AL-KO in Melbourne has developed a lightweight chassis with
the potential to revolutionise Australian caravan design.
LightR is a highly engineered chassis concept, offering the opportunity
for significant weight savings over the traditional Australian caravan
chassis whilst retaining the strong and durable characteristics required
for the tough Australian conditions.
It was created by AL-KO in Melbourne over the past two years.
"Currently, there is an issue with Australian caravans – they're becoming
too heavy," AL-KO Australia & New Zealand managing director Peter Mannfolk
"Not only are caravans getting bigger, they're also being filled with more
extras such as generators, solar panels and toolboxes, pushing legal
limits and tow vehicle capacities. It also reduces the caravan's payload
"There has been an overwhelming call from caravan manufacturers for a
lightweight chassis that is still strong and durable and specifically
designed for the tough Australian conditions, and AL-KO has delivered."
The engineered LightR design removes unrequired material, taking into
account the overall design and floor plan of the caravan.
AL-KO achieved this through elongated holes in pressed steel chassis
members to reduce weight to a minimum.
is reduced by elimination of welding or drilling
It also provides the possibility for fewer cross members, further
The chassis is hot dipped galvanised for durability and corrosion
resistance, and for manufacturers it offers the additional benefit of
bolted construction – reducing build time through the elimination of
welding or drilling.
The chassis has been put through exhaustive on and off-road testing at the
Australian Automotive Research Centre in Anglesea and has been designed to
accommodate its popular AL-KO Enduro Independent Trailing Arm suspension,
ensuring suitability for Australian terrain.
Apart from the opportunity to transition to a lighter weight engineered
chassis, the LightR concept also supports the opportunity to move away
from traditional methods of caravan construction such as timber frames and
It makes the leap to the future
with more modern
construction methods that save significant weight – such as bonding and monocoque construction with composite panels.
"The really significant weight saving is achieved when caravan
manufacturers utilise the chassis as a foundation to optimise their
construction methods," Mr Mannfolk said.
"This is an exciting time for AL-KO and we will continue with further
developments that assist to move our industry forward."
Once caravan manufacturers come on board with the concept, AL-KO's
engineering team will partner with them to design a custom lightweight
chassis to suit their caravan and then test the product to ensure the
highest level of performance.
"With the release of LightR, AL-KO is setting the foundations for the next
evolution in caravan design in Australia," Mr Mannfolk said.
Manufacturers will have the opportunity to start building new caravans on
the LightR chassis this year.