What is Bright Lite Structures?

Award-winning BLS Carbon Fibre Solution is a Game Changing Technology

Bright Lite Structures (BLS) is a design and manufacturing company that has developed a patent-pending composite carbon fibre technology.

The BLS solution weighs significantly less than conventional carbon fibre (or aluminium and steel), is capable of make very large 4 meter by 4 meter components, or even larger. It capable of very complex shapes that may not be otherwise possible with conventional carbon fibre or aluminium.

The BLS solution is lower cost than conventional carbon fibre and even aluminium in a number of applications. It is less capital intensive than comparable conventional carbon fibre, aluminium or steel.

The BLS solution has a very short manufacturing cycle, even for very large components. There is no pre-forming required in our process. It is also fast to commercial production and scales easily.

BLS offers a complete solution from design through prototyping to commercial production.

Automotive, Aerospace & other Mass Transit Applications

Typical Transportation Applications

• Floorpans
• Front bulkheads
• Rear bulkheads
• Wheel arches
• Truck floors
• Rails/rockers
• Cantrails
• Aircraft seats
• Aircraft interiors

BLS Compared with Other Commonly Used Materials

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Weighs more than 50% less than steel

More than 35% less than aluminium

More than 20% less than conventional carbon fibre

faster

Production Cycle
for Conventional Carbon
Fibre: 5 - 45 minutes

Production Cycle
for BLS: Can be shortened to under 5 minutes

No pre-forming needed

stronger

Best when load case is stiffness or compression driven

Meets or exceeds
compression,
stiffness and
torsional rigidity
requirements

cheaper

Combines recycled & virgin carbon fibre

Uses less
carbon fibre. No pre-forming needed

Lower tooling costs

faster

RTM or HP RTM require high-pressure presses

BLS low pressure presses enable larger components

stronger

Bends near 90 degrees have been achieved in production

Deeper draws obtainable

Different shapes obtained on each side

Why Use BLS Composite Carbon Fibre?

The patent pending BLS carbon fibre solution uses a sandwich construction. A top and bottom fabric layer of recycled and continuous carbon fibre surround a central core of recycled polycarbonate honeycomb. The fabric sides are impregnated with the BLS resin. This flat sandwich panel is wet compression moulded in a hot tool to form a three dimensional component.

The unique structure of the BLS composites means the components can be stiffer, more flexible and lighter-weight than conventional composite fibre or aluminium.

This approach requires less resin and less carbon fibre than conventional composite fibre, which combine to cut total material costs. There is often significantly less material waste in the BLS component production as well.

Lighter-weight, stiffer and more flexible than other composite fibre materials.

The BLS method creates self-joining components & eliminates the need for jigging or separate fixturing to assemble parts.

assembled zenos hassis
assembled zenos hassis

BLS specially formulated blended resin maintains the performance properties & impact for strength required for vehicle crash.

The BLS process is capable of moulding complex, deep-drawn designs very difficult with aluminium or conventional carbon fibre materials.

assembled zenos hassis
assembled zenos hassis

Sandwich construction allows each side to be shaped independently into different configurations or shapes.

BLS low pressure presses can mould larger components. One piece can replace 33 pieces for the equivalent aluminium part that then requires assembly.

assembled zenos hassis

Unique Combination of Services

Bright Lite Structures offers a unique combination of design, prototyping and manufacturing services to producers of durable goods and consumer products. We assist our customers in designing components utilising the propriety BLS technology that will meet their desired performance characteristics. We fabricate prototypes, work out component details, oversee the creation of tooling and manufacture finished components at our production facilities in Peterborough, England.

Design

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Design components to meet  OEMs exact specifications

Prototyping

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Prototyping to test  & finalize production details

Tooling

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Oversee the creation of tooling needed to exact tolerances

Production

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Volume manufacturing and delivery of the components
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SPE Automotive Composite Conference & Exhibition and Society of Plastics Engineers Most Innovative Composite Part Material Innovation

