The lobby of Meritor's Cwmbran plant, complete with a display of various brake models.
The older section of the Cwmbran plant, which is being overhauled to provide more natural lighting and more robotic manufacturing systems.
An ADB product display by the entrance to the factory floor.
The nearly complete Cwmbran plant overhaul is focused in part on making the facility brighter via the use of white ceiling paint (seen on the right side in this photo) and 'skylights' to let in more natural light.
The roof of the Cwmbran facility now features more openings to let in sunlight; that also helps reduce electricity usage.
The plant keeps about two to four weeks worth of vendor management inventory (VMI) on hand; using VMI helps reduce operating and handling costs.
The Cwmbran plant produces about 13,880 brake units per week, including 9,080 ADBs and 2,770 drum brake units. Actual manufacturing space within the plant has shrunk 42% over the last several years even as production capacity has increased.
Cwmbran is ditching forklifts [known in the U.K. as 'fork trucks'] in favor of these 'tugs' to help reduce operating costs and improve safety. By 2014, only 9 forklifts are expected to be in use at Cwmbran, down from 42 five years ago.
Some 430 people are employed at the Cwmbran plant, working 3 shifts 5 days per week.
These 'machining' machines make carriers, which are part of the brake housing. They are 18 years old and are expected to last another 5 to 6 years before needing replacement.
The exterior of the overhauled section of the Cwmbran plant; an area that eventually will serve as the new entrance for its workers
The interior of Cwmbran's overhauled section; more use of robotic production methods will help Cwmbran increase production capacity to a potential 1.2 million brake units per year versus 600,000 today; even as the plant's size shrinks from 528,000 total sq. ft. to 300,000.
Robots are expected to build one complete brake unit every 60 seconds; right now they can build one per 63 seconds.
Cwmbran Site Manager Gwyn Gardiner (right) poses with Dietrich Zaps, Meritor's GM for its European brake division, in front of the plans for the new plant layout.
Meritor's Cwmbran [pronounced 'koom-brahn'] brake manufacturing facility in South Wales builds primarily drum and air disc brake (ADB) models for the European truck and trailer market. 'Cwmbran' by the way is Welsh for 'Crow Valley.'
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