Design & Technology students on a Mini adventure

Robots making cars at the Mini factory in Oxford

Year 12 student, Morris, shared this experience from their D&T excursion with us:

“On 25 June the A Level D&T students embarked on a journey heading up to the Mini plant in Oxford. We started our tour at the visitors centre of the Mini factory campus looking around a small showroom which had Minis on display from the past 40 years all the way to the new futuristic totally electric models.

“We were all overwhelmed by the sheer size of the building where the chassis are made for the Minis, as it is the size of 100 football pitches. We followed pathways dipping between rows and rows of four-metre high robots that welded and constructed the entire car body with ease and with weirdly human movement. We were told that each of the ABB robots cost roughly 30 thousand pounds and that there were 1000 of them in the building. The robots were also able to make three different types of Minis at the same time, and had the technology to know when to change their tools to suit each model and when to clean or swap the copper soldering tips, to keep efficiency as high as possible.

“We then headed to the finishing factory of the site where we were able to see all of the cars’ interiors, engines and wheels being installed by people on conveyor belts. Whilst walking around the building we saw driverless vehicles carrying parts to different locations, as well as the use of female ostrich feathers to polish the cars at the end of production.

“It is incredible to think that one Mini is produced every 67 seconds and since 2001 almost 3 million Minis have been produced.”

The picture above show robots building a chassis of one a Mini at the car maker’s plant in Oxford.