Tuesday, August 12, 2014

News: Newburgh provides proving ground for Proving Factory

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The Proving Factory, an innovative partnership between Tata Steel and high-tech companies in the automotive supply chain, is leasing space from Newburgh Precision in Rotherham so it can gear up for production.

The £22m manufacturing initiative will take low-carbon vehicle technologies designed by small high-tech British companies and university research departments and prove their viability in production to increase their chances of being adopted by major motor manufacturers.

Tata Steel is the key partner in establishing The Proving Factory alongside industry experts, Productiv Limited, and as part of the programme, which is backed by Government funding, a component manufacturing facility is being created at Tata Steel's site at Brinsworth in Rotherham and is set to open in 2015.

The Proving Factory will use 1,000 sq m of leased space at Newburgh Precision at Templeborough on an interim basis for its component manufacturing operation, while the facilities are completed nearby. Newburgh Precision was chosen for its expertise in machining precision components and its knowledge and reputation in best working practices in areas such as health and safety, IT systems and staff recruitment.

In its 75th year, Newburgh Engineering decided to split its two sites, Rotherham and Bradwell, into two separate businesses.

Newburgh Precision, which has also been selected as a strategic supplier to the Proving Factory, utilises manufacturing cells in Rotherham, dedicated groups of resources operated by a team of multi-skilled individuals that are committed to producing a product or products for one customer.

A number of state-of-the-art machines will be delivered to The Proving Factory's interim component manufacturing facility over the next few months, including two Mazak mill turn machines, a Fanuc Robodrill and the latest Studer grinding machine. This cutting-edge technology will provide The Proving Factory with the specific range of capabilities it needs to meet the demanding specifications required for the development of low-carbon vehicle technologies.

The ten apprentices taken on to work at The Proving Factory are also set to join Newburgh's renowned training programme after undertaking initial training at the AMRC Training Centre.

David Greenan, managing director at Newburgh Precision, said: "Newburgh Precision has a healthy order book in its own right and we have been recruiting and investing in new equipment at our Rotherham facility to support this growth. This relationship with The Proving Factory will continue this development and add new technology and processes into our working practices.

"Our works manager, Nick Andrew, has been carefully selected by The Proving Factory to take the role of operations lead in this relationship, a fantastic opportunity for him and the business to work closely with this innovative initiative."

Mark Broxholme, managing director of Tata Steel's Speciality Steels business said: "We have worked hard to plan our development and growth as The Proving Factory's component manufacturing volumes increase towards our target of four million components over the next decade. This new interim site allows us to get started with component development and manufacturing as quickly as possible, while achieving the most efficient combination of required space and cost.

"We are very much looking forward to moving into our new home this month, and are positive our new site and the support of Newburgh Precision will give us the capability we need to support the delivery of the initial pre-production components and assemblies by the end of this year."

Technology is being developed by Bladon Jets, Flybrid, Torotrak, Drive Systems Design, Libralato and Magnomatics and the project aims to bridge the gap (or "Valley of Death") between small enterprises developing leading edge low carbon technology and large vehicle manufacturers. "Proving volumes" of 10,000-20,000 units a year will be produced and support will be given in moving to higher volumes through the traditional first-tier supply chain.

Proving Factory website
Newburgh Precision website

Images: Newburgh

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