Thursday 28 November 2013

New blanking press feeds JLR shops

A new blanking press shop erected at JaguarLandRover’s Chester Road facility in Castle Bromwich will produce parts for future models.

The blanking process involves the making of blank panels which is the first stage of creating automotive body panels. This takes rolled coils of steel or aluminium and cuts (using a hydraulic press) outline body panel shapes ready for second pressing to create finished body panels for assembly.

This process is currently only undertaken at Halewood for JLR and the purpose of the new line is to produce panels for Castle Bromwich and Solihull. The new blanker line was required to support JLR’s projected production volumes at the site.

The new line has created 16 new jobs in a new building which is sited adjacent and connected to the existing press shop.

To create the new shop required the demolition of an existing lean-to office, maintenance and amenity building. The new building has an HGV deck to the south elevation to collect scrap metal from the press, which would be fully acoustically enclosed to contain noise.

The design of the building reflects JLR’s corporate branding and is consistent with the Visitor Centre and the new Body in White (BIW) building.

Construction and installation of the building and blanking line is running in parallel with the new BIW building with completion of the shell due next month (December). The lines will be up and running by mid-2014. Production of F-Type Coupe begins in 'Spring 2014', according to JLR sources.

It is likely the new facilities could play a vital part in the manufacture of the new F-Type Coupe which will be manufactured at the 112 acre Castle Bromwich plant, where it will join the other five Jaguar models: the all-new F-TYPE; the XK grand tourer; and XJ, XF and XF Sportbrake.

Over 3,000 people are employed at Castle Bromwich, which became a dedicated Jaguar factory in 1980. The site is home to some of the world’s most advanced aluminium body construction facilities and almost 340 body construction robots. On site are body shops, paint and final assembly lines for all models, as well as a press shop which operates 24 hours a day.

The new F-Type with its aluminium-intensive body shell would not have been possible without the foresight of Jaguar’s (and Ford’s) senior managers, engineers and manufacturing staff many years ago who envisaged the day that aluminium would play a vital part in the construction of motor vehicles. Ford had spent many millions of dollars developing aluminium-intensive vehicles.

Planning for the press shop dates back to 1998/1999 and the first production panels were employed in the 2003 XJ passenger car. Suppliers to the shop included Sweden's ABB for its robotic expertise and Schuler for its press lines specially developed to stamp aluminium body panels, including bodysides.

JLR claims its new 'state-of-the-art' advanced engine manufacturing plant that will produce the new Hotfire family of engines will employ 1,400 people and will cost over £500 million. the site at the i54 South Staffordshire Business Park near Wolverhampton will make both gasoline and diesel Hotfire four-cylinder engines for the JLR range of products. JLR's aim is that Hotfire will set a benchmark for the industry.

For the record, in November 1989 Ford Motor Company made an offer to purchase the shares of Jaguar; the official purchase went through in 1990. Ford sold Jaguar in February 2008 to TATA for £1.15 billion.

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