Thursday 6 February 2014

JLR to meet top 200 suppliers in April

JaguarLandRover (JLR) is to collaborate more closely with its suppliers in a bid to further improve resource management – reducing both costs and environmental impact.

JLR will meet its top 200 suppliers in April to share ‘best practices’ on other priority commodities to extend the financial and environmental benefits of ‘circular economy’ thinking. JLR is looking to speed-up its all-round approach to design, development and manufacture as it collapses 'time to market' and shrinks its product life cycles thus making it easier to introduce more models with greater variety to keep pace with fast-changing markets.

It may well be that JLR engineers will discuss their future plans to introduce “blue tooth technology” in a number of manufacturing areas to further improving process technology and uptimes of plant and machinery.

The plan to introduce greater awareness among suppliers is part of a three-pronged approach the company is adopting as part of its its Business in the Community (BITC) Responsible Business of the Year legacy programme.

JLR was named BITC Responsible Business of the Year in July 2013 and is the UK's first manufacturing company to win the UK’s most highly regarded award. The Responsible Business accolade recognises JLR’s investments in UK jobs and facilities, improving the environmental performance of its vehicles and manufacturing operations and increasing skills and education opportunities for employees and young people.

JLR chief executive, Dr. Ralf Speth, in giving a keynote address to 600 UK business leaders and BITC president HRH Prince Charles, said: “We have developed a meaningful legacy for the next stage of our responsible business journey which focuses on youth unemployment, engaging customers with environmental initiatives and building a sustainable supply chain”.

JLR launched its ‘Inspiring Tomorrow’s Workforce’ enhanced traineeship programme in November. It offers work experience, training and qualifications to unemployed young people to prepare them for employment and unlock their potential. It is the company’s contribution towards tackling the social problem of youth unemployment.

JLR will also encourage customers to drive more economically, reducing their eco footprint and saving them money.

Finally, as mentioned, JLR is to collaborate more closely with suppliers to achieve improved resource management. For example, using recycled aluminium in lightweight bodies saves on material costs and uses 95 per cent less energy to process than virgin aluminium.

                               Range Rover Hybrid

During the Leadership Summit, the Prince of Wales met four JLR apprentices who spoke about their careers and how they are helping deliver cutting-edge vehicles such as Range Rover Hybrid and C-X75.

JLR Higher Apprentice Louis Loach, who works in Hybrid Calibration, commented: “My key role is to support the testing and development of the Range Rover Hybrid Control System. I’ve learnt about the Controls system of the Range Rover Hybrid, as well as learning how to calibrate the system to allow the vehicle to achieve its targets in terms of driveability and function. I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship and am working towards a degree at Coventry University as well as an NVQ4.”

Production of Land Rover hybrid vehicles, due to start this year at the company’s Solihull plant, will mark JLR’s first step into the world of hybrid technology.

For this application, JLR engineers are pairing the existing 3-litre V6 diesel engine and a ZF eight-speed transmission with a 47bhp electric motor mounted in the standard transmission casing.

The decision to introduce such technology in an iconic Range Rover vehicle promises to be the beginning of a march towards electrification across the brand.

A hybrid Range Rover has been on the stocks for many years (likewise the Range Rover Sport) but with the aim of retaining the iconic model's practicality and off-road ability.

A liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack with a boron steel cover is mounted beneath the floor without impeding cabin space. A full-sized spare wheel is retained. In the Range Rover Sport Hybrid the two boot-mounted rear seats are also retained.

A 292bhp Dagenham-built SDV6 diesel engine is available for the Range Rover Sport (the standard hybrid Range Rover receives a 255bhp version). Harnessing both power sources yields a combined output of 335bhp.

The electric motor develops 125lbft of torque, which combines to give an overall output of 516lbft – a 73lbft increase over the standard V6 diesel engine.

A regenerative braking system allows the electric motor to act as a generator when the foot is removed from the throttle, simultaneously charging the battery as vehicle speed is reduced. JLR engineers claim to have achieved a smooth, natural feel to this transition.

Under normal road conditions, the car’s electronics optimise electric and diesel power to provide a balance between performance and efficiency. Selecting Sport mode allows the electric motor to provide maximum torque at some expense to battery life. As an electric-only vehicle, range is inevitably limited.

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