Caparo showcases its prowess at Cologne
The event highlighted the company's ability to deliver fully integrated services from design and development of parts to product assembly.
“Our main objective for this exhibition was to present Caparo’s extensive range of components and in particular our ability to take an idea from concept, through the entire process of design and development, to the manufacture of individual parts and their assembly and line-side delivery to the client. We want vehicle manufacturers to understand that through our various groups of companies we can deliver from top to bottom a full vertically integrated Tier 1 service including the logistics of delivering the parts,” said Richard Butler, chief executive, Caparo Vehicle Products.
To illustrate the synergy of its closely integrated company network, Caparo displayed a new mono-block opposed-piston brake calliper developed by Caparo AP Braking for high performance sports car applications. The calliper is machined from a single aluminium casting produced by sister company Caparo Aluminium Technologies. The calliper incorporates a recently developed thread forming fastener supplied by Caparo Atlas Fastenings, one of only a few companies licensed for this new technology which eliminates the need for a separate machining operation to form the required thread.
“Previously, vehicle manufacturers would have needed to approach a number of different companies for this solution and this level of innovation,” explained Neil Geldard-Williams, managing director, Caparo Aluminium Technologies.
“Caparo however can offer the breadth and depth of a tightly integrated organisation comprising a number of autonomous sister companies working in close harmony. Caparo Testing Technologies, for example, is developing a new facility on our site at Stourbridge to provide customers with additional technical support; including real time X-ray capability and other non-destructive testing techniques for our castings and to provide a service for all Caparo facilities within our region.”
The new brake calliper is just one example of how Caparo is working together to deliver a total service to its customer. Another example is the design contract that the company won for the complete brake system for a new six-wheeled armoured people carrier, which is scheduled to go into production in 2007.
“I believe this is a unique service which I doubt other companies can offer,” added Ian Clarke, managing director, Caparo Atlas Fastenings. “One of our core fastening competences is application engineering, whereby we have engineers permanently resident with vehicle manufacturers dedicated to reducing weight and cost in existing designs. Clearly, our particular focus is fastenings, but as a solutions driven company if we see that the component or assembly would benefit from a re-design then we’ll refer it back to the relevant sister companies.”
##### Having successfully bench tested the new motorsport brake calliper, its first application will be the Caparo T1 high performance road and track car produced by Caparo Vehicle Technologies – a subsidiary of Caparo Vehicle Products. The calliper has been designed for extreme deceleration from high speed and for the T1 prototype has been machined from a solid aluminium billet. For the front wheels each calliper incorporates six opposed pistons, while a smaller 4-piston calliper has been specified for the rear wheels.
“The motorsport industry and its focus on exploiting new technology is an important business sector for Caparo as underlined by the recent appointment of Gordon Murray as our director of advanced concepts and the strengthening of the group through recent acquisitions including Caparo Vehicle Technologies and its superlative T1 technology demonstrator,” said Butler giving further reasons for Caparo to attend the show.
“This new exhibition in Cologne gives us an ideal platform for presenting our lightweight material capabilities. Gordon and his team have an excellent understanding of the latest FIA crash requirements and whatever the race series, Caparo has the capability of designing and manufacturing complete carbon composite solutions for all structural parts of the vehicle.
“We are working extremely hard to establish a high volume facility in India that will offer carbon composite solutions at costs more appropriate to series production. It may take 15 to 20 years before we see in the car industry the widespread use of advanced plastics and composites as an alternative to aluminium and steel, nonetheless we have embarked on this course having recognised that vehicle light-weighting technologies provide Caparo with an excellent commercial opportunity to help car makers reduce vehicle carbon emissions.”
“If nothing is done to change present trends then the average family car will soon weigh two tonnes … and that is simply unsustainable,” Butler added. “A lot can be gained by applying the lessons learnt from motorsport and the principles of lightweight design.”
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