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£20m Cosworth plant will use ‘unique’ manufacturing system

08 November, 2013

The automotive engineering and manufacturing group, Cosworth, has announced plans to open a factory based on a state-of-the-art flexible manufacturing system (FMS) that, it says, will be unique in the UK and will manufacture components for some of the world’s most advanced engines. Its customers will include global brands in the automotive industry.

The proposed new factory, to be built in Northampton, will occupy 50,000ft2 (4,645m2) and will require an investment of around £18–20m from Cosworth’s existing shareholders and other sources. Work on the new factory is due to start in January 2014, and operations are due to begin in July 2014. Preproduction parts will be manufactured from December 2014, with initial production starting in 2015.

When operating at full capacity, the facility will incorporate 11 machining centres incorporating water jet wash and de-burring, CMM and intergraded honing machines. It will be able to produce precision-machined engine components, as well as fully assembled engines from raw castings.

“The Centre will develop and commercialise new manufacturing technologies that will enable more complex engine component designs to be manufactured in niche volumes profitably within the UK,” says Cosworth CEO, Hal Reisiger.

He believes that the new facility could have a positive effect on the UK manufacturing industry. “Cosworth aims to be an exemplar for British engineering companies, applying lean processes and marketing to create demand for products and services,” he says.

An artist's impression of Cosworth's planned FMS installation

“The FMS line – christened Jubilee to coincide with Cosworth's 50th anniversary in Northampton next year – will machine high-integrity metals and complex alloys that require significant expertise to achieve accurate, reproducible products,” Reisiger adds. “It will enable Cosworth to produce some of the world’s most advanced engines for a number of the most recognised high-performance vehicle manufacturers.”

Cosworth expects to confirm the exact location of the new facility in the coming weeks, subject to contractual agreements.

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