We have talked quite a bit about Ultrabooks around here. Most of the chatter has centers on how much the thin notebooks will cost to build and what they will sell for when they hit the market. DigiTimes is reporting that a shortage of aluminum chassis materials is pushing some of the vendors that will be making Ultrabooks to use fiberglass.
Fiberglass is a lightweight and strong material. It has been used in vehicle construction to save weight for a very long time. In fact, notable performance cars like the Corvette make extensive use of fiberglass. DigiTimes reports that the shortage of materials and the lathes required to make the aluminum frames along with the expense of adding more CNC lathes is causing a shortage.
The two main makers of aluminum chassis for notebooks are supplying Apple leaving availability tight for other players. A fiberglass chassis maker called Mitac Precision in Taiwan has pointed out that it makes a fiberglass chassis that is about as strong as aluminum and $5-$10 cheaper than a magnesium-aluminum alloy one allowing for a price on the market for a notebook using the fiberglass chassis of $50 to $100 less than one using magnesium-aluminum chassis.