Donkervoort Automobielen B.V. has been producing high-tech, lightweight sports cars for the last 40 years, providing its customers with the purest driving experience possible. For over a decade, this Dutch car manufacturer has also been devoting substantial time, money and attention to innovative materials, eventually resulting in the fully in-house development of the patented EX-CORE® carbon-fibre technology. The single-shot carbon-fibre production method provides immensely strong and incredibly lightweight carbon components. This technology is so innovative that it is one of the 50 selected from a field of over 2,300 nominees for the European Innovation Grant in High-Tech Materials and Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, awarded within the scope of Horizon 2020: an EU innovation program for high-tech scale-ups.
With car-emission requirements getting stricter and stricter, one of the keys to success lies in weight reduction, which is why both large and small car manufacturers are constantly seeking ways to trim as many extra kilos as possible. Maximum weight reduction has been one of Donkervoort’s most important core values for 40 years now. Carbon fibre – a product of the continual quest for stronger, lighter and safer vehicle constructions – has played and plays a vital role in achieving this.
EX-CORE® – a unique single-shot production method for carbon components
In recent years, Donkervoort’s in-house Design & Engineering team has developed the patented carbon-fibre technology EX-CORE® to enable lighter and stronger car components than ever before. Other important requirements for these components include minimum manufacturing time and maximum design freedom.
EX-CORE® satisfies all of these demands with ease. The single-shot production technology has already proved its worth in the upper door sections of the D8 GTO series, enabling both the door and the hinges – including the inner shell, outer shell and foam core – to be manufactured all at once. To achieve this, Donkervoort specially designed the foam core and the production technology, as well as creating a specialised tooling technology with surface heating. As a result, Donkervoort now has a completely stand-alone production process that provides unique opportunities with regard to design and functionality and furthermore appears to be perfectly suited for mass production. This revolutionary innovation has understandably caught the attention of OEMs.
Horizon 2020 – the European Commission innovation program
The European Union also recognises EX-CORE® to be an innovative and unique material, as testified by the nomination for Horizon 2020. The goal of this EC program is to encourage and support innovative organisations to accelerate the introduction to market of unique innovations in order to realise faster economic growth. EX-CORE® was selected from a field of over 2,300 nominees from across Europe.
Donkervoort looking for 20 new employees
Donkervoort will use this funding to further develop EX-CORE® and launch it on the international automotive market. This scale-up has also created enormous demand for extra staff, especially in the field of composites.