Toyota partnership aims to Catapult lightweight materials

High-performance testing and development engineers from Toyota Motorsport have joined forces with the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in a bid to remain in pole position of the automotive technology grid.

The wind tunnel model of the Le Mans-winning TS050 HYBRID race car undergoing testing in one of TMG’s wind tunnels - image courtesy of TMG.
The wind tunnel model of the Le Mans-winning TS050 HYBRID race car undergoing testing in one of TMG’s wind tunnels – image courtesy of TMG.

Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG), whose parent company is Toyota Motor Corporation, has built its reputation in motorsport via World Rally, Formula 1 and now the FIA World Endurance Championship, which includes the Le Mans 24 Hours.

In parallel to its motorsport activities, TMG also carries out a wide range of automotive projects, and joined the AMRC as a Tier 2 partner with a focus on research and development of lightweight materials.

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) is a world-class centre for research into advanced manufacturing technologies used in the aerospace, automotive, medical and other high-value manufacturing sectors.

The AMRC  is a member of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and has a global reputation for helping companies overcome manufacturing problems and is a model for collaborative research involving universities, academics and industry worldwide.

The company, which has its own facilities for CNC, composites and additive manufacturing, will, therefore, put itself at the front of the pack when it comes to keeping track of the latest trends in materials and manufacturing techniques.

Ben Kitcher, head of Automotive Strategy at the AMRC, said the partnership consolidates the centre’s reputation for using Industry 4.0 technologies to drive changes in performance: “We will be looking for opportunities to apply horizontal innovation – transferring technology from one sector to another.

“We’ll be applying innovative technology from other industries to inject fresh ideas and processes into motorsport, as well as setting out a collaborative roadmap of where new technologies will be delivered to motorsport.”

Metal lightweighting: The additive advantage

Topologically-optimised brackets deliver an innovative new approach to metal satellite parts for lighter weight and improved performance – image courtesy of 3D Systems.
Topologically-optimised brackets deliver an innovative new approach to metal satellite parts for lighter weight and improved performance.

The quest for metal lightweighting – the ability to make parts lighter – is prompting a whole new way to think about design and manufacture.

A key enabler of lightweighting is metal additive manufacturing – also known as metal 3D printing – which produces high quality, complex parts that are impossible to achieve through traditional manufacturing processes.

To learn more, The Manufacturer caught up with Patrick Dunne, vice president of advanced application development at 3D Systems.

You can read the conversation here.