LIGHTRANS PROJECT - 4ª ANNUITY
The main objective of LIGHTRANS project has been the design and development of lightweight multi-material structures, through the development of optimized and low-cost manufacturing and joining processes, that allow their application in eco-efficient road transport vehicles. Specifically, a superstructure of an eco-efficient bus and an electric three-wheeler motorcycle have been redesigned.
The need for initiatives such as LIGHTRANS is based on the search for efficient solutions at a global level for the reduction of CO2 emissions caused by means of transport, the fight against the deterioration of air quality in cities, the objective of minimizing the polluting effects on basic ecosystems for life on the planet and to achieve less dependence on oil reserves in the automotive field.
In this sense, the project has been aligned with the 2 most common research and development areas in the transport industry to solve these factors: action on electrified transport systems and development of lightweight solutions (both for internal combustion vehicles and in new electric vehicles). In the same way, it provides solutions to the barriers that prevent the more extensive use of polymeric matrix composite materials (MCMP) in the transport sector (limited manufacturing cadence, high cost of materials and processes when seeking to maximize the mechanical performance or recycling / repair difficulties).
Based on this background, LIGHTRANS has proposed to combine strategically, materials with different nature (thermostable and thermoplastic composite materials, cellular polymers and steel), in such a way that the weight of the structures developed for an electric three-wheeled vehicle and eco-efficient bus is minimal, its structural performance is maximum, the solution is cost-effective and they allow minimizing the environmental impact of the vehicle.
In this fourth and last year 2021, the assembly works of components of the final structures of the light bus have been completed and the validation activities of the representative section of the bus superstructure have been developed through an ad-hoc test, in which the deformation obtained has been quantified. In the use case of the three-wheeled vehicle using a multimaterial solution, the assembly tasks of the demonstrator have been completed and the in-service validation tests have been carried out. Finally, it should be noted that in parallel to the manufacturing tests and validation of the multimaterial solutions, and taking advantage of the conclusions obtained, the environmental impact of the designed structures have been completed, as well as the corresponding recyclability studies.
In order to achieve these ambitious objectives set, LIGHTRANS has had six companies with a complementary profile, which have covered the entire value chain of the proposed activities:
VMS AUTOMOTIVE, LIGHTRANS project leader, end user and developer of an innovative 100% electric three-wheeler motorcycle.
CARROCERÍAS CASTROSUA, end user of the project, manufacturer of bus and coach bodies and pioneer in the development of hybrid propulsion systems.
RESINAS CASTRO, as a specialist company in thermostable matrix composite materials (MCTE) in combination with high-performance fibers and in non-autoclave manufacturing processes.
ALEACIONES LIGERAS Y PLÁSTICOS (ALYP), a company specialized in thermoplastic materials and their manufacturing processes (thermoforming, injection), galvanic protection coatings and injection of cellular materials.
POLIÉSTERES SOBRAL, an expert company in processing thermostable matrix composite materials by liquid resin injection processes, such as RTM (resin transfer molding).
UNTHA IBÉRICA, a company specialized in recycling solutions.
In addition, the consortium had the participation of AIMEN Technology Centre, an entity with great experience in the design, manufacture and characterization of composite and multi-material components, as well as in the study of dissimilar joints and optimization of manufacturing processes. manufacturing; and with the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory (LIM) of the University of A Coruña, an expert entity in the study of the dynamics of multibody systems applied to the automotive industry.
This LIGHTRANS project, framed in the CONECTAPEME 2018 program, is financed by the Xunta de Galicia through the Galician Innovation Agency (GAIN) and the support of the Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Industry and is co-financed by FEDER Funds in the framework of axis 1 of the Feder Galicia 2014-2020 operational program.