Monday, 4 January 2016

Ricardo triples niche-engine capacity

Ricardo’s niche engine assembly plant at Shoreham, UK, has now tripled in size to provide improved technical capabilities, paving the way for  future low-volume, multi-variant engine production. The site can now produce 5,000 engines a year, 100/week.

Ricardo plc clearly has its sight set on for further niche-volume engine production – it may indeed already have letters of intent for such production; otherwise it would not make an investment ‘on spec’ to expand its current facilities.

Ricardo claims its engine assembly plant is a “true success story” for advanced design, engineering and innovative manufacturing. And certainly, not many companies in its position can boast such facilities.

In its newly expanded form, the facility incorporates new laboratories and workshops capable of supporting prototype engine build and advanced metrology.

The expanded facility also includes a second dynamometer capable of simulating “real world” load conditions and testing engines across the full range of power outputs.  

‘Real world’ testing is likely to be on the agenda of many existing and new customers and Ricardo is anxious to be in a position to exploit the potential as much as it can within its resources.

The expanded plant is now entirely self-contained and can operate independently of the support functions of the Ricardo Shoreham Technical Centre. As well as offering a secure environment, essential for prototyping, this enables round the clock operation – something already demonstrated with the recent commencement of a second shift and doubling of production.

Crucially, reflecting the increasing requirement for manufacturers to offer increasing numbers of product derivatives, the re-configured flexible production line is now capable of the simultaneous manufacture of multiple engine variants.

“The completion of this very significant expansion of our engine assembly plant is a great way to start the New Year, demonstrating Ricardo’s ability and commitment to deliver the ultimate in both engine design and innovative, quality-focused manufacture,” commented Ricardo Performance Products managing director Mark Barge.

“The Ricardo engine assembly plant is a world-leading facility that has successfully combined state-of-the-art quality manufacturing principles in a clean-room environment which, as at the start of 2016, now boasts the capacity to manufacture 5,000 high performance engines per year,” added Barge.

Meanwhile, it may be recalled that exactly two years ago, Ricardo announced it had won a contract to supply engines for McLaren Automotive’s supercars in a contract worth £40 million a year.

The announcement proclaimed the deal would allow Ricardo to continue building the engines for the P1 and the 12C spider as well as the McLaren GT.

At the time, Ricardo’s chief executive Dave Shemmans said: “The long-term nature of this agreement underscores the effectiveness of our working relationship to date and provides an opportunity for both companies to deliver more innovative products.”

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