Carbon TPT® and Quartz TPT® are composite materials produced by North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT®)–the world’s leader in ultra-lightweight prepreg materials, and inextricably linked to the Richard Mille style. A newly inked, exclusive agreement with this longstanding partner heralds the opening of a 300 square-metre production facility at their location in Renens (Switzerland) next May. This facility will be devoted to working with these materials on behalf of the brand.
The two companies’ collaboration has already proved fruitful, having resulted in the prestigious JEC Innovation Award, bestowed at JEC World 2016 for the invention of Quartz TPT®, and the creation of a graphene-injected version of Carbon TPT® in association with the National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester.
Richard Mille wished to forge a closer relationship with NTPT® by participating in the construction of this unit. It comprised of a cleanroom which houses the production line for the composite—manufacturing of pre-impregnated sheets, preparation of preforms via automatic multi-axial layering on an ATL (Automated Tape Layering) machine—and an autoclave. An on-site showroom will be set up, giving visitors an opportunity to observe and appreciate the effort involved in these extremely technical manipulations. These new installations will ensure the availability of over 7 metric tons of TPT® composite blocks, which means processing of 7,500 km of thin-ply fibre tape. Over 2,000 cases machined from these composites will issue from the Richard Mille workshops in 2018, including that of the RM 11-03 McLaren recently unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.
These cutting-edge facilities will work hand in hand with a complementary laboratory for analyses that will accelerate R&D projects. Together, these new tools will contribute to developing quartz-fibre materials with the highest purity levels in order to produce the very best composites and will allow NTPT® and Richard Mille to jointly explore the full capabilities these technologies may yield in the future.