GKN Wheels & Structures invests in Telford plant

With a global presence and a commitment to meeting its customers’ evolving needs, GKN Wheels & Structures has embarked on a major investment program at its site in Telford.

The company’s Managing Director, outlined the scope of this wide-ranging programme: “Our clear ambition is to be best wheel and structures organisation in the world and in many respects, we are already there, with market-leading product development, test facilities and manufacturing capabilities. However by working closely with our customers and better understanding their needs, we are constantly striving to identify improvement areas across our business. This investment programme will make sure that each of our facilities continues to be truly world-class.”

The largest of the projects is taking place at the company’s wheels manufacturing facility at Telford in the UK, where a major programme of work is already underway. Scheduled for completion in 2018, the project will deliver the best off-highway wheels’ rim line and paint facility in the world, and will provide automotive-standard electro-coat and powder paint capability. The investment will transform the plant into a highly-flexible manufacturing operation, delivering a significantly enhanced manufacturing process, with an extended range of wheel sizes, shortened changeover times and increased batch-size flexibility.

On completion, Project Swan will transform the plant into the best off-highway wheel rim line and paint facility in the world, creating a 22,000m² high quality, highly-flexible operation, which will allow us to provide you with:

  • an extended range of wheel sizes
  • shortened changeover times
  • improved batch-size flexibility
  • latest-process technology (including robotic welding and CNC machining)
  • state-of-the-art paint line
  • automatic, in-line quality check on every rim
  • This state of the art facility features automotive-standard electro-coat and powder paint capability, enabling us to provide you with a ‘best-in-class’ finish. Incorporating the latest in laser scanning and tracking technology, the new powder coat paint facility will consistently deliver a robust and uniform finish, as well as provide significantly enhanced salt spray resistance (over 1,000 hours).

He continued: “Our investment at Telford and at our other locations enables us to maintain our position as leader in technology and quality, as well as delivering a significant increase in manufacturing capability and flexibility to meet the changing needs of the market. The commissioning of state-of-the-art manufacturing and paint technology is already delivering major advances in finish quality, and the e-coat and powder coat facility at Telford will enable our wheels and chassis to benefit from a ‘best-in-class’ finish, with significantly enhanced resistance to salt spray.

“Having manufactured the world’s first steel wheel in Telford in 1910, we are very proud of our history and pedigree and, thanks to the continued financial and technological support of the GKN group, we look forward to these investment programmes coming on stream to improve yet further our quality and capability.”