B&P was at the heart of the UK’s post-war rebuilding effort, ensuring machines and materials got to where they needed to be. In 1985, it moved into automotive, installing the new body and press shops at Nissan UK. Four years later, it installed a 5000-tonne Hitachi Zosen press at Rover Group’s Longbridge plant. Over the course of the next two decades, it worked with most of Europe and Japan’s car makers, including with Toyota on the construction of its new Burnaston plant, and with BMW at Hams Hall and when the firm relocated its Mini and Rover 75 body shops.
More recently, in 2013, it installed a major new assembly line for Jaguar Land Rover and an EV battery production line in the north-east. In the US, it’s installing a new battery line for a major EV manufacturer. During the next few years, the company plans to expand its automotive operations globally.
“Facelifts and model changes are our bread and butter but, in the coming years, it will be electrification and the new models, drivelines, battery plants and materials which follow that will help drive our business,” says Hodgson.
“The whole supply chain will be transformed by the journey from the internal combustion engine to electrification and we’ll be there, locating and installing.”
After all the gloom and doom being generated by Brexit, it’s heartwarming to be in the presence of such a great British success story. B&P employs 800 people plus 1000 contractors across 23 offices in 18 countries, from the US to Russia. It has long-established relationships with many of the world’s car makers. With their suppliers, too, hauling and installing production line machinery for the likes of Comau (production line systems), Komatsu (presses, and milling and sheet metal machines) and Aida (stamping presses).
“Installing the 150-tonne ‘crown’ on the top of a press, 10 metres high, requires the skill and equipment only a few companies such as ourselves possess,” says Hodgson. “We’re doing exactly that job in Russia at the moment, only it’s complicated by the fact that we’re having to remove the old crown first…”