General Motors announced plans to invest $40 million at its Pontiac Stamping Plant in Pontiac, Mich. The investment will be used to renovate the existing facility and install new, highly flexible fabrication machinery and presses to support future electric-vehicle production. GM anticipates the investment will create 20 new positions. The “Flex Fab” sheet-metal fabricating technology will enable repeatable, custom and precise stamping, reducing costs for low-volume applications.
Vacuum thermal processing is vital for automotive and aerospace component manufacturers due to industry demands for the highest possible quality. Brazing and surface treatment are two process areas where vacuum technology is used.
This month, we provide a review of some recent automotive news stories that may or will affect the future of the industry. These stories remind us that all of the various industrial heating industries are interdependent.
Fortune magazine creates several lists each year, including (of course) the Fortune 500. In their list of the world’s largest companies ranked by revenue, at least 10 automakers show up in the first 84 slots. Volkswagen and Toyota are in the top-10. In their list of the top-50 most-admired companies, Toyota and BMW are in the top-50.
GKN Driveline Bruneck AG in Italy is modernizing its hardening shop with two low-pressure carburizing (LPC) plants from ALD Vacuum Technologies GmbH. GKN will utilize the equipment to develop and produce E-powertrains. ALD delivered a ModulTherm plant consisting of a mobile quenching module and five treatment chambers, as well as fully integrated peripheral tempering and preheating furnaces. The plant can be expanded up to 10 treatment chambers depending on demand. ALD also delivered a SyncroTherm plant that will be used for parts that are especially susceptible to distortion. According to GKN, the process combination of LPC and subsequent high-pressure gas quenching (HPGQ) allows the company to optimally adjust the parts’ properties.
Toyota will invest $803 million and add 1,400 new jobs at its Princeton, Ind., automotive manufacturing plant. The investment will allow the company to produce two all-new, three-row SUVs, one of which will be the first Lexus made at the plant.
Furnacare Inc., TAV Vacuum Furnaces’ U.S. group company, received an order for a horizontal vacuum heat-treatment furnace from a U.S. automotive aftermarket company that manufactures fuel injectors, diesel injectors and pumps, and mechatronic engine controls. The furnace, which has useful dimensions of 24 inches wide x 24 inches high x 36 inches deep, provides a solution for high-vacuum heat treatment for different components. The maximum gross charge is 1,800 pounds, and the maximum operating temperature is 2200°F (1204°C).
General Motors announced a $100 million investment in two of its manufacturing facilities: $93 million at the Romulus, Mich., propulsion plant and $7 million at the Bedford, Ind., casting operations. The Romulus investment will add machining capability, while the Bedford investment will increase the plant’s die-casting capabilities. Both investments will support increased production of GM’s 10-speed automatic transmissions used in the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra light-duty, full-size pickups. Work will begin immediately at both locations.