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Niche Vehicle Network funding for lightweight chassis development

Niche Vehicle Network funding for lightweight chassis development

Posted by: Simpact Date posted: 9th Sep 2015 Category: Simpact News

The use of butted tubing is better known for performance and racing bicycle frame construction.  Traditionally, it is thicker at the ends than the middle, making the tubes lighter whilst retaining strength and weldability at the tube ends.

The project will deliver the world’s first spaceframe chassis using butted tubing technology and Simpact will work alongside Reynolds Technology – who pioneered the original double-butted tubing set in 1898 and Caterham Cars Ltd, manufactures of the legendary 7 sports car.

Grant support for the engineering and development project has been provided by the Niche Vehicle Network, which offers innovation support to the UK’s vibrant niche and specialist vehicle manufacturing sector.  The Network’s activities are funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

Over the years, Simpact have worked on several iconic vehicle spaceframes and by making use of their CAE tools, they will investigate a range of design options and fine tune a design scheme that will work first time and deliver a target weight saving of 10% whilst retaining chassis stiffness.  An important aspect of the work will be in demonstrating the accuracy of the CAE model by correlation to the displacements generated from experimental torsion test. These experiments are being carried out at the WMG Product Evaluation Group at the University of Warwick who have a range of state-of-the-art metrology equipment.

The CAE methodologies and optimisation routines developed for the project will be exploited in our diverse customer base for the development of lightweight structures where minimal weight is an important design specification.

For more information on the Niche Vehicle Network, please visit

For more information on Reynolds Technology, please visit

For more information of Caterham Cars, please visit