UPTIME Consultant at Castle Brom'
Jaguar goes Electric - Jaguar Experience Reception, Castle Bromwich, UK
This is another place like the Triumph visit of a couple of weeks ago that I have been trying to fit in, we had a free day so took the opportunity of visiting the Castle Bromwich facility over Birmingham.
They run these visits morning and afternoon and we opted for the PM visit that runs from 13.00 - 16.00, so three hours of touring three of the main production shops.
The site is so big that a tour bus transfers the group from one location to another, our group was only seven people so the tour was quite relaxed. Tea and coffee are available on arrival at reception before being taken through the all important safety video and putting on the hi-viz jackets.
The tour starts at the new £500 million assembly shop that builds three models of Jaguar to customers order. This was the main reason I wanted to visit to see the body assembly method with bonding and riveting of the aluminium shell, I had only been involved with traditional spot welded steel bodies before so the manufacturing method was new to me.
The main difference from a reliability perspective is that there are no welding contaminants in the air so less to infect the machinery preventing damage by carbon.
The tour moved on through to see the XJ build shop which is where thousands of Spitfires were built during WW2, you could smell the history in this building, we also visited what was the on-site hospital that looked after the workers back then; I didn't realise Lancaster bombers were also built there as well.
The tour moved on to the final build assembly where bodies meet drive trains all the way around to final inspection and dispatch.
We finished back at the visitor centre for coffee, cake and a look around the new I-Pace vehicle.
If you can free up half a day this is a great value visit for any engineer or car fan... recommended.
UPTIME Consultant visits the home of Triumph Motorcycles
We had planned to get over to Hinkley for months but the summer got in the way, I finally went on-line and bought the last two tickets for the 10.30 tour yesterday for the bargain price of £18 each!
The home of Triumph is in Hinkley, UK but when I was a youngster it was still based in the village of Meriden, in fact one of my school mates Dad work as part of the Triumph co-operative before it collapsed in the 1970s.
The tour is 90 minutes long and there were 15 people on our tour which is the maximum I believe, it was just right and the two guides that showed us around were very informative. It starts in an ante room where everyone gets to wear a Triumph Visitor hi-viz and an in the ear device to listen to the chaps as they guided us around whilst fielding questions about the processes.
Everything is under wraps so no recording or any use of mobiles whilst on the tour, we still got to view some rare sights as we were there whilst 2018 production was giving way to the new bikes for 2019.
The first port of call was the logistics where all the component parts are received and dispatched to production, we then moved through to the high bay storage where finished motorcycles are racked on their own delivery skid seven rows tall.
The total capacity of the store which was half full is 6,500 bikes or approx £65 Million!
Each motorcycle we saw in stock is an order awaiting pick up and delivery to dealerships all over the world that their clients have ordered, they hardly make anything for stock at Hinkley.
The models they manufacture in the UK are all they high value high capacity type bikes hence all the Bonnevilles are manufactured in the far east for cost and parts logistics as most of the components or raw castings are manufactured there.
The tour then takes you around the Crankshaft CNC machineshop, past the R&D block, the Metrology in the centre of machining, the crankcase CNC shop then through to the main assembly.
Here you get to see the hand finishing operation with wheel pin striping before being taken around part of the assembly line where bare engines having shells fitting become a fully ladened machine. The last operations to fill the cooling system in less than a minute and the hydraulics in seconds is very impressive.
Finished bikes then get the rolling road treatment until the petrol is exhausted when the ECU is automatically locked for shipment, only the dealer receiving the bike has the code to unlock it, neat trick to thwart theft of complete bikes in transit.
This area is where we got to see six brand new 2019 spec Scramblers ready for dispatch for a press launch, impressive looking bikes they were to.
The tour ends back in logistics where more customer orders were awaiting delivery to France, Japan, Netherlands in fact all over the planet.
If you ever get the chance to visit and can be lucky enough to get a ticket it's a must visit.
Next door is their small museum and cafe with some iconic motorbikes on display.