Pailton Engineering offers bespoke light weighting test service 21 February 2013

Steering systems firm Pailton Engineering says it is working on new materials to reduce vehicle weight and improve fuel consumption, to counter additional on-board equipment required for Euro 6.

"We have seen an increasing number of customers ask us to produce lighter alternatives to the parts that they require," explains John Nollett, managing director of the Coventry-based company.

"They are looking beyond the bonnet and the engine to reassess the materials used in the build process. Indeed, we have recently started to manufacture some panhard drag links in aluminium, which is just the beginning of the process," he continues.

"Manufacturers face a dilemma: they are under huge pressures to continually improve fuel efficiency, while at the same time increasing the loads on their vehicles. Selecting lighter materials for a wider range of parts is one solution to this problem."

Nollett makes the point that manufacturers need to be sure that lighter materials are up to the job, given the tough operating conditions for vans and trucks. And that, he says, is why Pailton use FEA (finite element analysis) software to check that modern materials can surpass the endurance life of steel components.

Pailton is now offering a bespoke service that takes FEA results and produces strain gauged samples, which can then be calibrated using the Pailton test facility, prior to on-vehicle application trials.

Nollett argues that Pailton's engineering expertise makes it well-placed to develop lighter parts, and he says the firm is currently testing a range of materials, including carbon fibre and composites.

Brian Tinham

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