The men and women launching the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickup trucks at General Motors’ Wentzville Assembly Plant are proud of their “perfect bodies.”
Not necessarily what they see in the mirror but the perfect bodies of the new trucks that began production in September.
Engineers at Wentzville used perfectly measured mockups of the trucks’ interior and exterior, as well as a sophisticated laser-scanning system to test the fit of parts and assemblies both to the “perfect body” and to other parts to which they connect.
Long before the assembly line started to roll, this process identified and aided in the resolution of mismatches and conflicts involving parts and assemblies coming from five GM plants and as many as 20 different suppliers.
More than 200 parts or assemblies were evaluated using the tools before regular production began.
One example was an ill-fitting passenger side “A-pillar” between the windshield, instrument panel and headliner. The pillar was disassembled piece by piece uncovering a trim component that was out of specification.
The component’s supplier was brought in to fix the issue and refine its production process before the line ran trucks to be shipped to dealers.
“We’re working with an entirely new vehicle architecture as well as the latest technology available for dimensional management,” says Bryan Vickery, dimensional engineer for Body Maintenance at Wentzville. “The process is a big part of delivering improved body structures, which translates to great vehicles to our customers.”
The tools are still used in production, where they help identify issues undetectable by the human eye.
“The perfect body process helps everyone by quickly identifying the source of a particular issue and giving us guidance on what needs to be done to fix it,” says Mark Deterding, engineering manager for Magna Interiors. “We discover potential issues before they can affect the vehicle’s quality. We identify solutions and we use them to make sure our solutions work.
“It’s an additional step, but we’re happy to spend time with these perfect bodies because they mean safer, quieter and more reliable vehicles for the customer.”
Editor’s Note: Bruce Smith is a Senior Editor at Randall-Reilly