Alternative manufacturing solutions for lightweight automotive interior and exterior brightware

Key Information

Aston Martin is an exclusive luxury sports car company with a unique British heritage. The iconic brand fuses the latest technology, exceptional hand craftsmanship and graceful styling to produce pioneering models including the DB11, Rapide S, Vanquish S, Vantage S and the Vanquish Zagato. Based in Gaydon, England, Aston Martin designs and creates sports cars offering style and performance which are sold in 53 countries around the world.

Founded in 1913, the company recently launched its Second Century plan for sustainable long-term growth. This is underpinned by the introduction of new models including the DB11, new Vantage, RapidE and DBX concepts and the revival of Lagonda with the Lagonda Taraf as well as the development of a new manufacturing centre in St Athan, Wales. Aston Martin, which is privately owned, employs 2,800 people.

The Body Interior and Exterior engineering teams work within the Product Development department to deliver component designs in line with Aston Martin’s exacting quality and performance targets for new vehicle programmes including DBX.  Both interior and exterior designs make extensive use of metal ‘brightware’ in a variety of colours and finishes for bezels, finishers, handles, grilles and strakes.

The use of plated or painted plastic brightware parts to achieve lower cost and mass is widespread in many automotive applications. This approach is generally not consistent with AML’s desired brand values and luxury market positioning where the authenticity of materials is a key requirement. The cast metal components typically used in AML brightware applications are comparatively heavy and often require extensive post-processing to achieve the required finish and component quality. The tooling is also expensive and can have long lead times. Continuous improvement and market competitiveness result in the drive to reduce component mass (also yielding improved efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions) as well as reducing costs whilst maintaining appropriate quality.

 Project Aims

The aim of the project is to investigate alternative solutions for manufacturing both interior and exterior brightware components that could offer reduced mass and/or cost whilst maintaining appropriate durability and quality standards. Possible areas of investigation could include additive manufacture, metal injection moulding or the use of lightweight aluminium alloys in place of zinc-based alloys.

Suitable candidate 

Background in Materials or Mechanical Engineering with a knowledge of metallurgy and metal processing techniques and rapid prototyping techniques applicable to metallic components


Sponsoring Company Aston Martin Lagonda Limited

 Our funders require applicants to also meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You must be a UK or EU citizen (i.e. eligible for ‘home’ tuition fees at the University) and have the right to work in Wales at the end of your studies.
  • You must be resident in West Wales and the Valleys at the point of enrolment and throughout the duration of your studies.
  • You must not be financially able to participate without the award of grant funding.
  • We would normally expect the English Language requirements to be met by point of interview (April 2018). For details on the University’s English Language entry requirements, please visit – http://www.swansea.ac.uk/admissions/englishlanguagerequirements/

Further information regarding eligibility criteria can be found at: http://www.materials-academy.co.uk/eligibility

The Athena SWAN Charter recognises work undertaken by institutions to advance gender equality. The College of Engineering is an Athena SWAN bronze award holder and is committed to addressing unequal gender representation.


The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a tax free stipend of £12,500 p.a.

Closing Date 28 February 2018

Start Date October 2018

Apply Now

Informal enquiries about this studentship are welcome and may be directed by email to: M2A@swansea.ac.uk