Here at JEC Europe, the annual composites show held in Paris, Future Fibres (Spanish Pavilion booth X20) today announced they are shifting gears to target the automotive sector. Future Fibres and partner Persico S.p.A. have combined their respective expertise in advanced composite fibres and precision tooling to produce prototypes of the carbon composite tub for a new racing roadster, codenamed RP-one. This stunning, road-legal British sports car from RPx Automotive, which will go into production in December 2013, is part of a new generation of performance vehicles based on light weight rather than engine power. The RP-one accentuates the versatility of Future Fibres and its continued success in extending beyond high-end rigging and spars into other major non-marine markets.
Future Fibres’ carbon fibre composite technologies are used to create the custom-designed, exposed tub of the RP-one, which not only provides class-leading vehicle stiffness but also is a key styling feature. Thanks to an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, the carbon fibre composite used in the tub weighs only 35kg and makes a major contribution to the light weight of the RP-one – a mere 480kg. The complete tub structure, which integrates the dashboard and tub cards, weighs less than 55kg. The lighter weight and rigidity of automotive structures made from this advanced material mean high performance can co-exist with environmental goals.
According to Peter Kent, managing director for RPx Automotive, “The advantages of carbon fibre technologies are well known in aviation, Formula One racing and yachting. Now, together with Future Fibres and Persico, we are bringing the performance and environmental benefits of carbon fibre composite to our RP-one roadster. Our goal is to redefine the modern high-performance sports car by integrating next-generation racing technologies within road-legal car. As we move into production, we continue to rely on Future Fibres and Persico for their expertise and capabilities spanning design through tooling, prototyping and manufacturing.”
The upcoming debut of the RP-one is the culmination of five years’ work focused on advanced materials, weight reduction and driving dynamics. Because of its exceptionally light weight and aerodynamic styling, the RP-one does not require a heavy-duty powertrain for top performance. Supercar (0 to 100kph [60mph]) acceleration can be achieved with smaller, more-economical and more-sustainable engines. In fact, the lightweight platform of the RP-one will also serve as a foundation for alternative powertrains such as electric motors.
Torbjörn Linderson, Future Fibres product manager, said, “Our work with Persico on the upcoming RP-one racing car demonstrates the advantages of integrating mould making with composites manufacturing capacity. Our combined experience in the marine composites area allowed us to develop a cost-efficient production process for a low-volume, high-precision automotive part. We continue to identify major new applications for our lightweight fibre technologies, particularly in view of the demand for sustainable solutions.”
In addition to automotive, Future Fibres has expanded its reach into other non-marine projects in civil engineering and military and is exploring other industrial sectors such as cranes, hoists and lifting equipment.
ABOUT FUTURE FIBRES
Future Fibres pioneered the use of continuously wound, unidirectional composite fibre for yacht rigging almost two decades ago – revolutionising the way boats are built in the process. Today, Future Fibres is the world’s leading supplier of composite masts and rigging to the race, cruise and superyacht markets. With more experience and sea miles than the rest of the competition combined, the company is the industry benchmark for quality and innovation delivering unmatched performance and reliability. Building on its unrivalled technical expertise, Future Fibres has also grown to become a recognised expert in composite materials, working across a broad range of industries. The company’s current projects span marine, motor sport, industrial and engineering based applications.
Future Fibres’ goal is to drive the adoption of composite materials by developing solutions to challenges where composite have not yet been considered. To deliver on this objective the company has assembled a world class team of experts and a state of the art production facility, backed by robust research and development and with the support of Future Fibres’ high technology partner – Persico S.p.A., leader in moulding technology.
ABOUT PERSICO S.p.A.
Persico S.p.A. was founded in 1976 by Pierino Persico as a wood model workshop and it became rapidly one of the best performing companies on the Italian market. In a short time it expanded its business in two directions: by the Automotive Division in manufacturing aluminium and steel moulds of trim interior parts and sound-heat insulation panels for cars and industrial vehicles; and by the Rotational Division in producing aluminium rotational moulds. Persico soon became a leader in both fields.
Over the years, an increasing development in the perspective of a complete service to the client has brought to the birth of a new division, the Engineering Division, with the objective to create complete automations, at first for the automotive sector then extended to rotomoulding.
The lastborn division in terms of time, but with the same philosophy of complete service, is the Nautical Division, which is able to support, follow and realize nautical projects, starting from the design up to the prototype realization.
For more information about Persico SpA visit: www.persico.com
ABOUT RPx AUTOMOTIVE
For more information about RPx Automotive visit: http://www.rpxautomotive.com