All vehicles (land, air & sea) carrying excessive, or even slightly redundant weight, can pose significant physical, performance and financial problems for manufacturers, service providers and end-users alike.
NASA claim it costs between $22,200 and $54,500 to launch 1kg of payload into Earth's orbit, hindering their ambition of making space travel and exploration attainable by all.
Every 1kg of weight on a typical WEC Le Mans Hypercar equates to a laptime gain of +0.025 seconds per lap around the Spa Franchorchamps racing circuit. In a world where the difference between qualifying 1st or 2nd comes down to just 10ths of a second, shaving off every gram of excess weight becomes a top priority for successful motorsport teams.
The energy density of gasoline fuel is still over 55x greater than current lithium-ion battery technology (13,200 Wh/kg vs. 230 Wh/kg). For EV manufacturers, the issue of energy storage amounts to a serious weight problem, with increased charging times, reduced vehicle range, and an increased dependency on mining rare and critical earth elements. To achieve power and performance parity with their internal combustion counterparts, electric vehicles must turn to innovative lightweighting solutions to reduce battery pack sizes and overall vehicle weight.
The Benefits of Lightweighting
as pro engineering ltd. is an advanced-engineering consultancy, specialising in the design, development and prototyping of lightweight vehicles. We help our ambitious clients remain relevant and at the forefront of their chosen industries, by applying the latest in lightweight motorsport design and manufacturing technologies.
Lightweighting is the art of creating lightweight parts, structures and vehicles that can achieve more with less. Think structural efficiency. The aim of lightweighting is to optimise the strength and stiffness to weight ratios of all parts used in a structure or vehicle. At the same time, ensuring the correct functionality and reliability of all lightweight parts throughout the vehicle's expected lifetime.
In other words, lightweighting creates parts that carry only the minimum weight necessary to perform. The cumulative effect of all of these lightweight parts working in unison is to solve the problems listed above, and more:
Lighter race cars will increase acceleration, braking, cornering and dynamic performance in all directions. 10% weight removed from a modern Formula 1 car is equivalent to a 1.85s laptime reduction.
Lighter space vehicles will facilitate further advances in space exploration, transportation and scientific findings.
Lighter airplanes will reduce CO2 emissions through improved fuel efficiency, lowering fuel costs, increasing airline profitability and, ultimately, reducing travel costs for passengers.
Lightweight electric vehicles will become more powerful, more efficient, and travel further on a single charge, all without the need for more batteries.
Improved Vehicle Performance
The aim of modern vehicle design is to increase overall vehicle performance and efficiency, achieved through improvements in the following 3 design fundamentals:
Increase your aerodynamic efficiency.
Increase your engine performance and efficiency.
Reduce your overall vehicle mass.
Without having to invest in the engineering and development of your aerodynamic and power-train efficiency, lighter weight parts mean immediate:
Increases in all vehicle accelerations- linearly & rotationally (fore/aft, cornering, vertically, pitch, roll & yaw).
Reductions in the engine and power-train performance demands required to achieve your vehicle's acceleration targets.
Improvements in vibration dampening characteristics. Reducing weight can increase your part's natural frequencies, shifting resonance responses outside of the normal operating modes and frequencies, improving ride-quality, feel and user feedback.
Reductions in your part stresses, wear and costs. With less weight to support, materials can be thinned, fixings reduced or removed all together, leading to more weight savings and a positive benefit feedback loop.
Put simply, lightweighting enables your parts, structures, and vehicles to achieve more with less. Save on fuel, energy, time and costs through innovative lightweighting design.
//// Our Engineering Process
If your company has identified a problem to solve for a specific target market, has created an initial design brief, or has a product already in development, you can still turn to as pro engineering ltd. for specialist lightweighting engineering support.
Initial Design Consultation
During our initial consultation and design feasibility phase, we seek to fully understand the engineering problem you're trying to solve, and collaboratively explore the viability of different design proposals, concepts and solutions.
We address and answer questions such as: Will the design concept work safely and reliably? Will we achieve our desired performance and weight targets? Can the design concept actually be manufactured, and be delivered within our project's budget and time frame?
