KM Tools, a specialist manufacturer of bespoke machinery, has completed a contract awarded by Hitachi Rail for the design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of smart jigs at its Newton Aycliffe production facility. The recently installed jigs are supporting Hitachi Rail in the fabrication and welding of high-speed trains destined for the UK rail network.

Neil Harrison, Sales Manager at KM Tools, said: “We are delighted to be awarded this contract from a market-leading OEM such as Hitachi Rail. Our turnkey engineering service for specialised production machinery proved an ideal fit for this high-profile contract. Experience of working closely with other OEMs in the automotive and rail sectors also ensured we had the right engineering expertise and capacity to support large, modern production lines like Hitachi’s in Newton Aycliffe.”

Hitachi Rail’s advanced facility at Newton Aycliffe is the result of a £110m investment by the company. The facility has already delivered 122 pioneering trains for the Department for Transport’s InterCity Express Programme (IEP) for the East Coast and Great Western Main Line as well as 70 all electric commuter trains for ScotRail. The facility will also build trains for the wider UK network.

The jigs provided by KM Tools allow the main subassemblies (floor, sides and roof) to be held in position for welding and finishing. Each jig has been manufactured entirely in-house by KM Tools in Staffordshire to Hitachi Rail specifications. Furthermore, KM Tools is providing responsive on-site technical and maintenance support to Hitachi manufacturing teams.

Mark Snowdon, Quality Engineer at Hitachi Rail, added: “KM Tools has been absolutely fantastic from the beginning. The company has been completely professional all the way through, and its engineering capabilities are second to none. We look forward to working with KM Tools again and are already planning future ventures with them.”