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First Socially-Distant Built Range Rover Rolls Off Line

  • Greg Fitzgerald
  • May 28, 2020

 

The famous Land Rover factory at Lode Lane, Solihull, England reopened on May 18th after being shuttered during the Coronavirus lockdown. After an immense amount of rejiggering of assembly techniques, the first Range Rover built with socially-distant procedures rolled off the line on Wednesday, May 20th.

Many precautions are in place at the Land Rover factories to ensure that the safe production of vehicles can go hand-in-hand with social distancing and other health and safety measures.

The line of defense begins at home, where employees are asked to take their temperature every day before they even leave for work. There are also twenty thermal cameras on-site, that can help determine if anyone develops a fever on their way in the door or during the working day.

Employees are entitled to a full suite of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), from hand sanitizer (made on-site in Solihull) to gloves to masks. Also available to everyone: the visors that Jaguar Land Rover has developed alongside the National Health Service (NHS) and makes on-site at their Gaydon, England facility.

There are one-way walking systems incorporated throughout the factory, and signs are installed all over to remind people to stay two meters apart when passing. (Most countries using the metric system are using a two-meter guideline instead of the six-foot guideline used in America, technically netting a social distance of 6-and-a-half feet.) There are also constant reminders to keep to the left on all walkways (this being the norm in Britain when walking as well as driving.)

 

The resumption of production wasn't as simple as keeping everyone two meters apart and leaving it at that. In some parts of the factory, people are already that distant doing their day-to-day tasks, and not much had to change to adapt. Other situations required major concessions. For example, installing a bumper on a truck is a two-person job, with each person holding a side of the bumper. A brand-new Range Rover is not quite two meters wide, so it would be impossible for these people to remain socially distant. These employees are given enough PPE to safely complete the task, alongside various cleanliness procedures.

There are 800 different jobs being done during a shift at the Lode Lane plant, all of which had to be considered before people could return to work. Approximately 2,500 people a day are now back at work at Solihull, and Land Rovers are once again heading off the line there, just as they have been since 1948.


  • Written By
  • Greg Fitzgerald
  • Adventure addict. '90s Land Rover daily driver. Historic preservationist. Personal vehicles: 1994 Discovery I, 1994 Range Rover Classic, 1961 Series II.
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