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ROADLITE~Manufacture of a Lightweight, Cost-Effective, Polymer Composite Road Trailer
Published May 18, 2005 by Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan in Japan
Event: JSAE Spring Conference
This paper describes the design, development, manufacture and testing of a lightweight polymer composite Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) trailer with the ability to produce flatbed, curtain-sided and boxed trailers. New modelling concepts have been developed to aid the vacuum infusion (VI) of a novel composite monocoque trailer using commercial grades of composite materials to keep cost at a minimum. A mixture of conceptual design, Finite Element Analysis (FEA), prototyping and testing has resulted in the manufacture of a 10 meter composite trailer weighing almost 400 kg less than a conventional steel unit. This equates to a 20% reduction in weight of the steel chassis. Testing has, so far, successfully proven the concept and integrity of the design and has shown benefits of 18% increase in stiffness, 20% reduction in mass and a reduction of 398 kg of CO2 per year compared with conventional steel trailers.