BASF, Ford and Montaplast partner to develop carbon fiber reinforced front engine cover and structural oil pan for the Multi-Material Lightweight Vehicle project

Posted on April 29, 2015

WYANDOTTE, MI, April 29, 2015 – BASF recently joined forces with Ford Motor Co. and Montaplast to develop advanced composite powertrain components as part of the Department of Energy (DOE) Multi-Material Lightweight Vehicle (MMLV) demonstration project.


The main focus of the team was to convert the cast aluminum front cover and structural oil pan of the 1.0L L3 GTDI Ford Ecoboost engine to a long carbon fiber (LCF) polyamide composite. The team’s efforts resulted in prototype LCF components that saved approximately 4lbs. (1.8kg) per engine – a per component mass savings of 23 percent for the front cover and 33 percent for the structural oil pan.


“Working with an advanced composite like carbon fiber presented several new technical challenges in terms of design and processing,” said Scott Schlicker, Powertrain Marketing Manager, BASF. “We are working on many new lightweight materials and technologies to help the automotive industry meet current and future challenges. The partnership with Ford helped to advance these solutions.”


BASF worked closely with the team to deliver the finite element analyses (FEA) and to structurally optimize the parts for both performance and mass.  In addition, BASF developed a new LCFPA66 composite thermoplastic called Ultramid® XA-3370 which yielded the best balance between mechanical properties and process-ability. BASF also provided processing and tooling support to ensure the quality of the molded prototype components.


Montaplast, having depth and experience with complex injection moldings, was able to produce molded parts for the project’s functional build and proof of concept.

“We really appreciate being a member of this team,” said Dave Burnett, Vice President, Montaplast. “Challenging applications of advanced thermoplastic products and finding solutions to meet our customers’ needs is what Montaplast is all about.”


The molded parts for the MMLV project will undergo testing to simulate actual in-vehicle loads, evaluate their performance and correlate the results with the computer aided engineering predictions performed by BASF. The team hopes to increase the value of these components through the integration of additional components, functions, and the reduction of manufacturing steps.


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