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Materials and Manufacturing Projects

Current

ULTRAN (2013 - 2016)
Funder: Innovate UK
The ULTRAN transmission and driveline research project will develop complementary lightweight technologies in order to develop a step-change in transmission and driveline weight. Using the latest developments in sustainable materials, coupled with novel manufacturing processes and pioneering computer aided analysis techniques, an optimised passenger car drivetrain will be developed. In addition to delivering reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions the technology will contribute to improved vehicle performance, handling and agility at an equivalent cost to current technology. The project partnership consists of an automotive manufacturer, materials suppliers, design and analysis consultancies, a tier one component supplier and three universities from the UK

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ENLIGHT: Enhanced Lightweight Design (2012 - 2016)
Funder: EU FP7
ENLIGHT aims to accelerate the technological development of a portfolio of innovative thermoset, thermoplastic, bio-based and hybrid materials which together can offer a strong potential to reduce weight and overall carbon footprint to enable their application to medium-high volume electric vehicles (EVs) in 2020-25. Five demonstrator models of a future EV architecture will be developed, validating the performance of the materials in structurally demanding parts of the car. The demonstration and evaluation of the lightweight potential will be supported virtually with a full vehicle model.

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REALCAR 2: Recycled tolerant 5XXX aluminium structural alloy utilising post-consumer waste (2013 - 2015)
Funder: Innovate UK

REALCAR2 enabled lightweight automotive body structures to be built using aluminium sheet derived from lower cost, energy efficient, recycled post-consumer sources. The project makes innovative use of waste collection techniques and material production to produce a new-to-market, high recycled and high impurity content 5xxx series sheet alloy, supporting a low manufacturing CO2 footprint and providing significant value to the supply chain and end user. The project will exploit growing volumes of post-consumer aluminium waste from Mechanical Biological Treatment plants, driving the associated recycling infrastructure. The new 5xxx series aluminium alloy chemistry will be produced as full sized production coils; this requires evaluation of the rolling / production phase to produce sheet for full characterisation. REALCAR2 is intended to deliver key environmental and commercial benefits for the next generation of vehicles.

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VARCITY: Vehicle ARchitecture for CITY cars (2012 - 2016)
Funder: Innovate UK

The VARCITY project delivers new vehicle body architectures for the premium city car of 2020 which will utilise the structural performance and weight advantages of advanced Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) based composites, whilst delivering a sustainable and economically viable proposition for volume production. The project targets a series of technology developments and innovations that currently prohibit wide-scale, volume implementation of CFRP based composites for vehicle body construction. A major goal of the project is the establishment of a leading UK supply chain comprising the core industry partners. VARCITY drives the technical capability developments of this fully integrated supply chain and will deliver major commercial benefits for wider market opportunities. Furthermore, the project also acts as a catalyst to stimulate the science, engineering and technology base to support the CO2 and sustainability challenges facing the UK's automotive industry.

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HiLiTe: High Volume Lightweight Technologies for Vehicle Structures (2013 - 2016)
Funder: Innovate UK

HiLiTe aims to develop a novel end-to-end process for manufacturing high volume and low cost lightweight structural components for the automotive industry. The approach is to develop a composite version of the automotive part focusing on three specific aspects: design optimisation, effective selection of material and efficient process definition. The project aims to define a glide-path to achieve a 30% weight reduction on the existing steel component and a 40% reduction in costs from traditional composite materials and processing. The other key deliverables are to establish design guidelines to apply a 'right materials in the right place' principle in the future and to ascertain recommendations to enable the assembly of dissimilar materials. A validated Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) model will be built against the results of real world component tests.

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CiC: Composites Innovation Cluster (2013 - 2015)
Funder: Birmingham City Council

The Composites Innovation Cluster (CiC) will deliver 13 integrated capability projects over a 3 year period across 25 partners. It will address market failures in the composites materials and innovative manufacturing sector - enabling the design and manufacture of lightweight vehicles, structures and devices that would otherwise take place overseas.

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Past

CUSP: Composite Ultra Lightweight Automotive Suspension Components (completed in 2014)
Funder: Innovate UK

This two-year project funded by the Technology Strategy Board investigated the viability of lightweight composite suspension systems for ultra-lightweight vehicles (e.g. city vehicles). Technical aspects such as process routes to deliver high volume production, system integration and assembly, full lifecycle impact assessment and economic viability were also considered.

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