The companies will be part of the newly formed Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI).

The aim is is to overcome the high cost and limited availability of carbon fiber, while developing a viable, high-volume manufacturing process. Ford and Dow Chemical began working together in 2012 to develop low-cost, high-volume carbon fiber composites.

Improved fuel economy

“This opportunity builds upon Ford’s current joint development agreement with Dow Chemical and accelerates our time line to introduce carbon fiber composites into high-volume applications,” said Jim deVries, Ford global manager, Materials and Manufacturing Research. “This collaboration helps us accelerate our efforts to create lighter automotive-grade composite materials that benefit customers by enabling improved fuel economy without sacrificing strength.”

“DowAksa’s technology and manufacturing expertise will help effectively overcome barriers to entry for the use of carbon fiber composites in high-volume automotive applications,” added Douglas Parks, DowAksa board member. 

Ford and DowAksa are also working together to reduce the energy needed to produce carbon fiber components, cut the cost of raw materials and develop recycling processes.