In recent years, Slovakia has grown to be a leading producer of cars in Europe, with automotive component manufacture growing alongside the presence of major automotive companies in the country — representing 44% of the country’s overall industry. Both Jaguar Land Rover and Gestamp have recently started up new production facilities for manufacturing aluminum components and aluminum-bodied cars within Slovakia.
Jaguar Land Rover Starts Up Assembly Facility
Jaguar Land Rover opened its €1.4 billion state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Nitra, Slovakia as part of its global expansion strategy. The 300,000 m² facility is designed to stand at the forefront of aluminium manufacturing and engineering expertise in Slovakia, with an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles a year. This will support the company’s plan to produce high technology lightweight vehicles, such as the first Land Rover Discovery, which rolled off the production line in September 2018.
“Global businesses require global operational footprints. While Jaguar Land Rover’s heart and soul remain firmly anchored in the UK, expanding internationally only enriches and strengthens our U.K. business,” said Dr. Ralf Speth, ceo of Jaguar Land Rover. “As with our existing manufacturing facilities located in the U.K., China, Brazil, India and Austria, this high-tech plant in Slovakia will complement and support our corporate, R&D, and engineering functions headquartered in the U.K.”
The plant features cutting-edge technologies. It is the first in Europe to use Kuka’s Pulse carrier system, which provides 30% faster transfer times than conventional conveyance systems. It will also feature a highly automated paint shop process to ensure the highest quality and minimize the environmental impact. The factory has also been designed with the flexibility to enable smart, connected manufacturing technologies, such as shop floor visualization by using real time data to solve issues which will support improved process efficiency, delivery, and quality.
Gestamp Launches Aluminum Stamping Plant
Gestamp inaugurated a new stamping plant specializing in aluminum in June 2019. The €130 million plant is situated in Nitra, where it will serve Jaguar Land Rover’s new facility, focused mainly on the Discovery model as well as the new Defender model, which starts production in 2019. The Nitra facility manufactures several skin panels and structural parts for the vehicle, primarily out of aluminum.
“We always accompany our clients where they require us, which is exactly what we have done in this case,” said Francisco J. Riberas, executive chairman of Gestamp. “We have moved to Slovakia to proficiently serve Jaguar Land Rover with the highest standards in a plant that intends to be the Slovakian press shop of our client.”
The plant is equipped with two servo press tandem lines, which will manufacture 70% of their components out of aluminum. This is in line with Gestamp’s strategy toward becoming a multi-material strategic supplier for its clients. The aim is for the components manufactured in Nitra to reduce the weight and enhance the safety of vehicles.
“Gestamp will apply all of its know-how accumulated over the years in technology and materials to reduce the weight of vehicles and increase their safety,” stated Riberas. “In this case we will provide aluminum solutions to Jaguar Land Rover, a material in which, alongside steel, Gestamp maintains a frontline position.”