Page 3: Building the Jaguar S-Type
The decision to build the Jaguar S-Type at Castle Bromwich is one of Jaguar’s most exciting achievements to date. It has involved the regeneration of a factory facility that used to build spitfires in World War II and currently part-builds other Jaguar models. The key difference of the Jaguar S-Type is that the entire car will be assembled at the Castle Bromwich facility.
The Castle Bromwich manufacturing facility is certainly one of this country’s most prestigious centres of engineering excellence. The Ministry of Aviation first built the factory in 1938 for Vickers Ltd. From 1939 to 1944, it was used for the production of aircraft - some 300 Lancasters and 12,000 Spitfires. Since then, a range of car parts and other products, such as washing machines, bicycles and radiators have been built at Castle Bromwich.
The role of English Partnerships
English Partnerships was set up to play a major role in the Government’s regeneration and inward investment strategies. Its task is to release the potential of vacant and derelict land in English towns and cities, making the land available for employment, green space, housing or any other use to regenerate the area.
The decision by Ford to invest £400 million in the new Jaguar and the Castle Bromwich plant resulted from clearly thought-out co-operation between English Partnerships, the DTI and the Government Office for the West Midlands. The emphasis was on developing a land regeneration programme that would breathe fresh life into an area which had a wealth of available skills and a proud industrial history.
Statistics for the new development show that the project will:
l create 1210 jobs dedicated to the new model line l create up to 5,000 jobs within supplier companies in the UK
l reclaim 57 acres of derelict land
l service 25 acres of industrial land and provide new community facilities
l ensure Jaguar’s long-term future in the UK and its employment of over 5,000 people
l represent the largest UK inner city investment in the last 50 years.
The plant at Castle Bromwich already had a modern, highly automated body assembly facility for the XJ saloon, together with an advanced paint shop. In addition, there was ample space on the site to establish an additional assembly facility and a new final assembly operation plus the other manufacturing support services. This enabled Jaguar to create an integrated manufacturing centre of excellence for the new car, supported by a dedicated supplier base. Many of the suppliers are committed to establishing new feeder factories in the West Midlands.
Castle Bromwich is a very impressive facility with world-class plant and processes. Jaguar has completely refurbished three whole blocks in the factory. E-Block is the body construction facility. It was last used in 1986 to produce the Series 111 saloon. The manufacturing in E-Block takes place in a giant U-shape. It follows the logical progression of car manufacture, starting with under-body assembly, followed by body-sides being fitted, welded and validated for alignment, before going on to be fitted with closures - the doors, bonnet and boot - and also the bumpers and front wing assemblies.
The vehicle is washed and inspected before going to the Paint Shop. The painted bodies then enter D-Block on an overhead conveyor system for the trim and final assembly. This involves the fitting of the bumper cover, seat assemblies and instrument panel. The vehicle is glazed and partially trimmed before the fuel tank is fitted.
The assembly then transfers to I-Block where the power-train and front and rear axles are added. The vehicle returns to D-Block for the exhaust, seats, bumper covers, wheels and tyres to be fitted. The electrics are configured and all fluid systems are filled. The wheel and headlamp alignments are checked. Jaguar validates every car's braking system and power-train on a 'rolling road' and confirms resistance to water leaks. The finishing touches are then made to the car on the valet line before passing it on to Sales.