Up to speed with Bloodhound SSC

Catch up on the latest news and updates with The Manufacturer’s brand new monthly column from Bloodhound SSC’s, Conor La Grue.

Conor La Grue, head of commercial, procurement and supplier sponsorship, Bloodhound SSC project
Conor La Grue, head of commercial, procurement and supplier sponsorship, Bloodhound SSC project

Extreme machines need extreme teams

The last few months have been extraordinary: our very high work rate has ratcheted up even further, in a way none of us could foresee. And that’s because a 110+ hour, seven day working week is simply what it’s going to take to get the car operational this year.

To give you an idea how busy it is at the BLOODHOUND Technical Centre, we released as many parts into manufacture in the first nine weeks of 2015 as we did in the whole of 2013.

Pump, blades and more

Unlike many organisations we didn’t close shop over the Christmas holiday. That extra effort bore fruit when the team was able to conduct some water pump tests with our new HTP pump before integrating the Jaguar supercharged V8 engine into the car as the power plant that will run the rocket pump.

After that the composite blade upper and lower sections – the very heart of the front of the car – arrived. These parts were difficult to design and manufacture, but were delivered within an extraordinarily tight timescale.

In the past few months of the car design, however, the parts have been getting smaller but no less complex. Every part we design and order is something that is being made for the first time ever and therefore presents a real challenge to our supply chain.

The Rolls-Royce EJ 200 has been fitted into the upper body for the first time (image courtesy of Jules Tipler).
The Rolls-Royce EJ 200 has been fitted into the upper body for the first time (image courtesy of Jules Tipler).

Surface table and support kit

Most recently, adding another large surface table sped up progress towards seeing what the full length of the car looks like for the first time! For those of us who have worked on the Project since the beginning (including our brilliant team of suppliers and partners), this is the culmination of years of work and made us proud to see what we have produced between us.

We’re also spending more time on designing and building “the stuff to build the stuff”. This is the support kit, such as assembly-based tooling so we can put the car together and the kit needed to operate the car successfully.

Success in South Africa

Our partnerships in South Africa are evolving, with critical resources and systems being driven into place. Martyn Davidson, our operations director, and his team are working hard to make sure that we have all we need to deploy and run the car safely and effectively in what is an incredibly remote location.

Heading towards the finishing line

A small workshop with big dreams  (image courtesy of Jules Tipler).
A small workshop with big dreams (image courtesy of Jules Tipler).

It’s a real team effort at BLOODHOUND now, and with such long hours and such a huge amount of effort going into the Project, we feel that we definitely can complete the car in time to run it during 2015.

In all of this, what helps to motivate us is that the BLOODHOUND SSC Project is not just about building a 1,000mph car. It’s about inspiring a generation of girls and boys to discover, enjoy and pursue science, technology engineering and maths (STEM).

So just as the car starts to look more like a car, the education programme is also going from strength to strength. The adventure is just beginning….