November 2015

Building a new Europe

Infrastructure investment is a priority for businesses in Europe - new facilities offer jobs, regeneration and an industrial base for the future

For many in Europe, Tata is associated with heavy industries. Tata companies — Tata Chemicals Europe, Tata Steel, Jaguar Land Rover and others — should be proud of their contribution to Europe’s manufacturing sector, which is increasingly recognised as an indispensable part of a developed economy.

But in every Tata European industrial business, there is a commitment to invest in new approaches, great design and cutting-edge technology. Add to that a strong human dimension, matching anything in the hi-tech sector, which often attracts more headlines.

Add technology-driven Tata businesses, feeding Europe’s desire to be a digital powerhouse for the connected world, and the group’s overall contribution to economic rebalancing and growth becomes, quite simply, compelling.

Let’s visit three major European projects that Tata is investing in, and see what they say about the region and Tata’s commitment to the future.

Project: The National Automotive Innovation Centre
Location: Warwick, UK

The National Automotive Innovation Centre will be the largest research centre of its kind in Europe. JLR, Tata Motors and the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) are funding this 33,000 square metre complex, which will house 1,000 engineers, designers and academics.

Teaching facilities will support tomorrow’s engineers, who will have access to facilities such as a design and simulation space, an advanced propulsion research laboratory and the world’s most adaptable and advanced fully immersive drive-in car simulator. The centre will deliver breakthrough technologies in areas like carbon reduction, smart and connected vehicles and advanced engines.

Cullinan Studios’ architects designed the building with cross-team collaboration in mind. It is also being built with a public purpose in mind — to showcase engineering excellence. Flexible research spaces over four storeys surround an equally flexible atrium space, where people can get together for demonstrations, meetings, break-out sessions or to socialise. Spaces are beautiful and also encourage interaction. Front-of-house accommodates the main reception and exhibition area with views into the engineering hall and café.

Tata group Chairman Cyrus Mistry said, as he laid the foundation stone, “This unique resource will provide state-of-the-art engineering and technology labs that will greatly enhance the ability of academia and industry to work side by side on leading-edge research to deliver exciting, innovative products and meet a widely held ambition to deliver automotive technology and products that will be smarter, lighter and greener. The Tata group shares these objectives to achieve greater sustainability, and is delighted to support their realisation.”

Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, Chairman of WMG, added, “NAIC will be an engine for economic growth, with wide economic benefit and sustained growth from the creation of world-leading technologies.”

Project: Tata Technologies European Headquarters
Location: Tachbrook Park, UK

Tata Technologies sells vision, innovation and excellence, attributes reflected in plans for its European headquarters near Leamington Spa. The building will house 600 staff in 60,000 square feet of state-of-the-art office space, and allow the company to employ an extra 200 design engineers and programme managers. The 132-acre Tachbrook Park, with easy access to the M40 motorway, is ideal for the offices.

Architect Webb Gray says it “adopted a design strategy that optimised the site’s commercial location and integrated ideas of greater permeability and connectivity within the site.” The principles of the design see a commercially attractive unit, using simplistic building forms with adaptable internal layouts that respond to a changing market and the demands of occupiers.

The design aims to achieve a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology rating of “excellent” to align it with Tata’s wider aims to create state-of-the-art design with an eye to the future.

Project: Tata Steel heavy-gauge decoiler
Location: Llanwern, South Wales

Europe doesn’t need only attractive buildings and high-tech research facilities. Its future rests equally on investment in advanced industrial capabilities. That’s what Tata Steel has installed in Llanwern.

A decoiler is essentially a system that unwinds, flattens and cuts coiled steel. The plant also inspects finished products, ensuring quality. This state-of-the-art facility, the most powerful in Europe, can process 270,000 tonnes of hot rolled coil a year. Its strength enables it to produce ultra-flat sheet in thicknesses of up to 25mm, providing ample capability to meet present and future requirements of customers in construction, earth-moving equipment, and materials handling sectors. It is ideal for use in demanding applications like cranes.

Manufacturers will be able to design new, stronger components at lower costs because of the quality, strength and thickness of the processed steel. “We want to support customers in their development plans, so we have specified that this decoiler be capable of delivering not only the products that our customers want today, but what they will need in future,” says Tata Steel’s chief commercial officer in Europe, Henrik Adam. “As well as demonstrating our commitment to strengthening the sustainability of our business in Wales, the decoiler complements our heavy gauge decoiling facility at Maastricht in the Netherlands, also inaugurated this year.”

The new equipment uses technologies to maximise product quality. Three stages of levelling are used to ensure the final cut-to-length steel sheet is as flat as possible and any residual stress is removed. Levelling is followed by surface brushing. These processes offer a superior surface and reduce post-fabrication preparation before final painting, saving costs.

A direct rail link allows feedstock not produced at Llanwern to be brought in directly and enables bulk dispatches of cut sheets to customers.