There’s barely a hint of St Athan’s former life as a major Ministry of Defence facility, beyond the impressive scale and the distant memory of a Hercules transport aircraft or two being dwarfed by these three “super hangars”. St Athan’s scale is still an impressive sight to behold and come 2019, up to 750 employees will transform these spaces into a hive of activity, as Rapide E production begins, alongside preparation for Aston Martin’s first ever SUV. 150 people have already been hired, working on the substantial logistical challenge of planning a production line from scratch, incorporating high technology, hand finishing and the many, many stages of quality control required for every Aston Martin. The third and final phase will see the production line equipment installed and tested. 

For now, take a tour of this pristine space, soon to become one of the most important places in Aston Martin history. 

Set alongside the main hangar space, these areas were once open at either end. AML has enclosed them to protect the finished vehicles — a total of 75 can be stored here awaiting dispatch; the Materials, Planning and Logistics area is dominated by this vast array of high bay pallet racking for storage of components. VNA (Very Narrow Aisle) trucks can scoot between the shelves, optimising the storage density. The racking also contains an integrated sprinkler system

Set alongside the main hangar space, these areas were once open at either end. AML has enclosed them to protect the finished vehicles — a total of 75 can be stored here awaiting dispatch; the Materials, Planning and Logistics area is dominated by this vast array of high bay pallet racking for storage of components. VNA (Very Narrow Aisle) trucks can scoot between the shelves, optimising the storage density. The racking also contains an integrated sprinkler system

The Off Tracks area, where completed vehicles receive final finishing before being passed to despatch for delivery to their various destinations. New lighting ensures the finished vehicles look their best, while a network of sprinklers and compressed air pipework has also been added;  inside the robotic spray booth, newly installed at AML St Athan.

The Off Tracks area, where completed vehicles receive final finishing before being passed to despatch for delivery to their various destinations. New lighting ensures the finished vehicles look their best, while a network of sprinklers and compressed air pipework has also been added; inside the robotic spray booth, newly installed at AML St Athan.

Twin industrial robots apply many coats of precise and even paint to the body in white, which moves through the space on the central track

Twin industrial robots apply many coats of precise and even paint to the body in white, which moves through the space on the central track

After paint is applied and dried, the polish line is a vital part of the finishing process, with hand polishing creating a deep, rich finish

After paint is applied and dried, the polish line is a vital part of the finishing process, with hand polishing creating a deep, rich finish

Black mesh cladding softens and enhances the main façade of AML St Athan. This is the VIP entrance area and car park, complete with newly planted landscaping

Black mesh cladding softens and enhances the main façade of AML St Athan. This is the VIP entrance area and car park, complete with newly planted landscaping

A throwback to the site’s original use shows the external fire exit stairway from Hangar 3 to the rear of the facility, almost entirely unchanged from its days as an MoD base

A throwback to the site’s original use shows the external fire exit stairway from Hangar 3 to the rear of the facility, almost entirely unchanged from its days as an MoD base

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