Engineering Analysis & Detailed Design
We then develop your design concept from a blank sheet of paper into a complete package of technical drawings, ready for prototype manufacturing. We guide you down the material choices, manufacturing techniques and finishing options best suited to achieving your overall project requirements.
Any structural, safety or regulatory concerns will be addressed at this stage, using the latest in engineering design, analysis and optimisation software.
First Physical Prototype & Testing
We will then manufacture and supply you with your first physical prototype, ready for you to test and evaluate against the requirements set-out earlier in your design brief.
A development feedback-loop is added to correct any problems discovered during testing, refine and improve any design or manufacturing issues, and to reduce manufacturing costs if required.
We then supply a second physical prototype, freezing the design after successful re-testing and evaluation.
With the design concept tested and proven, your new product is now ready for you to manufacture in the volumes required, and either distributed for retail or delivered to your base for further testing and operations.
//// Lightweighting FAQs
Can I Turn To as pro engineering ltd. From The Moment Of Initial Concept?
Yes. You can involve us right from that “blank sheet” idea moment. You can involve as pro engineering ltd. from the conceptual, problem solving and feasibility stages of your product design journey, or also when a preliminary concept already exists. We typically work with engineering companies, vehicle manufacturers, design studios and aerodynamic consultancies- basically, anyone who needs help converting their lightweight design solutions from concepts into reality.
Can I Turn To as pro engineering ltd. If My Product Has Been Tested & Found To Be Too Heavy?
Certainly. You can turn to as pro engineering ltd. at any point during your product development process, including when a product already exists and is found to be too heavy. We are happy to provide engineering assistance to further design and develop your existing lightweight parts.
Why Is Carbon Fibre An Asset?
In addition to its low weight and excellent mechanical properties, carbon fibre's main advantage is that it is a directional, anisotropic, material. This means that it can provide excellent strength and stiffness properties to any structure by adding weight only in the directions and locations needed the most. By understanding the forces, moments, deflections and reactions in a part, bespoke laminates can be designed and tailored to each individual composite part, ensuring every last gram of excess weight is eliminated.
As the costs and lead-times to manufacture carbon fibre parts continue to fall, composite parts are becoming more mainstream, with have the added benefit of being non-corrosive, possess superior fatigue characteristics, and can be easily formed into complex shapes without the need for costly tooling.
Can Lightweight Metallic Parts Be Created As Well?
Yes. Using composite materials is not always the correct material choice when creating new lightweight solutions. Often, our parts are subjected to harsh operating environments, such as extreme heat, complex 3D stresses, and through-thickness loadings, which rule out composites as the best material for the job.
With recent advances in design simulation, heat-treatment and metal 3D printing technologies, extremely lightweight parts can also be achieved using metallic materials and exotic alloys. Topology optimisation, generative design and 3D printing now combine to create lightweight metallic components that were previously too expensive to produce, when using traditional manufacturing methods.
//// Why Choose as pro engineering ltd.?
as pro engineering ltd. can deliver exceptional lightweight and innovative design solutions to vehicle designers and manufacturers working in the following industries:
We offer world-class engineering services, with a proven track record of delivering lightweight design solutions to high-profile clients across the U.K and Europe. Such racing teams and clients include: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1™, Scuderia Ferrari F1™, Toyota Gazoo Racing LMP1 & Koenigsegg AutomotiveAB.
A Proven Process
We have the resources, capabilities and expertise necessary to transform your idea from a blank sheet of paper into a novel, lightweight design and physical pre-production prototype.
We're not interested in the volume production element of a project. As a specialist lightweighting design and prototyping engineering consultancy, we support you as our client through designs that use the manufacturing methods best suited to your needs only, not anyone else's. This ensures that your project objectives are continually and successfully achieved.
We supply all our clients with the complete manufacturing and technical information required for procurement and production. This allows you to globally source and manufacture your own high-quality, lightweight parts, working with suppliers whose costs and production schedules best compliment your own budgets and timelines.