Here we would like to inform you about our used material and how the quality of the raw materials influences the final result. We use only high quality products to provide you with maximum quality.
Carbon fabrics are available in various qualities. The decisive factor is: a good thread as the basis for the fabric and a dense homogeneous weave.
The thread used to manufacture carbon has a major influence on the appearance and there are major differences between the various thread manufacturers. Wherever possible, we use fabrics made from Toray yarns, as these are by far the best in terms of quality and appearance and are therefore also used by OEMs. In addition, these threads are spread after they have been woven in order to achieve maximum surface coverage and "decor quality". Our twill and satin fabrics are even from the same manufacturer, in the same quality as supplied to the OEMs.
A tight weave ensures that the fabric has no gaps at the intersections and looks the same everywhere. While inexpensive fabrics often have irregularities, high-quality fabrics have a homogeneous and very dense weave with no holes at the intersections. High-quality twill 245 fabrics are woven with 6 or more threads/cm. Cheaper fabrics specify 6 threads/cm, but are woven at the lower tolerance, towards 5.8 threads per cm. This results in gaps between the threads.
Standard fabric is not spread and is only woven "relatively" tightly, plus an inferior thread. This results in shading and non-homogeneous areas as can be seen in the pictures below. These irregularities result from marginal unevenness on the surface, because carbon reacts extremely to sunlight, so that such differences become visible at night.
Premium fabric, on the other hand, is made from high-quality Toray threads that are woven very tightly. This ensures a homogeneous reaction to sunlight and the fabric generally has a much higher quality appearance.
Pay attention to the spacing between the threads in the pictures, which brings out the structure better in the premium fabric, while the inexpensive fabric blurs into itself.
A basic distinction is made between epoxy and polyester resins. Epoxy resins are mechanically more resilient, but also have a higher price and are more complex to process. We use a high-quality and temperature-resistant epoxy resin for the first layers. This resin has a slight blue tint which, in combination with the premium fabric, gives our parts a cool appearance and prevents yellowing (in addition to the clear coat). We then create full coverage with an epoxy gelcoat resin, which is also used for full carbon parts for the outermost layer.
The important thing here is the tempering ("annealing") of the components. Our parts spend up to 20 hours at high temperatures in the oven in the last of our three annealing passes so that the epoxy resin can fully crosslink and cure. This is the only way to achieve a long-lasting result that can withstand the high temperatures in summer.
On the other hand, it is possible to spray the top layers with polyester resin. The problem: polyester adheres chronically poorly to epoxy, polyester is brittle and yellowish, and much worse: the resin used is massively thickened (thixotropized) to speed up processing. However, these thickeners in the resin refract the light that later falls on the parts. As a result, the parts look yellowish and are extremely cloudy, especially when viewed from an acute angle. The use of polyester reduces the amount of work enormously, correspondingly parts become cheaper and are finished faster, but at the expense of quality. For these reasons, we only use epoxy resin, because we live for quality and we don't enjoy producing parts with compromises.
Preparing the substrate and matching it to the material is hugely important for durability. Everyone has heard of carbon parts coming loose, why is that? The reason is that plastics in particular are very difficult to bond with resin because the surface is not dissolved. But aluminum is also not dissolved by resin, and a bond with resin is not mechanically flexible, so that in the summer, if the aluminum part and the carbon coating expand differently, it can come off due to shear forces. Furthermore: If you bond with resin, you risk resin accumulation and brush marks on the surface, which in turn results in shading (See Chapter 1: Unevenness in the fabric shows up later in the solar reaction, even if the surface is 100% Smooth).
For plastics, we use a high-quality 2K industrial adhesive that is also used for bonding by OEMs. This adhesive works on almost all substrates, with the exception of PE and PP. PE/PP require further preparatory work, as these are low-energy plastics that are very difficult to bond. For such parts, an additional adhesion promoter is used.
Metals - almost always aluminum:
On aluminum, you could also use the adhesive directly, but then you only create a mechanical bond. Therefore, we use a primer on aluminum parts after grinding, which creates a chemical bond to the aluminum. Only then does the above-mentioned industrial adhesive follow.
In general, through our preparation and the use of industrial glue, we ensure that:
- any substrate is optimally connected
- the surface on which the fabric is applied is always smooth and thus the fabric is free of shadows
- the connection is flexible, and thus shear forces are prevented or temporarily absorbed.
We hope that this page has given you an understanding of how important quality is to us. We deliberately use high-quality, and therefore inevitably more expensive and elaborate, materials. This is the only way we can live up to our own standards. With CF Premium we go one better.
If you have any further questions about our process, don't hesitate to send us a message or visit our article: What is carbon fiber?