Manufacturing in the UK

[drift]

I attempted to join "Austin-Rover" a couple of times during its evolution, and was eventually successful in being selected . . . after a VERY exhaustive selection process, held at their own "Country Manor". It had a couple of new steel pyramid conference rooms, in front of the house ?!

PM sent, to spare everyone else the details of my employment history ;) .

[/drift]
By coincidence I was accepted into Land Rover's graduate scheme circa 1987 [then under ARG i think] and was all set to move to Solihull. Some looming recession pressure caused a panic and they closed the scheme and slashed the apprentice intake. Gave us three months wages to go away. I did a Masters instead, went back to the steelworks in Sheff and upped my TA commitments. It had settled down by '90 and all their graduate schemes reorganised under ARG as a single point of entry - then lo and behold they shut it again in a panic in '91
 

Yokel

LE
Five new digital manufacturing centres to be created as part of £53 million investment - MTD MFG

Based in universities throughout the UK, they will help to make supply chains faster, more efficient, and more resilient. Each centre will focus on a different area of manufacturing and include:

Digital Medicines Manufacturing Research Centre, based in Strathclyde, Cambridge and Loughborough Universities, aims to create digital supply chains that enable medicines to be supplied on demand and enable clinical trials to operate more flexibly

Research Centre for Smart, Collaborative Industrial Robotics, based in Loughborough, Strathclyde, Cranfield, Bristol and Warwick Universities, will look to eliminate barriers to adopting robotics and accelerate their widespread use in manufacturing

Research Centre for Connected Factories, based in Nottingham, Cambridge and Sheffield Universities, will work to create a ‘Morphing Factory’ where production can be easily repurposed in response to changing market demand, for example, during the pandemic when drinks manufacturers have transformed their production lines to make hand sanitizer

Materials Made Smarter Research Centre, based in Strathclyde, Cambridge and Loughborough Universities, will work on overcoming technological challenges preventing adoption of new materials and manufacturing processes needed to become more sustainable and help achieve net zero emissions

People-Led Digitalisation, based in Bath, Nottingham and Loughborough Universities, aims to achieving the highest level of manufacturing productivity by increasing the digital knowledge and awareness of manufacturers
 

Yokel

LE
More electric vehicle stuff:

HV Wooding teams up with Nuclear AMRC to target £1m electrification boost

Development of a new powder coating process for parts destined for electric vehicles is set to deliver a £1m boost for a Kent-based manufacturer.

HV Wooding, which specialises in providing precision engineered metal components for the automotive and aerospace sectors, is working with materials and engineering researchers from the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) and the University of Sheffield to improve the quality of the busbars it is producing.

Supported by Innovate UK through the Faraday Battery Challenge, the project focuses on investigating and developing alternative coating methods that will improve the performance and integrity of the critical components, which carry high-current power between different parts of an electrical system.
 

Yokel

LE
Sheffield Forgemasters is going to be acquired by the Ministry of Defence.

In order to modernise the company’s plant and equipment to support its role as a long-term supplier to UK Defence, the transaction is structured to inject up to £400m of new investment over the next 10 years into defence-critical assets, including plans for a new heavy forge line and building, a flood alleviation scheme, major machine tool replacements and a site-wide HV upgrade. This is expected to retain and create new highly skilled manufacturing jobs within the Sheffield City region.

Sheffield Forgemasters and its shareholders are not able to fund an investment of this size and so this transaction marks the completion of a process started two years ago by the Board to develop a strategy for the business that enables it to be a reliable and secure supplier to defence for the long-term. The investment plan will be funded by direct equity from MoD.

Whilst securing defence output is the priority moving forward, the Group will continue to operate in commercial markets with its existing equipment and will also look to exploit opportunities that may arise from the UK Government’s net zero carbon agenda, including the Off-shore Wind and Civil Nuclear markets.

