AI Online


Flexing New Muscle

The Brampton, Ontario, plant joins the flexible body system club.

The 300C and Magnum (soon to be joined by the return of the Charger) are built at the Brampton, Ontario, Canada plant. The plant, which has been building front-drive Dodge Intrepid and Chrysler Concorde since 1997 and Chrysler LHS and 300M since April of 1998 was closed down in August of 2003 for a six-week retooling. As you can imagine, the switch from front-drive to rear-drive constituted more than just a retooling. The $1.4 billion project basically cleared the 2.95 million sq.ft. building back to bare walls. Work crews expanding the trim, chassis and final assembly areas by 25,000 sq.ft. to add in a streamline quality tracking system to each work station and more than 17 mi. of conveyor lines were reconfigured.

Burke Brown, chief engineer says that Brampton is the latest plant to be upgraded to the new flexible body system which will allow Chrysler to run multiple vehicles down the same line as well as run pilot vehicles without a loss in production. The system is currently up and running in Windsor, Ontario, that builds the Pacifica and Dodge and Chrysler minivans, at the Durango assembly plant in Newark, New Jersey, and two assembly plants in Mexico. Chrysler says that the flexible body system eliminates the constraint of hard tooling and continues to add more flexibility to the plant without incurring any additional costs as new models are brought on line. About 80 percent of the 300,000 sq.ft. body shop was revamped including a new fully-robotic framing cell that loads body side inner panels to the vehicle’s underbody and geometrically sets and welds the panels together. This is the first installation of this process in any Chrysler Group assembly plant according to Chrysler.

Brown says that the most money was spent on a complete rebuild of the paint shop, changing out ovens for increased airflow, installing brighter lighting and adding systems that remove dust and lint from the paint. Most all improvements, Brown says, were done to improve quality. The University of Windsor/Daimler/Chrysler Canada Automotive Research and Development Centre (ARDC) in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, replicated the parameters of the Brampton paint shop within its Automotive Coatings Laboratory to perfect a new paint process and tooling layout, using both pilot and production tools.

Chrysler was able to retool Brampton at a savings of 40 percent by redeploying plant equipment from three other facilities in Ontario, while unused equipment from Brampton will find use in other Chrysler facilities in North America.

The first test vehicles were built in mid-October with job one coming on January 17. Dealer stock will begin in mid-February with a targeted April 1 sales launch.

Previous posts

Next posts

Mon. July 22nd, 2024

Share this post