Lontra: Developing the Digital Factory
Lontra, a technology company developing products to address traditional engineering challenges, has been awarded £1.58m from the Sheffield City Region Local Growth Fund. The company will use the money to open a high-value digital services centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, at Catcliffe, which expected to create 53 jobs in the area by 2024.
Lontra is also set to create a number of new technical jobs as the business develops, some of which will be filled by local graduates and apprentices, for which the company will work with local universities and the AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre).
In the next phase of its ambitious plans, Lontra will establish a customer support operation.
The operation will enable the company to undertake Research and Development activity with customers to support the development of innovative new products. Phase two will also see Lontra building a “smart” factory in Sheffield, which will provide more engineering, research and development and technical support jobs.
James Muir, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) chairman, said: “This is the first step in a larger investment opportunity that will ultimately see Lontra basing its manufacturing capability here.
“It is great news that the new digital centre and future manufacturing plant will create many new high-value jobs in the region.”
Steve Lindsey, CEO of Lontra, said: “This is the start of an ambitious programme to build our digital services business globally. We could have located it anywhere in the UK or indeed the world, but we chose Sheffield. Locating here means having access to an abundance of skilled workers and being able to build our supplier network on a local basis. We see it as a real win-win both for us and for the local economy.”
“Sheffield has a strong history of manufacturing excellence, and we plan to collaborate with a number of organisations in the area, including the AMRC. The city is also well served by good access to motorway networks, and the ports, which are a great benefit as the majority of our products eventually produced here will be exported to the US,” he added.
The Lontra Digital Centre will enable the company to develop its aftersales support services to customers for its compressor products worldwide. The Sheffield City Region grant will also be put towards the purchase of demonstrator machines which will use advanced artificial intelligence techniques and sensor systems to enable customers’ machines to be controlled and monitored globally. This means that Lontra will be able to cut maintenance costs for its customers, minimise downtime and reduce energy bills.
Timeline: Tesla's Construction of Gigafactories
Tesla's mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy
Founded in 2003, Tesla was established by a group of engineers with a drive to "prove that people didn’t need to compromise to drive electric – that electric vehicles can be better, quicker and more fun to drive than gasoline cars." Almost 20 years on, Tesla today is not only manufacturing all electric vehicles, but scaleable clean energy generation and storage too.
"Tesla believes the faster the world stops relying on fossil fuels and moves towards a zero-emission future, the better," says Tesla. "Electric cars, batteries, and renewable energy generation and storage already exist independently, but when combined, they become even more powerful – that’s the future we want. "
In order to deliver on its promise of "accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles and energy products," Tesla's Gigafactory journey began in 2014 to meet its produciton goals of 500,000 cars per year (a figure which would require the entire worlds supply of lithium-ion batteries at the time).
By ramping up its production and bringing it in-house, the cost of Tesla 's battery cells declined "through economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduction of waste, and the simple optimisation of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof." With this reduction in battery cost, "Tesla can make products available to more and more people, allowing us to make the biggest possible impact on transitioning the world to sustainable energy."
2014: Giga Nevada and Giga New York begin construction
Born out of necessity to meet its own supply demand for sustainable energy, Tesla began the construction of its first Gigafactory in June 2014, in Reno, Nevada, followed by its Buffalo, New York facility the same year. "By bringing cell production in-house, Tesla manufactures batteries at the volumes required to meet production goals, while creating thousands of jobs," said Tesla.
2016: Reno, Nevada grand opening
Tesla’s construction of Giga Nevada came to an end in 2016, the first of its Gigafactories to complete its construction project. The factory’s grand opening took place in July 2016, and by mid-2018 reached an annual battery production rate of 20 GWh, which made it the highest-volume battery plant in the world that year.
2017: Giga New York begins production
Two years after Tesla’s second Gigafactory began construction, Giga New York was complete, and started its production operations in 2017.
2019: Giga Shanghai construction to production in record time
In 2019, Tesla selected Shanghai as its third Gigafactory location. The company constructed the factory in record time, taking just 168 working days from gaining permits to finishing the plant's construction.
2019: Giga Berlin begins construction
Announced in November 2019, Tesla began the construction of its first European Gigafactory in Berlin. The Gigafactory is still under construction.
2020: Giga Texas begins construction
The following year in August 2020, Tesla began the construction of its Giga Texas factory. The company’s third Gigafactory in the US is still under construction.
2021: Giga Texas and Giga Berlin expected completion of construction
Looking to the future, Tesla expects to complete the construction of its Giga Texas and Giga Berlin factories in May 2021 and July 2021 respectively.