Gallery

Manufacturing facility

FAQs

BLS is a sandwich carbon fibre solution. The top and bottom layer are a carbon fibre impregnated resin formulation around a polycarbonate core.
The BLS solution uses both continuous and recycled carbon fibre as well as a polycarbonate core.
BLS is working with a number of well-known auto OEM's, commercial vehicle and aerospace companies.
Patents covering a broad range of elements of the BLS invention have been filed internationally.
The BLS solution can weigh more than 50% less than steel components; more than 35% less than aluminium and more than 20% less than monolithic carbon fibre.
It is less expensive than conventional carbon fibre and even aluminium in a number of applications. BLS Solution uses less continuous fibre and also uses discontinuous fibre. It is an automated/robotized process with minimal labor required. Tooling is less expensive. Production components have been benchmarked as competitive with aluminium components.
BLS solution is best when the dominate load case is stiffness or compression driven. The BLS solution is not the best solution for tensile applications.
The sandwich core and the continuous carbon fibre absorb the energy from the impact which turns the material into "dust". Although the carbon fibre sheets compare well with the energy absorption of monolithic carbon fibre, the overall joules per gram of the BLS solution is lower due to the weight of the core.
RTM monolithic carbon fibre is limited by the pre-forming and the reasonable draft angle of 2 ½ to 3 degrees off of vertical is achievable. With the BLS solution, because of the use of both continuous and discontinuous fibre and the absence of pre-forming, bends near 90% have been achieved in production components.
In one recent commercial application, it achieved an 87% material utilization.
It has better bending stiffness than monolithic carbon fibre, aluminium or steel because it has an increased "I-section" created by the sandwich.
At the load point, stress will follow the stiffest area. The BLS solution has increased thickness at the corners and this is the stiffest point.
With monolithic carbon fibre, the shape is reflected on both sides of the product; with a sandwich structure, each side can have a different shape. In the same sandwich panel, one can mould both sides of the part which aids in locating fixtures or other components. Or the different shapes can be utilized to accommodate other components.
Due to the relatively low pressure required in the process, car floorpans of 2 meters by 3 meters have been produced, and even larger components, such as 4 meter by 4 meter long truck floors, can relatively easily be created. This compares with RTM or HP RTM which need very large clamp pressure requiring very large and expensive presses which may limit part size.
Because BLS solution is not as brittle, deeper draws are possible exceeding that of a typical aluminium structure.
  • • Floorpans
  • • Front bulkheads
  • • Rear bulkheads
  • • Wheel arches: Can use them as springs
  • • Truck floors
  • • Rails/rockers
  • • EV Battery Cases
  • • Cantrails: Can put roof on vehicle later in assembly process.
  • • Aircraft seats
  • • Aircraft interiors
For aerospace applications such as seating, BLS uses resins which meet Fire Smoke and Toxin standards.
BLS solution has been successfully demonstrated in e-coating up to 190 degrees Celsius.
Most BLS applications are structural. However, A class finishes are available.
BLS solution has been extensively tested to identify its characteristics.
The BLS sandwich construction uses less carbon fibre than conventional carbon fibre products. Of the carbon fibre used in the production, more than 50% is recycled material. The polycarbonite materials used to bond the sandwich is comprised of 70% recycled polycarbonate. In addition, our low pressure process uses less energy in manufacturing than conventional carbon fibre, aluminum or steel.
The BLS design joint conditions enable avoiding spot weldable flanges which are used in most metallic structures. The BLS solution uses a tongue and grove which creates very accurate joints and the ability to have small adjustments therefore making the overall structure extremely accurate.
Sound does not directly translate through a sandwich compared with a monolithic structure. The core effectively “traps” sounds and acts as a sound barrier. Depending on the location, this reduces the requirement for sound deadening materials.
The BLS sandwich effectively acts as a thermal barrier. The core creates a thermal insulation. Depending on the location, this reduces the requirement for thermal insulation.
Pigments can be added to create darker colors.
No pre-forming is required reducing total cycle time and cost. The BLS solution always starts with a flat sandwich which is then molded into a complex 3 dimensional shape in a single step.
Current total cycle time (including stacking, no pre-forming is required) is 8-9 minutes. Can be reduced to under 5 minutes.
Because of reduction in parts and fixturing, BLS solution has been benchmarked as having over an 80% BOM reduction compared with conventional aluminium solutions.
BLS can relatively easily produce 100's of thousands of relatively large parts annually. HP RTM or RTM can only make small parts in larger volumes. Pre-preg is a lower volume process.
Depending on the number of components in each tool, it is relatively simple to scale up from 100’s of units to 100’s of thousands of units.
Depending on the complexity of the component, 3-4 months from the approval of the prototype until the beginning of volume production.
It uses low pressure presses which require less capital investment. The tooling costs are relatively low. There is no pre-forming equipment required.
Compared with RTM, steel or aluminium tooling, the BLS tooling is relatively inexpensive.
BLS offers its clients a range of services from the design of components for each product to required specifications, to tooling and prototyping, volume production and delivery of finished components on schedule.
Contact Bright Lite Structures at adodworth@blstructures.com. Usually, a sketch or CAD drawing is all that is required to get started.
The BLS manufacturing facility is located an hour north of London. Supplying components in the US and Europe is relatively simple.

