Why manufacturing matters
Mark Barge - MD of Ricardo Performance Products
The past three months have demonstrated, I believe, the critical mass that Ricardo has achieved when it comes to manufacturing. We have long been known for supplying some of the most robust and reliable high performance driveline and transmission hardware used by the motorsports sector, but our brand and reputation in manufacturing now extends much further than the arena of competition.
In November, we were able to announce that our operations at the Shoreham Technical Centre had manufactured a total of over 2,000 engines over a six-month period – a figure which exceeds that achieved over any previous full year in the company’s history. The engines included prototypes and finished engines for 15 major automakers and engine suppliers. Components were also manufactured for engines ranging from the smallest research systems up to V12s for marine and power generation, including bore sizes up to in the region of 200 mm operating at pressures of greater than 300 bar.
Following this, in December we congratulated McLaren on the manufacture of its 10,000th car. It was a McLaren 570S – and this latest milestone in a major UK automotive success story was, of course, powered by the 10,000th engine supplied to McLaren from the purpose-built performance engine factory at Ricardo’s Shoreham Technical Centre.
Our success in building our engine manufacturing business has been firmly based on the Ricardo model – established in the automotive and motorsports sectors – of manufacturinghigh quality, high performance products that we have designed and developed either ourselves or in collaboration with our customers. In addition, our precision manufacturing capabilities are also in demand in the aerospace sector, from leading companies such as Airbus.
Apart from the two milestones I have mentioned relating to our existing customer base, it was particularly pleasing to be able to announce a new partnership in February this year that will see Ricardo develop an advanced hypercar transmission for a new customer, whose name will be familiar. Aston Martin has nominated Ricardo to design, develop and supply an advanced transmission for the ground-breaking hypercar - known as the Valkyrie - the fruit of a unique collaboration between Aston Martin and Red Bull Advanced Technologies. This work builds on Ricardo’s extremely strong reputation for design and manufacturing of motorsports driveline technology, as well as our longstanding support of some of the world’s leading luxury sports car brands, most notably our supply of the awardwinning transmission for the Bugatti Veyron, and more recently, the Chiron.
In developing and manufacturing the advanced transmission for the Valkyrie hypercar, therefore, we will be drawing on the work of Ricardo’s entire manufacturing business – serving as it does both competitive motorsport as well as the highest performance and most luxurious of road-going cars.
All of this growing manufacturing capability matters to Ricardo as it demonstrates, I believe, in the most profound and emphatic manner possible, that we not only stand behind our highly innovative engineering and design capabilities, but we are also happy to meet the rigorous manufacturing challenges of successfully realising our own highperformance product designs. As automakers in particular seek to develop niche and halo products that are difficult to accommodate within the higher volume plants typical of their core manufacturing operations, we stand ready to help with the design, engineering, product development and manufacturing – from first concept to the finished engine, transmission, driveline system or components thereof – that will help them succeed on the world stage.
This view point featured in RQ Q1 2017 - click here to download the full publication.