Affiliates of DiMora Enterprises, LLC
DiMora Custom Bikes - Stunning elegance on two wheels
Classic Clenet Club - Helping owners preserve their beautiful automobiles
DiMora Neoclassics - Timeless beauty with 21st century technology
DiMora Motorcar - Creators of the Natalia SLS 2
DiMora Eco Watercraft - Zero pollution electric jet-skis
UPCOMING EVENTS Select for details
D-Tek System Chassis and Body Design and Construction
Another DiMora Motorcar Innovation
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DiMora Motorcar has from its inception focused on the challenge of creating the world’s finest sport luxury sedan, the Natalia SLS 2. Freeing its designers and engineers from the burden of amortizing a substantial capital investment in yesterday’s technologies or following a decades-old manufacturing system, the company has re-examined the assumptions underlying current vehicle design and construction practices and sought improvements over a wide and fundamental spectrum. Drawing from diverse industries such as aerospace and precision manufacturing, new materials and technologies have been incorporated to advance the state of the art in automotive design and manufacturing.

As a key part of this design philosophy, the D-Tek™ System introduces a next-generation technique of chassis and body construction. Moving beyond the limitations of steel or aluminum frame, unibody, and other structural concepts, the D-Tek™ System encompasses a broad range of technologies. At its heart is the honeycomb sandwich panel, first introduced to reduce weight in aircraft while still providing superior structural strength and longevity compared with traditional wood, steel, and aluminum. By reducing structural weight, the aerospace industry was able to improve maneuverability, payload capacity, range, and fuel economy, advantages that have proven useful in other applications ranging from elevators and telescopes to building construction and commercial truck trailers.

The DiMora Motorcar D-Tek™ System brings the full benefits of honeycomb panel structures to automotive chassis and body construction while pioneering a structural manufacturing system applicable to diverse industries.

By providing a standard set of techniques to enable engineers in various fields to explore new applications, DiMora Motorcar enables engineers to take advantage of the many benefits of D-Tek™ panels, such as reducing weight while adding stiffness and strength. D-Tek™ panels also address strict requirements to suppress fire and smoke—critical in air travel and automobiles—as well as reducing noise and vibration. From satellite platforms, to automotive chassis and bodies, to wall and ceiling structures, to countertops, the uses of this technology are unlimited.

For this reason, DiMora Motorcar is making the D-Tek™ System available on an industry-wide basis. D-Tek™ honeycomb core materials offered currently include aluminum, titanium, and Nomex, while facing options include lava rock materials, carbon fiber, aluminum, and fiberglass. Many other core and facing materials can be specified to meet a client’s requirements for strength, weight, insulation, features, and cost. Engineers may select thicker or thinner facing sheets, different alloys, specific anodized treatments to aluminum, multiple layers of fiberglass or carbon fiber, or multiple types of core cell patterns and sizes, in different densities, thicknesses, etc., to meet virtually any design requirement.

A Paradigm Shift in Automotive Manufacturing

The Traditional Ways to Build an Automotive Chassis

• Steel I-beam chassis, steel tube space frame, or unibody construction using steel or aluminum.
• Lengthy tooling times and dimensional issues to consider when building various chassis stretch the time before reaching the market.
• Exorbitant tooling costs must be amortized over long production runs and/or high vehicle pricing.
• Flooring, bulkheads, etc., are single-purpose, providing no structural benefit to increase vehicle rigidity.

The DiMora D-Tek™ Way to Build an Automotive Chassis

• Produce panels of precise dimensions, including slots for joining with other panels.
• Use chemical bonding agents to seal joints between panels.
• Use quick-fit fasteners that are easily applied to secure fenders, doors, etc. to chassis.
• The process can be done on a flat table without fixtures because of the tight fitting of the lightweight panels and the quick setting of the bonding agents.

Benefits of the DiMora D-Tek™ System

• A D-Tek™ chassis is remarkably lightweight. For example, the Natalia SLS 2 chassis weighs 457 pounds, at a length of 250 inches. A steel frame chassis of this size would normally weigh around 1900 pounds. (See D-Tek™ Material Properties below.)
• No special tooling is needed.
• The panels cannot be assembled incorrectly.
• Self-jigging construction +/- 0.015”.
• Stacks of pre-cut panels are easily shipped.
• Shipping costs are far lower than to transport steel or aluminum frames.
• Simple logistics with minimum inventory.
• D-Tek™ panels help suppress fire and smoke.
• Sound insulation and vibration dampening are built into the panels.
• Acceleration and fuel mileage are greatly improved.
• Improved wear on brakes and tires.
• Chassis is 99 percent recyclable.

