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Improving Automotive Manufacturing

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Improving Automotive Manufacturing

  • The formulation of novel coatings and materials
  • Bio-based materials
  • Printed sensing
  • Quenching fluids
  • Cutting fluids

The Formulation of Novel Coatings and Materials

Utilising our processing capabilities and expertise in graphene and formulations, CPI enables companies to test and refine the materials and coatings used in the construction of modern vehicles. CPI is working with partners to help them develop improved formulations and processing technology for the manufacture of composite materials and advanced coating systems.

We are working towards the development of liquid dispersion and graphene based technologies that in future will be utilised to enable market adoption of lighter and stronger coatings with value adding properties such as de-icing, self repair, self cleaning, and anti-corrosion.

Bio-based Materials

CPI is home to the UK’s world class open access national biorefinery facility. Drawing on our expertise in this technology area, CPI is helping companies transform renewable feedstocks into products such as bioplastics and bio-composites which can have a useful second life in automotive manufacturing. We work with our partners to test and develop new pathways for improving car interior design and structural materials, using waste derived bio products that not only enhance vehicle design and performance, but are lighter, can withstand high temperatures, are technically feasible and economically sustainable.

Printed Sensing

CPI has expertise in the latest printed sensing technologies and helps companies to develop and demonstrate lightweight, low cost sensing devices which can be located on the vehicle’s surface, or embedded within structural components. CPI can design data handling and intelligent control and management processes which correspond with a company’s specific needs, to facilitate improved monitoring processes.

We are working with companies from all levels of the supply chain to develop printable electronic tags and labels that can register, process and provide information on the events and stresses that components are exposed to during their manufacture and subsequent functional lifetime. These would be hugely beneficial in the automotive industry, where complex supply chains and manufacturing processes mean there are great demands for quality assurance and the availability of relevant data on critical components. The commercialisation of printed sensing and radio frequency identification (RFID) on tags and labels for manufacturing components could provide significant cost and performance benefits.

Quenching Fluids

The automotive industry loses a significant amount of money each year as a result of distortion, cracking and stiffness variations caused by unexpected problems during the process of quenching steel, titanium and aluminium components.

Controlled quenching is extremely time consuming and causes residual stresses in car components, which need to be relieved to prevent operation failure. Utilising our expertise in the formulation of nanoparticles and graphene based technologies, CPI is helping companies develop methods for manipulating the cooling characteristics of quenching fluids and increasing capacity for extraction of heat from the component into the quenching liquid. This has the potential to significantly improve the structural and surface characteristics of car components.

Cutting Fluids

The machining of materials such as the titanium and nickel-based alloys typically used in the automotive industry is limited by the amount of heat generated at the cutting zone. This heat is typically removed by the use of a cutting fluid, which acts as both coolant and lubricant. A cutting fluid is a complex formulated fluid consisting of many additive components, each providing a specific function, such as anti-corrosion and lubrication properties. CPI has experience in partnering with companies to formulate bespoke additives for incorporated into cutting fluids, enabling end users to machine the metallic components at higher cutting speeds, whilst achieving cost savings and waste reductions.