Saturday, October 24, 2020

Advanced engineering and manufacturing Centre of Excellence to be built in Daventry

Daventry has been unveiled as the new home for an advanced engineering and manufacturing Centre of Excellence.

JRM, a company founded in 2007 and famed for its international success on the racetrack, has received funding from South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) to extend and remodel one of its existing sites in Daventry.

Staff have already started to migrate into the new centre, a DMG Mori 3D printer (a first in the UK) has recently been installed and building work is set to begin on what will become the UK’s Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Low-carbon Automotive Technologies.

JRM Managing Director Jason King said: “Our new Centre of Excellence will make us a market leader. We will become a company able not just to design and manufacture products but also test and approve them in our Quality Control department.

“This means we will bring together under one roof all our capabilities as an advanced engineering company and at the same time bring in new ones – for industries locally and oversees.

“Historically we have worked in the automotive sector with the likes of Jaguar, Subaru and Nissan. Moving forward though we see no reason we can’t also break into the aerospace and medical sectors.”

It is a grant of more than £1.6million from SEMLEP’s Local Growth Fund that has enabled the company, which was previously spread across three sites – one in Bicester and two in Daventry – to consolidate and create one state-of-the-art centre in the town’s Rutherford Way.

Hilary Chipping, Chief Executive, SEMLEP, said: “This new Centre of Excellence will reinforce our reputation in the South East Midlands for innovative technical testing and automotive expertise.

“Our area’s strengths in this will become increasingly important as we work to enhance efficiencies in both speeding up adoption of new technologies and contributing towards achieving a net zero-carbon economy.

“We are delighted work has already started and confident this will be a centre that will not just benefit Daventry and Northamptonshire but also the UK as a whole.”

JRM’s new Centre of Excellence will include:

  • A 3D printer, which has already been installed. This is currently the only one in the country and can swap quickly between several different materials, including titanium, aluminium, and steel. The printer will create low volume, high complexity items, such as a prototype for a Formula 1 car or an item for a classic car that cannot be bought elsewhere in the world.
  • A High Frequency Driver in The Loop (HFDITL) rig, which will be in place by April next year. This is being built to Formula 1 standards, enabling manufacturers to investigate, and engineer new vehicle concepts and systems, as well as allow drivers to hone their racing skills in the e-world.
  • The Chassis Rig, for testing and developing full vehicle kinematic and compliance behaviour. The aim is to bring the first rig model to market in 2021. It will initially be available as a JRM test facility resource and later will be made available for other companies to purchase. These rigs will bring a high level of precision and accuracy, whilst being quiet, cost competitive and eliminating the need for environmentally unfriendly power sources such as hydraulics, which is currently favoured by traditional rigs.
  • JRM will also continue to work on their new ‘Celebration Car’ at the Centre of Excellence, taking the Nissan GTR GT3 but completely re-engineering it to produce a short run and making it road legal.

Jason added: “We will launch as a low volume vehicle manufacturer for the first time. We want to show that we are not just a race team, but that we are an expert all round engineering company.”

The Centre of Excellence will also include additional commercial incubation space for small and large businesses and the centre will be fitted with solar panels to provide at least 75% of the energy needs for the site.

Elliot Dason-Barber, Technical Director of JRM, added: “We have developed a sustainability plan which lays out our desire to become carbon neutral by the year 2025 and this year we will publish our decarbonisation strategy.”

JRM’s new premises will include electrical charging points, a 350kW solar farm and will retain the flexible hours that have become a new norm during COVID-19, to reduce petrol consumption.

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