Pics: Behind the scenes at New Holland’s UK tractor factory

Have you ever been to New Holland’s tractor factory in Basildon (England)? Are you curious to know what goes on there – behind the scenes?

AgriLand paid a visit to the plant just last week. The main thrust of the trip was to see how New Holland’s methane-powered tractor project is progressing.

Also Read: Gas-powered New Holland to ‘enter production within 3 years’

However, we also toured the production lines – to see where and how current-generation tractors are built.

The main assembly line weaves a path through the facility that stretches to 2km. Over 600 employees work inside the factory; about 1,000 are employed on the Basildon site as a whole.

Over 90% of the tractors produced there are exported; some are obviously sold here in Ireland, for example.

Basildon is where T6 (120-175hp) and T7 (176-270hp) series tractors are built. Interestingly, some equivalent Case IH models are built there too (though not units destined for Europe; those are built in St. Valentin, Austria – the historic home of the Steyr brand).

Coming off the Basildon line, most tractors are blue-liveried examples – ‘red’ versions are less populous. This trend is also reflected in the massive ‘holding’ yards outside the factory; there was a veritable sea of ‘blue’ – with intermittent ‘red’ clusters visible here and there.

New Holland Case IH

The T7 HD (Heavy Duty) models (and some of their Case IH equivalents) are not built on the main line; a separate area of the factory caters for those (due to the weight and size of the components involved). These tractors stretch up to 315hp.

During our visit, ‘Heavy Duty’ tractors were being completed at a rate of one every 90 minutes. By contrast, ‘smaller’ units were coming off the main line every five or six minutes.

It should be borne in mind that the Basildon facility is essentially an assembly plant; major components are shipped from elsewhere.

For example, engines come from FPT (Fiat Powertrain Technologies) in Italy; transmissions come from other CNH-owned facilities.

Many moons ago, engines were built at Basildon. In fact, more than 3,000,000 were produced during a 44-year period.

Nowadays, over 22,000 tractors roll off the Basildon production lines each year.

It’s also worth noting that the head of the tractors product group for New Holland, on a worldwide basis, is an Irish man – namely Sean Lennon. He still has a hint of an Irish accent though, in certain ‘streams of consciousness’, he could almost pass for an Italian – such is the amount of time he has spent in that country.

In fact, it’s surprising just how many Irish people you bump into in New Holland’s UK operation. During our visit we even met a newly-started apprentice; he was only there a matter of days.

Behind the brand

Of course, New Holland’s parent company – CNH Industrial – is a sizeable entity. Within its agricultural equipment portfolio, it is also home to the Case IH and Steyr brands.

In the construction sphere, the New Holland and Case brands are significant players in their own right.

On the commercial vehicle front, CNH Industrial encompasses half a dozen different brands – mostly based on an Iveco theme.

The powertrain division is home to the aforementioned FPT (Fiat Powertrain Technologies). Financial services fall under the wing of CNH Industrial Capital.

The group holds a staggering 8,500 active patents.
Image source: Shane Casey

It has a manufacturing presence practically all over the globe, including plants in Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Russia, as well as its better-known factories in Europe and North America.