Effective Management of Body Design and Class A Surfacing

Note: "Class A surface" is a term used in automotive design to describe a set of freeform surfaces of extremely high efficiency and quality. Although, strictly, it is nothing more than saying the surfaces have curvature and tangency alignment to ideal aesthetical reflection quality. Class A surface modelers are also called "digital sculptors" in the industry. Industrial designers develop their design styling through the A surface, the physical surface the end user can feel, touch, see etc. A common method of working is to start with a prototype model and produce smooth mathematical Class A surfaces to describe, for examples, an automobile's outer body, hood, or dashboard. From this the production of tools and inspection of finished parts can be carried out. Class A surfacing complements the prototype modeling stage by reducing time and increasing control over design iterations.

• Body is fully designed, using computer-aided design (CAD) programming tools.
• The body goes from CAD straight to tooling.
• No need for clay model or scale model.
• Automobiles designed with CAD require substantially less engineering staff. 
• A designer/engineer has the ability to go from CAD to tooling in approximately six months, compared to three years with traditional design and fabrication methods.
• An effective design/engineering team can simply go from computer-generated CAD files to cutting molds to making parts, quickly and efficiently. (Compare this to the typical automobile production program today, that requires upwards of three years duration, from clay styling to tooling, and the efforts of hundreds of trained designers and engineers.)

Additional Benefits of the D-Tek™ System

• Insulation. This is especially important in relation to air conditioner usage in summer, and less important for winter heating as most internal combustion engines have sufficient excess heat for passenger comfort purposes. However, electric cars do not have this ready source of heat, so for them, winter insulation is also important.
• All D-Tek™ panels are thermal barriers. In contrast, aluminum and steel chassis components are thermal conductors.
• Tooling. The Natalia SLS 2 D-Tek™ chassis has 31 honeycomb panels that are routed by computer numerical control (CNC) machines. They are self-jigging so there is no tooling lead time or cost.
• Design changes do not require expensive re-tooling and can be done at any time by reprogramming the CNC routing machine. 
• D-Tek™ panels absorb road, gear, and bearing noise, making for extreme silence without sound-proofing.
• Low-skilled workers can assemble a chassis in about 40 minutes with additional bonding cure time less than 4 hours. There is no need for extreme physical exertion, heavy lifting, or assembly fixture equipment. The chassis is self-jigging and its assembly is not much more difficult than assembling Lego blocks. 
• The chassis will pass the frontal, side, and rollover requirements for the United States.
• Aluminum produces large amounts of greenhouse gasses. The production of one pound of aluminum produces approximately 1.5 pounds of carbon dioxide. D-Tek™ uses very little aluminum.
• The Natalia SLS 2 was designed as a front engine vehicle with a D-Tek™ solid frame assembly housing the V16 engine, transmission in the rear, and suspension attachment to the solid frame. The solid frame design is sufficient to package various engine and transmission combinations to optimize performance to the conditions. The solid frame is then assembled to the engine, transmission, and rear suspension chassis with very few fasteners.
• To design as a mid-engine vehicle a sub-frame assembly housing the engine, transmission, and rear suspension can be applied. The sub-frame design is sufficient to package various engine and transmission combinations to optimize performance to the conditions. The sub-frame can then be assembled to the chassis with less than twenty fasteners.

Example D-Tek™ Material Properties

D-Tek™ panels may be constructed with a wide variety of core and facing materials, thicknesses, insulating materials, etc. The following chart is an example showing the specifications for one particular type of one-inch thick panel used in the D-Tek™ System that happens to have an aluminum core with composite skin.

 

Sheet Material Property

 Test Method

Units

Value

Thickness

ASTM C366

inch

1.000

Weight

ASTM C29

lbs/sq ft

.71

Temperature Resistance

n/a

degrees F

250

Long Beam Flexural

Facing Stress @ Failure

MIL-STD-401B

psi

 

30,000

Deflection @ 100 lb. Load

MIL-STD-401B

inch

0.120

Flatwise Tension

(Ultimate Stress)

MIL-STD-401B

psi

300

Edgewise Compression

(Max Load)

MIL-STD-401B

psi

2,500

Flatwise Compression

MIL-STD-401B

psi

340

 

Chassis tabing

The D-Tek™ chassis configuration of the Natalia SLS 2. 

 

Chassis tab and groove

The D-Tek™ chassis interlocking panels.

 


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