US – The funds will go towards upgrades and technology to improve the Indiana plant’s competitiveness in the assembly of light- and heavy-duty trucks. Beginning in June, the improvements are expected to take several years to complete.
A new pre-treatment, electro-coating paint and sealing facility will be constructed, while the bodyshop will be expanded. There will also be new and expanded material sequencing centres, plus an upgraded general assembly area. GM says that full-size truck production schedules will be unaffected by the work.
The new painting facility will enable thin-film pre-treatment and e-coat paint customised for each vehicle style and giving “superior coverage and curability”, according to the OEM. In addition, there will be GM-patented radiant tube ovens designed to improve the paint finish and reduce energy use.
Other technological additions will be new skillet conveyance systems for instrument panel assembly to enhance worker ergonomics and ultimately product quality, plus equipment to accommodate the many variations of the truck cab and box being placed on the chassis.
Fort Wayne began assembling light-duty trucks in 1986 and today makes light- and heavy-duty regular and double cab, full-size trucks. It is now a three-shift operation with around 3,800 employees. The new investment is part of GM’s $5.4 billion pledge for its US plants over the next three years.