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A RESEARCH BASED COLLABORATION PROJECT FOR CARBON ALUMINIUM AUTOMOTIVE HYBRID STRUCTURES

The Carbon Aluminium Automotive Hybrid Structures is a collaborative project part funded through the Innovate UK framework, aiming to further develop the next generation aluminium alloy materials and processes for automotive body structures.

The Carbon Aluminium Automotive Hybrid Structures (CAAHS) project – part funded 2 year programme through the Innovate UK framework - is a research based collaboration between 5 automotive partners, led by Gordon Murray Design; Innoval Technology, Constellium, BCAST and Bentley Motor Company, that aims to further develop the next generation aluminium alloy materials and processes for application in automotive body structures.

The major deliverables from the CAAHS project will be a new generation of the iStream® technology, and body structures for application in the automotive industry that will offer significant weight savings over the current steel based system, will be inherently recyclable and provide a development path for future weight reduction in body, chassis and power train systems through the development higher strength recyclable aluminium alloys and enabling joining technologies.

The participation of Gordon Murray Design in the CAAHS project is focused upon the opportunity to significantly reduce body structure weight by utilising an aluminium frame structure which uses a novel high strength extrusion alloy and stabilised with advanced composite panels based on recycled carbon fibre whilst maintaining the high volume, low cost benefits of the original iStream® technology. The target is to develop a frame that is 40% lighter than the incumbent steel frame.

Professor Gordon Murray, Chairman of Gordon Murray Design said: “Gordon Murray Design is pleased to be an active participant of this important UK research initiative aimed at an important further development of the revolutionary iStream® manufacturing technology”.“The CAAHS consortium brings together industry and academic expertise to address the exiting challenges associated with the development of new high strength materials and processes improvements necessary to help to ensure that these new innovations can be implemented in a cost-effective and robust manner appropriate to mass production”.

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Editor’s Notes:

  • Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. We are business focused and drive disruptive innovation right across the UK economy, funding and connecting pioneering businesses so they can create the products, processes and industries of the future. It is our mission to boost productivity, increase exports and help the UK economy grow head and shoulders above other nations. For further information and to stay updated on our latest news visit www.gov.uk/innovateuk, follow us on Twitter at @innovateuk or subscribe to our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/InnovateUK.
  • Gordon Murray Design Limited is a British company operating from Shalford in Surrey. The Company is recognised as a world leader in automotive design and reverses the current industry trend for sub-contracting by having a complete in-house capability for design, prototyping and development. The Company is compact and focused and undertakes automotive and other engineering programmes in an efficient and innovative way.
  • The iStream® assembly process is a complete rethink and redesign of the traditional automotive manufacturing process and could potentially be the biggest revolution in high volume manufacture since the Model T. Development of the process began over 15 years ago and it has already won the prestigious ‘Idea of the Year’ award from Autocar who were given privileged access in order to make their assessment. The simplified assembly process means that the manufacturing plant can be designed to be 20% of the size of a conventional factory. This could reduce capital investment in the assembly plant by approximately 80%. Yet the flexibility of this assembly process means that the same factory could be used to manufacture different variants. The iStream® design process is a complete re-think on high volume materials, as well as the manufacturing process and will lead to a significant reduction in full lifecycle CO2. For more information please visit www.iStreamtechnology.
  • Bentley Motors is the most sought after luxury car brand in the world. The company’s headquarters in Crewe is home to all of its operations including design, R&D, engineering and production of the company’s four model lines, Continental, Flying Spur, Bentayga and Mulsanne. The combination of fine craftsmanship, using skills that have been handed down through generations, alongside engineering expertise and cutting-edge technology is unique to UK luxury car brands such as Bentley. It is also an example of high-value British manufacturing at its best. Bentley employs around 4,000 people at Crewe.
  • Brunel Centre for Advanced Solidification Technology (BCAST), at Brunel University London, led by Professor Zhongyun Fan, is an internationally renowned Research Group with more than 50 dedicated academic staff in the field of casting and light alloy technology and process development. BCAST was established in 2002 based on pioneering scientific work on nucleation that developed into a series of novel casting technologies based on high shear melt processing and melt-conditioning, generically described as liquid metal engineering, to provide sustainable aluminium and magnesium alloys for lightweight vehicle structures. BCAST has established world-class, applied research facilities for the development of advanced casting and down-stream light alloy processing technologies. The first of these new facilities is the £12.0M Advanced Metals Casting Centre (AMCC). This new facility houses production scale extrusion and casting facilities that will be complemented by new joining technologies in the Advanced Metals Processing Centre due to open Q1 2017. For more information, please visit www.brunel.ac.uk/bcast
  • Constellium (NYSE and Euronext: CSTM) is a global sector leader that develops innovative, value added aluminium products for a broad scope of markets and applications, including aerospace, automotive and packaging. Constellium generated €5.2 billion of revenue in 2015. www.constellium.com
  • Innoval Technology Ltd provides high quality consultancy, technical support and training to investors, manufacturers and end-users of aluminium, and other light metals, across a broad range of industry sectors. The company, based in Banbury, UK, holds ISO9001: 2008 certification and ISO17025 accreditation. Innoval Technology is part of Danieli Group. For more information visit www.innovaltec.com and follow us on Twitter @InnovalBanbury.

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