The MoD will acquire 100 per cent ownership of Sheffield Forgemasters International Limited (SFIL), the parent company of the Sheffield Forgemasters Group. There will be no change to the corporate structure of the group and all subsidiary companies, including Sheffield Forgemasters Engineering Limited and Sheffield Forgemasters Steel Limited, will remain wholly owned by SFIL. There will be no impact on the performance of your contract with Sheffield Forgemasters and no need to vary or amend such contract.
 
Published by: Liam Shard, THE SUNDAY TIMES, on 30 July 2021.

Honda closes Swindon factory after 35 years of car production

Final vehicle has left the production line . . .

Honda-Swindon.jpg


HONDA UK has ended production at its Swindon car manufacturing facility, bringing to a close more than 35 years of vehicle production at the factory . . .

. . . Although some 200 of the 3,500 employees at the plant will be kept on in the short term, to supervise the wind-down, Honda’s decision to close the factory means significant job losses for the Swindon area, with as many as 10,000 jobs in the supply chain thought to be affected.

Jason Smith, director at Honda of the UK Manufacturing, said: “Today is a sad day as we bring production operations to a close, but I’m confident our associates share my pride in everything we have achieved during our time in Swindon.

“I am incredibly moved by the dignity and pride displayed by our associates throughout the last two years. I’d like to thank them all for their continued hard work and dedication in what has been an incredibly emotional time for us all.”

A significant part of UK vehicle manufacturing . . .

The closure brings down the curtain on three-and-a-half decades of significant car manufacturing in the UK. Honda first started work on its plant in Swindon in 1985, just a year after rival Nissan opened up its factory in Sunderland and four years before Toyota started its production line in Burnaston, in Derbyshire . . .

. . . The Swindon plant was part of an influx of Japanese car manufacturers that came to the UK’s shores in the 1980s, keen to snap up skilled staff who were being laid off by the disintegration of home-grown UK car manufacturers such as British Leyland. The Japanese car makers were looking to use the UK as a launchpad for European sales.

1627815177961.png


The site was previously an aircraft factory, as had been so many British-based car factories, producing aeroplanes for Short Brothers and Vickers-Supermarine, among others. Honda’s first car to be built in Swindon, once the factory and adjacent engine plant had been fully commissioned, was the Accord saloon, which started production in 1992.

By 1994, the Civic hatchback — Honda’s best-selling model ever, racking up more than 27 million sales since its introduction in 1972 — had been added to the Swindon production roster, and it would be a mainstay of the factory from then until today.

1627815131859.png


By 2000, Swindon was also building the CR-V SUV, another huge global success for Honda, and a car which Honda reckons (depending upon which metrics you use) is the best-selling SUV in the world.

In the same year, Swindon started exporting UK-built cars to the Japanese domestic market, a move which made for quite the feather in Honda’s British hat.

1627815110189.png

Why Honda closed its Swindon factory . . . .

But while the compact Jazz model was also added to Swindon’s production roster, by 2009 things were starting to look a little shaky for Honda in the UK. The global recession had wreaked havoc on the industry, and the rapid switch to electrified cars (including pure-electric, plug-in hybrid, full hybrid and mild hybrid) meant the factory would need to be upgraded to remain relevant . . .

. . . Although Swindon was announced as the global production hub for the Civic in 2015, by 2019 Honda had made the decision to bring vehicle production at its Swindon plant to a close. In the official statement, it cited “unprecedented changes in the global automotive industry”.

The company did not mention Brexit and the introduction of possible EU-UK trading tariffs, which were considered a possibility at the time (a last-minute zero tariff agreement between the blocs was penned in December 2020), nor the chance of increased friction at the borders. A spokesperson told Driving.co.uk that retooling the Swindon plant to accommodate electric cars would make less business sense than updating its plants aimed at the Asian and American markets, which produce vehicles in much greater numbers.

Honda’s legacy in Swindon . . . .

