together with our customers on their application development projects. Supply-chain development and communication and cooperation is fundamental to market growth and adoption of composites in higher volumes.

What type of technologies or processes are you using at this facility to create those new composites?

Cytec is focussed on developing and providing a portfolio of composite material technologies across the thermoset and thermoplastic material ranges, with a range of fibre types including carbon, glass, aramid and others. We are studying and creating recycled composite materials, working with automation and matched die press moulding and HP RTM processing equipment. We are also researching and developing 3D printing technologies. All with a view to support the industrial markets with composite technologies that combine the best in design, materials and manufacturing that offer the most effective total cost solutions for high volume production volumes.

Could you tell us a little more about how your recently-acquired equity position in Penso Holdings Ltd will help develop those composites?

Penso is an extremely capable and nimble engineering consultancy and composite part manufacturer, working with many of the industrial market OEMs. Supply-chain development, communication and cooperation is fundamental to market success. Cytec materials are there to facilitate the whole supply chain in fulfilling the needs of our OEMs customers. Our minority stake in Penso is one way of helping to secure and develop the supply chain for the future.