15th June 2017 by Richard Yen
Today’s look back at the 2016 Altair Enlighten Award focuses on an entry from India bus manufacturer SML Isuzu. Although most entries we have for the Enlighten award to date tend to concentrate on passenger cars, manufacturers of public transport systems are also under pressure to reduce the environmental impact of their products.
Hybrid engines all the way up to full electric systems are being deployed, along with hydraulic regenerative brake systems in an effort to squeeze higher and higher MPG from vehicles that typically run and low speed and perform a very high number of stop/start routines. Weight savings of course play a big role in this effort too and Isuzu is exploring methods to shave weight and improve efficiency.
To minimize the weight of the Rs 513 Bus, Isuzu’s engineering team deployed design optimization techniques using OptiStruct to explore where material could be removed from numerous components, brackets, and crucially, the vehicle’s tube structure. The team performed optimization studies to minimize the thickness of the vehicle frame’s tube structure, ensuring that any changes to the previous model’s design did not negatively impact the strict safety regulations that exists in the public transport vehicle industry concerning crash, rollover and more.
The process of changing the thickness of the frame alone successfully reduced the weight of the bus by 19 lbs, not a huge amount when compared to the entire weight of the vehicle but tube thickness changes represented just one of the many weight saving initiatives implemented on the Rs 513.
With judging for the 2017 Altair Enlighten Award due to start this week, it will be interesting to see if we get more representation from the public transport industry.