Carbon Fiber Construction – /INSIDE KOENIGSEGG


My name is Christian
von Koenigsegg. I’m 40 years old and for half
of my life I’ve been on the quest to be a leader in the
hyper car industry utilizing Swedish design combined with
visionary technical solutions. Our latest car, the Agera R, is
built in the old hangars of a former Swedish fighter
jet squadron. Their symbol, a ghost, is now
proudly painted on the back of every Koenigsegg. [CAR ENGINE REVVING] [CAR ENGINE REVVING] Carbon fiber is really one of
the fundamentals really to make a car strong, very light,
safe, and have fantastic performance. It creates massive rigidity but
does not add weight which is crucial if you want to make
a really efficient, fast, and fun sports car to drive. As far as we’re aware, our cars
are the most carbon fiber intense cars in production right
now, as we have over 400 different carbon fiber pieces. This here is an intake
for the engine– intake plenum. We have some pressurized turbo
pipes, valve cover, and even parts like the engine, as we
can see here, are made of carbon fiber, especially the
parts up top on the engine to get the center of gravity low. So what we’re seeing here
is something as very simple as a tube. It’s a turbo piping. And what I have in front
of me here is a machined mold from aluminium. Even a simple detail like a tube
needs a lot of thought to make it perfect. The CAD model is flowed to
check that the flow is perfect, that it has enough
volume to pass enough air to the engine at top power levels
and top RPM levels. It also has to have a shape
which is strong enough and to calculate the thickness of the
carbon fiber so that it can take the boost pressure. You can see here that it’s kind
of a funky shape to it. That its flow is optimized
for this curve. We have an integrated mount
here for a pressure and temperature sensor. Actually, when we manufacturer
a carbon fiber part from this tool, the first thing we do is
to put a release agent here. Because in the carbon fiber
pre-preg, which I have here, which is actually the material
the part is made out of, it’s pre-impregnated with two
component epoxy. So if this would be put down
here without releasing, it we would actually stick
to the tube. And then this material, the
carbon fiber, is cut to suit the tube part. This is not optimized
for this. I just took a small piece. But it’s applied like this and
layer by layer, different amount of layers depending
on the need. So that’s actually what’s going
to become the part. Then we need to pressurize. We need heat and pressure to
consolidate this to get it to have the right strength and
the right properties. So in order for the rest of the
processing material not to get stuck into the carbon fiber
and the epoxy, we put this kind of a release film here
which is easy to tear off of the part when it’s done. And it also makes sure that this
breathing fabric, as it’s called– it’s called
a breather– doesn’t stick to the
carbon fiber piece. And what this does is make sure
that the pressure that this is subjected to, or the
vacuum that we also suck out, that it gets spread out
and that we don’t get pockets of air. It’s making sure the atmospheric
differences are controlled over the surface. So at the end, we put this
bagging material over the whole part and then we seal it
off with kind of a goo that is similar to black chewing
gum, I would say. So, basically, these are the
elements included in the production of the part. And it’s quite intricate,
especially with a tube like this that has to then– we put
carbon fiber here, we put carbon fiber here. And then these– I’ll take this off right now– then they have to
match together. And I’ll need this bagging
material to come in to the tube to pressurize the tube from
the inside and then to seal off the tube from
the outside. Of course, the thinner,
the lighter but also less strong part. So if it’s a safety critical
part or, like this, a pressurized part, it really
needs to be calculated well to have the right amount
of carbon fiber. You never want to put more
carbon fiber than you need into a part because,
first of all, carbon fiber is expensive. So the part becomes
unnecessarily expensive. It takes more time to apply
the carbon fiber than is actually needed. And in the end also the part
becomes heavier, which is maybe the worst part in a
super light sports car. The end result is this tube. So in the end, it’s a quite
simple looking part, but there’s a lot of thought that
has gone into what it becomes in the end. Already, of course, from shaping
the part, but also when it comes to laying it
up and getting the right consolidation. You can see straight from the
tool, you get a quite nice even surface that doesn’t
require a lot of the hand fettling afterwards. As it is a very complex
technology, there are many types of weaves, many types of
carbon fiber strand, and different philosophies
of how to apply them. It’s a little bit of a black art
really, and really lessons learned and what kind
of philosophies you’re working towards. But we have been developing
carbon fiber parts since 1994. So I would say we have quite
good experience and can create extreme, lightweight, and strong
parts based on the knowledge we have and the
analysis tools we have. So it’s really a labor-intensive
process and the persons involved in the
manufacturing really needs to know what they’re doing to
get the desired result. Of course, here, we have a
much more complex part. So you can imagine what has to
go into this compared to a simple tube. And what’s nice about carbon
fiber is you can vary the strength and thicknesses in
different areas with no limit. It’s just how much thought you
want to put into it and how much labor you want
to put into it. But it can be so optimized, like
this corner can have a little bit of extra carbon. It can be thinner here. We can have a different
direction. Not many other materials gives
that kind of freedom. At the same time, not many other
materials can soak up so much time in the production
process. But that’s what makes the
car extreme and what it is in the end. Koenigsegg and carbon fiber are
very closely integrated and it has to be that way
in this very competitive market we’re in.