Tees manufacturing giant Nifco says it has brought a major “potentially industry-changing” project to its successful conclusion after a 12-month development phase.
Nifco manufactures parts used in the engines, interiors and exteriors of cars produced by Ford, General Motors, Honda , Jaguar Landrover, Nissan, Renault, Toyota and Vauxhall Opel from its Eaglescliffe facility.
The firm’s nine-strong research and development team has worked in collaboration with material supplier Celanese and prototyping company Graphite AM, to design, prototype and test a new engine bracket which could bring significant benefits to the running of the vehicle.
R&D manager Steve Garrett said: “This product – a bracket which supports the powertrain and withstands all the loads from the engine during operation – is a significant piece of kit and is traditionally made using aluminium.
“We’ve tested various materials to be able to design and develop the same bracket using long glass fibre reinforced plastic, providing a weight saving of 0.7kg or 50% – contributing to a reduction of CO2 emissions, or in an electric vehicle – extending range.”
According to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the number of UK-registered electric vehicles (EV) has increased considerably in recent years, rising from 500 per month in 2014 to approximately 5,000 a month in 2018.
With a significant improvement in charging infrastructure and battery mileage-range, in addition to the government’s efforts to reduce diesel engine ownership, this upward EV trajectory can only continue.
“Our new engine bracket can be fitted to both traditional combustion engines as well as an Electric Vehicle motor system and, in their positive feedback, we are hearing from customers that more sustainable, environmentally-friendly solutions are favourable,” added Garrett.
“This product not only offers a weight reduction, but the actual production process is more energy and cost efficient than traditional methods, such as aluminium die-casting.”
Nifco UK boasts an enviable minimum waste to landfill record and the R&D team adopts the same philosophy in designing environmental-friendliness into its new products.