Cadillac CT6, Detroit-HamtramckWatch the video here

US – The special combination of techniques, described as “a first for any General Motors’ model”, will be deployed at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, Michigan, in a new, fully automated bodyshop that is dedicated to CT6 production. The 138,000 sq.ft facility is equipped with new tooling and 205 robots.

The $300m investment will enable Cadillac to “take craftsmanship and manufacturing technology to a new level”, according to the company’s president, Johan de Nysschen. “For the Cadillac CT6, we have developed additional new body construction techniques and technologies allowing various types of advanced and lightweight materials to be combined within the manufacturing environment like never before,” he said.

The joining techniques include: patented aluminium spot welding; aluminium laser welding; self-piercing rivets; and flow drill screws, combined with adhesives. Aluminium arc welding and structural adhesive are also used separately in CT6 body assembly. The most appropriate method has been selected for the material combination and body location (pertaining to equipment access).

The inner and outer frames are welded at two stations by 28 robots which are mounted above and beside the vehicle, but are also able to reach underneath it. The two framing procedures are choreographed to compensate for differing minor vibrations. The completed body is transferred to an upper-level conveyor via a robotic arm, which Cadillac says is “unheard-of” for a vehicle the size of the CT6.

“The manufacturing team has enabled body engineers to optimise the vehicle for mass, safety, stiffness and materials with more precision than ever,” commented Travis Hester, CT6 executive chief engineer.

Due to go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2015, the CT6 will extend Cadillac’s range above the CTS and XTS, rather than replacing another model. The CT6 marks the return of a full-size luxury sedan to the production line-up at Detroit-Hamtramck.