An agreement between Norton Motorcycles and tooling supplier, Iscar Tools, is helping to bring new versions of the famous marque to the road and track in 2010.
From a number of potential suppliers, Norton selected Iscar as its exclusive tooling partner to help develop a long-term strategy for production of key components at the motorcycle manufacturer's new factory at Donington Park. In addition to the cutting tools, Iscar supplies full application and engineering support.
Stuart Garner, Norton's chief executive officer, commented: “We chose Iscar because of the speed with which they reacted after our first meeting, and due to the proximity of its Birmingham headquarters and technical centre from where they provide us with detailed advice and back-up.”
The famous motorcycle manufacturer and its Norton, Manx, Atlas, Commando and Dominator brands were repatriated from the US in late 2008 by Derbyshire businessman, Stuart Garner, in a multi-million pound deal. Gordon Taylor, general manager of Iscar Tools UK remarked: “Iscar is very happy to support the re-launch of this iconic British marque and wish Norton all success for the future.”
After an 18 month set-up, planning permission was granted in February 2010 for an extension to the factory and office complex next to the paddock at the Donington Park race circuit.
The plant will provide a platform for manufacturing the new twin rotary engine NRV700, due to race at the Isle of Man TT in 2011. A road going variant of the race bike, along with the new 961 twin cylinder Commando is also being built at Donington with Iscar's support.
In addition to providing value added engineering services, support and cutting tools for use on three machining centres and two CNC mill/turn lathes at Norton's technical centre, Iscar routinely manufactures key bike components in its Birmingham technical centre to ease production bottlenecks at Donington.
The tooling company made a major contribution towards ensuring that the NRV700 race bike will be ready during the 2010/2011 season. It also helped Norton to finish the new Commando road bike so that it could be launched at the International Motorcycle and Scooter show at the end of last year.
For instance, Iscar took Norton's CAD model of the Commando 961 headlight bracket, developed the process strategy including the part program and produced a number of components from aluminium billet in three days over a weekend to meet last December's motorcycle show deadline. In another project, batches of upper and lower yokes were produced in Birmingham for the Norton Cafe Racer variant of the Commando road bike.
While the main factory is in build at Donington, Norton will increase the number of spindles in its technical centre from four to 14 and tool them exclusively with Iscar products.