18 February 2013
Corporate News

Proving the green automotive technologies of the future

The Rt Hon Vince Cable MP, the UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, today launched a project at Tata Steel’s Brinsworth site in Rotherham to help develop groundbreaking green technologies which will power the cars of the future.

The Proving Factory, a £22 million manufacturing initiative in the UK’s South Yorkshire and Midlands regions, will take low-carbon vehicle technologies designed by small high-tech British companies and university research departments and prove their viability in production to increase their chances of being adopted by major motor manufacturers.

In the race for new emission-reducing technologies the Factory will act as a bridge between green technology prototypes and high volume production.

The Proving Factory will consist of two facilities: component manufacturing at the Tata Steel site at Brinsworth, Rotherham and an assembly facility in the West Midlands, providing employment and regeneration.

Announcing the launch of the Factory, Henrik Adam, Chief Commercial Officer for Tata Steel, said: “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.

“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.”

Funded under the Government's Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative, 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 the UK manufacturing base.

Valuable work is being carried out by universities and small companies in developing innovative new technologies, particularly related to low carbon vehicles. There is a need for these to be scaled up to meet low volume demands by vehicle manufacturers before they are adopted into mainstream vehicle platforms.

The technologies involved all offer novel solutions, but novel solutions need low volume production to prove themselves to the market – traditionally, this means higher cost prototype routes. The Proving Factory aims to allow them to be 'proven' at these low volumes in a cost effective way.

Once completed, The Proving Factory will manufacture low volume advanced technologies for vehicle manufacturers, with a target of 1,000 to 20,000 units per product per annum across 10 to 20 products.

The project is a collaboration led by 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.

The six technology developers involved include Flybrid, Drive System Design, Libralato and Bladon Jets. 


For further information, please contact: 
Damien Brook on +44 (0)1724 405786 or damien.brook@tatasteel.com

About Tata Steel in Europe

The European operations of Tata Steel comprise Europe's second largest steel producer. With the main steelmaking operations in the UK and Netherlands, they supply steel and related services to the construction, automotive, packaging, lifting & excavating, energy & power, aerospace and other demanding markets worldwide. The combined Tata Steel group is one of the world’s largest steel producers, with an aggregate crude steel capacity of more than 28 million tonnes and approximately 80,000 employees across four continents.