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Report - Ford Transit Van Factory, Southampton (December 2014)

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by AndyK, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. AndyK

    AndyK Behind Closed Doors
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    The history of the site at Swaythling on the outskirts of Southampton dates back to 1939 when Cunliffe-Owen built a factory to assemble aircraft parts. The site manufactured parts for the Spitfire during the war and was bombed many times.

    The factory was sold to Briggs Motor Bodies after the war when Cunliffe-Owen was placed in receivership in 1947. Briggs supplied vehicle bodies to the Ford Motor Company. Ford bought the company and hence acquired the factory which now specialised in producing truck bodies to be used with the chassis that were produced at their Slough plant.

    From 1965 Ford started to produce the Transit Van in Britain. Bodies were manufactured at Swaythling and transported by road to the Slough plant. In 1972 Ford invested £5 million in the Swaythling plant to enable it to produce the entire Transit Van at a single site. The site employed 4,500 workers during that time until the mid-1980’s.

    The site was very compact, being enclosed by the M27 motorway, a railway line, a graveyard and Southampton Airport. This meant expansion was impossible, so parts of the site are built on a vertical axis to maximise the use of space. The paint-shop expands upwards to a height of six stories, rather than the traditional horizontal layout.

    In 2002 ford ceased production of passenger vehicles in the UK, and in 2011 announced that production of the Transit Van would shift to Turkey with the exception of the short and medium wheelbase, and Tourneo minibus versions – production of these variants was ramped up at the Swaythling site. As parts of a larger cutback of their European production capacity Ford announced in 2012 that production in the UK would come to an end the following year. The Southampton site produced its final Transit Van in July 2013.

    1. A robotic workforce
    [​IMG]

    2. Robots
    [​IMG]

    3. Workspace above production line
    [​IMG]

    4. View along the production line
    [​IMG]

    5. Robots by the side of the production line
    [​IMG]

    6. A lone Kuka robot
    [​IMG]

    7. Futuristic spaces
    [​IMG]

    8. Colourful work areas
    [​IMG]


    9. Part of the transportation system
    [​IMG]

    10. Grease bay
    [​IMG]

    11. Grease bay control station
    [​IMG]

    12. Guages
    [​IMG]

    13. A trio of robots
    [​IMG]

    14. Robot fitted with welding gear
    [​IMG]

    15. More robots
    [​IMG]

    16. Conveyors
    [​IMG]

    17. Bodywork production area
    [​IMG]

    18. Conveyor in bodywork area
    [​IMG]

    19. Army of robots
    [​IMG]

    20. Offices
    [​IMG]

    21. Canteen
    [​IMG]
     

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  2. FreshFingers

    FreshFingers Choose life, choose tunnels
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    I've been staying at the Premier just around the corner from this. Thinking to myself "I must stop and look" Turns out the mid-demo'd site is this. Late to the party as ever!
     
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  3. purplesmudger

    purplesmudger 28DL Full Member
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    Great site- I like your pictures :thumb! The factory looks like the machines are just turned off for the night- I'm always pleasantly surprised when there's this much metal left- it goes quickly round these parts!
     
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  4. Springypeach

    Springypeach 28DL Full Member
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    Anyone know if this place is still accessible? Really nice looking pictures, looks super futuristic!
     
  5. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    Its pretty flat now by all accounts
     
  6. Springypeach

    Springypeach 28DL Full Member
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    Ah that's a shame. Only live round the corner too :(
     
  7. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    You should be telling us then really. ;)
     
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  8. Springypeach

    Springypeach 28DL Full Member
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    Think it was all still there in July so going to try and have a mooch around and do my first report on it, if she's still standing obviously :)
     
  9. AndyK

    AndyK Behind Closed Doors
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    That's the best way, especially if you are nearby.
     
  10. FreshFingers

    FreshFingers Choose life, choose tunnels
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    Theres still a lot to have a poke at. It looks like the main factory is pretty much gone, but there are many surrounding buildings. Staying at the hotel just up the road, so been watching it as i pass by during the week.
     
  11. tucker

    tucker Scallywag
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    Theres still air raid shelters to be found !
     
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  12. Springypeach

    Springypeach 28DL Full Member
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    At the Ford site??
     
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