マクラーレン第二の生産工場・マクラーレン複合技術センター(MTCT)にバーレーン皇太子とケンブリッジ公爵らが公式訪問

マクラーレンのカーボン生産・開発施設にイギリス王子が訪問

イギリス・ヨークシャーにあるマクラーレン第二の生産施設(建設費用約72億円)となるマクラーレン複合技術センター(MTCT)に、ケンブリッジ公爵ことウィリアムス王子とキャサリン妃、そしてバーレーン皇太子ことSalman bin Hamad Al Khalifa氏が公式訪問しました。

この第二の生産施設MTCTでは、革新的な軽量炭素繊維及び複合材料の製造に注力し、将来軽量で効率的な車両を製造するために研究開発機関でもあります。

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マクラーレンは今後、より一層の先進的なカーボン&複合パーツを開発していく

最近の先進的な材料を盛り込んだモデルといえば、同社3シータハイブリッドハイパーカー「スピードテール」のフレキシブルカーボンを採用した新技術「アクティブ・リヤ・エルロン」で、今後はこういった他社よりも真っ先に新しく軽量で柔軟性に優れたフレキシブルなカーボンパーツ等の開発を行っていくことになります。

ウィリアムス王子たちは、現地を見学し、炭素繊維布の切断から成形、プレス、機械加工、測定までの前段階にある炭素繊維槽の製造プロセス、そして実際に現場にて働く従業員との話を交えながらもマクラーレンの先端技術と今後のプロセスについての話を聞いていたとのこと。

MTCTは、マクラーレンがウォーキング・サリーのマクラーレン技術センターから最初に建設した施設で、2017年2月に最初に発表され、僅か5か月間の建設期間と半年間のフィッティングアウトにてマクラーレンの次世代軽量炭素繊維(カーボンファイバ)製タブを製造する予定となっています。

マクラーレン・オートモーティブCFOのMike Flewitt氏によれば、「この施設は、画期的で革新的な自動車会社としての重要なマイルストーンになる。MCTCでここまで進んでいることは、クラスにて最も軽い車の開発と発表を継続する意思決定に役立つことが不可欠である。このような施設を通じた本国は、より効率的な将来の車両の創出に役立つ軽量材料技術の世界的リーダーになることができると信じている」とコメントしています。

なお、プレスリリース内容は以下の通り。

Royal opening for McLaren Automotive’s new £50m carbon fibre innovation and production centre

○£50m McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) officially opens as McLaren Automotive’s second-ever production facility

○TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Bahrain, officially open the MCTC and unveil a carbon fibre plaque

○The MCTC aims to be a world-leader in innovating lightweight carbon fibre and composites that work together with future powertrain development to save weight and produce greater energy efficiencies

○The MCTC will boost local skills, create over 200 new jobs when fully-operational and generate £100m of gross value-added for the local economy in 10 years

○MCTC will help McLaren innovate quickly to deliver 18 lightest-in-class new models and derivatives as part of its Track25 business plan

TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Bahrain, have today officially opened McLaren Automotive’s new £50m production facility in Yorkshire, England.

The McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) aims to be a world-leader in innovating lightweight carbon fibre and composites that will work together with future powertrain development to save weight and produce greater energy efficiencies.

Prototyping has already begun on innovating McLaren’s next generation of lightweight carbon fibre tubs that are integral to the agility and performance of its sportscars and supercars.

Those present to witness the occasion were invited representatives from Sheffield and Rotherham Councils, senior local stakeholders and the 50 employees already employed at the MCTC.

Chief Executive Mike Flewitt invited the Royal guests to jointly unveil a carbon fibre plaque at the ceremony held at the new McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) in the Sheffield region.

First announced in February 2017, construction commenced just five months later and following six months of fit-out, the MCTC is now the company’s first purpose-built facility outside of the current McLaren campus in Surrey.

McLaren’s ability to tap into the Sheffield region’s extensive materials expertise, skills, university resources, and dynamism will help it to continue to innovate quickly and launch 18 new models or derivatives under its ambitious Track25 business plan that are lightest in class.

The in-sourcing of the manufacture of the carbon fibre chassis also increases the average percentage (by value) of a McLaren car sourced in the UK by around eight per cent from its current average of around 50 per cent, depending on model.

Carbon fibre has long been a part of McLaren’s DNA, the company having introduced the very first carbon fibre chassis into Formula 1 in 1981. Carbon fibre’s innate strength and lightweight properties mean that the company has never made a race car, sportscar or supercar without it since.

After completing trial tubs in 2019 and once fully operational in 2020, the MCTC will create over 200 direct jobs and produce carbon fibre tubs that will be sent to the McLaren Production Centre (MPC) in Woking, Surrey, for hand assembly into cars, over 90 per cent of which are then exported to markets worldwide.

After seeing an example of a completed carbon tub, Mike Flewitt, McLaren shareholders and senior members of the company’s executive toured the Royal guests around the facility.

The Royal guests saw the process for producing carbon fibre tubs – currently in pre-production phase – from the cutting of the carbon fibre cloth, to the forming, pressing, machining and measuring of the final tub. Along the way they were invited to press the button to start the cutting machine, speak to some of the 50 or so people already employed at the site while McLaren Automotive Executive Director of HR, Mandeep Dhatt introduced several of McLaren’s STEM ambassadors who work at the MCTC. Supported by the company, they speak to young people in the region to encourage them to take up careers in science and engineering.

Built on a former open-cast coal mine, the opening of the 7,000m2 building set over four acres comes just seven years to the week after the launch of the MPC in Surrey. The MCTC was largely designed, constructed and fitted out by local contractors with the support of Sheffield City Council.

The target is that the MCTC will deliver £100m of gross value-added benefit to the local economy by 2028 as well as supporting skills development in the region.

“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.

“It is an important milestone for us as a ground-breaking, innovative car company and allows us to tap into the great energy, vitality and skills this part of the world has to offer. What goes on here at the MCTC will be vital for our ability to make good on our intention to continue to develop and unveil cars that are lightest in class; it is my belief that Britain – through facilities like this – can become a world leader in lightweight materials technology that will help create more efficient future vehicles.

“We are proud to be bringing new jobs to the Sheffield region which has a long association with advanced materials; first with steel and now a future to look forward to with carbon fibre innovation and production for McLaren.”
Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive.

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Reference:motor1.com

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