McLaren Automotive has announced the first details of its new Composites Technology Centre. The centre will be based close to the campus of the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), a part of the HVM Catapult. With support from Sheffield City Council, the new centre will be responsible for the development and manufacturing of the Monocell and Monocage carbon fibre chassis in future McLaren cars. This next generation Monocell will be built using advanced automated manufacturing techniques developed in conjunction with the AMRC. The new facility is due to start construction in early 2017 with the first pre-production carbon fibre chassis expected to be delivered to McLaren Technology Centre in the second half of 2017 using trial manufacturing processes in the AMRC before going into full production by 2020.
At the launch event at the AMRC in Sheffield, Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Automotive commented “In 1981, McLaren was the first company to recognise the exceptional properties of carbon fibre and we have designed the highly-technical material to be at the heart of every McLaren road and racing car ever since. The now iconic McLaren F1 was the world’s first road car to be built with a carbon fibre chassis and every car built more recently by McLaren Automotive has the same. Creating a facility where we can manufacture our own carbon fibre chassis structures is therefore a logical next step”
The creation of the new McLaren Composites Technology Centre represents the company’s first purpose-built facility outside of the current McLaren campus. Formed through a partnership between McLaren Automotive, the University of Sheffield’s AMRC and Sheffield City Council, the new Composites Technology Centre will create more than 200 jobs through a combined investment of nearly £50 million. The target is that the new Centre will deliver cost savings of around £10 million when compared to costs of today and £100 million of GVA (gross value added) benefit to the local economy by 2028. Opportunities for expansion thereafter create an ambition of doubling that to £200 million. The in-sourcing of the manufacture of the carbon fibre chassis also increases the average percentage (by value) of a McLaren car sourced in the UK by around eight percent from its average of around 50 percent, depending on model.
“We evaluated several options to achieve this objective but the opportunity created by the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at the University of Sheffield was compelling. At the AMRC, we will have access to some of the world’s finest composites and materials research capabilities, and I look forward to building a world-class facility and talented team at the new McLaren Composites Technology Centre”
Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive