Bentley, Nissan & Emerald Auto Set to Benefit from Lightweighting Programe

10th November 2015

Sigmatex has announced that three UK-based automotive OEMs – Bentley Motors Limited, Emerald Automotive LLC and Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd – are working closely with the Lightweighting Excellence Programme (LX) in order to achieve vehicle weight reduction.

The LX consortium is seeking to enhance capability within the UK automotive supply chain to manufacture composite components in medium to high volumes, at affordable prices, by connecting the key functions of material supply, design and manufacturing.

The LX Programme is a strategic co-operation led by Sigmatex and supported by Axillium Research, in partnership with Caparo Advanced Composites, Cranfield University, Engenuity, Expert Tooling & Automation, Granta Design, Group Rhodes, LMAT, Surface Generation and Tilsatec.

Bentley Motors, Emerald Automotive and Nissan are working closely with the LX partners on the provision of three technical use cases with realistic commercial potential.

This announcement coincides with the Lightweighting Excellence Programme being officially launched at Advanced Engineering UK 2015, having received an Unconditional Offer Letter (UCOL) confirming funds of £3.8M from the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) programme via Finance Birmingham.

AMSCI was set up by the UK Government to help existing UK supply chains grow and achieve world-class standards while encouraging major new suppliers to set up manufacturing in the UK.

A total project value of £7.15M of joint funding from AMSCI and industry will support the creation of 238 new jobs and safeguard 144 existing jobs between 2015 and 2021.

OEMs are now working on weight reduction to ensure compliance with stricter emissions standards. However, as the amount of technology demanded in today’s passenger vehicles increases, so does the overall weight. Composite materials allow OEMs to counteract this effect through lightweighting and part consolidation, while maintaining structural integrity.

Many UK-based automotive OEMs have expressed interest to source a higher percentage of their composite components from within the UK. The LX Programme addresses these desires by consolidating all elements of the supply chain to produce demonstrator components to showcase UK capability.

By the conclusion of the LX Programme in 2017, the consortium will have established the design capability and processes required to produce structural, semi-structural and Class A surface finished components in significant volumes.