In the final months of production, Honda introduced “a sitewide visual campaign” thanking employees and highlighting their achievements and created displays of previous models built at the Swindon-plant. The company also re-instated the playing of ‘Rivers of Babylon’ at the start of each shift, which was an original feature of the plant . . .

. . . In an official statement today, Honda said it wanted to “leave a positive legacy in the local community”, with hopes to redevelop an area of the site not included in the sale into a 1.3-acre ‘Honda Heritage Garden’, if planning permission is approved.

1627815073254.png


The garden would be open to the local community, with play area and spaces for schools and local groups to learn about nature, and include two Honda memorial trees, relocated from the main site, to remember staff who passed away while working at the plant.

Honda said it has also donated Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subject learning kits and a number of pre-production vehicles to local schools and colleges “to help inspire future generations of engineers in a bid to maintain Swindon’s engineering heritage.”

The Swindon site has been sold to Panattoni, a US-based property and warehousing company. The cars that Honda once built there will now be made in Japan, the US, and China.

Honda of the UK Manufacturing historical timeline . . .

1627815052161.png


1985 Honda of the UK Manufacturing is established
1986 Honda of the UK Manufacturing begins operations, conducting pre-delivery Inspection on Honda models imported into the UK
1989 Engine Plant is opened and begins production
1991 The construction of Car Plant 1 begins
1992 Car Plant 1 opens and production of the Honda Accord begins
1994 Production of the Honda Civic begins
2000 Production of the Honda CR-V begins
2001 Car Plant 2 opens and production capacity increases to 250,000 cars per year
2001 Production of the Civic Type R begins
2002 Honda of the UK Manufacturing exports cars to North America for the first time
2003 Honda of the UK Manufacturing celebrates the production of its 1 millionth car
2008 Honda of the UK Manufacturing celebrates the production of its 2 millionth car
2014 The UK’s first public access hydrogen filling station opens at Honda of the UK Manufacturing’s site
2015 Honda of the UK Manufacturing announced as the global production hub for the tenth generation Civic hatchback
2016 Honda of the UK Manufacturing celebrates its 30th anniversary with a family fun day for associates and their families
2016 Honda of the UK Manufacturing hosts the launch of the tenth generation Civic hatchback
2018 Honda CR-V production concludes after 18 years
2019 Honda Motor announces its global restructuring which includes the closure of Honda of the UK Manufacturing
2021 March – Honda of the UK Manufacturing confirms new owner, Panattoni, for the Swindon site
2021 July – Honda of the UK Manufacturing ends production

 
Published by: Liam Shard, THE SUNDAY TIMES, on 30 July 2021.

Honda closes Swindon factory after 35 years of car production

Final vehicle has left the production line . . .

View attachment 593093

HONDA UK has ended production at its Swindon car manufacturing facility, bringing to a close more than 35 years of vehicle production at the factory . . .



A significant part of UK vehicle manufacturing . . .

The closure brings down the curtain on three-and-a-half decades of significant car manufacturing in the UK. Honda first started work on its plant in Swindon in 1985, just a year after rival Nissan opened up its factory in Sunderland and four years before Toyota started its production line in Burnaston, in Derbyshire . . .



Why Honda closed its Swindon factory . . . .

But while the compact Jazz model was also added to Swindon’s production roster, by 2009 things were starting to look a little shaky for Honda in the UK. The global recession had wreaked havoc on the industry, and the rapid switch to electrified cars (including pure-electric, plug-in hybrid, full hybrid and mild hybrid) meant the factory would need to be upgraded to remain relevant . . .



Honda’s legacy in Swindon . . . .

In the final months of production, Honda introduced “a sitewide visual campaign” thanking employees and highlighting their achievements and created displays of previous models built at the Swindon-plant. The company also re-instated the playing of ‘Rivers of Babylon’ at the start of each shift, which was an original feature of the plant . . .



Honda of the UK Manufacturing historical timeline . . .

