2016 Enlighten Award in Review – No. 3: VE Commercial Vehicles

23rd May 2017 by Richard Yen

My last post reviewed VE Commercial Vehicles’ truck frame optimization entry to the 2016 Altair Enlighten Award, so today, let’s look at their second nomination regarding truck chassis.

In VE Commercial Vehicles’ domestic market of India, overloading of vehicles is very common ensuring that the payload has become one of the defining selling points in the industry. However, this can of course lead to many potentially dangerous issues regarding the safety of the driver and other road users, as well as lowering the vehicle’s reliability and in-service life. The Indian Government has stepped in to regulate against overloading practices, leading manufacturers to seek weight savings to increase payload wherever possible.

VE commercial Vehicles’ approach involved a turn towards the use of lightweight aluminum for the frame, with patented aluminum cross members. In addition, the under run protection devices for front and rear (FUPD/RUPD) has been converted to aluminum. To make sure no compromise on the strength to the FUPD or RUPD were felt during the material conversion process, the team avoided welding and used the new technology of hydrabom rivets, which serve the purpose of fastening with add on strength. This riveting is very much suitable for the closed cross section as its possible with single side access.

Finally the team further reduced weight with the introduction of aluminium for the Al Air tank. The combined effect of these efforts was a weight reduction of 30% compared to the previous system which can be directly turned into 300kg improvement in payload for the client.

The interesting thing about this nomination, apart from the impressive weight savings achieved, was the link with the weight reduction of the vehicle to the increased in driver and road user safety and in-service life of the vehicle. This is not an issue generally raised by the passenger vehicle sector when weight savings are being investigated.