The project was based on previous national and European projects which largely focused on the development of structural lightweight components. DE-LIGHT Transport used these results, but focused more on the development of modular pre-outfitted units and the technologies and knowledge required for their design, manufacturing, assembly and operation. DE-LIGHT Transport aimed to overcome the following challenges and obstacles identified in previous projects, such as the Coordination Action SAND.CORe: available lightweight solutions in the maritime and rail sectors mainly focus on the use of lightweight materials (e.g. fibre reinforced plastics, polymeric foam panels etc) or innovative designs better utilising traditional materials (e.g. laser welded metallic sandwich panels).
- insufficient design tools and design data make optimum design for end-users difficult and time consuming. The project complemented and combined algorithms and dedicated engineering design tools developed primarily in the HYCOPROD and SANDWICH projects;
- lightweight applications for commercial ships are currently limited to non load-bearing components and the superstructures of large ships. In the rail sector, these applications are restricted to non- or semi-structural components; currently available lightweight components for transport systems are expensive one-off products. Their properties are sometimes not suited to the extreme operational requirements in transport systems. They are primarily designed to fulfill single purposes and do not integrate multiple functions;
- joining, onboard assembly and onboard outfitting are complicated and expensive, operational cost and potential benefits are not sufficiently specified. This puts the life cycle cost efficiency of available lightweight solutions at risk;
- potential benefits of lightweight solutions for the transport industry are not fully used, because product and production concepts do not support the application or because safety and commercial risks cannot be controlled.
The project aimed to produce a number of new design solutions using risk based design methods. Furthermore a sophisticated design tool could be developed based on results of previous research projects such as Sand. Core, Sandwich and HYCOPROD.The overall objective of the DE-LIGHT Transport project was to elaborate and demonstrate innovative integrated lightweight modules (integrating load-bearing and other functionalities) as well as the design, production and testing methods and procedures.
The strategic objectives can be summarised as:
- to make better use of innovative materials and material combinations in multi-functional lightweight components (DESIGN SOLUTIONS);
- to improve reliability, quality, cost and lead time in developing and designing lightweight solutions and to make knowledge more easily accessible (DESIGN TOOL);
- to improve cost efficiency and quality and to reduce lead time in production and service of integrated lightweight modules (PRODUCTION, MAINTENANCE and SERVICE TECHNIQUES);
- to elaborate and harmonise efficient and reliable testing, validation and life-cycle cost assessment methods and procedures (TEST PROCEDURES);
- to control the safety and commercial risks related to the development and application of innovative lightweight modules and to prove fitness for purpose of the developed solutions (RISK BASED DESIGN METHODS);
- to foster a wider and more efficient industrial application of integrated lightweight modules and structures (INDUSTRIAL APPLICATION) The scope of applications followed by DE-LIGHT reaches from passenger and RoRo ships, through cargo and short sea ships, to intermodal transport units and railway carriages.
Six industry driven application cases showing high potential benefits for lightweight modules as well as a high degree of innovation were studied and demonstrated in DE-LIGHT Transport. Those cases were expected to drive, apply and validate the new technology development, grouped in three generic work packages.
The application cases comprised in particular:
- deck house for inland waterway and sea cargo ships;
- side and deck structures for RoRo vessels;
- composite deck structures for marine applications;
- sandwich superstructures for off shore patrol vessels;
- intermodal cargo units for freight transit;
- rail vehicle driver's cab.
Key technologies, methods and tools needed for the application cases were developed in three scientific work packages focusing on design, production and testing. Those were:
- WP1: Development of new design algorithms against various failure modes and their integration into an innovative multi-material sandwich design tool. DE-LIGHT Transport will, compared to previous work which has often focussed on a particular type of sandwich construction, implement a more generic design approach that will allow the evaluation and optimisation of a wide range of material and structural mixes according to the requirements of a given application.
- WP2: Strategies for joining, assembly and outfitting – the bringing together and integration of separate sandwich panels and/or sub-components to produce finished structures.
- WP3: Testing and validation procedures – to provide accurate and reliable methods of determining fitness for purpose with advanced testing methods.
The research work performed in the generic work packages was adapted and applied within the six application cases, including passenger ship decks, RoRo decks, cargo and short sea shipping, intermodal transport units and a railway cab. A full scale prototype was developed in each application case. It addressed practical experience and best practice in critical areas focused on joining, assembly and pre-outfitting. By applying risk based design methodology in the Maritime Application Cases' development phase, it was made sure that the solutions meet existing safety regulations. To support this work a design tool building on previous work was produced with a range of realistic design scenarios of use for the designer in the real world. The design tool was based on the algorithms developed in previous research project as well as on new algorithms developed within in the scientific part of the project. As a result of DE-LIGHT Transport sandwich materials are expected to be applied with confidence in real world transport applications.
The industry partners in the DE-LIGHT Transport consortium realised several commercial applications based on the Application Cases pursued in the project:
- Uljanik Shipyard utilised the know how generated in the application case on 'side and deck structures for RoRo vessels' for composite car decks on the following vessels:
- PR11612 Car-Carrier 6500 cars
- PR11012 Car-Carrier 7600 cars
- PR11412 Car-Carrier 5000 cars
- PR12312 Car-Carrier 9100 cars
- Meyer Werft used the know how generated in the Application Case 'composite deck structures for marine applications' for prefabricated balconies on cruise ships. First applications of thermally modified timber performed on a ship for AIDA Cruises in 2010. Furthermore, Meyer Werft fully applied the Life Cycle Impact Assessment methodology to all ships offered; there is a very big interest by the ship owners for appling the calculations themselves.
Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) applied the risk-based design approach as generated in the Application Case 'Superstructure Offshore Patrol Vessel' on the development of future composite concepts and applications. The structural concepts, such as the steel-composite and the composite-composite joints, have been further optimised.
The produced DE-Light demonstrator was introduced in the BESST-project, where outfitting and fire protection solution