Tag: Assembly

By on April 2, 2018

Image: VW of America

Volkswagen’s Atlas Tanoak concept was one of the few interesting products to emerge from last week’s New York auto show, but the Atlas-based pickup remains a one-off for now. The automaker plans to judge consumer interest before making a decision to scrap the idea or sign off on a production version. Naturally, with VW staking it’s U.S. fortunes on light trucks, the volume-seeking company would like to get as much mileage out of its Atlas architecture as possible. See the two-row  Atlas Cross Sport for Exhibit B.

But does the Tanoak’s future hinge on Americans expressing an overwhelming desire for a VW truck? Not entirely. (Read More…)

By on November 10, 2017

Exoskeleton Technology Pilot

It might not allow Ford line workers to lift 100 tons like Iron Man, but new tech being trialed at Ford might prevent serious injury on the job.

Called EksoVest, the wearable technology elevates and supports a worker’s arms while performing overhead tasks. It’s the latest example of advanced technology showing up on assembly lines to reduce the physical toll on employees.

(Read More…)

By on October 27, 2017

infiniti nissan factory japan

Japan appears to be having a problem with its quality control. Nissan Group is conducting updated inspection procedures after details emerged that it allowed uncertified employees to conduct final vehicle checks. However, the Japanese government continues to find issues with the automaker’s practices, forcing it to temporarily suspend new vehicle registrations.

Early reports from an external investigation commissioned by Nissan suggest the certification problem may have begun in 1979.

Subaru faces a similar plight. With Nissan’s inspection issue looming larger than anticipated, Subaru has admitted to following improper procedures for its domestic products. On Friday, the carmaker said final inspections at its main plant have occasionally been handled by employees not listed as certified technicians. The problem has persisted for more than 30 years, according to the manufacturer.  (Read More…)

By on September 18, 2017

toyota-robot-factory

Occupational hazards exist in every industry, and we used to adhere to the notion of “acceptable losses” for certain projects. Over 20,000 people are estimated to have died under the French leadership of the Panama Canal’s construction, and another 6,000 when the Americans finally finished it in 1914 — two years ahead of its target date. Fifteen years later, five men perished during the construction of the Empire State Building, which was pretty good for the time.

However, acceptable workplace-related deaths aren’t really in style anymore. One causality is too many in today’s post-OSHA world, whether you’re in the U.S. or living beyond its borders. Such was the case two years ago when a robot crushed a 22-year-old man to death at a Volkswagen assembly plant. As a result, VW and other automakers are closely watching the efforts of Germany’s Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics in order to build a safer robot.  (Read More…)

By on July 21, 2017

Ford GT Job 1, Image: Sam VarnHagen for Ford

Handcrafted automobiles are a rarity these days but, if you add enough digits to the vehicle’s price tag, companies can still find a handful of buyers willing to fund the expensive production method. One model included on that short list is the Ford GT, the iconic American mid-engine two-seater assembled in Canada. With the help of Multimatic, Ford can usually slap one together every 24 hours under ideal circumstances.

Unfortunately, deliveries of the GT are starting to fall behind. It’s a little embarrassing, especially when you consider Ford only wants to build 250 a year, but it’s also entirely understandable, as a large portion of the assembly process seems to involve pushing the chassis around on a dolly through a mostly empty factory. You can’t rush perfection, and handcrafted perfection takes even longer.

At least, that’s what the automaker cites as the reason for the delivery delay.  (Read More…)

By on July 19, 2017

Fiat 500L assembly plant Serbia - Image: FCAThe strike is over.

Inventory can once again ramp up.

After 21 days of concern over the future of Fiat 500L, FCA’s Serbian employees are back at work.

And, uh, it doesn’t appear as though dealer stock of 500Ls grew dangerously low in the meantime. (Read More…)

By on July 2, 2017

Toyota Camry Assembly Factory Georgetown

Toyota is claiming that its TNGA modular platform represents more than a sea change for the Camry. It points to an entirely new direction for the company as a whole, highlighting its commitment to American manufacturing and a future involving more exciting vehicles.

While the latter remains to be seen, the Toyota New Global Architecture has warped the company’s midsize sedan into something almost unrecognizable. With substantially “more-aggressive” styling, the Camry is also boasting efficiency and performance gains — thanks to the platform’s low center of gravity and increased rigidity. But Toyota doesn’t want to keep the technology limited to America’s best-selling sedan, the architecture and concept are set to be baked into future vehicles as well. Because what good is cost-saving modular platform if you are only use it on a single model?  (Read More…)

By on May 26, 2017

BMW X5 Spartanburg Assembly - Image: BMW“The Germans are bad, very bad. Look at the millions of cars that they sell in the U.S.
Terrible. We’re going to stop that.” – President Donald Trump

Through the first four months of 2017, Germany-based automakers and their respective subsidiary brands have sold 413,000 new vehicles in the United States.

