29th April 2016 by Richard Yen
We finished last week by looking back at Volvo-Eicher’s (VECV) second entry to the 2015 Altair Enlighten Award where the team had minimized the weight of a truck’s wind deflector. This week, we’re going to conclude the review of the company’s entries starting with the cargo body, the part of a commercial vehicle that holds the goods being transported.
As previously discussed, commercial vehicles are required to be as light as possible to maximize the amount of payload the vehicle can safely accommodate. However, despite the cargo body appearing to be a simple empty shell, the design can be a complex challenge. Commercial vehicles are often required to carry a huge variety of different loads, meaning cargo bodies must be extremely robust to avoid damage to the goods or failure of the cargo body itself.
To tackle this challenge, the team at VECV explored a number of strategies to take weight out of the cargo body including changes to the section modulus of the side, front and tailgate panels; rearrangement to the base frame cross member and side structure pitches; the use of high strength, low weight alternative materials and the use of design optimization technologies throughout the project.
The results were impressive with a total of 180 kg (397 lbs) of weight being saved compared to the baseline cargo body.
VECV impressed the judges with this entry due to the multitude of methods employed to tackle the problem and the shear amount of weight saved from such a crucial part on a commercial vehicle. With these vehicles driving huge distances over the course of the its lifetime, a 180 kg saving means better fuel economy or an increased payload for the operator. Either way, VECV succeeded in its main goal of enhancing the profitability for haulage companies by using weight reduction tactics.