Factory Tour

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PaulWildsmith
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Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:05 pm
Location: Bristol

Factory Tour

Post by PaulWildsmith » Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:11 pm

I thought I'd jot a few notes more about my factory tour which I had last week and mentioned in my earlier post about our new car: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=4157

We took the VIP tour, which while rather considerably more expensive than the standard tour (£325 for two, rather than £49 each) it was just for us, and as personalised as much as possible - seeing some areas not otherwise visited and the ease of asking questions. We started a little early (to accommodate schedule) and were met at the Experience centre by Georgia (who we had exchanged a number of emails making arrangements) and our tour guide Dave. A quick cuppa, and I forced down a pastry (despite an earlier breakfast) and we jumped into an I-Pace (chauffeured by Chris for our tour) to get down to the production line quickly in time to see our car just ready to be driven off before final completion, testing etc..

As you may imagine, this was a great start to our tour - but beyond noting it was the right colour, no time to look at any detail! And still a month to go ...

We went round many areas, not all in obvious build chronological order. This isn't a huge purpose made factory; in fact it made Sptifires during the 2nd World War, and there are odd bits around that hark back to those days. Jaguar make good use of the building which is a mix of robot and human (men and women) workers. They all seemed very friendly (though the robots didn't pay much attention to us!), and well focused on their work. For the F-Type, Jaguar operate a one shift 4 days a week timetable; this does allow some overtime if necessary to catch up etc.. 45 cars a week is typical production rate, and it looked like a car would take almost the full week from beginning to end - obviously with some dwell time between operations.

If I recall correctly, some panels and parts are made off site by suppliers - these are delivered by DHL into their own managed warehouse facility and then delivered on a just in time basis to each work station. Any issues arising, a worker can call a team leader for support - who if necessary will also take on some other operations to keep things moving. Most people are multi skilled and about every 5 weeks or so can swap round jobs. There was lots of evidence about feedback and ideas for improvement, and a "team improvement circle" concept is in place. It was made very clear that the value adding part of the factory was with the 'worker', and the management and production support staff were there to ensure, help and make this possible.

We had a look round the pressing shop - very loud! In the main assembly area we saw the bonnet put together, a robot task. This apparently is new for the 2021 model. Assembled bodies "in white" (meaning just the chassis and body panels) were carefully checked for panel alignment etc.., before doors etc.. were removed to allow ease of access for the next stages. We saw the paint shop, though only some XE's were going through at the time. A combination of human worker spraying some parts, then the robot painting afterwards. Apart from the special colours, all are available at the same time and theoretically they could paint each car a different colour, though they are batched up for ease.

Almost all the cars we saw were LHD for the North American market, and mostly coupes. So, at the engine installation there were till lots of V6's to see, but as you know, these are no longer available for the UK and European markets.

I've found two YouTube videos. one is a "How its made" episode and another just Jaguar Production - both give a fairly good view of what we saw.

Our tour rounded off with a very nice buffet lunch (not sandwiches and crisps), and we then took our leave. Dave took a couple of photos when we were with our car, and had kindly also taken a few on previous days when it was earlier in its production cycle. I can't compare our tour with the standard variety, I think you may see a little less and of course will be in a group of (I think) a dozen at most. My only other experience of a car factory was at the Robin Reliant factory about 45 years ago - no robots then and I suspect more than one Del-boy …

This was an impressive look at Jaguars facilities and worker, and I would certainly recommend it - even if you're not about to buy a new car.
Married to a F Type owner (P300 2021 model)

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scm
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Location: Southampton, UK

Re: Factory Tour

Post by scm » Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:44 pm

PaulWildsmith wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:11 pm
<SNIP>
My only other experience of a car factory was at the Robin Reliant factory about 45 years ago
I experienced the Tamworth factory back in the early 70s when a computer I'd programmed kept going wrong. Nothing wrong with my code, guv! so they made sure it was fed off a sterile mains supply - no joy. Eventually the engineers figured it was the electric arc welders over the road generating air-borne spikes. One faraday cage later and all was well! :D

This was at the time that they'd just supplied a Scimitar to Princess Anne and had changed their policy of "you can have it in any colour you like" to "any colour except hers!".
MY18 F-Type V8 R AWD in Glacier White
Lots of leather and toys, and loads of noise!

PaulWildsmith
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:05 pm
Location: Bristol

Re: Factory Tour

Post by PaulWildsmith » Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:49 pm

Computer! Bit of cobol?
Married to a F Type owner (P300 2021 model)

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scm
Posts: 1857
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:39 am
Location: Southampton, UK

Re: Factory Tour

Post by scm » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:14 pm

PaulWildsmith wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:49 pm
Computer! Bit of cobol?
Nah, minicomputer programmed in octal! ;)
MY18 F-Type V8 R AWD in Glacier White
Lots of leather and toys, and loads of noise!

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santoshlv426
Posts: 250
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:51 pm
Location: South Africa

Re: Factory Tour

Post by santoshlv426 » Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:13 am

Great post. I assume there's no pictures though !

Coincidentally, I'm currently listening to "The Peoples plane" on BBC speaking about the SPitfire.

Interesting link to Jaguar.
F Type 5.0L V8 RWD 2016
Rhodium Silver

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Firesand
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Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:35 am

Re: Factory Tour

Post by Firesand » Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:09 am

Paul, very interesting read

cj10jeeper
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Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2017 8:37 pm

Re: Factory Tour

Post by cj10jeeper » Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:42 am

Sounds like a great experience and worth paying the extra.

I did the standard tour a few years back when I had an XF and it was mainly looking as XF saloon cars, however I did get an hour in the special development shed where the about to be released F Type was there. All had snagging lists on the windscreen so was really easy to see what to look for on the production cars :)

Would like to do it again sometime just to see the F Type

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