A consortium, led by Umeco and partnered by Aston Martin Lagonda, Delta Motorsport Ltd., ABB Robotics and Pentangle Engineering Services Ltd., has been created to look into the potential for using high-performance composites in mainstream automotive applications.
Named ACOMPLICE which stands for Affordable COMPosites for LIghtweight Car StructurEs the partnership will look at the growing pressure on the mainstream automotive sector to produce light weight, fuel-efficient vehicles which reduce CO2 emission. Aluminium and high-strength, steel-based alloys have been employed in response to this, but the physical limitations of these materials have, to a large extent, already been reached.
Over the next two years and with a budget of £1.5million, ACOMPLICE aims to significantly reduce the cost of composite body-in-white vehicle structures for the mainstream automotive sector. It is envisaged that the objective can be achieved by the development of pre-impregnated broad application materials suitable for robotic lamination and fast cure technologies.
Elaine Arnold, Project Manager – Collaborative Research and Technology at Umeco said:
The automotive industry is being forced to seek new technologies in order to comply with the ever tightening, legislative push towards reducing CO2 emissions. The outcome of the ACOMPLICE project should be able to make a significant contribution towards achieving this goal, and offer interesting solutions for this industry and others, where lightweighting is fundamental.
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Umeco is an international provider of advanced composite materials, primarily to the aerospace and defence wind energy, recreation and automotive industries. Serving high growth, global end markets, Umeco is managed through two business streams operating from facilities across Europe, the USA and China. Structural Materials focuses on the development, manufacture and supply of advanced composite materials. Process Materials focuses on the development, manufacture and supply of processing materials and tooling for the advanced composites industry. Customers include Boeing, Airbus, BAE Systems, manufacturers of wind turbine blades, a number of manufacturers of high performance super cars and Formula 1 teams.