TRB Lightweight Structures has announced that it plans to open a composites manufacturing centre in Richmond, Kentucky, as a joint venture with Toyota Tsusho America. The 40,000 square foot facility, which the company says will open “soon”, will be equipped with state-of-the-art robotics to allow high-volume production of carbon fibre components using TRB’s press-forming process, initially focusing on the automotive sector.
The use of carbon fibre components has traditionally been limited to high-end, low-volume products, due to the laborious and costly manufacturing processes involved with the material. However, TRB has developed a production process that it claims will enable carbon fibre to be press-formed using advanced industrial robotics, allowing components to be manufactured at a similar price point to equivalent aluminium parts. The new Richmond facility will complement TRB’s UK manufacturing operations, providing greater access to these materials for the North American market, particularly for the rapidly growing EV sector in the USA.