Steering system manufacturer enters new markets


Steering system manufacturer Pailton Engineering is to design and build a new steering column for lightweight delivery vehicles. The column will satisfy a growing demand for components that are optimised for lightweight vehicles, particularly last-mile delivery vehicles. This product represents a significant move for the Midlands-based manufacturer, which has built its reputation through the design and manufacture of heavy-duty parts.

Pailton’s new steering column will provide the reliability and quality that has become the company’s hallmark for commercial vehicles, as well as fulfilling the key requirements of the automotive sector. Most importantly, this will therefore be a collapsible steering column with other key features including tilt and telescopic adjustability.

The column will be part of a wider package of steering parts that are ideal for lightweight vehicles. In addition to the column, the package will include two sliders and a bevel box. Like the column, these parts are lightweight and compact. The aim is for a modular design that is suitable for any lightweight vehicle, although Pailton can offer bespoke designs and customization to meet customer requirements when necessary.

The development of the new steering column arose from industry demand for lightweight vehicles. Manufacturers are looking at ways of reducing the weight of delivery vehicles, particularly electric vans designed for last-mile delivery. As many of these vehicles are now designed using aluminium or even composites, the proportion of overall vehicle weight consumed by other components such as steering and suspension has increased – leading OEMs to begin focusing on this area.

Pailton’s steering column is built with these needs in mind. ‘‘The aim was to reduce the weight percentage contribution of the parts to the overall weight of the vehicle, while maintaining the functionality and safety-critical features of the steering system,’’ explained Kostas Poulios, Principal Design and Development Engineer.

Having previously designed and manufactured parts for heavy vehicles such as buses, lorries and military vehicles, Pailton had to build a new steering column from scratch. Its existing product range, while renowned for quality and reliability, covers heavy-duty parts that would be over-engineered for a smaller vehicle such as an electric van.

‘‘We felt there was a real opportunity here. Many of the existing parts that design engineers can choose from are not purpose-built in this way. We can provide a set of steering parts that are compact, lightweight and simple – perfect for the delivery vehicle of the future,’’ added Kostas.

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