External customer projects

TMETC's primary role as an R&D centre in the UK is to support Tata Motors' technology and product development programmes.

However, TMETC had been given the freedom by its parent company to carry out some projects for external customers where there is a good fit between the customer's requirements and TMETC's objectives. In all cases, TMETC engineers apply the highest level of care and rigour to deliver its services to the highest standard.

TMETC is committed to protecting its customers' confidentiality in all its undertakings, including any reference made to projects, which is always with the customer's written approval.

Typical external customer projects undertaken by TMETC over the last 5 years include:

  • Vehicle derivative turnkey engineering for a premium vehicle manufacturer
  • Complete interior trim development for a luxury vehicle manufacturer
  • Structural design optimisation and light-weighting for a new generation of MRI scanner for a medical equipment manufacturer
  • Generic development of vehicle safety systems architecture for an industry leader in vehicle test infrastructure and vehicle technology in India

Vehicle derivative turnkey engineering for a premium vehicle manufacturer

Purpose and objectives

Deliver major components of the vehicle programme in a turnkey fashion to the customer, up to Job1 + 90 days. Customer's own programme delivery template compressed by 8 months.

Scope of work

TMETC was responsible for engineering and development of:

  • BIW
  • Interior trim
  • Exterior trim
  • Electrical
  • Chassis
  • Closures
  • Crashworthiness
  • NVH
  • Craftsmanship

TMETC integrated in its delivery team a UK-based BIW full service supplier, already familiar with the customer's processes, and Tata Technologies Limited (TTL), another subsidiary of Tata Motors with operations in the UK, who carried out on-shore and off-shore design and CAE activities.

The programme content was very significant and allowed TMETC to work closely with the customer's programme leadership and all the engineering, purchasing and manufacturing functional leaders to deliver the programme, including a significant launch team at the customer's manufacturing plant in the run up to Job1 and for 90 days after SOP.

Technical challenges and programme delivery

One key challenge at the outset was the tight timing to deliver all the gateways according to the project delivery process structure, modified accordingly by the customer programme team and some training was carried out to familiarise some of the TMETC engineering teams with the customer programme delivery and data management processes.

A rigorous delivery and governance structure was put in place for programme and technical reviews. The project was treated with the strictest confidentiality and a dedicated and secure project delivery office, with separate security access, was set up within the TMETC offices at the University of Warwick campus. TMETC provided:

  • Chief Engineer and programme management structure responsible for the engineering, validation and launch support of the vehicle
  • All PMST leaders
  • Engineering of many components normally designed by the customer's supplier base
  • Networked facilities into the customer's system, so working within customer PLM and engineering release system
  • CAE activities in support of strength, stiffness and non linear impact analysis
  • Safety testing management
  • Validation prototype build support
  • Validation test activity management
  • Tracking management of piece and vehicle investment costs

Achievements and outcomes

The project achieved all its delivery gateways, as planned, and Job1 was delivered at the prescribed timing with a small number of concerns that needed to be closed during the 90 days post SOP phase.

  • 32 month programme compressed to 24 months
  • Achieved the OK to Ship gateway to the original timing plan
  • On site launch team of 50 engineers based in customer plant for 7 months
  • Successful product launch and delivery to acclaim from automotive media

The product has achieved commercial success for the customer, with positive press reviews, and has been hailed a successful partnership between TMETC and the customer where a strong relationship between the team has been created and continues today.