Pinfa Workshop “Electromobility & Fire Safety Challenges” in Tokyo, Japan

On July 1, 2019, the hotel "The Westin" in Tokyo, Japan, opened its doors for the pinfa Workshop "Electromobility & Fire Safety Challenges", a satellite workshop of the "Electro Mobility and Circular Economy (EMCE)" conference. The aim of the event was to increase the exchange in the value chain. This goal could be achieved by the more than 60 participants from the electromobility value chain such as automobile manufacturers, OEMs, compounders and manufacturers of flame retardants.

It was already the second workshop pinfa organized on this topic. While the first workshop focused on the Chinese market, as 2/3 of the electric cars were already sold in China in 2017, this time the focus was on the Japanese market. An important topic was the future needs and challenges, especially for batteries and e-mobility. The batteries currently weigh several hundred kilograms and their high weight reduces the range of electric cars. It is therefore necessary to use lighter materials instead of the previously used metal (steel or aluminium).

In his presentation, Mr. Hiroshi Okuyama of Nissan Co, Ltd. showed that fiber-reinforced composites must be used increasingly both now and in the future in order to achieve weight reduction. In his presentation, Dr. Yuta Urushiyama from Honda explained the ever more developed and optimized processing methods and the mass production that is thus made possible. He clearly showed that for mass production using thermoset resins as a plastic matrix for composites, processes such as High Pressure Resin Transfer Molding (HP-RTM) in particular are able to achieve an increased number of units through shorter cycle times.

In addition to the solution approaches for a higher range of electric cars and the associated further development of batteries, flame retardancy was also a relevant topic for these batteries.  Due to the ever increasing energy densities and high currents, there is an intrinsic fire risk, which is why naturally flammable plastics must be protected against ignition by the addition of flame retardants. Dr. Christian Schmidt of Clariant presented two suitable new products from the flame retardant sector. They enable the liquid processing of flame retardants when used in composites with thermosets as a matrix.

A third workshop on this topic is planned for November 12, 2019 in Darmstadt, Germany.