A consortium including Lawrence David, SDC Trailers and Cambridge University, in partnership with Tata Steel, have produced a prototype rigid-body trailer that reduces total unladen weight by 2.5 tonnes. The Lightweight Aerodynamic Double-Deck Trailer Trial is the result of an Innovate UK-funded project, which aims to reduce the carbon footprint of trucks, both while out on the road and through the whole life cycle.
The vehicle’s remarkable lightness has been achieved by comprehensive use of Tata Steel’s Coretinium® steel composite sheet, as well as chassis engineering by SDC Trailers, body design by Lawrence David and aerodynamics by Cambridge University. The result is a vehicle weighing just 8.6 tonnes – 22% lighter than a conventional vehicle – and the ability to carry a larger payload per journey. It also has a higher proportion of recyclable content than conventional rigid-body trailers.
Tata Steel’s Coretinium sandwiches a polypropylene honeycomb core between two steel skins to produce a lightweight but highly durable, recyclable composite panel. Weighing approximately half of an equivalent timber panel, Coretinium has been used in the prototype trailer’s side walls, front bulkhead, rear doors, trailer flooring and second deck base. Coretinium is produced at Tata Steel’s Shotton Plant in North Wales, offering a local supply chain for UK-based trailer manufacturers such as Lawrence David.
Six vehicles have been produced for the Lightweight Aerodynamic Double-Deck Trailer Trial, four of which will feature Tata Steel’s Coretinium. The trial will see the rigid-bodied trucks join the fleet of a major British supermarket, where their benefits will be tested in real world conditions.
Joshua Barnard, Group Marketing Manager, at Lawrence David, said: “Lawrence David is committed to delivering more sustainable vehicles and manufacturing processes. We want to reduce our waste, limit our impact on the environment and use materials that, after a long life on the road, can be easily recycled. There are synergies between Lawrence David’s values of innovation, integrity, collaboration and quality, and those of Tata Steel, which is reflected in the way we work together.”
Edwin Richards, Technical Sales Manager, at Tata Steel, said: “In Coretinium we have developed a product that is not only light and durable but can be easily and safely recycled. We’re delighted to be working with a highly established trailer manufacturer, such as Lawrence David, to demonstrate how Coretinium can help the truck sector revolutionise its products to be more fuel efficient and sustainable.”
Coretinium is one of a number of specialist steel products that Tata Steel supplies to the commercial vehicle sector.