US – The investment will be used to build a new 450,000 sq.m paintshop almost half the size of the existing plant in Kentucky. A groundbreaking event has already taken place and construction is scheduled to last two years from this summer. Chevrolet says the building work will not affect production of its Corvette, which is made exclusively at Bowling Green.
The new paintshop will involve substantial equipment upgrades, including tooling and robots. Dry Scrubber booth technology with a limestone handling system will eliminate sludge water and waste, while Fanuc robots with Versa-bell 3 electrostatic applicators will provide a smoother finish, higher transfer efficiency and paint savings of 25%. More efficient baking ovens will improve the paint finish as well as reducing energy use, while LED lighting for the process decks will assist visual inspection and save energy.
The investment at Bowling Green is part of $5.4 billion that GM pledged in April for its US facilities, with implementation taking place over the next three years. The Kentucky plant has already received $135m in the past four years for the new Corvette Stingray and Performance Build Center. The new paintshop will retain 150 jobs.
Corvette production began at Bowling Green in 1981, following assembly at Flint, Michigan and St Louis, Missouri. More than 1.6m units have been made in 62 years.