• Oct 4, 2010
Lamborghini and Callaway announce their strategic partnership in Paris – Click above for high-res image

Lamborghini
is hard at work finding new ways to make its cars lighter as much if not more than any other automaker. Most of that research centers around carbon fiber. Thing is, the stuff is really expensive to make. But on the plus side, although motorsport was the driving force behind the material's development in the first place, the auto industry is far from the only one working with it these days.

Lamborghini Forged Composite carbon fiberWhile experimenting with the material at the University of Washington, Lamborghini met up with another interested party: Callaway Golf. Since their interests overlap but don't compete one with another, the two recently announced a strategic partnership to develop a more versatile, cost-effective form of carbon fiber.

The result is called Forged Composite. Whereas conventional carbon fiber is layered down in sheets and bonded together, Forged Composite comes mixed together in a paste of fibers and epoxy that can be squeezed into any shape desired. The application makes it far easier to form complex shapes, and since the fibers come out oriented randomly, the resulting form is apparently stronger in every which direction, instead of fixed ones like in conventional layered sheet carbon.

Lamborghini demonstrated what it has in mind for Forged Composite with the Sesto Elemento concept currently on display at the Paris Motor Show. The concept's monocoque and suspension arms are made from the stuff. For Callaway's part, they're planning on using Forged Composite for a new generation of golf club heads, allowing for lighter weight, a longer shaft and a drives an estimated at eight yards longer than with existing clubs. Callaway Golf plans on phasing out titanium drivers – currently the market dominator – in favor of the new Forged Composite ones within a year. There's no word yet on when we'll see the debut of Forged Composite on a production Lamborghini, but we're guessing it won't be long.



[Source: Lamborghini]
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AUTOMOBILI LAMBORGHINI AND CALLAWAY GOLF FORM STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP

Alliance Links R&D Teams of Legendary Italian Automaker and Foremost Golf Equipment Manufacturer, Forged Composite™ Introduced as Partnership's First Collaborative and Groundbreaking Material.

Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. and Callaway Golf Company (NYSE: ELY) have signed an agreement to connect the resources of their world-renowned Research and Development teams. This unique alliance establishes an ongoing collaboration to develop innovative technologies and materials designed to enhance the performance of each company's products. The partnership, as well as the introduction of a new, co-developed material called Forged Composite™, was officially celebrated today at the 2010 Paris Motor Show by Automobili Lamborghini President and CEO Stephan Winkelmann and George Fellows, President and CEO, Callaway Golf.

Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, said: "We see power-to-weight ratio and weight reduction as the keys for future super sports cars and carbon fiber as the material to achieve these goals. Callaway's expertise in specific technologies is strategic for our research projects and therefore we welcome this partnership as a further, important milestone in our over 30 years long history of carbon fiber applications."

"This partnership joins two of the world's most respected brands," said George Fellows, President and CEO, Callaway Golf. "Both Callaway and Lamborghini feature rich histories of challenging convention and employing technological innovation to create breakthrough products. This shared dedication has brought our companies together, and will continue to set us apart from our competition."

Formation of Partnership

The origins of this now formalized relationship date back several years. Through the constant pursuit of lighter and stronger materials that improve the performance of their products, the Lamborghini and Callaway Research and Development teams cultivated similar areas of expertise. A major point of convergence surrounded the development of advanced composite structures. These highly developed materials, comprised of microscopic carbon fibers, feature superior strength and performance characteristics in comparison to the metal alloys that are generally used throughout the automotive and golf industries.

For Lamborghini, the lighter and stronger composite materials enabled their designers to create important components for their technological demonstrator, "Sesto Elemento", featuring an unforeseen power-to-weight ratio and acceleration capability. For Callaway, employing carbon composites in place of steel and titanium offered their engineers the ability to design increasingly advanced clubheads with a greater transfer of power upon impact with the ball and more accurate trajectories.

