Carmaker Jaguar Land Rover is spending £1.7m to create a new facility at its Merseyside factory that will bring an important function in-house and offer staff new skills. Tony McDonough reports
Carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is investing £1.7m in a new tool-making plant in Merseyside that will give its employees the opportunity to learn new skills.
Its new press die manufacturing centre, based at the Halewood factory, means the company will make its own press tools in-house for the first time. This function had previously been outsourced.
This facility is the first of its kind in JLR and is equipped with the most up-to-date axis milling machine. This manufactures press tools – known as blanking dies – from raw castings. The blanking dies are the first stage in the manufacture of car body panels, during new vehicle production.
Progress is well under way at the new centre with the factory producing pressed parts for future Jaguar and Land Rover models, across its sites globally. Halewood currently assembles the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque.
JLR’s Halewood factory will also be upgraded to enable the production of fully electric vehicles, as part of its new global Reimagine strategy, as the company drives forward with the electrification of both Jaguar and Land Rover brands.
Niall Ford, stamping and press parts group manager at JLR Halewood, said: “The announcement of our Reimagine strategy and now the opening of the new die manufacturing centre highlights the continued investment in our factory.
“The manufacturing of raw cast iron press tools is great news for us as we have never done this in-house before. It shows huge confidence, not just in our Halewood factory, but also in our people who will be building these tools.
“For the first time, our workforce and apprentices will be trained in the new processes and skills required to build and operate dies, which means we attract and keep the best talent at Halewood.”
Hannah Cocklin, a tool room apprentice at JLR Halewood, added: “This investment has given the tooling workforce a real boost as we are doing things we didn’t think we would ever get to do at Halewood.
“This is the last year of my apprenticeship so it’s brilliant to see what the future has in store for the team. It’s also exciting for the new apprentices joining the company this month. They probably never expected to be making the tools themselves.”