A big part of the plant's renovation will be focused on its paint shop, including new pre-treatment and e-coat equipment as well as new ovens to bake that finish to completion. The investment will also include new equipment designed to better handle various cab and box configurations, and new conveyance systems to optimize ergonomics for the workers putting together the instrument panels.
The facility in Roanoke, IN, opened in 1986, and handles production of GM's fullsize trucks: the GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado. The company is set to begin installing the new equipment in June, but it'll take a few years to complete. Fortunately, vehicle production is not expected to be hindered in the process.
This is all part of a larger investment GM is making in infrastructure, but represents a large share of the $5.4 billion it is pouring into its facilities over the next three years. The company recently detailed the $439 million its similarly investing in the Corvette plant's paint shop and the billion-dollar renovation of the Warren Tech Center.
Fort Wayne construction to continue award-winning pickup manufacturing
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – General Motors is investing $1.2 billion in its full-size pickup truck plant for upgrades and technology that will improve the plant's competitiveness in assembling high-quality light- and heavy-duty models.
Construction of the new pre-treat, electro-coat paint operation and sealing facility, expanded body shop, expanded and new material sequencing centers, and upgraded general assembly area is expected to begin in June and take several years to complete. Full-size truck production schedules will be unaffected by the construction.
"This investment is more evidence that the customer is at the center of every decision we make," said Cathy Clegg, GM North America Manufacturing vice president. "Truck customers demand top quality. The upgrades at Fort Wayne Assembly will enable our team to continue delivering for them for years to come."
The investment includes many technological and environmental upgrades:
- New pre-treatment facility featuring thin-film paint pretreatment
- E-coat paint customized to each vehicle style, resulting in superior coverage and curability
- GM-patented radiant tube ovens for exceptional paint finish and lower energy use
- New equipment that accommodates the many variations of the truck cab and box being placed on the chassis
- New skillet conveyance systems for instrument panel assembly intended to improve worker ergonomics, leading to better product quality.
"These new technologies and equipment will help fulfill the mission of the men and women of Fort Wayne Assembly and UAW Local 2209 to build the best full-size trucks available," said UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada. "The investment improves the plant's competitiveness so we can continue contributing to the community as well."
Said Indiana Gov. Mike Pence: "Around the world, Indiana is known as a proven leader in advanced manufacturing. Powered by a pro-growth business environment and a highly-skilled workforce, GM is leveraging Indiana's strengths to help it remain competitive across the globe. Today's announcement marks a significant promise to the Hoosier State and ensures GM's presence in Indiana and its support of Hoosier jobs long into the future, reaffirming that Indiana is a state that works for business."
Fort Wayne Assembly began building light-duty trucks in 1986. Today, it is a three-shift operation with approximately 3,800 employees who build light- and heavy-duty regular and double cab full-size trucks.
The investments in Fort Wayne are part of the $5.4 billion that GM said April 30 it would invest in U.S. facilities over the next three years.
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.