Composite Lightweight Automotive Suspension System (CLASS)
The Composite Lightweight Automotive Suspension System is a composite rear suspension knuckle/tieblade consisting of UD prepreg (epoxy resin), SMC (vinylester resin) carbon fibre and a steel insert to reduce the weight of the component by 35% and reduce Co2. The compression moulding manufacturing process and CAE optimisation are unique and ground-breaking for this product and are designed to allow high volume manufacture of approx. 30,000 vehicles per year. The manufacturing techniques employed allow for multi-material construction within a five minute cycle time to make the process viable for volume manufacture. The complexities of the design lie in the areas of manufacturing, CAE prediction and highly specialised design methods. It is a well-known fact that the performance of a composite part is primarily determined by the way it is manufactured.