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DaimlerChrysler: The Jeep Liberty Plant in Toledo (1)

NAIAS 2001

DaimlerChrysler Corporation’s New Toledo North Assembly Plant Represents Worldwide Best Practices for Lean, Flexible, High-Quality Manufacturing

Part 1: Overview

2002 Jeep Liberty Assembly Plant
Click image for larger view

  • Manufacturing processes ensure top quality
  • Synergies with Mercedes-Benz yield manufacturing best practices
  • Flexible manufacturing will enable facility to add new products and changeover quickly
  • Virtual Manufacturing enables the company to build plant for only $54 per sq. ft. - an industry benchmark

Auburn Hills, Mich. -- DaimlerChrysler’s newest assembly plant, the Toledo North Assembly Plant (TNAP), represents the culmination of best practices from the company’s worldwide manufacturing operations for lean, flexible, high-quality production.

The Toledo Team:
Ed Mercer, Plant Manager (low right), Chuck Kowalski, Sen. Manager BIW (low mid.), Dave Grylls, Roger Hella, Sam Steinmetz, Chuck Paddel

Photo: Automotive Intelligence

Slated to begin customer production of the all-new 2002 Jeep® Liberty in the Spring of 2001, the $1.2 billion facility is currently producing pre-production prototype vehicles to validate top quality, train employees and refine manufacturing processes.

2002 Jeep Liberty
Click image for larger view

Engine Installation of the all-new Jeep Liberty

"As our newest assembly plant, the Toledo North Assembly Plant is the culmination of the latest manufacturing best practices from our operations worldwide, and like all our plants, it is a learning field for innovative processes," said Gary Henson, DaimlerChrysler Corporation Executive Vice President -- Manufacturing.

"We designed the facility to be flexible and lean, and we have ‘error-proofed’ our processes to ensure top quality. It’s also a great example of incorporating new technology from our colleagues at Mercedes-Benz."

At full production, TNAP will employ more than 2000 production employees and is scheduled to produce approximately 800 units per day, or over 200,000 units annually, on a two-shift operation.

TNAP will produce the new Jeep Liberty for the world market. Ensuring Top Quality By using a combination of statistical process controls and performance feedback systems (PFS), the company is "error proofing" its production processes to ensure top quality.

The system is designed to halt production if quality build criteria are not met. For example, if a bolt isn’t tightened to the degree specified (measured through the torque wrench that is connected to the computerized PFS system) the specific operation will shut down until it has been corrected.

DaimlerChrysler also inspects vehicles throughout body, paint and assembly processes, as well as a series of tests after the vehicles roll off the final assembly line. Once complete, the vehicles are tested on an evaluation course at the new facility.

Synergies with Mercedes-Benz Yield Manufacturing Best Practices DaimlerChrysler was beginning to design TNAP when Chrysler Corporation merged with Daimler-Benz in 1998.

..... to part 2

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