UK project to develop lower cost, lightweight composite vehicle structures

Automation of ply kitting techniques. (Picture © Umeco.)
Automation of ply kitting techniques. (Picture © Umeco.)

The £1.5 million project is part-funded by the UK Technology Strategy Board's Collaborative Research and Development programme, following an open competition.

The project consortium is led by Umeco, with partners Aston Martin Lagonda, Delta Motorsport Ltd, ABB Robotics and Pentangle Engineering Services Ltd.

The automotive industry is being forced to seek new technologies in order to comply with the ever tightening, legislative push towards reducing CO2 emissions. The outcome of the ACOMPLICE project should be able to make a significant contribution towards achieving this goal, and offer interesting solutions for this industry and others, where lightweighting is fundamental.
Elaine Arnold, Project Manager, Collaborative Research and Technology, Umeco

Over the next two years, ACOMPLICE aims to significantly reduce the cost of composite body-in-white vehicle structures for the mainstream automotive sector. The partners plan to develop pre-impregnated broad application materials suitable for robotic lamination and fast cure technologies.

ACOMPLICE proposes to demonstrate the developed technologies by manufacturing selected structural automotive parts.

Umeco’s role is to develop fast cure, highly-efficient prepregs, enabling the rapid robotic manipulation and placement of individual plies. Novel materials formatting and moulding techniques will also be developed in order to optimise component output rates.

Umeco’s DForm® prepreg technology will also be used in combination with rapid perform technology in order to facilitate the lamination of complex shaped geometries via automated processes.