Chassis makers prefer thermoplastic curing process for carbon fiber products
Aaron Lee, Taipei; Joseph Tsai, DIGITIMES [Friday 23 August 2013]
As carbon fiber-reinforced plastic chassis are expected to enjoy strong growth in 2014, chassis makers are placing most of their resources on developing the thermoplastic curing process with chassis maker Ju Teng’s investment ratio for thermoplastic and thermoset curing processes reaching 8:1 for the year, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.
Taiwan’s carbon fiber industry used to focus on producing golf clubs, which adopt the thermoset curing process.
Since the thermoset process is more suitable for products with smaller sizes, but more complicated structures, and requires manpower to handle back-end trimming, such a process is not suitable for chassis manufacturing and therefore has turned most of the makers to focus on thermoplastic processes, the sources noted.
Catcher Technology chairman Hung Shui-shu pointed out that the company’s carbon fiber-reinforced plastic chassis are being adopted in clients’ 12- to 13-inch notebooks, smartphones and tablets. With increases in orders, the company expects its revenues to grow from NT$400 million (US$13.36 million) in 2013 to NT$1 billion in 2014.
Ju Teng’s carbon fiber-reinforced chassis is mainly supplied for notebooks, and only a small volume for smartphones and tablets because carbon fiber creates interference with communications signals, and so needs to use compound materials to resolve the issue. In the second half, Ju Teng has already started supplying a smartphone client its new chassis that mixes carbon fiber and fiber glass with plastic to bring out the transparency of the plastic. In 2014, Ju Teng is expected to acquire two more handset clients.
Carbon fiber-reinforced plastic chassis gaining popularity in the IT industry
Photo: Shihmin Fu, Digitimes file photo