The Bloodhound gang

Its delivery time for the manufacturers behind the supersonic car project. Conor La Grue, product sponsorship lead at Bloodhound SSC updates TM readers on the countdown to its world land speed record attempt.

Momentum is key in delivering any innovative technology project into manufacture and for Bloodhound the hard won momentum that has built up over the last four years, peaked over the last four months and is now really is delivering.

We’ve passed an important milestone. Our technology partnerships now provide a confirmed route to manufacture for every part of our primary structure.  As a mix of technologies across aerospace, defence, motorsport, automotive, space, medical, marine, oil & gas, ICT and energy Bloodhound’s supply chain has been a huge management challenge but one that I’ve truly relished.  I’m lucky enough to have worked in engineering operations at a senior level across multiple industries and that experience was a great starting point for this test. But even so, every day on Bloodhound is a learning day.

As the rate of final design release increases we’ve been able to load more and more primary structure into Manufacture.  The front suspension sub assembly and the rear suspension sub assembly, two highly complex, multi component machined assemblies, are fully underway with Nuclear AMRC.  The team in Sheffield are doing an amazing job for us.

We’re not making it easy for any of our manufacturing partners! Our lead times are aggressive, the parts highly complex, the tolerances tight and we are always producing a single part from a single billet with minimum tool holding. No room for error!

Hard at work at Hexagon Metrology

To help a little, Hexagon Metrology has been busy taking delivery of key structures from manufacturing partners and providing detailed reports and scans to allow us to check the as built forms from partners.  Hexagon’s support has been truly fantastic as its team been extremely responsive to our needs – always delivering at very short notice – thanks folks!

The monocoque build at URT Group in Bognor has been completed. The team there delivered the monocoque into final machining a couple of days ahead of a schedule that was set back in October. The end result is simply stunning. The team have done the most amazing job.  A few weeks back I took Andy Green, who will drive Bloodhound during its world record attempt, in to URT to see the quality of the work underway for himself. He was able to put a ply into the upper monocoque mould and meet the team that have done such a great job producing the world’s first and best 1,000 mph office!

Andy Green and the team at URT Group

The wheel project is moving at high pace too. The stunning first batch of UK runway wheels has been completed by our wheel syndicate led by Castle Precision in Glasgow.  Chris Dee our chief mechanic and Neil Gallagher an artificer staff sergeant from our REME team went up to Glasgow to assemble the first wheels.

UK runway wheel assembly at Castle Engineering

Over in Germany at Otto Fuch the first batch of Desert wheel cheeses have been forged and sent for  heat treatment. The second batch will be forged later this month.

On the smaller scale our local partners TDM Yate have been making parts of all sizes for the project and came to our rescue yesterday.  The team assembling one of the auxiliary power unit gearboxes needed a spacer ring a number of dowels ground and TDM provided a ‘while you wait’ service. Thanks guy’s, you saved us!

From lead times of just minutes to many months, from parts that are meters to mm in size, across multiple manufacturing disciplines and multiple industries, the component manufacture of Bloodhound SSC is in full swing!