Gestamp is opening a new R&D centre in Auburn Hills, Michigan today (26 May), housing robotic prototype assembly cells, a laser cell, a durability performance test lab and complementary metallurgical and metrology labs.

As part of the new facility, Gestamp will focus on competencies ranging from basic research, to joining technologies, to engineering co-development engagement with customers, including the ability to conduct structural optimisations and vehicle crash simulations.

The centre will also produce prototype assemblies and validate them for durability and structural performance measures. The developments will allow Gestamp to provide lightweight solutions to their OEM customers in the fields of bodywork and chassis.

“Building solid, honest and lasting relationships with our customers is a cornerstone of our global approach,” said Gestamp chairman and CEO, Francisco Riberas.

“Our new R&D centre in Southeast Michigan will enable us to work in close proximity with our US-based OEM customers and co-develop industry-leading solutions to achieve lighter and safer vehicles.”

The Auburn Hills facility is part of Gestamp’s global R&D network, enabling innovations developed around the world to be available locally with onsite engineering support.

Gestamp operates 12 R&D centres worldwide including centres in France, the UK, Spain, Brazil, India and Germany, among others.

The new R&D operation solidifies Gestamp in the US, its second largest market. In 2016 the company’s American sales totalled US$1.2bn with more than 3,000 employees.

Between 2012 and 2016 Gestamp has invested almost US$500m in the country.

The new Auburn Hills R&D facility will bring 64 new jobs by the end of this year to Michigan where Gestamp has three plants and its US headquarters. 

Total headcount in Michigan stands at 852 employees and the company is also building a new plant in Washtenaw County.

Gestamp currently operates eight production plants in five American States and recently celebrated its 100th plant worldwide with the opening of a new greenfield Class A stamping facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee.