Thyristor power controllers from CD Automation have been instrumental in significantly improving production efficiencies for Woking-based luxury sports car maker McLaren Automotive. From modest beginnings the organisation has grown into a world renowned and respected brand and a byword for advanced technological excellence, intelligence and attention to detail. Drawing on 50 years of racing success McLaren has created some of the most iconic and exhilarating high performance road cars the world has ever seen.

Not surprising then that in the manufacture of its sports cars McLaren demands the very highest quality and reliability from every inch of its production line. When it experienced problems in the paint finishing section with a specific colour that was proving increasingly popular with customers, the company explored solutions that could be implemented in the shortest timeframe possible while providing longevity and consistency.

The paint in question was taking much longer to dry than other shades and hence holding up the entire production line. When you are manufacturing cars that will set the customer back hundreds of thousands of pounds, this is a situation that demands immediate attention.

Furthermore, the paint is very much part of the overall package and an integral part of the build and assembly process of the chassis. So while it may be the last procedure to be applied after months of design, development, construction and assembly it is an extremely important element of the finished car.

Customers can choose bespoke paint, trim and colour options – McLaren’s team will match anything they want and advise on combinations, producing flawless work 100% of the time to each specification and turning projects around within sometimes very tight deadlines.

A long-standing customer of Panther Engineering, McLaren approached the company for a solution to accelerate the drying time, confident in their knowledge and expertise in the design and build of control systems. They designed a bespoke package that provided additional heating and force drying applications using Thyristor controllers supplied by CD Automation. This comprised 3 units of the Three Phase REVO S Thyristor (SCR) Power Controller each suitable to switch 210 Amps at 480Vac, resistance type load and utilizing Burst Firing technique; all protected by extra-rapid quick-blow semi-conductor fuses. A compact and self-contained unit, the REVO-S offers exceptional reliability and low maintenance, meeting the high spec required by the end customer.

“Thyristor control is the most economic and reliable means of controlling large amounts of electrical power,” explains CD Automation’s Jez Watson. “It results in reduced waste and energy consumption but more importantly, improves process consistency and reliability in extremely harsh environments such as McLaren’s paintshop.”

Temperature control was a crucial factor in the drying of this special paint finish; requiring accuracy to within
+/-1 degree to produce the desired result and the REVO-S has successfully eliminated the problem, speeding up production and improving efficiencies for McLaren.

CD Automation has supplied Panther Engineering with three similar units for previous projects.

“We have worked with CD Automation for several years and were more than happy to recommend their products to our customer,” explains managing director Duncan Roberts. “Maintaining productivity throughout the installation was vital for McLaren and as such we needed to be 100% confident of quality and reliability.”

In addition, retrofitting McLaren’s paint drying system without holding up production presented a challenge for Panther with a window of just 1 week scheduled to make the final changeover.

Panther Engineering received positive feedback from McLaren as the company quickly experienced significant improvement in their daily production runs which far exceeded expectations – keeping their sports cars and their business well on track for success and ensuring each customer gets the finished result they rightly expect.