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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Chinese assembly flow

I'm back from a week in Detroit with students [schedule here] that included factory tours at the Ford Rouge plant in Dearborn, Giffin in Auburn Hills and Continental Structural Plastics in Carey, OH. Both Giffen and CSP were 2017 PACE Award winners. Even though what they saw is a small sample of the range of processes in automotive parts manufacturing and final assembly, they now have a sense of what goes on.

So here is a really nice video that follows a vehicle through the assembly process. During our trip we didn't see welding robots but we did see a paint shop and robots inserting/removing material from a SMC stamping press. Because those were not metal parts we didn't see e-coat in the paint shop of Continental Structural Plastics in Carey, OH. We did however see the stamping of body panels, which is not shown in this video. We did see the roof liner being inserted in the Ford Rouge plant (though given the large number of things being done, students likely don't recall that one particular step). In any case much of this video should now be familiar to my students. Oh, and China is not much different from the U.S. Production in China is driven first and foremost by quality and speed considerations, not by labor costs, so robots do the welding and the heavy lifting.

NYTimes video