GKN Structures has made a number of key investments designed to widen its market appeal as well as enhancing services to existing customers in the automotive sector.
As an established Tier 1 supplier to many of the leading automotive brands, the company has traditionally focused on high volume, automated production. In a drive to complement automotive activities with an increased presence in off highway, mass transit and military markets it has installed new plant both to increase flexibility and match growing demand for high quality, but lower volume, components.
Key investments are in laser cutting, press brake, shot blast and top coating facilities.
A new 4.4 Kw Bystronic Bystar laser cutter uses advanced technology to cut steel and aluminium up to 20mm thick and can accommodate plate sizes up to 2.5 metres x 4 metres. It can also be set to process tube. The highly versatile cutter is designed both for prototyping and production runs.
The Xpert 4.2 metre 400 Tonnes press brake can typically process metal up to 15mm (more for smaller components) and combines high speed and efficiency with bend accuracy and repeatability.
The new shot blast booth offers the capability to process large components or assemblies up to complete chassis.
A new top coat paint facility, for wet and powder coating, adds to the company’s existing world class environmentally friendly E-Coat base coat process which combines high corrosion resistance with excellent surface finish.
Along with extensive testing facilities, press and blanking lines, robotic and manual welding, laser inspection and aluminium squeezeforming, the latest investments provide an exceptionally versatile resource for component development and manufacture.
Says Simon Cubitt of GKN Structures: “The additional plant, combined with our existing equipment capability - and the standards we apply in meeting the automotive industry’s very strict TS16949 accreditation quality requirements - now provide a unique ability to support customers from component concept through to production. This is backed by our expertise in lean manufacturing to increase efficiency whilst reducing costs.”