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High Volume Lightweight Technologies for Vehicle Structures (HiLiTe)

Towards an Affordable Composite High-Volume Manufacturing Route for Automotive Structures

Press Release

A three-year industrial research project entitled ‘High-volume Lightweight Technologies for vehicle structures’ (HiLiTe) has been awarded funding by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK as part of the Collaborative Research and Development (CR&D) programme, ‘Low Carbon Vehicles, Integrated Delivery Platform Competition 9 (IDP9)’. The £3M project led by Far-UK Ltd aims to develop a novel end-to-end process for manufacturing high-volume and low-cost lightweight structural components for the automotive industry.

As part of the project consortium, TATA Motors European Technical Centre plc (TMETC) representing a major international automotive Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) is providing the technical design specification for a structural component concept as a case study. 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, which started in March 2014, is 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 ‘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.

The consortium includes Far-UK Ltd as Lead Partner, Expert Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, the National Composites Centre (NCC), TMETC and WMG.

The project will also provide additional benefits as follows:

  • Lower use-phase emissions achieved by the 30% targeted weight reduction for an equivalent component
  • High temperature capability to enable integration with existing paint shop processes, together with in use operation
  • Technology can be implemented on existing vehicle manufacturing techniques and novel vehicle architectures including, hybrid and electric vehicles
  • Materials and processing technologies anchored in the UK
  • Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of components and processing routes
  • End-to-end cost analysis of finished parts and vehicle integration

Dr S. Cozien-Cazuc, Technical Programme Manager at Far-UK, explained that “Far-UK is thrilled to be leading a collaborative research project, working with a strong consortium involving a major automotive OEM, TATA Motors, which will enable delivery of an affordable technology for the manufacturing of composite structural components for the high-volume automotive industry. The HiLiTe project will offer technical solutions enabling car manufacturers to seriously consider fibre-reinforced plastic materials for their future platform programmes”.

Dr O. Hadded, Commercial Vice President at TMETC said “This project is typical of the significant contribution the Innovate UK IDP programmes are making to UK automotive R&D. TMETC is committed to developing cost effective lightweight technology for Tata Motors’ future global vehicles and the quality and strength of the partners in this project will deliver excellent results.” 

The HiLiTe project will help the development of UK automotive manufacturing towards lower weight vehicles, which in turn will help reduce transport greenhouse gas emissions. 

 

Contact details

Dr Sophie Cozien-Cazuc

Technical Programme Manager

Far-UK Ltd

Unit 29, Nottingham South and Wilford Industrial Estate

Ruddington Lane

Nottingham

NG11 7EP

E-mail: HiLiTe@far-uk.com

Phone: + 44 (0) 115 981 4464

http://www.far-uk.com/

 

Partner Details

Expert Tooling and Automation Ltd: http://www.expert-amt.com/

The National Composites Centre: http://nccuk.com/

Tata Motors European Technical Centre:

Dr Omar Hadded, Vice President Commercial Operations & Marketing – TMETC

M: +44 (0) 7720 997588

E: omar.hadded@tatamotors.com

Website: http://www.tata.com/company/profile/Tata-Motors-European-Technical-Centre

WMG: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/

 

                            

 

About Innovate UK

Innovate UK is the new name for the Technology Strategy Board – we’re the UK’s innovation agency, accelerating economic growth. We know that taking a new idea to market is a challenge. We fund, support and connect innovative businesses through a unique mix of people and programmes to accelerate sustainable economic growth.

For further information visit our website at www.innovateuk.org

As the UK’s innovation agency, one of the main roles of Innovate UK is to achieve business and economic growth for the UK. One way the organisation supports this is through funding innovative Collaborative Research and Development (CR&D) projects. Collaborative research and development (R&D) encourages businesses and researchers to work together on innovative projects in strategically important areas of science, engineering and technology – from which successful new products, processes and services can emerge, contributing to business and economic growth. Find out more about the CR&D programme here: https://www.innovateuk.org/-/collaborative-r-d.