Issue: Sep 2017


KUKA produces two millionth Jeep Wrangler body-in-white



by Jon Knox

KUKA Toledo Production Operations (KTPO) celebrated the completion of its two millionth Jeep® Wrangler body-in-white, the latest milestone in a stellar history that has seen this unique plant rank consistently among the quality and productivity leaders in the North American automotive industry.

 

Since beginning operations in 2006, this wholly owned subsidiary of KUKA Systems North America LLC, has built the body-in-white of all Wranglers sold worldwide – both two-door and four-door models. It took seven years for KTPO to build the first million, but only four to make the second million, as it expanded output to keep up with growing global demand for the iconic Wrangler.

 

"KTPO has been a tremendous story for KUKA, a study in technical excellence and ambition, complemented by a strong commitment to the venture's continued success by all involved, especially our Toledo staff," says Larry A Drake, CEO of KUKA Systems Group. "It's a platform for implementing KUKA innovation and best practices that attracts visitors from around the world to understand how this works so well on multiple levels."

 

With a fleet of 259 robots, KTPO produces the unpainted vehicle body – 828 per day, or one every 77 seconds, over three daily shifts – in the 330,000- sq. ft. body shop. Following a trip through the paint shop, the KTPO bodies are then mated to the chassis frame during final assembly at the Toledo Assembly Complex.  

 

Assembling the body-in-white involves welding the underbody, windshield and closures together, which enables KUKA Systems to showcase its best-in-class, automated metal joining technologies used in automotive assembly plants worldwide. The plant's robotic fleet and 60,000 other inputs are linked to a powerful back-end digital monitoring system and a master data management system. This networking of production processes has evolved into an intelligent lifecycle management platform designed to Industry 4.0 principles. The fully digitized solution controls and monitors the entire value chain in real time, from receipt of materials to the actual production processes and goods dispatch. It also identifies bottlenecks and optimizes capacity utilization.

 

KUKA Aktiengesellschaft

KUKA is a global automation corporation with sales of around 3 billion euro and around 13,200 employees. As leading global supplier of intelligent automation solutions KUKA offers its customers in the automotive, electronics, consumer goods, metalworking, logistics/e-commerce, healthcare and service robotics industries everything they need from a single source: from components and cells to fully automated systems. The KUKA Group is headquartered in Augsburg.

 

KUKA Systems is part of the KUKA Group and the reliable specialist for innovative joining and forming processes for a wide range of materials as well as one of the world's leading suppliers of automated production and assembly solutions for sustainable industrial manufacturing. The international system integrator stands out in systems, tool & die and special-machine engineering thanks to customer focus, technological leadership and superior solutions.



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