Lamborghini has today announced a partnership with Mitsubishi Rayon, a Japanese textiles company wholly owned by Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings.
The partnership aims to further develop carbon-fibre technology, which the brand uses extensively across its range of vehicles and has used for at least 30 years.
With almost 70,000 employees, Mitsubishi Rayon is Japan’s biggest acrylic fibre maker and represents part of the reason Japan produces around 60 per cent of the world’s carbon fibre.
The strategic partnership is designed to further research and development into the mass production of carbon-fibre shells and panels.
At the moment, Lamborghini can only produce five chassis per day – a number far too small to accommodate production of the new Urus SUV, due in 2018.
Lamborghini‘s history with carbon-fibre dates back around three decades to the Countach.
The Countach was the first Italian supercar to sport carbon-fibre technology in the form of pre-preg, which is a resin system that reinforces carbon fabrics, leading the way for weight reduction in Lamborghini vehicles.
Following the Countach was the Gallardo, which used RTM (Resin Transfer Moulding). RTM is a process where carbon-fibre is transferred on to a shell to offer further strengthening. This method is one of the latest forms of carbon-fibre use in the automotive field, but it’s let down by a lack of flexibility in terms of shapes and its use.
That’s where forged carbon composite comes into play. Instead of laying sheets on a pre-existing surface, forged composite uses a paste of fibres (around 3.2 million turbostratic fibres per square centimetre), which can then be spread into virtually any shape.
In terms of weight saving, the Centenario weighs around 55kg less than the Aventador, which it’s loosely based on, thanks to the use of forged composites.
Lamborghini board member for research and development, Maurizio Reggiani, said that this technology and the partnership will help further the development of Lamborghini’s future super sports cars.
“By continuing to develop our patented Forged Composite materials, we are able to create a product that can enhance Lamborghini super sports cars in both their performance and their appearance,” said Reggiani.
“The ability to leverage this kind of lightweight material gives Lamborghini a competitive advantage that will benefit our cars, as well as the production process, in the future.”
The launch of this partnership culminated in a huge gathering of classic and modern Lamborghinis in Tokyo. You can check out the full gallery at the CarAdvice Facebook page.
Are you excited by the future of carbon technologies?