Current & Ongoing Projects

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We have ongoing working relationships with a number of automotive, commercial vehicle and aerospace companies for design and prototyping as well as volume production of components. BLS is involved with electric car makers as well as makers of other consumer products in exploring solutions for their projects.

The Team

Rick Holman, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director

Mr. Holman was president and CEO of Industrial Origami from 2003 to 2009. Mr. Holman has extensive experience as a COO and CFO including as a founder of Pictos Technologies, Zing, Photoloft, Northwest Broadcasting and Stainless Steel. Mr. Holman earned a BA from Haverford College, an M Phil from the University of Cambridge and an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of “Do Capital Intensive, High Volume, Continuous Production Manufacturing Methods Inhibit and Deter Product and Process Innovation?”

Antony Dodworth, Chief Technology Officer & Managing Director

Mr. Dodworth co-founded Bright Lite Structures. His career in the automotive industry began in 1985 at March Engineering working on Indy 500 chassis engineering.

He moved to Leyton House where he continued to develop his expertise in advanced materials for F1, and then moved to McLaren in 1990 as Composite Engineer to develop chasses for F1 sports cars. This led to work on the acclaimed McLaren Cars F1 road car. Mr. Dodworth then became Chief Designer for International Automotive Design (IAD) in Barcelona where he designed and built multiple concept cars. He joined Hyundai’s European design office and was head of concept engineering.

In 2000, Mr. Dodworth joined Rolls Royce and Bentley Motor Cars, and worked on the original Bentley GT. He also worked as a Studio Engineer for Futura Design and became Bentley Principle Research Manager where he remained until 2011. Mr. Dodworth lectures extensively on composite fibres, including Manchester University, Nottingham University and Madrid University. He also serves on the boards of composite fibre industry associations and has been Co-Chair of the ACE Conference.

Mr. Dodworth has designed, worked on and built chasses including the March Indy 500 car, Leyton House F1, McLaren F1, the first McLaren F1 road car, the Hyundai Coupe Concept, the Cadillac Cien, the Jaguar F Type concept, the Bentley GT concept, the Bentley GT, the Bentley GT convertible, the Bentley Supersport, the Bentley Mulsanne and the Bentley T35 as well as a number of confidential concept chasses.

Chris Gaffney, Advisor

Chris is a co-founder and Managing Partner of Great Hill Partners. His investment experience covers a broad group of industries including logistics, software, business services, IT and online services, financial services, consumer services, media, cable, telecommunications, education and insurance. Chris serves on the Board of Directors of IntApp, Inc., Credibility Corp., All Web Leads, Inc., and Recruiting.com. He has served on the Boards of Vitacost.com, Inc., SmartMail, LLC, BuscaPé, Inc., Central Security Group, Inc., Ziff Davis, Inc. and IGN Entertainment, Inc., among others.

As an advisor to Bright Lite Structures, Chris brings a curiosity about new technologies and next generation manufacturing processes, in particular the faster and more cost-efficient manufacturing processes that Bright Lite has developed. Chris has worked with more than 50 companies lending advice and help on scaling businesses to meet the demands of enterprise-class customers.

Our Research and Development Staff

Much of our success in designing and fabricating composite carbon components is dependent upon the collective process-knowledge and knowhow of our leadership and engineering personnel. As a group we have almost 125 years' experience in working with carbon composite materials and 125 years in manufacturing of durable goods, particularly in our focus areas of auto, aerospace and commercial vehicles. All members of our current management and engineering team have worked together in automotive design and manufacturing capacities for at least 10 years and some for more than 30 years.

Contact Us for More Information

exterior of factory

Interested in knowing how we can help you produce better components, faster and less expensively.

Please get in touch: adodworth@blstructures.com or use the form below.