To signify Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.'s focus on carbon fiber elements, it has announced a new Advanced Composites Research Center (ACRC) at its headquarters in Sant'Agata Bolognese. The ACRC does research on innovative design and production methods for carbonfiber elements.
Development of the ACRC and an all-new, highly efficient production process for extremely complex carbon-fiber structures was done simultaneously. A series of patents secures this process that boasts of a breakthrough into the next generation of carbon-fiber components.
Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A., said that the consistent development of carbon-fiber technology is a "key element" of its strategy. He also said that the most important parameter for super sportscars is the weight-to-power ratio because of the restrictions in power increase due to emission regulations.
Lamborghini is able to stay at the forefront of development techniques because it uses carbonfiber extensively, even at structural level. He added that the"real difference" is its proper utilization of technologies and materials to satisfy technical and financial concerns. He also said, "This is what the Center is all about."
Carbon composite materials are essential to automotive engineering in the future, particularly for high-performance sports cars. These materials consist of carbon-fiber reinforced polymers and have excellent mechanical properties with the lowest possible weight.
When cars have reduced weights, fuel consumption is improved and there are less CO2 emissions. For any sportscar to improve its performance, the decisive factor is improving its power-to-weight ratio. A super sportscar that's produced using composite materials in carbon fiber offers excellent handling as well as better acceleration and braking.
Due to its use of carbon fiber, the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera deserves the title of a lightweight engineering champion. While the Gallardo LP 560-4 is indeed lean, the new model weighs 70 kilograms less. This is because of the extensive use of carbon fiber for the components on both the exterior and the interior. Overall, this offering from the Sant’Agata Bolognese automaker comes in at a total weight not exceeding 1,340 kilograms.
As a result, this super sportscar sets new standards for the already exclusive market class where Lamborghini has long been part of. When it comes to the use of composite elements, one can say that Lamborghini has many years of solid experience. In 1983 for example, the brand created for the Countach what can be said as the first ever chassis prototype made of carbon fiber. By 1985, the brand started manufacturing the series production parts.
Another example is the Lamborghini Murciélago where its bodyshell has 93 kilograms worth of carbon-fiber materials. For the Gallardo Spyder meanwhile, the engine cover is regarded in the auto industry as the largest component ever made and is equipped with RTM technology with an optimum class-A surface finish. The Lamborghini Advanced Composite Research Center is made up of two facilities and is located on an area covering at least 2,600 square meters.
It was in this research center that a team composed of technicians and engineers, totalling 30 people in all, started working in order to develop vehicle components that come in different shapes and sizes. This same center is where prototypes are built, together with production tools and associated tools.
They are also the ones who develop many of the optimized production technologies. Since much of the cutting-edge system has been made in-house, it results in high precision levels considering that the engineers are not only able to simulate any of the manufacturing processes, but can even carry out the needed crash tests on these carbon fiber structures.