PRODUCTION has started on Nissan’s new extra-large press at its manufacturing plant in Sunderland.
The £37 million project has taken just over 18 months to complete, since ground was broken mid-way through 2015.
Once at full capacity, it will be capable of stamping 2.5 million panels a year with a force in excess of 5,200 tonnes.
An official ceremony was held today at the new facility, which also celebrated the milestone of nine million cars built at the plant since production began in 1986.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan’s Divisional Vice President, European Manufacturing, said: “The new press is a fantastic piece of cutting edge technology which sets up the next generation of production at Nissan Sunderland Plant.
“The quality of the build and the efficiency of the installation are a real credit to the dedication, talent and sheer hard work of our team at the plant.
“Reaching nine million cars is also a tremendous achievement for the plant. The vehicles we make have come a long way from the first Nissan Bluebird to roll off the line. And it’s not just the quantity – it’s the quality of craftsmanship that goes into our innovative and exciting cars that will keep pushing us towards new production records.”
More than 10 meters in height, with foundations deeper than 6.5m, the giant facility will press body sides and other panels for vehicles built in Sunderland, including the leading crossovers Qashqai and Juke, the Nissan LEAF, the world’s best-selling electric vehicle, and the two Infiniti models, Q30 and QX30.
The new press line and panel storage area required a building extension totalling 6,780m², taking the total built up space on site above 362,000m², the equivalent of more than 50 football pitches.
The new XL press, the first of its type in the Renault-Nissan Alliance, will be the biggest at Sunderland and joins the existing seven press lines.
In addition to the company’s £3bn annual injection into the British economy through suppliers, services and wages, the new press forms part of the £650m ongoing investment in new facilities and future models in Sunderland which has taken the total capital investment by Nissan in the plant since it opened to beyond £4bn.