This is a guest blog piece on Jaguar Land Rover’s use of new technology in car manufacture from Innovate UK, the UK Government’s innovation agency.
Innovation and the automobile industry go hand in hand, and these days it’s fair to say that a lot of the big car makers are trying to progress towards a greener future. We’re slowly moving towards a new era in car design, and manufacturing giants Jaguar Land Rover are at the forefront of the revolution thanks to their REALCar project. The mission? Tackle the CO2 and fuel economy issues that people in the industry are starting to face up to. Fast-forward to today and we’re really starting to see the fruits of their labour.
The first stages
The REALCAR (Recycled Aluminium Car) project was created in 2008 and it required the assistance of chemists, metallurgists, recyclers and many more groups of people, including an academic perspective from Brunel University. By gathering the opinions of these different experts in their fields, JLR could gain an expert guide into next generation processing techniques that could help them unlock the potential of the whole project. Now they knew how to explore their material innovation ideas and make cars more eco-friendly.
JLR came up with a revised alloy, known as the RC 5754, for their cars which was their most eco-friendly yet. To bring about this recycle-friendly alloy they worked alongside industrial aluminium company Novelis, but producing the material to scale was a daunting challenge. In order to make it work they needed to put in a huge amount of research and technical work, so that the material could fit JLR’s strict requirements whilst still managing to do everything that Novelis expected of it.
What’s the point of being able to develop a recycle-friendly alloy if the manufacturing process itself isn’t efficient? This was a big question that needed to be answered, as JLR figured out ways to ‘close the loop’ and make sure that they were getting the right material into their factory in the first place. In the end the simplest way to obtain the scrap metal that they needed was to invest money into press shops that could recover it for them. This led to a controlled, automated collection system for aluminium that helped the REALCar project grow from strength to strength.
Embracing the changes
You can now see these alloys being used in different Jaguar cars, including a performance model. All of which proves that you can provide exciting vehicles to the market in a sustainable way. With the project being such a success it’s encouraging to see other companies openly embracing the changes to automotive manufacturing. Thanks to the backing of Innovate UK, the country’s innovation agency, initiatives like this are finally a real possibility, and the future of car design is looking brighter than ever.
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