Detroit, MI – The General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center feels like a Science Fiction movie. Vehicle frames pass along a large conveyor system to various areas for assembly. It’s almost surreal to see the simple sheet metal frames at one end of the facility and employees driving completed cars at the other end. We followed the assembly process with Sika’s Rick Puckett to learn how Sika fits into the equation.
At the start of the process, the sheet metal frames barely resemble the vehicles on the road. The frames are exposed to a high voltage before entering a bath of solution to increase strength and prevent rust. Sika baffling and dampening products are introduced during the Body Shop section of the assembly. Robots attach the Sika products to the necessary areas before welding. Once the robots finish welding the products together and the doors to the frame, the car passes through a large oven. The Sika baffling and dampening products expand up to 2,000% to fill any voids. When the body work is completed, the vehicles pass on to the Paint and Trim sections to complete the frame. Finally, the drive train and electrical work is installed before a final inspection. The vehicles are then transported to car dealerships around the world for sales.
One of the many impressive parts of the facility is that different models are produced on the same running lines. A Chevrolet Impala can be assembled between a Buick LaCrosse and a Cadillac CT6. Because of the significant automation of the process, robotic machines control which products are assembled on each vehicle. This removes potential human error from the process, and so you can be sure the drivetrain in your Cadillac isn’t actually Buick. This can get complicated during the installation of Sika baffling and dampening products because every product is designed for a specific place in a specific vehicle. However, the robots use lasers to pinpoint and install the right products in the right locations. After seeing the Sika Automotive products designed in Madison Heights, Michigan and produced in Grandview, Missouri, we saw the final steps taken before the Sika products hit the road.