View attachment 593088

1985 Honda of the UK Manufacturing is established
1986 Honda of the UK Manufacturing begins operations, conducting pre-delivery Inspection on Honda models imported into the UK
1989 Engine Plant is opened and begins production
1991 The construction of Car Plant 1 begins
1992 Car Plant 1 opens and production of the Honda Accord begins
1994 Production of the Honda Civic begins
2000 Production of the Honda CR-V begins
2001 Car Plant 2 opens and production capacity increases to 250,000 cars per year
2001 Production of the Civic Type R begins
2002 Honda of the UK Manufacturing exports cars to North America for the first time
2003 Honda of the UK Manufacturing celebrates the production of its 1 millionth car
2008 Honda of the UK Manufacturing celebrates the production of its 2 millionth car
2014 The UK’s first public access hydrogen filling station opens at Honda of the UK Manufacturing’s site
2015 Honda of the UK Manufacturing announced as the global production hub for the tenth generation Civic hatchback
2016 Honda of the UK Manufacturing celebrates its 30th anniversary with a family fun day for associates and their families
2016 Honda of the UK Manufacturing hosts the launch of the tenth generation Civic hatchback
2018 Honda CR-V production concludes after 18 years
2019 Honda Motor announces its global restructuring which includes the closure of Honda of the UK Manufacturing
2021 March – Honda of the UK Manufacturing confirms new owner, Panattoni, for the Swindon site
2021 July – Honda of the UK Manufacturing ends production

Sad to see it go, but Honda really aren’t focused on the UK market any more. When you look back, their product planning has been “Roveresque”.
 
Sad to see it go, but Honda really aren’t focused on the UK market any more. When you look back, their product planning has been “Roveresque”.
I think they are looking to be bought. Toyota?
 
Maybe. I really don’t get their brand positioning. It’s always been tech driven, whilst they design cars for grannies. I can see them going the way of Mitsubishi.
They've certainly been well behind the curve on EVs (but then so has Toyota), all the other major manufacturers (except Toyota) now have at least one decent sized entry in the EV market with more on the way but Honda only has one pretty but small city car.

Mitsubishi I just don't understand, it seems to me that just about every other pickup is an L200 and Outlander PHEVs are one of the school-run vehicles of choice out here in the sticks. I assumed it's pulling out of Europe was down to some internal Alliance jiggery-pokery by Nissan but then I hear the Navarra and possibly the X-Trail are to be withdrawn from Europe too. It's all a bit odd.
 
They've certainly been well behind the curve on EVs (but then so has Toyota), all the other major manufacturers (except Toyota) now have at least one decent sized entry in the EV market with more on the way but Honda only has one pretty but small city car.

Mitsubishi I just don't understand, it seems to me that just about every other pickup is an L200 and Outlander PHEVs are one of the school-run vehicles of choice out here in the sticks. I assumed it's pulling out of Europe was down to some internal Alliance jiggery-pokery by Nissan but then I hear the Navarra and possibly the X-Trail are to be withdrawn from Europe too. It's all a bit odd.
I think Toyota have stayed out of the EV market for strategic reasons, whilst they develop the e-TNGA platform (shared with Suburu, Daihatsu and Suzuki and likely to be used by Mazda). They are world leaders in hybrids so have some breathing space compared with some. Honda don’t seem to have any alliances for developing new architecture.

Mitsubishi is pulling out of Europe because they have a tiny market share (<1%) which is loss making. Meanwhile they have >6% of the Asian market and a making good profits. Simple business decision.

I’m amazed Nissan are pulling the Navara. I think the Alliance jiggery pokery is French. Renault (ie Macron) wants all Nissan and Mitsubishi cars sold in Europe to be built in France. The FT reported this on February (article is behind the pay wall)
 
Last edited:

Yokel

LE
On a positive note: Siemens to invest £186m doubling the size of its Hull wind turbine blade plant

Siemens Gamesa, the world’s leader in the offshore wind industry, will expand its successful offshore blade factory in Hull, England by 41,600 square meters, more than doubling the size of the manufacturing facilities. The expansion represents an investment of £186 million and is planned to be completed in 2023.

