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The use of carbon fibre composite tooling for the MG X-Power SV road car is claimed to have saved MG Rover around £1.4 million compared with more traditional steel tools.
DPS Composites in Surrey, UK, produced the composite tools for all 36 body panels that comprise the entire silhouette of the car.
Layups and templates were designed and developed at DPS in conjunction with SP Systems, for use with SP Sprint. This enabled material for each part in full-scale production to be supplied in pre-cut form ready to be dropped in place and moulded, in turn saving additionally on production time and costs with the added benefit of improved consistency and quality of parts.
In addition to the more traditional benefits of using composite tooling and production against steel and aluminium for body panels, a further benefit is that composite tooling can be typically produced in less than half the time of steel tooling. At present, as production quantities rise above 2000 sets and approach or exceed 20,000 sets, the economics increasingly favour more traditional methods where high performance is not an important requirement. However, in the future, composites look set to further encroach in to the medium volume production sector.
On the MG X-Power SV all of the exterior body panels are made of carbon fibre composite. These make up a sandwich with a syntactic core. These panels have the same stiffness as steel, but weigh only 25% of the equivalent steel components.
DPS Composites have developed, tooled, prototyped and manufactured Formula One chassis and components in carbon fibre composite since 1987 where advances in performance, reliability and safety have been self-evident. The new, lower cost methods of production are seeing many less exotic applications designed, developed and prototyped in Surrey in areas such as automotive bodies and engines, marine craft, unmanned aerial vehicles, medical applications, structures and engineering applications.
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