How is a truck built?
Since August 2013, new long haul and construction Renault Trucks vehicles have been assembled at the Bourg-en-Bresse plant in France, where straightforward and reproducible assembly operations have been set up to reach the highest level of quality. Here is a brief overview of the key stages of production.
The two production lines
Designed in line with the ’fish bone factory‘ concept, the plant is organized around the ’backbone‘ of two 500 meter assembly lines and perpendicular ’fish bones‘ which supply the various parts and subassemblies prepared specifically for each vehicle. A simple principle making it possible to significantly reduce stocks and optimize the process of bringing parts to the point of assembly.
The bundle routing workstation
Pneumatic or electric harnesses supply the engine, lights, braking system, etc. Altogether this adds up to over 250 m of tubing that has to be installed on the future trucks chassis side members. Thanks to an easy reach kit, all operators are provided with the exact number of parts required for each truck so as to make mistakes almost impossible. The harnesses are routed along the right hand side for electricity and on the left for pneumatics to make maintenance operations simpler and surer.
Fitting the engine
Each workstation is subject to stringent quality checks; operators who carry out the assembly and a quality controller who validates the procedures and reports any difficulties encountered. The same kind of highly precise assembly is also applied here; every screw, nut, bundle or rivet has its place. In one minute, the engine is fitted into the chassis using a hoist, after which the transmission is connected to the gearbox.
Preparing the bumpers
All workstations are height adjustable, benefit from natural daylight and no part is carried by the operators. Each kit follows the progress of the assembly process by means of a ’carousel’, a genuine circular or endless path which step by step provides the unit with its various components. These consist of the under run bar, headlights, front panel, windscreen access steps and optics.
The under cab assembly
The cab arrives painted, assembled and with all its interior fittings from the Blainville-sur-Orne plant in Normandy and must be fitted with its front suspension, steps, side trunks, door extensions and soundproofing. Then the cab is raised on articulated arms to be routed into the production line.
The subassembly workshop
This is where all the parts needed to build the various subassemblies are stored and the exhaust silencers and AdBlue tanks are assembled. Each part is produced just a few meters from its future position on the assembly line. Here again, everything is done to prevent errors; for example, when a screw has to be turned 28 times, the screw gun counts them and warns the operator if one has been missed.
The retouching workshop
At the very end of the line, the fully assembled vehicle arrives at the retouching workshop. The person in charge consults the booklet which has accompanied the vehicle throughout its assembly and goes through a ’check path’: steering, engine check, prop shaft tightening, brakes, etc. To which is added a list of points resulting from feedback.