At a minimum, 28 percent of those vehicles were built in the United States at assembly plants in Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina. According to Automotive News, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen combined to produce 281,519 vehicles, the bulk of which were destined for export.

But to avoid even a faint whiff of statistical manipulation, TTAC has compiled the complete U.S. sales and production picture for each of these manufacturers. We present them to you with no limited commentary. (Read More…)

By on November 19, 2016

The enduring popularity of the Chevrolet Equinox has led General Motors to some creative manufacturing approaches to keep up with demand. In addition to the crossoverÕs assembly home in Ingersoll, Ontario, GM runs a shuttle system that takes Equinox bodies to Oshawa, Ont., for painting and final production, Image: General Motors Canada

After a long-fought public relations campaign by General Motors Canada and Unifor, and a collective agreement that sees Unifor-GM temporary workers converted to full-time employment, Oshawa Assembly is on the up as pickup truck final assembly will run alongside Cadillac XTS production in the future.

However, that truck production can’t sustain Oshawa Assembly in the long-term, and sources within the company are saying more product is on the way for the beleaguered plant.

According to two General Motors representatives, one on each side of the border, Oshawa will produce vehicles in addition to the still unannounced pickup final assembly and Cadillac XTS.

(Read More…)

By on August 19, 2016

2015 Volkswagen Golf family, Image: Volkswagen of America

A grownup game of keep-away is taking place in Germany, and Volkswagen is the kid without the ball.

Work stoppages are looming or already occurring at four of the automaker’s plants after a supplier dispute left Volkswagen without key transmission and seat parts. With the costly fallout of its emissions scandal top of mind, the automaker plans to waltz into the supplier’s factories and take what it needs, Automotive News Europe reports. (Read More…)

By on July 31, 2016

The enduring popularity of the Chevrolet Equinox has led General Motors to some creative manufacturing approaches to keep up with demand. In addition to the crossoverÕs assembly home in Ingersoll, Ontario, GM runs a shuttle system that takes Equinox bodies to Oshawa, Ont., for painting and final production, Image: General Motors Canada

There might be some light at the end of the assembly line for Oshawa — but it will come with a price.

According to the Windsor Star, the plant’s Consolidated Line, which produces the Chevrolet Equinox in an overflow capacity using bodies shuttled from CAMI, won’t get another stay of execution and will certainly close in 2017.

However, a General Motors Canada executive familiar with the negotiations says that closing the Flex Line is not a “foregone conclusion.”

(Read More…)

By on July 14, 2016

GM

General Motors executives are breathing a sigh of relief after the automaker reached a deal with a supplier that threatened to shut down GM’s entire U.S. assembly operation.

The automaker hammered out an agreement with the bankrupt Clark-Cutler-McDermott Company, a supplier of trim and acoustic insulation that GM had been propping up financially since March, the Wall Street Journal reports. (Read More…)

By on July 13, 2016

2016 GMC Sierra with eAssist, Image: General Motors

A Massachusetts-based parts supplier you’ve probably never heard of could force General Motors’ entire North American operation to grind to a halt.

Clark-Cutler-McDermott Co. stopped making acoustic insulation and trim pieces for GM vehicles on Friday after declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a situation it blames on money-losing contracts signed with the automaker, a source told The Detroit News(Read More…)

By on June 14, 2016

Tesla Supercharger With Model S At Tesla Dealership

The stuck cork that was the Model X has finally cleared its supply hurdles, causing Tesla production to hit a new high at the automaker’s Fremont, California factory.

With assembly of that model speeded up, Tesla recently hit a production rate of 2,000 vehicle per week, a knowledgeable source told Electrek — a figure that’s still way off the company’s goal of building half a million units per year within the next 18 months or so. (Read More…)

By on May 20, 2016

Tesla HQ

Everyone and their 90-year-old great aunt knows that Tesla is putting all of its might into reaching a volume target of 500,000 vehicles in 2018, but more voices are now calling CEO Elon Musk’s timeline impossible.

Musk wants high-volume production to start in less than two years, but suppliers tell Reuters that the accelerated target is a pipe dream. Will delays in parts sourcing and other nitty-gritty issues throw cold water on Tesla’s plans (and customers’ Model 3 ownership dreams)? (Read More…)

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