Breakthrough automotive product from Nifco

Breakthrough automotive product from Nifco

North East plastic car parts manufacturer Nifco UK has released details of cutting-edge new product designed as part of the Jaguar Land Rover ALIVE6 Project.

The new product, an oil pan, is expected to positively impact the UK automotive supply chain, acting as a stronger but lighter version of its steel counterparts.

The thermoplastic composite part weighs in at 1kg less than a steel equivalent, and has been engineered with continuous glass fibres that are infinitely longer than those used in normal reinforced plastics, to deliver optimum performance while remaining lightweight.

Mike Matthews, managing director of Nifco UK, said: “Metal was once considered to be the only material resilient and heat resistant enough to withstand the loads within a car engine, but with new technology comes the opportunity to create ever-more effective and efficient products.

“Nifco has invested heavily in R&D facilities and equipment, at a cost of many thousands of pounds, and we believe that, as a Tier One supplier, we should be proactively supporting the development of the automotive industry to make the most efficient cars as possible.”

The ALIVE6 Project was launched last year to create a prototype engine incorporating as many new technologies as possible.

The project involves nine work packages being delivered, each designed to unlock the potential of UK supply chain businesses, enabling them to access funding to support with the research and development of new products that help with light-weighting and improved fuel economy.

The JLR ALIVE6 project is worth more than £20million and JLR and the Government hope that the technologies demonstrated as part of the project will lead to lighter and more fuel efficient developments in the near future. 

“Getting involved in this project has given us a means of accessing support to create a product that has the potential to be in every car made in this country in the future.  It’s been a great opportunity for us,” said Mr Matthews.

Nifco has worked in partnership with plastics supplier DuPont to create the new part, and it hopes to see the part produced in mass use over the next few years. 

Anthony Loth, program leader at DuPont, said: “This is a major success for a new material and a new technology that has been possible through our selected partnership with Nifco becoming an innovative leader on this oil pan market. We believe the VizilonTM lightweighting solution will thrive in the future composite oil pan business.’’

Mr Matthews added: “We have worked very closely with DuPont to adjust the design and optimize the process to answer the cycle time requirements of the mass series production. We are proud that this collaboration has produced a part that we know will add real value for our customers.”  

“We have committed two members of staff to this project, on a full time basis, and many other members of the team have contributed to its development, so it’s fantastic to see this project making fantastic progress.”


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