TWI is involved in two Innovate UK-funded collaborative research and development projects for the automotive industry. The projects are looking to develop technologies to help with the integration of composites into vehicle body structures in order to reduce emissions and fuel consumption while also reducing weight and increasing performance.
The first project, LightJoin, sees TWI working with partners including Jaguar Land Rover, Granta Design Ltd, the Scott Bader Company Ltd, Far-UK Ltd, Stadco Ltd, Nissan Motor Manufacturing, Autotech Engineering R&D UK and the University of Warwick. The aim of this project is to use composite materials to lower the weight of parts for the automotive industry. However, to manage this successfully, there is a need to develop solutions to enable cost-effective integration of the high performance composite components into volume car production. LightJoin seeks to assist the replacement of specific metal vehicle components with composites by investigating rapid joining solutions. The aim is to produce a small scale demonstrator component (MRL5) while assessing the potential to scale up to MRL9A. With the general objective of allowing a lower-risk introduction of lightweight composite components for the mass market, the LightJoin project hopes to provide a 30% weight reduction for Jaguar Land Rover’s all-aluminium construction and a 60% weight reduction for Nissan’s all-steel construction.