Corus, the international metals company that grew out of British Steel, has been awarded the contract to supply the skin panel blanks to Ogihara for pressing into body panels for Peugeot’s new 206SW model.

Ogihara’s expertise in skin panel production and close location to Peugeot’s Ryton plant in Coventry, which is making the 206SW, combined with the ability of Corus to meet the surface quality standards required for a visible panel through its ‘advanced full-finish material processing capabilities’ helped to secure the contract, which represents the first ever awarded by Peugeot in the UK to an external supplier of pressed body panels.

The carmaker traditionally uses internal pressing facilities at its plants or sources from French-based companies.

The Corus specialist Automotive Service Centre in Wednesfield will supply Ogihara with up to one million precision skin panel blanks this year for pressing into 15 body panels. This includes the main bodyside panel as well as tailgate and door inner and outer panels.

The Automotive Centre forms part of a £30 million investment by Corus in downstream facilities at the Steelpark site to help meet the increasing demand from vehicle manufacturers for complex blanks and components. Autolaser Technologies, the dedicated laser welding business adjacent to the Automotive Centre, was the first facility in Europe to have the capability to manufacture production volumes of advanced, second-generation, non-linear Nd:YAG (Neodymium-Yttrium Aluminium Garnet) laser welded blanks.

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Dedicated automotive processing facilities at the Steelpark site include a 600-tonne large bed pressing blanking line and multi-strand press blanking line.

Corus says that it is the only company with the ability to produce the large blank, measuring 1.475-metres by 3.110-metres, required for the 206 body sides as well as some of the fully finished processed material needed to meet Peugeot’s stringent quality specifications.

In addition says the company, Corus’s involvement at an early stage helped Ogihara meet Peugeot’s specific design requirements.

Ogihara stamps the body blanks, which are supplied by Corus on a ‘just-in-time’ basis, at a dedicated pressing facility in Telford, which has recently benefited from an investment of over £8 million on a new stamping line. Corus is expected to supply one million blanks in 2002 with this figure increasing to over 1.5 million blanks as production of the 206SW estate is increased from 63,000 to 90,000 units in 2003.