General Motors experienced phenomenal growth during its formative years. Through a series of various strategic acquisitions and shrewd business moves, the company quickly became the largest automaker in the world. By the mids, GM accounted for 44 percent of U. At the time, it controlled more than 50 percent of the U. General Motors grew into an industry behemoth through strategic acquisitions, savvy marketing and financial wizardry. The company thrived on a decentralized decision-making structure that was supported by systematically gathered data.
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- Future Factory: How Technology Is Transforming Manufacturing
- Automotive industry in Malaysia
- Cisco Automotive Solutions
- What does the smart factory revolution in automotive manufacturing mean for dimensional metrology?
- Manufacturing: From Past to Present
- Smart Factory with Industry 4.0
- Automotive Manufacturing Test
Future Factory: How Technology Is Transforming ManufacturingVIDEO ON THE TOPIC: How It's Made - Car Doors
Current and former Tesla employees working in the company's open-air "tent" factory say they were pressured to take shortcuts to hit aggressive Model 3 production goals, including making fast fixes to plastic housings with electrical tape, working through harsh conditions and skipping previously required vehicle tests.
For instance, four people who worked on the assembly line say they were told by supervisors to use electrical tape to patch cracks on plastic brackets and housings, and provided photographs showing where tape was applied. They and four additional people familiar with conditions there describe working through high heat, cold temperatures at night and smoky air during last year's wildfires in Northern California. Their disclosures highlight the difficult balance Tesla must strike as it ramps up production while trying to stem costs.
Tesla recently told shareholders that in the three months that ended June 30, it made 87, vehicles, including 72, Model 3s, the company's lowest-priced sedan. Both were quarterly records. Tesla told shareholders to expect full-year deliveries this year to reach at least ,, and more than , of those are expected to be Model 3s. That included removing or repurposing conveyors and robots that didn't work as planned , and figuring out how to build cars and battery packs with more manual labor.
This year, Tesla has been grappling with what could be described as "logistics hell. Tesla executives have said the company should be profitable in the second half of A Tesla spokesperson said the anecdotes employees shared about work in the tent are "misleading and do not reflect our manufacturing practices or what it's like to work at Tesla.
The spokesperson said many of the shortcuts described by employees, such as using electrical tape during assembly, are not approved procedures, and that cars are rigorously inspected before shipping. Tesla also said many of the parts used in the Model 3 come with electrical tape on them from suppliers, and showed CNBC photographs of some factory-taped parts.
The company said its first-pass yields at the Fremont, California, plant are higher than ever — a measurement that indicates Tesla is producing good cars and is scrapping or reworking fewer units than it did historically. Regarding working conditions in the tent, Tesla said, "We work hard to create a work environment that is as safe, fair and fun as possible, and it is incredibly important to us that employees look forward to coming to work every day. In fact, we have a large number of employees who request to work on GA4 based on what they hear from colleagues and what they have seen first-hand.
Tesla assembles some of its Model 3s in a tent, known as GA4 "general assembly 4" in Fremont. Built in spring , it was supposed to be a temporary measure. The idea was to run the tent mostly on manual labor while Tesla perfected its automated factory lines indoors in what's called "the brick.
Workers told CNBC that GA4 is now able to produce up to cars per shift, across three shifts per day, amounting to 2, Model 3s in a perfect six-day week, or around 30, per quarter assuming maximum rates of production.
While the tented line does not crank out the majority of Tesla's Model 3s, it still adds significant volume. When Model 3 lines inside the Fremont factory go down, workers in the tent can stay productive. That's important to Tesla, given its history of over-automation and missed targets. In the tent, Model 3s are put together using manual labor and power tools, lifts and conveyors, but not with any of the sophisticated robotics Tesla uses on the indoor assembly lines.
Workers say they do one process at their station repeatedly, usually walking along the line with the car until they're done. Carlos Aranda was a former lead production associate who worked in GA4.
