Airbus UK Improves Efficiencies with Smith Electric Vehicles

Airbus UK Ltd is using a fleet of battery powered vehicles from Smith Electric Vehicles to increase efficiencies at its plant in England.

A LEADING aircraft manufacturer is boosting productivity, thanks to Smith Electric Vehicles.

Airbus UK Ltd has bought a range of battery powered vehicles for use at its facility in Filton, near Bristol, which manufactures wing components. The company invested in a small fleet of battery powered vehicles as part of a drive to increase efficiency.
David Herbert, change agent for Filton's business improvement team, said: "Using electric vehicles has greatly speeded up the flow of parts through the business, making us slicker and more efficient.
"It has reduced our lead times by several days."
Mr Herbert's team was faced with the challenge of how to increase the flow of materials across a huge site, which incorporates two facilities at the top and bottom of a hill.
Airbus bought five Smith Titan tow trucks to transport mobile racks and storage cages between production cells.
"The advantage of using electric vehicles is they are zero emission," said Mr Herbert.
"Our old diesel vans could only go as far as the factory door, then we had to manually move the parts to where they were needed.
"Electric vehicles can carry the parts inside and direct to the relevant production cell, giving us a much more efficient flow of materials."
Filton has also invested in two Smith ST150s - 7.5 tonne battery powered trucks fitted with tail lifts - to carry complete wing panel kits down the hill to another building, for sub-assembly.
Airbus took advantage of Smith's bespoke design/build service to increase the width of ST150 vehicles, so they could carry four wing section kits at once.
Filton is Airbus' centre of excellence for wing design. It employs more than 6,000 staff in the design, manufacture and assembly of wing components.
Mr Herbert said: "Our business is growing rapidly to meet demand for single aisle aircraft from the low cost airlines.
"We had already reduced process times, so it was vital to increase the flow of parts."
Smith Electric Vehicles, based in the North East of England, is the world's oldest commercial electric vehicle manufacturer.
It is part of the Tanfield Group Plc, a fast growing company listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).
Stuart Jollie, general sales manager for Smith Electric Vehicles, said: "Airbus is one of an increasing number of household name manufacturers to recognise the benefits of electric vehicles.
"Our vehicles can make a manufacturer leaner and more competitive. Not only are they zero emission, but they have lower maintenance costs and a longer life cycle than diesel or petrol engine vehicles."

For further details, visit the website,, or contact:

Dan Jenkins
Media Relations Manager
Tanfield Group
Tel: 01207 523327
Mob: 07725 784089

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