A composite rail door designed and made in the West Midlands has been unveiled at a major international show in Paris.
Penso, which employs 220 people across its two Coventry sites, showcased its latest innovative product that is expected to offer a 30% weight reduction on the current aluminium model.
Bosses from the firm are already in talks with five train manufacturers about testing the breakthrough and are expected to receive significant interest at the event.
“We have been working on this exciting project for some time, so it was a big moment for the company when we unveiled it,” explained Daniel Hurcombe, Managing Director.
“A lot of firms have been looking at R&D, but very few – if indeed any – have gone to the next level and actually produced 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. The first ones have gone through third party testing 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. If initial interest is anything to go by, we expect this to add up to £2m per year to our sales.”
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 £8.5m 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.
Daniel concluded: “This was the first time we’ve exhibited at JEC and believe it underlines our commitment to the effective production of lightweight components.
“Making parts lighter is the way all industries are going and we want to make sure the UK is at the forefront of such developments.”