Vince Cable Launches £22 Million Automotive ‘Proving Factory’ Initiative
The Rt Hon Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, has launched an advanced manufacturing initiative for the automotive sector, with an investment of £21.8 million from the public and private sector.
The Proving Factory is a collaborative project involving major companies and groups in the UK motor industry. Ultimately it will result in component manufacturing at Tata Steel’s Brinsworth site in Rotherham and an assembly facility in the West Midlands, managed by Productiv. The Proving Factory will industrialise and validate new technologies and supply them to vehicle manufacturers.
Upon launching the project at one of the future The Proving Factory sites, the Secretary of State, Vince Cable said: “Supply chains are the lifeblood of industry and vital in our drive for renewed economic growth, which is why Government has committed to supporting their development as part of our Industrial Strategy.
“The Proving Factory is a clear demonstration of how AMSCI is bringing Government and businesses together to overcome barriers in efficiency and expansion, while creating a wealth of valuable new jobs in the increasingly competitive global marketplace.”
Richard Bruges from The Proving Factory consortium said: “We are delighted to welcome the Secretary of State to launch 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.”
The project is led by micro SME Productiv, which industrialises green automotive technologies, bridging the gap between technology developers and vehicle manufacturers, and Tata Steel, which will develop materials and manufacture components. Its core partners are MIRA, assisting with design verification, and MTC (part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult), assisting with design for manufacture and assembly.
Those supporting The Proving Factory project include Jaguar Land Rover as a major UK vehicle manufacturer, Schaeffler and Unipart, offering their supply chain and process expertise, and the Midlands Assembly Network, which is offering component process and supply.
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.
The Proving Factory will ultimately manufacture low volume advanced technologies for vehicle manufacturers, with a target of 1,000 to 20,000 units per annum for each of 10 to 20 products.
The project has received funding and strategic support from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Automotive Council. It has received £12.8 million in grant and loan funding from the Government through the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative, which has been matched with £9.1 million of private funding.
It is envisaged that The Proving Factory will create over 250 direct new jobs in assisted areas, where new employment is greatly needed, and around 1,000 more in the manufacturing and engineering supply chain.
As well as job creation, products supplied by The Proving Factory will help to reduce the UK’s trade deficit for automotive components, which stands at around £7 billion. The project will also create new intellectual property in the UK, strengthening both its knowledge and manufacturing base.
The Proving Factory is a collaborative project to industrialise innovation and supply advanced components into the automotive supply chain. It is led by Productiv and Tata Steel and its partners include MIRA, the HVM Catapult, Jaguar Land Rover, Schaeffler, Unipart and the Midlands Assembly Network. It involves technology developers Bladon Jets, Flybrid, Torotrak, Drive Systems Design and Libralato.