Alongside lead partner Leyland Trucks, and C.S.A Group, Sapa’s extrusion company in the United Kingdom designed and extruded the aluminium that helped create the concept vehicle. Light and strong, aluminium extrusions were used extensively throughout the chassis and combined with a number of innovative design concepts from Sapa to improve efficiency.
The project was co-funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. Its objective was to design and manufacture a new chassis system at least 30 percent lighter than the conventional steel chassis produced by Leyland Trucks. Pictured above, the DAF Future Truck Chassis Concept (FTCC) achieved an impressive weight saving of 500 kilograms on a 12-tonne truck.
Sapa’s design engineers approached the task by rethinking the construction of the chassis and its assembly method. As an example, they designed the aluminium floor to serve as a structural element of the chassis, allowing the removal of runner sections and cross bearers.
In addition to weight-saving measures, the project included a number of other advanced vehicle features, such as independent front air suspension with rack and pinion steering, to investigate its benefits in terms of ride quality, steering precision and vehicle packaging improvements.
After extensive rounds of design proposals, evaluation and testing, the final concept chassis used 515 kilograms of aluminium and helped achieve a weight reduction of 30.5 percent.
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Senior engineer Rob Lawton of Leyland Trucks says that “light-weighting is at the heart of our global efforts to reduce fuel consumption and thus emissions. Increasing payload without loss of vehicle integrity is fundamental to that process. Our FTCC project achieved our objectives: a 30 percent weight saving focused on the components used in the main truck chassis frame, body under structure, front suspension and steering.
“We approached Sapa Profiles UK to help on this project because they are the leader in their field and we required the very best in design and technical knowledge for this project. Sapa’s expertise was important in the delivery of DAF Trucks’ aim to create the most efficient vehicle possible.”
Yann Beck, who is managing director of Sapa Profiles UK, explains that “as much as 25 percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions are generated by the transportation sector, so initiatives such as this are essential.
"Sapa is committed to shaping a sustainable future through innovative aluminium solutions," says Beck, pictured at right. "We were delighted Leyland Trucks chose Sapa as a partner for this project, as they are aligned with our fundamental ethical values of respect for the environment and society.”
DAF Trucks is a subsidiary of the American company PACCAR, which designs and manufactures light, medium and heavy-duty trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF nameplates. DAF manufactures trucks in the Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil and the UK.