Millbrook’s Leyland Site in the UK Celebrates 40 Years

Vehicle NVH testing in a semi-anechoic chamber at Millbrook
  • Millbrook’s famous Leyland site in the UK reaches landmark 40th year of operation
  • The facility, formerly Leyland Vehicles’ test track and technical centre, was officially opened in 1980 by Sir Keith Joseph
  • Leyland has a rich heritage in the commercial vehicle sector, having been at the forefront of testing and development throughout its 40-year existence
  • Anniversary coincides with Millbrook celebrating 50 years since the opening of its Millbrook Proving Ground in the UK

Millbrook’s Leyland test facility is celebrating 40 years of operation this year. Throughout its history the Leyland site has been at the cutting-edge of commercial vehicle testing and development, and remains instrumental in helping to move the sector forward.

The Leyland test track and technical center was officially opened in 1980 by Sir Keith Joseph, the then Secretary of State for Industry. Even in those early years, Leyland was home to some of the best facilities in the world. For instance, the ground-breaking site boasted a test track specifically designed for commercial vehicles and a Semi-Anechoic Chamber. It also housed truly unique facilities and technologies for the time, including a structures laboratory with a 1.2 mega-watt pumping station and 1,000 tonne seismic block.

Over a period of weeks, the technical center became a showcase for all that was good in the industry. Even back then, we hosted truck operators and dealership staff from all over the UK and Europe. Kevin Gough, a recently retired Millbrook employee with 48 years service

Millbrook acquired the center in July 2017 with the aim of expanding its capabilities in propulsion and vehicle testing to better serve the commercial vehicle sector. The company retained the employees at the Lancashire base and immediately focused on growing the business further.

In the three years since Millbrook took ownership of the Leyland facility, it has invested significantly to ensure it has the latest technology and equipment. In 2019, for instance, two 3E Electric Drive Unit (EDU) test rigs were installed at the facility, bolstering Millbrook’s position as a leading global provider of electric driveline testing. These were supplied by Millbrook’s US team, which provides propulsion test systems to a global customer base. A new seat test laboratory has also been installed to test the durability and refinement of vehicle seats, extending existing capabilities.

When Millbrook acquired the Leyland site in 2017, we knew we were adding a facility steeped in automotive heritage to our UK operations. We also knew that we were investing in a new dimension to our business, with huge potential for the future. Through strategic investment and a commitment to upholding the values of our Lancashire site, we are securing a very exciting future for Leyland. Alex Burns, President of Millbrook

The 40th celebrations at Leyland this year coincide with another major milestone at Millbrook, with 2020 marking the 50th anniversary of the company’s UK proving ground being opened. The company has so far marked these anniversaries by speaking to its alumni and launching a new website, despite postponing full-scale celebrations.

Automotive seat testing laboratory engineer at Millbrook operating KUKA robot

JCB on a ride simulator test rig structural test laboratory at Millbrook

Electric powertrain systems dynamometer test facility at Millbrook in Leyland, UK