McLaren Automotive has announced the first details of its new Composites Technology Centre. Based close to the campus of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at the University of Sheffield, and built 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 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 AMRC was established in 2001 as a £15 million collaboration between the University of Sheffield and aerospace giant Boeing with the purpose of using Sheffield’s traditional expertise in materials and machining, and applying those skills for future technological development. In 2004, the AMRC moved into the purpose-built Advanced Manufacturing Park in Sheffield and, in 2008, opened the Rolls-Royce plc Factory of the Future. In 2012, the Factory of the Future expanded to include an enlarged Composite Centre.
In 2015, the AMRCs Factory 2050 was opened as the UK’s first fully reconfigurable assembly and component manufacturing facility for collaborative research, capable of rapidly switching between different high-value components and one-off parts. The 7,000 sq m building is home to the ARMCs Integrated Manufacturing Group with open-plan desk space integrated with high-tech assembly and manufacturing – much like the existing McLaren Production Centre in Woking, Surrey. The new McLaren Composites Technology Centre will be sited near to the AMRC campus.
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 fibre chassis as well as the manufacturing of the chassis itself. The 200 new employees will comprise approximately 150 production staff and 50 manufacturing support staff.