While carbon-based materials have been featured in Lamborghini and Callaway products for several years, making its debut at the 2010 Paris Motor Show is a groundbreaking new material called Forged Composite™. Developed in conjunction with both Research and Development teams, Forged Composite™ is the first collaborative element of the Callaway and Lamborghini alliance.

About Forged Composite™

Forged Composite™ is the lightest, strongest, most precise material ever used by either Lamborghini or Callaway. Encompassing more than 500,000 intertwined turbostratic fibers per square inch, this revolutionary material features an incredibly high threshold for withstanding the extreme forces encountered by Lamborghini and Callaway products. Forged Composite™ is one-third the density of titanium, yet features a greater load carrying capacity per unit mass in bending. The implementation of a new, proprietary isothermal forging process enables Callaway and Lamborghini engineers to incorporate Forged Composite™ into their designs with a level of precision that was previously unachievable.

"Forged Composite™ provides us with the ability to engineer performance enhancements like never before, and we've only just begun to tap the potential of this material", said Dr. Alan Hocknell, Sr. Vice President, Research and Development, Callaway Golf. "We're looking forward to collaborating on future applications that push our designs beyond any preconceptions."

"The introduction of the Forged Composite™ technology allowed Lamborghini to realize the monocoque and the suspension arms of the Sesto Elemento with groundbreaking quality and costs levels" said Maurizio Reggiani, Director Research and Development of Automobili Lamborghini. "Our next challenge is to make this technology a standard for low volume productions."

Lamborghini unveiled its first design featuring Forged Composite™ with the Sesto Elemento technology demonstrator making its debut at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. Callaway will introduce a line of premium golf equipment featuring this groundbreaking material in the coming weeks and throughout 2011.


About Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

Founded in 1963, Automobili Lamborghini is headquartered in Sant'Agata Bolognese, in Northeastern Italy. There it manufactures some of the world's most sought-after super sports cars. With almost 125 dealerships worldwide, Automobili Lamborghini is building on a succession of dynamic and elegant super sports cars including the Miura, Islero, Urraco, 350GT, Espada, Countach, Diablo, Murciélago LP 640, Murciélago LP 640 Roadster, Gallardo SE, Reventón Coupe, Reventón Roadster, Gallardo LP 560-4 Coupé and Spyder, Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce, as well as the Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino Balboni. With this year's presentation of the best-in-class Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera at the Geneva Auto Salon and the unveiling of the ultra-light Sesto Elemento at the Paris Motor Show, Lamborghini has again displayed its clear leadership in the field of carbon fiber technology. Here, Lamborghini is building on a thirty-year history – in 1983, Lamborghini used carbon fiber reinforced plastics to build the famous Countach. As a 100 percent subsidiary of AUDI AG, the Italian super sports car manufacturer further benefits from the lightweight construction competence of its parent company.


About Callaway Golf

Through an unwavering commitment to innovation, Callaway Golf Company (NYSE:ELY) creates products and services designed to make every golfer a better golfer. Callaway Golf Company manufactures and sells golf clubs and golf balls, and sells golf apparel, footwear and accessories, under the Callaway Golf®, Odyssey®, Top-Flite®, and Ben Hogan® brands in more than 110 countries worldwide.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 19 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Looks like a gimmick to make people pay more money for what it's worth. The fibers look like they are randomly oriented discontinuous fibers. The material is not going to be as strong as continuous fibers. However, they should be a lot easier to mold into different shapes though. I hope they'll be honest and forthcoming on the benefits and drawbacks.

        • 4 Years Ago
        @uwkram:

        I think it has more to do with cutting costs. Normally, in order to make the carbon fiber parts, the sheets of fiber has to be laid individually and then bonded with epoxy. This is very labor and time consuming. If you want to mass produce something you have to bring some form of automation and I think this "injection mold" type of carbon fiber can be automated like the production of plastics.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Where can I find more information on this material? I may have a need for it. Is this material supplied by a third party, available to other customers, or is the intellectual property exculsive to Callaway and Lamborghini?
      • 4 Years Ago
      The construction industry has been using fiber reinforced concrete for years.

