CAD Design of a CFRP component

CIKONI: CFRP-Engineering for Pioneers

CIKONI is a specialized engineering company for innovative lightweight and fiber composite solutions with advanced composite materials, such as carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP).

CIKONI stands for holistic specialized engineering services along the entire process chain and includes the development of lightweight products and the necessary manufacturing processes. With our team of experts, we close technology and knowledge gaps on behalf of our customers and realize a measurable contribution to lower energy consumption, higher performance systems and new business opportunities.

For detailing and validating structural components, we use state-of-the-art design tools, advanced simulation methods and fiber-specific FEM calculations (e.g. strength, stiffness, crash). In process development, we realize scalable and automatable solutions for the efficient production of carbon components.

CFRP Simulation with FEA

Which Engineering Services is CIKONI providing?

Lightweight construction is a development principle in which we realize the fulfillment of a function with the lowest possible use of material and thus weight. We use both lightweight design principles and high-performance materials such as CFRP/carbon to achieve the weight target. An important tool is the anisotropic finite element simulation, which allows us to validate concepts at an early stage and to optimize them to a large extent in later project phases.

Our overriding goal is to find the right economic measure for each customer. We identify the right level for each customer and each application between ultra-lightweight construction, as practised in racing or aviation, and pure optimization. Hybrid constructions made of metal and composite materials often serve as enablers.

More about the development of CFRP components.

Testing plays a dual role for us in lightweight construction. On the one hand, we are dependent on extensive input data for the simulation, especially for complex fiber composites. On the other hand, lightweight components are often developed to the limits of their load-bearing capacity. They must therefore be validated with regard to their functional fulfillment via component tests.

At CIKONI, we work together with more than 20 different laboratories, test centers and test facilities. This allows us to offer the continuous realization of tests from coupon to system test at economical conditions and with continuous technical support.

More about testing with composite materials.

The majority of carbon composites are still produced using manual manufacturing processes. The costs of manual production exceed the material costs many times over. At CIKONI, we therefore not only develop lightweight components that can be manufactured efficiently, but also implement manufacturing processes and automated machines for the production of components.

A particular focus here is the scalability of our manufacturing concepts, so that an entry into (partial) automation can be made with manageable means, but the manufacturing principle can be multiplied if necessary. Our focus is on the development of innovative processes, automated preforming and production based on winding technology.

More about Automation for CFRP.

Thanks to their high tensile strength, composite materials offer the potential to produce lightweight pressure vessels for hydrogen, CNG or other highly compressed gases.The efficient design of the pressure vessels plays a key role here, as the costs are largely determined by the composite content.The more efficiently a pressure vessel is constructed and designed, the more competitive it becomes.CIKONI offers extensive technical expertise in the design and dimensioning of pressure tanks, which we have already contributed to leading OEMs and pressure tank manufacturers for a wide range of industries.

More about fiber-reinforced pressure vessels (Type 4).

Automated CFRP Manufacturing Machine

Our Composite Expertise

Our CFRP expertise, which has won numerous awards, inspires customers from a wide range of industries, including automotive, aerospace, mechanical engineering and the sporting goods market. You can get an impression of our work under our references and project examples.

Reconfigurable moulds for CFRP manufacturing


Fiber reinforced composites offer extensive opportunities for increasing efficiency and performance. However, the complexity of the materials and the market situation require in-depth expert knowledge.

Lightweight CFRP structures which utilize carbon fiber


Lightweight design is a matter of optimization based on special design principles, material-specific simulation approaches, in-depth understanding of materials and robust material data.


From semi finished materials to automatically manufactured components. To be successful in the process development of composites, you have to understand the textile character of the materials and use it to your advantage.


Type 3 and Type 4 hydrogen storage systems rely on carbon fiber reinforcements to enable H2-based mobility. We are developing next-generation H2 pressure tanks.


Our unique selling point lies in our expert knowledge of lightweight design and composite materials, coupled with an agile mindset and customer-oriented implementation.


With over 100 realized development projects in the field of lightweight construction and customers from 14 countries, we bring the wealth of experience in the field of composites to realize even the most demanding projects.


Our heart beats for lightweight design. We combine expertise from a wide range of industries and employ experts from consulting, design, FEM simulation, testing and automation.


Composites offer many possibilities, but are also complex. Under the guiding principle “from entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs” we advise our customers: Competent, implementation-oriented and independent.


When it comes to strategic development topics, we are driven by two questions: How can we get our customers to their goal as quickly as possible, while at the same time generating sustainable added value that will hold its own on the market in the long term?

Lightweight Design in Numbers at CIKONI

Resource efficiency, technical performance and a holistic approach to development projects are driving our growth. Lightweight construction with composite materials such as CFRP or carbon takes up a large part of our development projects.

Innovation Awards
Leichtbau mit CFK/Kohlefaser

Our Approach: All Resources Coordinated from a Single Source.

Composite materials not only combine several materials in themselves, but also require the pooling of several competences and technical resources. Through the strategic use of networks, we can combine our engineering competence with supporting activities from partners and offer unbeatable added value for our customers.

