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Fit for a Queen: Inside the new Jaguar Land Rover plant

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Just a few months ago it was a cavernous, empty shell. Today it is a hive of activity, filled with the latest hi-tech robots, manufacturing equipment and a team of enthusiastic West Midlands engineers.

This is Jaguar Land Rover's new Engine Manufacturing Centre on the i54, and hundreds of workers like 28-year-old Laura Fellows, from Bushbury, are getting the plant ready to hit its stride in the next few weeks as it prepares for full production.

But before then Laura and her workmates are getting ready for the arrival of Her Majesty the Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, who will be formally opening the factory on Thursday.

It is adding to a growing sense of excitement at the factory as months of work build to a climax.

Laura said: "For the Queen to be coming to Wolverhampton is one of the big things in my lifetime, but for her to be coming to my place of work, it's just mega-exciting.

Manufacturing specialist Sam Cockerton at work
The impressive structure

"All my family and friends and have asking for invitations to be here."

Light, bright and spotlessly clean, the state-of-the-art plant is a million miles from the old-fashioned idea of a greasy, dirty manufacturing plant.

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For a special report on JLR, see today's Express & Star

Rows of gleaming machines and production lines turn raw castings into gleaming crankshafts and engine components which are then transferred to the assembly hall, where Laura and her colleagues bring them all together to produce the ultra-frugal Ingenium diesel engines that will be fitted into the new Jaguar XE saloon, being built in Solihull.

The factory is due to start full-scale production early next year to co-ordinate with manufacture of the new car.

Test production of engines is on the go already and the team at the EMC say they are confident they will be ready.

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But in the meantime they are making sure everything at the factory has that extra polish and sparkle for the big day this week.

On Thursday the Royal Couple will also be visiting the nearby new factory of postage stamp printers ISP, who are moving onto the i54 from the firm's previous home in Walsall.

Her Majesty will be performing the official opening as well as getting a tour of the new facility.

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