Stockdorf/Munich – November 22, 2018 – Automotive supplier Webasto, the market leader for sunroofs, panorama roofs and convertible roofs, was nominated and awarded for this year’s BMW Supplier Innovation Award (SIA) in the “Efficient Dynamics” category on November 21. The automobile manufacturer acknowledged the company’s innovative performance in the development of the front bow for the convertible roof concept of the BMW i8 Roadster. For this application, Webasto selected paper honeycomb (PHC), a type of material never before used in convertible roof manufacture, and processed it using a technique known as composite spray molding (CSM). The paper honeycombs at the core of the component are sheathed with a mixture of polyurethane and reinforced glass fibers. The front bow is not only extremely light, but also highly dimensionally stable. Compared with steel, it exhibits a weight saving of some 50 percent.
“In the BMW i8 Roadster, cutting edge technologies have been realized with a consequent demand for perfection. Down to the last detail. Our intention was to support the futuristic overall concept of the convertible with our innovative drive,” comments Dr. Holger Engelmann, Chairman of the Management Board of Webasto SE. “We have succeeded. We are proud of our joint achievement and we are looking forward to participating in further projects that will shape the future of mobility.”
In 2016, the company won the prize for the Sky Lounge Panorama Roof of the BMW 7-series in the “Emotional Experience” category. The award has been presented every two years since 2013 and it acknowledges suppliers for their innovations and outstanding development services.
First convertible roof system specifically for the architecture of a hybrid sports car
In order to satisfy the requirements of the specific architecture of the hybrid sports car, the convertible specialists at Webasto struck out in a new direction. They developed a fully new and unique folding mechanism for opening and storing the roof which makes optimum use of the limited installation space and, furthermore significantly improves the folding behavior of the soft tops fabric. The soft top segments are rotated during the opening process and are stored vertically in a convertible top compartment behind the seats.
Another technical innovation is the rear screen module which, for the first time, has a three-dimensionally formed rear screen. When the top is opened, the rear screen automatically rises to a comfort position some 30 mm higher and serves as a transparent wind deflector. The driver can position the screen to any desired height at the press of a button. The rear screen can also be lowered when the roof is closed to allow the passengers to individually regulate the flow of fresh air.
An ingenious sealing concept furthermore allowed the model-specific upward-opening gullwing doors to be retained.