Our process model is based on competence, agility and quality. At CIKONI, knowledge comes first. From engineering, we control our partner network to activate all possibilities of the network for our customers without risking the overview or the technical interpretation sovereignty.

This provides our customers with the most innovative materials, state-of-the-art testing capabilities and manufacturing capacity. CIKONI manages these resources centrally from engineering to ensure data consistency and engineering oversight.

Cross-Industry Lightweight Design Expertise

Lightweight design and innovation go hand in hand. If you want to pursue effective lightweight design with composite materials, you have to free yourself from familiar solutions. Lightweight design is created at the interface of modern materials, intelligent designs and the possibilities of new manufacturing processes. At CIKONI, we bring this comprehensive lightweight design expertise to a wide range of industries.

Innovative Lightweight Rack System for Mercedes-Benz Vans


Mercedes-Benz Vans wanted to develop a lightweight racking system for delivery vehicles that could be inserted into the vehicle with a”one-shot loading” approach and operated via an automated handling device. A weight reduction was necessary in order to realize the system.

Lightweight Solution from CIKONI

CIKONI developed the shelving concept, designed it with FEM (including for dynamic load cases) and implemented a fiber-compatible multi-material design. In addition, the complex production of the entire system with various suppliers was coordinated and managed for the customer.

3D Printed Cockpit Carrier for Motherson Innovation

Lightweight Challenge

Motherson Innovation wanted to test the design possibilities of additive manufacturing using a cockpit carrier and demonstrate them to the public at the leading electronics trade fair CES in Las Vegas. There was a need for lightweight construction expertise with 3D printing.

Hybrid Lightweight Design

CIKONI carried out a topology optimization of the component (e.g. for crash load cases) and ensured functional integration by integrating the air flow channels directly into structural components. The component was realized and won the SPE Innovation Award 2018 in the structural components category.

Draping Simulation of Special Woven Fabrics for Automotive Parts


Composite components in the RTM process require a preforming step. Cost-intensive tools are required for forming the textile semi-finished products. As part of a project, draping methods were developed and implemented for an automotive OEM.

Special Purpose Draping Simulation

The semi-finished products used in the project were reinforced by rovings applied in accordance with the load path. These had to be mapped in a mesoscale simulation and transferred to the structural simulation. CIKONI successfully developed the necessary methods for this.

Lightweight roof rack using the robot winding process for Audi


For vehicles in small series, prototypes and pre-series vehicles, Audi needed a way to produce structurally resilient components efficiently and in larger dimensions than are possible with state of the art additive processes.

Advanced material design

The combination of additive manufacturing and the local reinforcement of the load paths by the robot-applied carbon fibers made it possible to demonstrate a highly efficient and lightweight process. The component had a length of around one meter and ensured high torsional and longitudinal rigidity.

Temperature-stable sensors for vibration measurement


A customer from the field of large-area electronics was unable to carry out reliable vibration measurements over large temperature ranges due to the thermal expansion of its recordings in the measuring field.

CFRP Solution by CIKONI

CIKONI designed, manufactured and optimized thermally stable measuring fixtures using FEM simulation, which can be used over a wide temperature range. With the coordination of production, a complete solution was created from the concept to validation in the measuring field.

CFRP Lightweight Grippers for Automotive Body Shop


The increasing weight in the body of an automotive OEM pushed even the heaviest robot classes to their limits, so that the weight on the gripper had to be significantly reduced without violating rigidity and precision requirements.

Engineered Solution by CIKONI

CIKONI developed a multi-material gripper in which the right material is used in the right place, resulting in a cost- and weight-optimized result. In addition, production was managed, coordinated and monitored. The hybrid gripper with carbon fiber insert was ultimately 47% lighter than the reference gripper.

Deep-Sea Pressure Vessels for Storing Oil and Gas


For the temporary storage of oil and gas during deep-sea production, pressure tanks 12 meters in length are required that can withstand the effects of salt water and external pressure. Steel tanks cannot be used for this purpose.

Composite Solution Offered

CIKONI contributed its expertise in the areas of material selection, material characterization and process definition to the project. Together with the customer, a fiber composite-compatible development was carried out and evaluated in detail with regard to the opportunities and risks.

Development of a fiber-reinforced high-performance centrifuge


A supplier in the field of centrifuge technology requested a new design in fiber composite construction that could be implemented cost-effectively to increase the possible centrifuge size and speed.

Solution by CIKONI

CIKONI began the conceptual work with in-depth structural FEM simulations and, once the concept had been defined, translated the result into a fiber composite-compatible design.

The centrifuge was realized in partnership with CIKONI’s supplier network.

Conception and Production Planning for a CFRP Surfboard


For a surfboard powered by an electric turbine, a CFRP shell and a production concept for higher quantities had to be developed, which could no longer be realized using the autoclave prepreg process.

CFRP-Consulting by CIKONI

As part of a technology consultation, the component was analyzed, design optimizations in terms of manufacturability were proposed and production scenarios were compared in terms of costs, quality and scalability.

