Specialist car parts manufacturer Nifco Inc. has released details of a cutting-edge new product, designed as part of the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Alive6 Project with government funding from the United Kingdom's Advanced Propulsion Centre.
The U.K. operations of Nifco shared details of the new oil pan that it claims is stronger and lighter than any of its steel counterparts. The thermoplastic composite part weighs 1 kilogram less than a steel equivalent, and has been engineered with continuous glass fibers that are longer than those used in normal reinforced plastics, to deliver optimum performance while remaining lightweight.
Nifco UK managing director Mike Matthews, 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 research and development facilities and equipment, at a cost of many thousands of pounds, and we believe that our role as a Tier One supplier is to proactively support original equipment manufacturers to make the most efficient cars possible.”
The JLR Alive6 project was launched last year, to create a prototype engine incorporating new technologies.
Nifco has teamed up with plastics supplier DuPont Co. to create the new part, and it hopes to see it mass produced over the next few years.
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. This part has been developed using its Vizilon product line, including a thermoplastic composite and specific overmolding resin. 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.”
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 Vizilon lightweighting solution will thrive in the future composite oil pan business.”