General Motors has just announced it will be investing some $1.2 billion into its Fort Wayne, Indiana assembly plant over the next several years. The plant, which builds both light- and heavy-duty Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras in both single and double cab configurations, will be getting upgrades in five major areas to facilitate the plant’s manufacturing.

Three of the five upgrade areas center on paint, including prep, application, and curing. First on the list is a new pre-treatment facility that will coat each truck body in a thin-film pretreatment paint. This will ensure rust won’t be an issue. Next, body colors will be applied using an E-coat system that is customized to each truck style. This will result in a more even paint coverage and curability. Lastly, the paint will be cured in GM’s newest radiant tube ovens that use less energy during the process.

Outside of paint, the assembly plant will receive new equipment that better facilitates the marriage between the body and the chassis of the various body configurations that are available. The plant manufactures all three weight classes – 1500, 2500, and 3500 – along with both single and double cab configurations with the various pickup box lengths, so there are plenty of combinations to account for.

Workers will also get a helping hand with the conveyance systems for the instrument panels. GM says improved ergonomics and therefore better product quality are the primary reasons for the upgrade.

The current vehicle production will not be interrupted during the construction and update phase, which is scheduled to begin in June.

Continue reading for more information

Why It Matters

Staying on the cutting edge of manufacturing keeps factories running smoothly while keeping up with industry trends in vehicle production. These new steps GM is taking should help boost production while ensuring the product is better than before. The paint booth upgrades will help the trucks last longer thanks to rust prevention, and in turn, help resell values climb. That’s a win-win for both GM and its customers. And of course, factory workers take a win with easier to use machinery.

GM Investing $1.2 Billion in Fort Wayne Truck Plant Exterior
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Press Release

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.

GM Investing $1.2 Billion in Fort Wayne Truck Plant Exterior
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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.

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