Composite replaces metal in automotive front floor module

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  • Self-supporting, 100% made from composite
  • Composed of 5 composite parts, replacing 30 traditional steel parts
  • JEC Innovation Awards winner, category: Automotive Body-In-White

PSA Peugeot Citroën has developed a composite front floor module that is able to replace traditional steel body-in-white. The 100%-composite self-supporting front floor module is made from a glass fibre reinforced thermoset resin. One of the biggest challenges was to create a concept for mainstream automotive applications with high production rates without adverse impact on the end-consumers.

100%-composite structure replaces traditional metal beams

One of the targets was to introduce the composite module in an existing plant without having to build a specific line. It is the first concept with a 100%-composite structural design, which completely replaces traditional metal beams on the car-body floor for crash requirements. The composite module is designed to absorb crash impact and offer other body-in-white functionalities.

Four composite parts replace 30 traditional steel parts

It is composed of four composite parts, replacing a perimeter equivalent to more than thirty traditional steel parts assembled. This new design method reduces assembly costs. The composite front floor is based on an SMC manufacturing technology developed by Plastic Omnium for this application and is produced in a 2-minute cycle time. It is made from a specific thermoset material, an advanced SMC material also produced by Plastic Omnium.

composite front module

Composite self-supporting frontfloor module (source:PSA Peugeot Citroën)

SMC based on vinylester resin reinforced with chopped glass fibres

This SMC is based on a specific vinylester resin and reinforced with a high percentage of chopped glass fibres. A preforming step precedes the thermo-compression process in order to improve the robustness of the SMC technology. This SMC technology enables Plastic Omnium to produce huge parts (1.5.m x 1.5.m) in one shot with a standard, 2500-T industrial compression press.  In order to deliver at a 900-vehicle per day production rate, Plastic Omnium validated a fully automated process.

Complete vehicles were tested and passed vehicle testing procedures: crash tests, NVH, fatigue, vehicle handling, EMC, car-body torsions, among others. The front floor module is integrated into the Peugeot 208 Hybrid Air 2L and Citroën C4 Cactus Concept Airflow 2L models presented at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.

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