Carbon fiber notebooks will stage a comeback soon, as Dell is reportedly to launch new notebook models adopting carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic chassis in optional colors in the second half of 2019 and HP is also expected to follow suit. And their Taiwan chassis partners are gearing up to roll out different colors of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic casings, according to industry sources.

The sources said that carbon fiber has been used for years to produce chassis for high-end business notebook models by leading vendors such as Dell, HP and Lenovo, thanks to many traits such as lightweight, heat and electricity conductivity, and resistance to high temperature, abrasion and corrosion. But high carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic chassis cost and the availability of only one black color have prevented such chassis from be widely applied to PC production.

Despite production cost for carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic chassis trending downward, the unit sales prices for carbon fiber notebooks will remain relatively high, and therefore it remains to be seen whether such models can win good patronage from consumers, the sources commented.

Nevertheless, Taiwan notebook chassis makers are actively moving to develop multi-color carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic chassis for notebooks by directly coloring carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic plates instead of conducting surface coating. Among them, Mitac Precision Technology, an affiliate of Getac Technology, is expected to ramp up its shipments of color carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic chassis to notebook brand vendors in the US in 2019.

In recent years, Mitac Precision has been mainly engaged in the development and production of glass-fiber-reinforced plastic chassis for notebooks and game consoles. But the ever-declining profit margins for the segment have prompted the company to collaborate with brand vendors and suppliers of components and materials to develop brand-new fiber-carbon-reinforced plastic chassis.

Getac chairman James Hwang said that Mitac Precision can sharply lower carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic chassis production cost by 50% by leveraging its in-house-developed equipment and production process jointly developed with materials partners, in addition to good yield rates, allowing the company to enjoy good competitiveness in the new chassis segment.