Constellium has opened the University Technology Centre (UTC) at Brunel University London, a base for the design, development and prototyping of aluminium alloys and automotive structural components.

Featuring industrial size aluminium casting and extrusion equipment in the first phase, the Constellium UTC will provide rapid prototyping capability expected to reduce development times by at least 50% for advanced aluminium alloys required for continued lightweighting of automotive structural components.

The newly developed alloy and process technologies are expected to be transferred to Constellium's extrusion and automotive structures plants worldwide, thereby closing the gap between fundamental R&D and series production. 

"As the leading Tier 1 supplier of aluminium structural components to the global automotive market and a leader in innovation in our industry, we are excited about the advantages Constellium's University Technology Centre will offer automakers," said Constellium Automotive Structures and Industry business unit president, Paul Warton.

"The Constellium UTC will allow us to prototype alloys and components on full-scale equipment with unprecedented speed and time to market."

In partnership with Brunel University London, Constellium will develop the scientists and engineers of the future through a fellowship programme for PhD students and post-doctoral fellows.

A team of 15 Constellium researchers, engineers and technicians will apply breakthroughs in material science research to practical solutions for future vehicle programmes.

With the new stronger alloy portfolio, Constellium is expected to design, develop and deliver lightweight, high-strength aluminium automotive structures and Crash Management Systems to help automakers improve fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions in order to meet more stringent regulations.

These new developments, based on 6000-series alloys, will help improve recyclability through their compositional compatibility with presently used alloy grades.  

The University has also opened the 'Advanced Metal Casting Centre' (AMCC), a research facility focused on developing lightweight, aluminium alloys for the automotive and rail industries.

Managed by Brunel University London, Jaguar Land Rover and Constellium, the AMCC will be expanded next year with the addition of the 'Advanced Metal Processing Centre' (AMPC) to include fabrication and testing of aluminium automotive structural components.

The Constellium UTC is expected to provide an integrated rapid prototyping capability, from alloy development to full component manufacture in a single location. 

Constellium adds the developments aim at strengthening its presence in the global automotive market both for advanced aluminium extruded and body-in-white rolled products.