Motoring Insight Magazine Online

New component factory to strengthen UK's automotive intellectual property

Published: 18 February 2013

AN advanced manufacturing initiative for the automotive industry was launched today by Business Secretary Vince Cable.

With a £21.8m investment from the £125m Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) fund, along with help from the private sector, The Proving Factory is a collaborative effort by major companies in the sector and will result in a combination of skills and knowledge to manufacture innovative components at Tata Steel's Brinsworth site in Rotherham and an assembly facility in the West Midlands.

Aiming to 'industrialise and validate new technologies and supply them to vehicle manufacturers', Mr Cable was upbeat about the project. "Supply chains are the lifeblood of industry and vital in our drive for renewed economic growth. We're supporting their development as part of our Industrial Strategy.

"The Proving Factory is a clear demonstration of how AMSCI is bringing the government and businesses together to overcome the barriers in efficiency and expansion, while creating a wealth of valuable new jobs in the increasingly competitive global marketplace."

Led by Productiv - which industrialises innovations in green technology and makes them available to be adopted by vehicle manufacturers - the project is being supported by Jaguar Land Rover, Shaeffler and Unipart, along with Tata Steel, which will develop materials and manufacture components.

The innovative automotive technologies and components that the project will industrialise prior to manufacture will come from six technology developers including Bladon Jets, Flybrid, Torotrak, Drive Systems Design and Libralato.

Producing low volumes for OEMs, the project aims to make between 1,000 to 20,000 units every year for each of the ten to 20 innovations.

Richard Bruges, from The Proving Factory consortium, said: "It is such an important British manufacturing initiative. The Proving Factory is unique to the UK and will help provide the automotive sector with competitive advantage through the industrialisation, production and validation of low volume advanced powertrain components."

And with 250 new jobs to be created, in addition to another 1,000 in the manufacturing and engineering supply chain, it is hoped the factory will help reduce the UK's trade deficit for automotive components, which stands at around £7 billion. With new intellectual property of worldwide value to be created, Britain will benefit greatly from continued investments in manufacturing facilities.
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