Germany’s ZF Friedrichshafen opens new £70m technical centre in the UK
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ZF Friedrichshafen AG has officially opened its new purpose-built technical centre at Blythe Valley Business Park in Solihull. This new £70 million 220,000 sq ft facility houses the current 700 staff with room for growth is located in the heart of the UK’s automotive industry and central to all of the UK’s testbed centres.
The site features the latest technology and infrastructure for developing advanced solutions for an autonomous, electric and connected mobility future. The facility design and architecture underpins the group’s sustainability strategy for across-the-board carbon neutrality by 2040.
The official opening event was marked by a ribbon-cutting, performed by the Mayor of West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Andy Street and was attended by VIPs including representatives from the UK’s top Engineering Universities, senior representatives of UK Government departments and associated strategists for next-generation mobility. Other guests included Dilbagh Singh, Asha Kharga and colleagues from Mahindra Group.
Peter Lakie, ZF Senior Vice President and Key Account Executive thanked the WMCA Mayor, Andy Street, for his comments:
“I am very proud of the teams here: those that had the vision and those who worked to bring that vision to life. The passion of these people, with the support of all the staff, has created a state-of-the-art sustainable environment that promotes collaboration and agile working practices.”
The facility is a multi-disciplinary, multi-divisional location, collaborating on the development of key technologies and system solutions for Active and Passive Safety Systems: Autonomous Driving, Cyber-Security, Electronics, Braking and Steering Systems as well as Electrified Powertrain solutions and Race Engineering.
The location is also designated as ZF’s global Centre of Competency for Servo-Motors design. In these future-oriented areas, ZF is increasing the number of R&D specialists at the Shirley location. These technologies are all contributing to solutions that utilize high levels of autonomous driving and electromobility.
Alastair McQueen, Site Lead at Shirley, said at the opening: “In the design of this new facility, we made a specific effort to ensure that we created a future proof working environment which was going to encourage collaboration and Agile working practices – one that would enable and accelerate the development of new technologies in support of ZF’s Next-generation Mobility Goals”.
The new site also enables greater customer collaboration – from project support to launch support. As an example, ZF supplies Mahindra Racing with the e-powertrain and dampers for its Formula E car.
ZF has a number of businesses at other locations in the UK, all contributing to the company’s focus on creating technologies for vehicles and equipment which can see, think and act. ZF in the UK supports vehicle manufacturers and industry customers locally and globally.