To mark the arrival of Chrysler’s eagerly awaited 200 sedan, the auto giant teamed up with Google to give carbuyers a behind the scenes look at the company’s Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Michigan.
Using Google Maps Business View, Chrysler shows off the 5 million square foot facility that’s fresh off of a $US1 billion renovation. The interactive tour, available at www.chrysler200factory.com, features 360-degree views of the production facility, along with narration from a plant employee.
In addition, the tour offers a dozen videos chronicling the Chrysler 200’s production process, ranging from the assembly of the frame to painting to final quality control checks.
Here are some of the highlights:
The tour starts in the plant’s 1 million sq. ft. body shop where the 200’s frame and body panels are assembled by a team of 1,000 robots.
The body shop uses a technique called “butterfly assembly,” where the left and right sides of the car’s frame are assembled on opposite sides of the shop and them joined to the frame in the middle of the plant. According to Chrysler, this process increases production efficiency, worker safety, and chassis strength.
After the bodyshop, the tour goes to the plant’s metrology lab, which uses sensors to measure the frame’s fit and finish.
Chrysler’s metrology lab uses coordinate measurement machines (CMM) and blue light sensors to check for irregularities in the body and frame.
The next part of the tour involves the plant’s all-important paint shop. In the shop, the Chrysler 200’s frame is subjected a series of procedures that protect the car’s frame from the corrosive elements on the road. This includes seven baths…
…and seven showers to make sure any residual dust or particles are washed away before painting starts.
The final bath for the frame is in a 130,000 gallons of primer that’s infused with 250 volts of electricity in a process called “electrocoating.” According to Chrysler, the electric charge in the pool allows the primer to stick to the car “like a magnet.”
After electrostatic bath, the Chrysler 200 frame is flipped upside and coated with a sealant that keeps everything from water to corrosive road salt from damaging car. Before the actual paint can be applied, an army of robots applies a layer of powder coating, which Chrysler says adds resistance to chipping and scratches.
In the final step before painting, the Chrysler 200 frame is brushed with ostrich feathers. Why ostrich feathers? According to Chrysler, each feather has hundreds of naturally occurring hooks that effectively remove excess dust.
After the car is painted by a team of robots, the frame moves into the main assembly area where workers install by hand everything from doors to seats to the engine.
Finally, the new Chrysler 200 goes through final quality inspections before being shipped off to a dealership.