Penso British Engineering

Penso set to unveil composite solutions at JEC

A composite door design and innovative high volume automotive parts made in the West Midlands will be unveiled at a major international show in Paris next week.

Penso, which employs 230 people across sites in Coventry, London and Pune (India), will showcase two new lightweight advancements it has pioneered for the rail and automotive sectors at JEC World 2016 (March 8-10).

Visitors to stand K32 (Hall 5a) will be able to see firsthand the innovative train door that offers a 30% reduction in weight when compared to the current aluminium models.

Michael Collins, Marketing and Sales Director at the firm, revealed this week that it is currently in talks with train manufacturers about adopting the breakthrough with significant interest set to follow at the global event.

“A lot of firms have been looking at R&D into this area, but very few – if indeed any – have gone to the next level and actually invested in technology and the experts needed to produce a lightweight rail door out of composite material.“

He continued: “We designed our own tooling and press formed the door at our dedicated composite facility in Coventry. They have been tested by a number of third party experts and come out as being robust and offering up to 30% weight savings.

“This is a major attraction for the train operators and manufacturers and we are currently targeting a number of companies in Europe with view to achieving millions of Euros in new orders by 2017.“

Penso, which offers a complete turnkey engineering service including design, feasibility analysis and niche production, believes it has come up with a solution for producing carbon fibre components quickly and cost effectively.

This unique process has reduced manufacturing times to just minutes, making the use of composite materials very competitive against the traditional steels, aluminium and mixed materials commonly used in the automotive, defence and rail sectors.

As part of its growth in this area, the company has invested £7m in developing its existing building and installing a new state-of-the-art carbon fibre high volume factory, a new plant for lightweight structures and machining centres for rapid tooling.

A further £2m has been spent on new plant and capital equipment to aid with the manufacture of machine tools and studios.

Michael continued: “This is the second time we’ve exhibited at JEC and believe it underlines our commitment to the effective production of lightweight components.

“In addition to the train door, we will also be displaying some of the work we have carried out as part of the £16.8m VARCITY programme to create affordable carbon fibre body architecture.“

He went on to add: “The consortium partners include Jaguar Land Rover, Cytec/Solvay, Expert Tooling, Warwick Manufacturing Group, the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Sika and Avdel Fasteners.

“Together, we have researched and developed new composite solutions to aid with industry’s drive to reduce C02 and Nitrogen Oxide emissions.“

VARCITY has been an important project for Penso and has involved more than 50 of the company’s staff, from design engineers and material specialists to graduates and apprentices.

It positions the company and the UK supply chain at the forefront of composite development and should be the catalyst to tender for more contracts in the automotive sector.