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Body Engineering of Karsan Taxi

Earlier this year, Light Black Design were contracted by Hexagon Studio to do the full Body Engineering of the critical sections for the exterior panels of their Taxi Project, intended for worldwide production in 2012.
As we posted in January, this project was intended as a replacement for the NY Cabs. Whilst it is unfortunate that they were beaten at the final-post by Nissan, Hexagon Studio (and their parent company Karsan) took note of all the positive support for their taxi, and made a very quick decision to produce the vehicle for a range of alternative customers.Light Black Design Ltd - Karsan
 Light Black Design Ltd - Karsan
Whilst the specific details of this project are confidential at this point in time, what we can say is that the first stage of the project for Light Black Design involved working closely with the Hexagon Studio's principal engineers, designers and manufacturers, where we were able to offer our vast knowledge of working with a large range of lightweight materials, to help their engineers select the most appropriate materials and processing methods for the Exterior Panels of the vehicle.
Following this initial investigation we have been busy generating extremely detailed documents that will form the principal guidelines for our clients engineers to fully define all the exterior panels and the associated fixing methodology to fit the panels to the BIW (Body in White).
Alongside this engineering ssection of the project, we have also written a selection of  "How to..." guides which will give all their engineers a range of handbooks hat will enable them all to design and engineer theses type of panel in the future, in materials that they might not have traditionally used in the past.

In our new blog you can see some of the latest news from Light Black Design, and also some more about the following footage taken from early trials with the foils with Future Fibres:



As we come to the end of Light Black Design's first year, we have been working closely with a variety of businesses in both the marine and automotive sectors. We have looked at a wide range of areas where companies can improve the quality and performance of their existing and future product lines, ranging from low volume RIBS to high volume production yachts, from component manufactures to aerospace structures.

Since starting Light Black Design I have been to various shows and exhibitions throughout Europe.

Once again I will be attending many of these events in 2010 & 2011 and would be more than happy to arrange a meeting if there is anything you would like to discuss with me. Here is a brief list of some of the future events and the dates I will be there:

METS, Amsterdam. 16th and 17th November 2010.

 Yacht Racing Design & Technology Symposium, Estoril. 14th and 15th December

London International Boat Show. 7th January, 2011

JEC Composites Show, Paris. 29th to 31st March, 2011.

I have contributed to an article on “ design versus boat design...” for SuperYacht Design to be published in December 2010 in their Q5 edition.

Here are some examples of the type of work we have been involved in throughout the first year:


 Light Black Design - Future FibresOne of the first coLight Black Design - Future Fibresmpanies to take advantage of our design and material knowledge was Future Fibres S.L.U, in Spain.

We worked closely with their engineers to design and manufacture a rotating aerofoil section that can be retrofitted to any standing rigging that could significantly improve the performance of the yacht.

Key to the success of these foils is the selection of materials and tooling that are typically only used in the automotive sectors. This was backed up by a deep understanding of aerodynamics that I have gained whilst having been part of top- level sailing and automotive teams.

These products are now being eagerly discussed in the sailing press (click HERE for a link to a copy of an article in November’s issue of Yachting World) and are commercially available for any boat through Future Fibres.



  We were contacted by Bentley Motors, in the UK, to help define the geometry and material specifications for an area of a chassis for one of their concept cars being developed by them in conjunction with the other sports car companies in the Volkswagen group. Light Black Design - Bentley Motors

The baseline materials in this investigation are a further development of my previous work within automotive groups to produce lightweight yet extremely cost effective composite panels, which are viable for current automotive production lines. This technology will be combined with DCFP (Directed Carbon Fibre Preforming) the revolutionary process being developed by Bentley.

 Most importantly, this technology has the potential to transform the way certain composite boats are made and even drastically reduce the overall costs. It may indeed close the gap between the cost of glass and carbon fibre boats, which will allow the industry to take advantage of the dramatically reduced running costs of the lighter carbon fibre boats.



Light Black Design is currently working with Richard Faulkner Composites in the UK to design and produce tooling to allow Richard and his team to manufacture multiple carbon fibre parts with an extremely high quality surface finish. Light Black Design - Richard Faulkner CompositesTo allow them to repeat the quality over and over again I recommended that they machine moulds from aluminium and engaged a machine shop that will produce the tools for a competitive price.

Despite the higher initial investment, the overall cost of producing the 18 carbon parts is lower due to the reduced amount  of preparation work required on the tools before each part is made, with very little finishing needed on the parts.






Late in the summer of 2010 we were contacted by a leading manufacturer of RIBs in the UK, Coastline Marine, who are looking to further improve the quality of their current line of boats whilst simultaneously reducing the weight and even the overall costs.

Key to this project is my thorough understanding of "what is appropriate" for this type of business. Together with the key people at Coastline we are looking closely at their current laminates and carefully defining new materials that fit within with the current techniques used there. This will result in a more efficient layup that will reduce the production costs and structural weight of the boats. This weight saving is critical to this type of boat where a 10% reduction can typically save 6% of the fuel costs.



Light Black Design's work is not limited to just the marine and automotive sectors. Other industries are also interested in learning from the advances made by the automotive industry. We have been contacted from all levels of technology, looking either to reduce cost at the higher end, or improve efficiency at the lower end.

For example, Light Black Design has been contacted by a company who design and manufacture satellite systems for global customers.

They have a reputation for producing products for a fraction of the cost of their competitors. I have been asked to look at the traditional methods currently employed in aerospace industry and to define some alternative methods and processes for non critical areas of the projects, while still achieving the same high levels of quality and design. The key objective is to reduce the overall cost for their premier aerospace programmes.

Working closely with companies such as these allows Light Black Design to keep abreast of all the latest technology and processes, putting us in the unique position of being able to transfer the knowledge that was once beyond the reach of the marine sector and offer unprecedented guidance in using the advances to their maximum potential.


A summary of these key points can be seen in on our 2010 Newsletter, which can downloaded HERE

In January & February of 2010 we were extremely privileged to have had an article published in the technical sailing magazine, Seahorse . This article can now been uploaded HERE Please be aware the this file is approx 4MB.

For full access to their website please see for access to their subscriptions page.



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