New Flyer Industries is the largest transit bus manufacturer in North America, with over 85 years of experience in delivering innovative transit technology that offers the most advanced product line under the Xcelsior® and Xcelsior CHARGE™ brands. They approached us to fabricate a prototype roof hatch for their 60-foot battery-electric/fuel cell Xcelsior® bus from their Zero-Emission product line.
This electric drive bus uses a combination of batteries, a fuel cell and hydrogen storage to provide continuous electrical power with regenerative capability. The added roof-mounted electrical equipment meant raising the roof line to create more space. The roof hatch provides a passageway from the interior to the exterior of the bus with full isolation from electrical components as well as ventilates the passenger compartment.
Working with New Flyer throughout the entire process, our team fabricated a prototype tool and part to verify the design functionality, part rigidity and material selection for manufacturing purposes. New Flyer defined the part geometry and part thickness details with a CAD model and we used our software to transform the model into a prototype design.
A lightweight crating structure with a fibreglass skin was used to support the direct-to-tool pattern, allowing it to be used for several fabrication cycles. We then fabricated the prototype roof hatch using an open-mould manufacturing method, laminating a fibreglass mat and a shaped foam core to the mould in stages.
The prototype mould and part were provided to New Flyer, ready to make more parts or production moulds as required. Our Fabrication Team also worked with them to provide manufacturing recommendations as they transitioned from prototyping to production.