Commercialization of a full carbon wheel manufactured with an automated high-volume process for the automotive market


The aim of CARIM is the final development, homologation and commercialization of a full carbon automotive wheel manufactured in an automated, high-volume production process. Within the 2-year project the TRL level, currently 6+, will be raised to 8+ or 9. Developments in automated CFRP production technology will generate a wheel that is 30-50% lighter than state-ofthe- art Al-wheels, with the extra advantage of excellent mechanical performance. The manufacture of the wheels in an automated preforming and HP-RTM process will ensure short cycle times (max. 10 min/component) and lower costs (1634€/wheel in first year of production and 1164€ in 2020) that will enable scale-up to series production and make the CARIM wheels competitive against current casted and forged Al-wheels and other emerging plastic wheel concepts. A testing and validation phase for the demonstrators covers a comprehensive product homologation to meet TUV regulations and the requirements of OEMs and material suppliers. The market entry of the product is clearly detailed in the proposal’s business plan which predicts a commerciallyavailable product within one year after the project ends. The strategy for implementing the carbon wheel on the market is a top-down approach starting with a low production volume for high class cars and a steady rise in carbon wheel production. The five-year goal is a production capability - only at RiBa - of 52.000 wheels per year by 2020. The technology also has the potential for transfer into higher-volume car segments in luxury/medium-class vehicles, as well as to helicopter and aviation applications. The industry-driven consortium is supported by strong partners integrated in an Industrial Exploitation Board (Bentley, Huntsman) providing technical and economic consulting and know-how. The project results will be systematically disseminated and exploited to maximize visibility, industrial take-up and the transfer of the developments to new markets. 

Project details

Unibo Team Leader: Lorenzo Donati

Unibo involved Department/s:
Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca Industriale su Meccanica Avanzata e Materiali

Fraunhofer Ipa(Germany)

Other Participants:
TÜV SÜD Product Service GmbH (Germany)
ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - Università di Bologna (Italy)
Alpex Technologies Gmbh (Austria)

Total Eu Contribution: Euro (EUR) 1.930.033,88
Project Duration in months: 24
Start Date: 01/01/2016
End Date: 31/12/2017

Cordis webpage
Project website

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 690915 This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 690915