After learning more about the how the Corvettes are being moved around the new assembly line inside the Corvette factory, I found these details about the new assembly process worth sharing.
One of the new technologies employed at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant is a section called the Skillet Line. The skillets are large flat carriers that hold the Corvettes as they go down the line.
A couple key benefits of these skillets has to do with how the cars are presented to the workers as it goes down the line. The skillets have the ability to be set at four different height positions depending on the job at hand. As the height can be changed, this will improve worker ergonomics which in turn helps improve quality.
The previous assembly line had the cars suspended by the frame, allowing the suspension to hang until the car is driven off the line, running over the speed bumps to help it settle. (Wheel gap anyone?) With the skillets, the Corvettes have four “pegs” that are bolted to the brake rotors and these pegs are cradled by the skillet as it moves down the line.
The mass of the car is sitting on its suspension just like it would be if it was sitting on the ground. As the Corvette bodies can flex ever so slightly when lifted by the frame as was previously done, having the Corvette’s mass “grounded” helps with fitting the panels and making sure the gaps are uniform.
As the cars move down the skillet line, there’s a platform on either side that also moves with the skillet and this allows workers to move along with the car as they do their specific jobs. Also on this platform sits a cart with bins that hold everything the worker needs during their stop.
With the Corvette Assembly Plant’s public tours being closed for another year, these glimpses provide us with the first look yet at how the assembly of Corvettes has been transformed. With a modern paint facility and now a flexible manufacturing process, it appears the Corvette assembly plant in Bowling Green is ready to produce America’s favorite sports car well into the future.
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