Manufacturing of next-generation offshore wind turbine blades will be enabled at the largest offshore wind manufacturing facility in the UK. It will grow to 77,600 square meters and add 200 additional direct jobs to the approximately 1,000 person-workforce already in place.
 

Yokel

LE
Here is another non UK company investing in Britain - but I am sure that the Euroohiles told us that this would no ne possible after BREXIT.

Spain’s GRI to build new £78 million wind turbine tower factory in the UK

GRI Renewable Industries, a Spanish manufacturer of wind towers and industrial wind components for major Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and developers in the wind energy market, has announced plans to build a new factory in the UK.

100 offshore towers a year, equivalent to 100,000 tons of steel, will be initially supplied from the production facility, to be built at the Able Marine Energy Park (AMEP) in North Lincolnshire.

The total investment is expected to be £78 million and will create approximately 260 direct jobs.
The project will receive grant funding from the government’s £160 million Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Support scheme.
 
Here is another non UK company investing in Britain - but I am sure that the Euroohiles told us that this would no ne possible after BREXIT.

Spain’s GRI to build new £78 million wind turbine tower factory in the UK

GRI Renewable Industries, a Spanish manufacturer of wind towers and industrial wind components for major Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and developers in the wind energy market, has announced plans to build a new factory in the UK.

100 offshore towers a year, equivalent to 100,000 tons of steel, will be initially supplied from the production facility, to be built at the Able Marine Energy Park (AMEP) in North Lincolnshire.

The total investment is expected to be £78 million and will create approximately 260 direct jobs.
The project will receive grant funding from the government’s £160 million Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Support scheme.
Not entirely sure this is as good news as it seems. Glad to hear about the jobs but GRI are a parts manufacturer for onshore towers and are coming to subcontract Siemens backlog, take advantage of their [arguably] British technology, get involved in the offshore sector

...then as soon as the government grant runs out they will be off. With plans for a new blueprint factory in a brand new shiny lucrative sector and set up shop in Poland [or Turkey or Brazil]

Seen a long list of companies who have done the same since the early 90s - Wang Compaq, Lexmark, Dell and that was just Silicone Glen

Where are the British companies?
 
Where are the British companies?
Never quite getting it right most of the time... and when they do the shareholders sell out to foreign companies ASAP for a big fat payday.

ARM being a case in point, once part of Acorn which never quite managed to capitalise on the success of the BBC Micro. Now part of a custody battle with that poster-child for computing greed, Nvidia.
 

Yokel

LE
Here is some good news: Wrightbus to create 300 new jobs as production ramps up to meet soaring demand

Wrightbus is to create up to 300 permanent jobs after winning a string of orders from the UK and Ireland. The firm, which is leading the world in zero emission passenger transport, will also convert 120 existing temporary jobs into permanent positions as it looks to ramp up production at its Ballymena headquarters.

Wrightbus, which was bought out of administration by green entrepreneur Jo Bamford in October 2019, had just 56 members of staff when he took over. Now thanks to an incredible period of growth driven by the development of word-leading technology – including the creation of the world’s first hydrogen double decker bus, and a market-leading electric double decker bus – the firm is on track to have 930 permanent employees once the new positions have been filled.
 
Here is some good news: Wrightbus to create 300 new jobs as production ramps up to meet soaring demand

Wrightbus is to create up to 300 permanent jobs after winning a string of orders from the UK and Ireland. The firm, which is leading the world in zero emission passenger transport, will also convert 120 existing temporary jobs into permanent positions as it looks to ramp up production at its Ballymena headquarters.

