The drive for increased fuel economy and greater mass payload capacity in commercial vehicles means that automotive system suppliers are being tasked with supplying lighter weight components The pressure vessels for air suspension and braking systems have been targeted as one of the areas of potential weight saving, and this project is designed to meet this requirement for light weight pressure vessels.
The overall objective of this research project is the development of a new manufacturing process for the manufacture of pressure vessels, so that the users can: Reduce the part weight to increase fuel consumption and payload capacity Improve corrosion performance compared to steel vessels Integrally colour and finish the parts Offer vessels of equivalent cost to steel and lower cost than alternative materials.
Thus the overall innovation is the application of low cost thermoplastic filament winding technology to pressure vessels, to create a product with light weight and corrosion performance at the same cost as an existing steel vessel The majority of current pressure vessels are manufactured from steel and the use of filament wound parts in thermosetting materials can be shown to allow weight reductions of 35% over steel vessels, although at increased cost. The use of thermoplastic, rather than thermoset materials offers even lower density, reducing weight further, and also gives the opportunity to increase the efficiency of the winding process by winding off the geodesic path (the shortest path across the vessel surface). These factors can combine to give an overall weight saving of 40% compared to steel vessels, and a saving of 8% compared to thermoset filament wound vessels The results of this project will improve European economic cohesion by establishing a European based supply chain for filament wound pressure vessels, equipment, materials and technology. Other industry sectors which use conventional filament winding technology have seen significant loss of business to the Far East, where the lower labour costs allow them to compete when cycle times are slow. In the market for filament wound sporting goods for example, it is estimated that over 90% of the French filament winding business has been lost to South Korea and China in the last 10 years.
Funding SchemeCRS - Cooperative research contracts
1704 RG Alkmaar
6070 AA Swalmen
LE13 0PB Melton Mowbray - Leicestershire