By Esmée Hardwick-Slack
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge officially opened McLaren Automotive’s new Composite Technology Centre in Rotherham this past Wednesday. The £50m innovation and manufacturing facility, on the boarder of Sheffield and Rotherham, aims to become a world-leader in lightweight carbon fibre and composites technology.
Sheffield City Region made a financial investment into the project while partners including the University of Sheffield, Sheffield City Council and Rotherham Council have work closely with McLaren throughout the process.
Work has already begun on McLaren’s next generation carbon fibre tubs, and trial productions units will roll out in 2019. McLaren CEO, Mike Flewitt, has said the new carbon fibre tubs will be critical to new lightweight supercars planned as part of the Track25 business plan. He praised the Sheffield City Regions expertise in advanced manufacturing, saying:
”It was an honour for myself and all of the 2,300 people at McLaren Automotive to host The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of The Kingdom of Bahrain, to officially open the MCTC and to show them the process we are innovating for the production of carbon fibre. They met some of the extraordinary, creative and passionate people we already have working here who are making that ambition a reality.”
After completing proto-typing, the facility will build McLaren’s lightweight carbon fibre chassis for its new road models from 2020, creating more than 200 jobs and providing an estimated £100 million of gross value added benefit to the local economy by 2028. Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, Dan Jarvis said:
“We know that our region is world-leading in advances manufacturing and engineering. Investments from companies such as Siemens, Rolls Royce and Boeing are testament to our growing international reputation for excellence.So it’s great to see McLaren Automotive also opening here, demonstrating further confidence in our strong manufacturing heritage, confidence in our workforce’s ability to deliver, confidence in the cutting edge collaborations between university and business that enable us to lead the world.”
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