Unipart announces major manufacturing schemes to support ongoing growth

AUTOMOTIVE supplier Unipart Group has announced three major manufacturing developments in the Midlands including two new manufacturing facilities and a joint venture with Coventry University to create an engineering and manufacturing institute.

A new facility at the Unipart Eberspächer site will manufacture high-tech fuel system components for the next generation of vehicles in Europe. These are intended to provide drivers with major improvements in fuel economy and performance.

Initially providing the parts for Ford vehicles, the new facility is set to manufacture half a million parts per year at a 25,000 sq ft brownfield site as part of a £30m investment by Unipart Group.

The site has capacity to quadruple production, which would make it one of the largest manufacturers of high pressure gasoline direct injection fuel rails in the world.

Unipart has also announced a second new facility at Kautex Unipart, the joint venture between Unipart and its German partner Kautex Textron, currently produces around 640,000 fuel tanks annually for leading UK automotive manufacturers such as Jaguar Land Rover, BMW and Honda.

The company said a recent investment in new technology, designed to offer customers greater levels of emission control, had enabled the group to increase production.
As a result, KUL has opened a new 7,500 sq m facility to carry out assembly and sequencing operations.

KUL Plant General Manager Dave Pound said: “Our customer base has grown and the volumes of our major customers have grown. We’ve been able to increase our manufacturing capability to meet the needs of our customers today and to be ready for future growth, which could be as much as a million units by 2018.”

As part of Unipart’s investment in UK manufacturing, Coventry University and the Unipart Group have joined forces to develop a new Engineering and Manufacturing Institute on Unipart’s manufacturing site in Coventry.

The £32m project will see the creation of an international centre of engineering and manufacturing excellence, which will be the base for a sustained programme of innovative teaching and learning, product development and research activity.

The project, which has been awarded £7.9m from the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s Catalyst Fund, is part of a national government initiative, which is supporting innovative programmes designed to boost the economy.

Unipart is contributing £17.9m to the new facility with a further £5.6m towards student scholarships and product research and development. This move establishes a new and innovative teaching environment for manufacturing engineering degree courses.