McLaren Automotive (Woking, UK) will establish a new Composites Technology Centre located close to the campus of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at the University of Sheffield in the UK, and built with support from Sheffield City Council. The new center will be responsible for the development and manufacturing of the Monocell and Monocage carbon fiber 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 fiber chassis expected to be delivered to the McLaren Technology Centre in the second half of 2017 using trial manufacturing processes in the AMRC before going into full production by 2020.
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 ($62 million). The center will deliver cost savings of around £10 million ($12.5 million) when compared to costs of today and £100 million ($125 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 ($250 million).
The McLaren Composites Technology Centre will be housed in a 7,000m2 building set over four acres and will be responsible for the research and development of future Monocell and Monocage carbon fiber chassis as well as the manufacturing of the chassis itself.
Since 1981, McLaren has not built a car without a carbon fiber chassis.
At the launch event at the AMRC in Sheffield, Mike Flewitt, CEO of McLaren Automotive commented: "In 1981, McLaren was the first company to recognize the exceptional properties of carbon fiber, and we have designed the highly-technical material it 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 fiber chassis and every car built more recently by McLaren Automotive has the same. Creating a facility where we can manufacture our own carbon fiber chassis structures is therefore a logical next step."
He continued: "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."
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