      Looks like this Forged Composite stuff is similar, except they used different materials.

      Epoxy replaces the concrete. And carbon fibers replace the steel/glass fibers.
      • 4 Years Ago
      In regards to strength, as long as it’s as strong as automotive grade steel I fail to see the problem. They're not trying to build a battering ram. And also , wasn’t that a huge problem from the 1920's when heavy steel bodies came into use until crumple zones came along in the 70's? The cars would be in a massive accident but still be drivable, while the fragile humans inside would have every bone broken, muscle torn and organ smushed because all the g's and impact forces were transmitted to them.
      • 4 Years Ago
      random fibers in a matrix is not stronger than unidirectional pre-preg aerospace grade cf because random fibers are usually not straight and tend to have a lower fiber volume fraction than pre-preg. Yes, it has more uniform isotropic material properties, but the beauty of cf is the directional performance... otherwise, its just black aluminum.
        Carlos
        • 4 Years Ago
        LOL @ black aluminum. I'm glad someone on here knows that joke
      • 4 Years Ago
      Carbon fiber makes the Calloway golf clubs "whip" because of the "flex." Same holds true for driveshafts! See here: Composite driveshafts can increase torque and can help prevent injuries http://www.americanchemistry.com/s_plastics/doc.asp?CID=1080&DID=6583 . The plastics industry is delighted with these new developments and is advocating for more "predictive engineering" Improve predictive engineering capabilities to more accurately support the performance and durability of automotive plastics products and systems. See Page 26: http://www.plastics-car.com/roadmap_fullversion
      • 4 Years Ago
      Motor sport is definitely NOT / has never the driving force behind the innovation of carbon fiber nor any other graphite composite – credit for that goes to the aerospace industry, and Kelly Johnson of Lockheed Martin Skunks Works fame, for his innovate use of graphite composites on the leading edges of the YF-12 / SR-71, spurred not by an interest in stealth, but because it was sufficiently rigid, and could withstand the 1200 degree F temperatures generated by flying Mach 3.5 at 85,000 feet. Same goes for titanium– first substantial vehicular use of titanium alloys (so pure, that the chlorine content of domestic water sources proved corrosive) are also found in the SR-71, motivated once again, by a need for “lightness” and high-temperature tolerances. So thank Kelly Johnson, Ben Rich, Skunk Works, and the SR-71 for all that sweet sweet carbon fiber and titanium… 50 more years of trickle-down economics, and maybe we’ll get us some ramjet powered passenger aircraft.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I was thinking the same thing . . . okay I didn't know the specifics, but I was there for the aerospace part.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't think the SR-71 used carbon fiber composites for the leading edge. I'm pretty they used a titanium skin and honeycomb composite for the leading edge.
      • 4 Years Ago
      No word on it's cost effectiveness though? In theory a faster to apply, easier to shape composite should drop the cost, but that depends on how hard the pre-made paste is, which they don't give any indication of.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It looks kinda blah.....not nearly as slick as normal carbon fiber.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is that guy freakishly skinny?
      He looks about like me.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So when are we going to see the JOTA?
        • 4 Years Ago
        "The application makes it far easier to form complex shapes, and since the fibers come out oriented randomly, the resulting form is apparently stronger in every which direction,"

        BS. Longer fibers offer higher strength, period.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I can't exactly contradict you, but in building fiberglass sub boxes, using the torn up mat was stronger than using the straight sheets because you end up with multiple layers due to the overlap. I'm sure that's the case here, the paste spits out enough random fibers to create overlapping, thus multiple layers would indeed be stronger.

        How much did Toyota spend on their CF machine? :/
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is a form of the same kind of plastic that has been used for years. This uses carbon fibers which are a little stronger than aramids or glass.

      It's good stuff, it has a good stiffness to weight ratio for something you can form easily (unlike regular CF which has to be laid up). But it's not anything super special.
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