Lightweight technology is being showcased at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) exhibition this November. The exhibition is being staged to celebrate the organisation’s Award for Automotive Innovation 2014, the results of which will be announced at the annual dinner on Tuesday 25th November. The showcase event, which runs from 24th to 28th November, is being held at the SMMT’s Westminster showroom.
As the automotive industry’s trade body, the SMMT exposition aims to highlight the breadth of the UK automotive industry to visitors and passers-by who will be able to pop in and view the exhibition. As a nominee for the innovation award, Automotive Insulations (AI) will be exhibiting a specially adapted Mini One. The full size Mini demonstration unit has been developed in collaboration with WMG, the Warwick Manufacturing Group, based at the University of Warwick. The group supports organisations in developing innovations, technologies and skills.
The demo car includes 3D and 2D NVH parts which showcase some of the technologies that AI uses, such as thermoforming, drape moulding, cut and seal, die cutting and reaction moulding. The unit’s engine has been stripped out with a 32" screen in place of the steering wheel and dashboard. There is also a monitor under the bonnet and a surround sound kit in the boot, as well as a wireless touchpad inside the car itself.
“It can be difficult to explain exactly what we do and how effective the materials we develop can be in reducing weight and sound and so it is great to be given the chance to exhibit our products at the SMMT headquarters,” explains Jim Griffin, Managing Director, AI. “The Mini enables members of the public as well as the automotive industry to see our products first hand and to interact with the exhibition. We recently took it to Germany to a major trade exhibition where it was very well received.”
AI has been shortlisted for their range of lightweight Xlite materials. Developed in-house to meet the rise in demand for lightweight materials from the automotive industry, Xlite is able to maximise sound absorption whilst minimising component weight (by up to 70% in some applications) and cost. The materials are commonly used in electric, hybrid and lightweight vehicles, but can be adapted for a range of industrial uses.
“It’s an exciting time to be part of the British automotive industry,” comments Jim. “We are delighted to be nominated for an award for innovation, particularly as the UK has a reputation for manufacturing excellence, so the competition is pretty stiff.”
The SMMT Award for Automotive Innovation is sponsored by global engineering group GKN and supported by The Times, aiming to highlight British-developed technologies. The award winner will be announced at the annual dinner held at Park Lane in London, which will be attended by TV presenter Clare Balding OBE, as guest speaker.