Optare is pleased to announce the emergence of the first vehicles from its new state-of-the-art facility in Sherburn in Elmet.
The first vehicle to leave the plant was an Optare Versa for delivery to Go North East and is one of a batch of 20 being taken by the operator. Final finishing of the vehicle was carried out in Sherburn.
Progressive transfer of production from Optare’s existing site at Leeds started at the beginning of August with the move of finishing shop activities and pre-delivery inspection leading to final dispatch of buses now taking place directly from the new plant. The company plans to complete the stage-by-stage relocation of production to Sherburn by mid October.
CEO Jim Sumner says “Investing in the new plant will allow us to introduce a far more flexible layout and have all the necessary skills and management focus under one roof. With a continuous U-shape flow line using dedicated line-side sub-assembly areas to balance production, this will allow a far more optimal production flow compared to the current plant layouts.”
“The new plant allows us to introduce a far more flexible layout and have all the necessary skills and management focus under one roof. With a continuous U-shape flow line using dedicated line-side sub-assembly areas to balance production, this will allow a more optimal production flow compared to the current plant layouts.
“One of the major facility improvements is the £750,000 investment we have made in two new paint booths. These have a ‘bake’ drying cycle of less than 40 minutes compared to the current average of up to three hours and this will contribute significantly to achieving the increased capacity of up to 1,200 buses a year on a single shift that Sherburn will be capable of.
“ The increased capacity and flexibility of this new manufacturing plant enables us to offer a full range of single and double-deck models to satisfy all market sectors and in both left and right hand drive, while keeping fixed costs down,” he says.
The strategic location of the new plant provides fast access to the A1M and M62, supporting easier delivery of finished buses to all parts of the UK and to the Port of Hull for shipment to the Continent. The location will also enable speedier supply of components from a range of ‘Best Cost Country’ suppliers through Optare’s strategic collaboration with Ashok Leyland.
“Ashok Leyland has also provided significant expertise based on its recent investments in new vehicle plants,” says Sumner. “This has helped to refine planning for the new factory, again demonstrating the value of the synergy benefits of this strategic collaboration.”