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Consortium collaborates to accelerate composites use for high volume vehicle production

Surface Generation, a Midlands UK based SME manufacturer of advanced thermal processing systems, has been awarded funding through the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) to accelerate vehicle lightweighting in the UK.

The AMSCI Lightweighting Excellence Programme (LX) has been awarded £3.8 million over 2 years by the UK government to address the lack of high volume composite production for next generation vehicles by connecting the key elements of design, manufacture and capacity.

The lightweighting programme is a strategic cooperation between Surface Generation, Sigmatex, Caparo Advanced Composites, Expert Tooling & Automation, Granta Design, Group Rhodes, LMAT and Tilsatec and Cranfield University along with three global automotive OEMs.

With a total project value of £7.15 million, the funding from AMSCI and industry will support the creation of over 230 new jobs between 2015 and 2021.

Surface Generation’s Chief Executive Officer Ben Halford notes that while the UK has world-class low, mid and high volume vehicle production technology today, this is based on metallic architectures which are significantly heavier and being superseded by new composite designs. With vehicle manufacturers under pressure to meet the EU’s latest 95 grams per kilometer CO2 emissions target for new vehicles by 2021, the LX programme offers OEMs and partners the opportunity to accelerate composite structure capability to achieve significant weight reductions.

The LX consortium has been created in line with the governments industrial strategy (through its BIS agency) and the Automotive Council’s lightweight technology strategy to support the expansion of todays 1.6 million vehicles produced in the UK each year. LX partners will work to address the challenges for OEMs in the areas of lightweight design, manufacturing and production to meet a high volume capability requirements for premium, volume and e-vehicles.

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