Development of a Manufacturing Strategy for Spengle CFRP Wheels


Spengle was faced with the challenge of manufacturing complex-shaped CFRP impellers in large series. The aim was to overcome the limitations of autoclave prepreg production and optimize the impeller.

Lightweight Strategy Consulting

CIKONI analyzed the geometry and derived manufacturing processes with high scaling potential. In addition, a catalog of measures was developed for implementation in production and the impeller was simulatively optimized.

Production Planning and Optimization for an E-bike from TZMann


In order to tailor bicycles to the needs of customers, the dimensions of the frame needed to be flexibly changeable without tool modifications in manufacturing. At the same time, additive processes do not provided the necessary stability.

Proposed Lightweight Solution

Through a requirements analysis and technology consultation with TZMann, CIKONI was able to derive a new type of design for e-bikes that can be implemented cost-effectively but is also flexible in terms of frame dimensions.

FEM Simulation and Optimization of a VTOL Carbon Fiber Rotor


A start-up in the field of vertical take-off of air cabs is developing a unique lift concept with high-performance rotors. Due to the high loads, a strength analysis had to be carried out for the drive units and optimization potential had to be identified.

Weight Optimization

CIKONI transferred the laminate structure of the prototype from the plybooks into an FEM model, carried out extensive simulations and analyzed the composite structures. Based on the results and the optimizations carried out, weight savings of 12% were achieved.

Simulation and Optimization of CFRP Aircraft Seats


Our customer manufactures state-of-the-art lightweight seats for civil aviation. An innovative process is used to manufacture the fiber-reinforced seats, which requires material and process-specific FEM simulation methods.

Aerospace Compliant Simulation

CIKONI analysed the manufacturing process and derived the material characterization tests required for the simulation. Based on the test results, a powerful simulation model was derived, which was successfully validated and used for simulative optimization.

Numerical Optimization of a Fiber-reinforced Door Component


Our customer is testing the use of fiber-reinforced composites to reduce the weight of a door component on a civil aircraft. The complex load cases require both the development of geometric methods and the implementation of simulations.

Composite Materials Analysis

CIKONI worked with the customer to develop meaningful load scenarios and carried out extensive simulations based on these load spectra, which were used to optimize the design and process of the component. Process-specific optimizations of the laminate were also carried out.

Crash Simulation of H2 Pressure Vessels (Type 4)

Company Name

Crashberechnung H2-Drucktanks

Crash under Pressure

Hydrogen pressure tanks in vehicles are exposed to loads that standardized test methods do not reflect. A simulation method was to be developed for a commercial vehicle OEM that allows a crash calculation of pressure tanks under different operating conditions.

Process and Structural Simulation

CIKONI transferred the production documents of the pressure tank manufacturer into a winding simulation and thus generated an initial model for the explicit crash simulation in the FEM. The model made it possible to investigate various influencing factors (pressure level, impact angle, speed, etc.) on the crash behavior of the pressure tank. The simulations were used to optimize the design of the suspension and positioning.

Space-Adaptive CFRP Pressure Tanks for Hydrogen

Inefficient usage of space

Hydrogen pressure tanks usually have cylindrical shapes, which are ideal for hydrogen pressure storage, but cannot be used optimally to utilize available installation space. The aim was to find alternatives that would make the installation space of battery electric vehicles usable for hydrogen storage.

Innovation in Design and Process

After extensive concept work, patent research and literature studies, a new approach to hydrogen storage was found and simulatively validated by modifying an existing composite manufacturing process. This makes it possible to use the installation space of BEVs to store hydrogen below 700 bar.

Highly Efficient Automation for Helmet Shells

Intelligente Automatisierungslösung

Inefficient Manufacturing

For honeycomb structures used in lightweight helmets, our customer was looking for an automated solution that would enable a double-curved honeycomb structure. In addition, internal knowledge of production parameters was to be developed so that the customer had the authority to interpret the process.

From Lab to Full Scale Automation

CIKONI carried out early experiments on a laboratory scale to investigate various approaches with regard to their suitability for automation. The preferred concept was implemented in a fully automated system. The storage, handling, forming and unloading was patented. CIKONI built three machines for the customer and enabled near-shoring of production in the Netherlands.

Our references: The best Technology Companies

From Start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations – from Brazil to Japan: CIKONI is a trusted partner of leading technology companies.

    Experts On Demand.

    We are pleased to discuss your challenges in the field of CFRP lightweight design with you. Contact us today to receive your individual solution proposal.

    New Developments in Lightweight Design

    The composites market is growing at an average rate of 8% per year. New lightweight applications, innovative processes and new developments in the field of materials development are almost the order of the day here.

    Type 4 Hydrogen Pressure Vessel
    We offer a comprehensive suite of services to revolutionize high-pressure storage systems. Our approach starts from the ground up, encompassing concept development, rigorous material testing, and feasibility studies, ensuring every solution is tailored for optimal performance and safety.
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