Vince Cable launches £22 million automotive ‘Proving Factory’ initiative

18 February 2013 #SMMT News

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. It will result in component manufacturing at Tata Steel’s 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.

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.”

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, Drive Systems Design, Flybrid, Libralato and Torotrak.

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.

Commenting, SMMT interim Chief Executive, Mike Baunton, said, “We are always pleased to see government and industry working together to strengthen the automotive supply chain and bring to market high-tech engineering projects from the wealth of expertise we have in the UK. This initiative provides the structure and skills to enable UK-based businesses to support our strong automotive vehicle and component manufacturing industry and to launch innovative new products.”

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