Wrightbus, which was bought out of administration by green entrepreneur Jo Bamford in October 2019, had just 56 members of staff when he took over. Now thanks to an incredible period of growth driven by the development of word-leading technology – including the creation of the world’s first hydrogen double decker bus, and a market-leading electric double decker bus – the firm is on track to have 930 permanent employees once the new positions have been filled.

I knew Wrightbus had gone bang, there was a lot in the news at the time. I didn't hear about the rescue. Is Jo Bamford one of the JCB clan?
 
I knew Wrightbus had gone bang, there was a lot in the news at the time. I didn't hear about the rescue. Is Jo Bamford one of the JCB clan?
Check my comments up thread. Everyone was let go essentially but they have been busily recruitng since the buy over.

ETA
 
I knew Wrightbus had gone bang, there was a lot in the news at the time. I didn't hear about the rescue. Is Jo Bamford one of the JCB clan?
Very much so and rich as Croesus.
I don't care much for his father* but I am inclined to agree with Jo Bamford on his strategy - some subsidies, hydrogen tech to decrease reliance on China and limiting electrical range - teamed up with fairly conventional vehicle manufacturing. Seems a sharp cookie.

That model wouldn't do his father's JCB core business any harm in the future either.

* Not the best manager, sometimes shite to his workers unlike Grandpa Bamford and the idiot turned down chance to buy Land Rover on the cheap because he didn't like Jaguars.
 
Very much so and rich as Croesus.
I don't care much for his father* but I am inclined to agree with Jo Bamford on his strategy - some subsidies, hydrogen tech to decrease reliance on China and limiting electrical range - teamed up with fairly conventional vehicle manufacturing. Seems a sharp cookie.

That model wouldn't do his father's JCB core business any harm in the future either.

* Not the best manager, sometimes shite to his workers unlike Grandpa Bamford and the idiot turned down chance to buy Land Rover on the cheap because he didn't like Jaguars.

Published by: Joe Holding, AUTOCAR magazine, on 18 August 2021.

British bus maker Wrightbus creates 300 new jobs.

Northern Ireland-based firm is on track to have 930 employees not two years after escaping administration.

Wrightbus has announced the creation of 300 new jobs at its headquarters in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, with a further 120 part-time roles set to become permanent . . .

. . . . The company is planning to step up production numbers in 2022 after securing a string of orders from the UK and Ireland, capping a remarkable turnaround from being bought out of administration in October 2019.

At that time, Wrightbus had only 56 members of staff; when the new roles have been filled next year, it will have 930.

“It’s a fantastic success story, and not one many people would have imagined just a few short years ago,” said Wrightbus managing director Neil Collins.

“In the last two years, the company has not only been bought back from the brink but has been reinvigorated and has seen a period of phenomenal growth.

“We’ve launched the world’s first hydrogen double-decker, we’ve launched the fastest-charging double-deck electric bus on the market and we’re now the UK’s only bus builder with both a hydrogen and electric product on the market.”

Wrightbus’s Streetdeck Hydroliner has a range of 280 miles and can be refuelled to 90% full in eight minutes. As with other hydrogen-fuelled vehicles, its only byproduct is water.

Meanwhile, the Streetdeck Electroliner has a range of up to 200 miles, thanks to a 454kWh battery, with Wrightbus claiming a "best-in-class" charging time of three hours at a rate of 150kW.

“The last two years haven't been easy,” said Wrightbus owner Jo Bamford, who rescued the company back in 2019. “We’ve not only had to pull the company back from administration, but we’ve also had to get through unprecedented times, due to the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic.

“We’re continuing to invest not only in employees but [also] in the technological advances that will keep our buses at the very pinnacle of the industry.

"I’m proud to say Wrightbus is firmly back in business, creating jobs not just in Northern Ireland but indirectly across the UK - and this is only the start of the recovery.”

Wrightbus will be on the lookout for coachbuilders, welders, vehicles installation electricians and driveline and factory operatives when its hiring spree begins.

1629285150992.png


 

Latest Threads

Top