Proving ground for green automotive technologies

Tata Steel's £22 million project, The Proving Factory hopes to develop the next evolution of green technologies which will fuel the cars of tomorrow
 Project aims to turn prototypes into viable components

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The manufacturing initiative aims to take low-carbon vehicles technologies designed by British high-tech companies and university research departments, and prove their viability to major auto-manufacturers, vastly improving their chances of adoption.

Officially opened today by the UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, Vince Cable MP, Tata Steel’s Proving Factory will act as a bridge between green technology prototypes and high volume production.

 Speaking at the factory’s launch, Chief Commercial Officer for Tata Steel, Henrik Adam commented:

“This initiative will bring together some of the most remarkable future automotive technologies, taking them from workbench prototypes to viable components and bridging the gap between great innovation and great commercial products.”

The Proving Factory will be made up of two facilities, one component manufacturing site at Tata Steel Brinsworth and an assembly facility in the West Midlands providing around 250 jobs and regeneration, once it opens in 18 months time.

Once fully completed, The Proving Factory will produce low volume advanced technologies for auto-manufactures, with a target of 1,000 to 20,000 units per product a year, across 10 to 20 products.

It’s hoped that The Proving Factory’s production and assembly facilities will industrialise innovation and supply both components and systems into the automotive supply chain, supporting and reviving UK manufacturing.

Adam added:

“This project will not only benefit the small companies which have developed these technologies, but allow Tata Steel to provide its expertise in speciality steels and manufacturing, as well as access to vital supply chains.

“Our Brinsworth site will be hosting one of the two new facilities and several of our staff will also be working for the Proving Factory full-time. Ultimately, this will allow Tata Steel to further develop markets and prove technologies for other sectors such as aerospace and renewable energy.”

The project brings together Productiv (assembly) and Tata Steel (materials and component manufacture), with core partners MIRA (design verification) and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult (design for manufacture and assembly).

Supporting partners include Jaguar Land Rover, Schaeffler, Unipart and the Midlands Assembly Network; with the technology developers already expressing interest made up of Flybrid, Drive System Design, Libralato, Torotrak and Bladon Jets. 

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