Correspondence shared with CNBC shows he resigned from Tesla on June 24, following months of medical leave stemming from injuries he says he sustained on the job. Tesla claims he was fired for a Twitter post that went against its Workplace Violence Policy, but provided no record of the offending tweet prior to publication, and the separation papers Aranda shared with CNBC do not mention a tweet.
After publication, Tesla pointed to a tweet in which Aranda said, "I am so sick of tesla giving me the run around. I am about to quit and burn them to the ground. With what i know i can put a big monkey wrench in the works. She says she was dismissed on June 11 for using her phone during a shift to book health appointments after an injury. Both the Arandas previously worked on indoor assembly lines at the factory.
Six current and former employees supported their accounts of work in GA4 but asked to remain unidentified. These people said that while work in GA4 is physically demanding, many people like working there because the atmosphere is good and camaraderie is strong.
They said they can listen to music while they work, with a supervisor's approval, and don't always have to wear a uniform. At the same time, workers were encouraged to take shortcuts to hit their production goals in the tent, according to five people who work or worked there recently.
For example, when it's cold in the tent, workers tend to break a high number of plastic brackets and housings that hold critical electronics in place inside of the Model 3, according to four of these people.
Rather than waiting for replenishment teams to deliver boxes of new plastic parts to their stations in GA4, they said, supervisors told workers to use vinyl electrical tape to make quick fixes. Carlos Aranda says he personally visited Walmart multiple times to buy the tape and other items for production associates. For instance, this photo shows tape applied to a segment of a white plastic housing where it holds "triple cam" connections in place inside of a Model 3.
The Arandas said the edge of this plastic housing piece would frequently crack during installation, and tape was often applied here to hold down the resulting, hinge-like flap. Installed in the windshield of a Model 3, a "triple cam" holds three cameras that allow the vehicle to see the road, traffic lights, lane markings and obstacles ahead.
If triple cam connections loosen or break, some of Tesla's safety features — like Sentry mode, AutoPilot, automatic emergency braking or full self-driving — may fail, the Arandas said. The car should then give drivers an alert that AutoPilot is no longer engaged, and the car needs service. Tesla said many of the parts they use in the Model 3 come with electrical tape on them from suppliers, and showed CNBC photographs of some factory-taped parts.
Current and former GA4 workers acknowledged this, too. However, they made a distinction — the GA4 workers use tape to fix housings or brackets with cracks or to stop parts from vibrating in the car if they aren't snapped or fastened in perfectly. That's not the same as "factory tape," they said. Factory tape is high-quality and looks as if it's shrink-wrapped on a part, always in the same place. Much of it is wound carefully around bundles of cables and wires in a perfect spiral.
The tape that workers would apply in a Model 3 typically has hastily cut or torn ends and varies in placement. A Tesla spokesperson says the company hasn't found evidence of electrical tape being used to make quick fixes in GA4, and would never officially condone or encourage it.
The company also emphasized that its cars go through rigorous quality inspections before they leave the factory. A former Tesla technician, who worked in the tent on Model 3s and asked to remain unidentified, analyzed photos from GA4 that were shared with CNBC by current and former employees. This person said Tesla's vehicle engineers would probably not appreciate that Model 3s were being assembled with this cheap vinyl electrical tape, and any processes allowing prodigious use of the tape during assembly should be reevaluated.
The technician also emphasized that the Tesla Model 3 is an ideal electric vehicle — as long as it's built exactly to spec. Five people who work or worked in the tent in said they would frequently pass cars down the line that they knew were missing a few bolts, nuts or lugs, all in the name of saving time. In the tent, most workers have just a couple of minutes to complete a process. If a small item was missing, or a bolt was not torqued in perfectly, they would rather keep cars moving than stop the line and be seen as a bottleneck to production, they said.
In particular, these people said, aeroshields are often missing a middle bolt, and loose connections in body controllers are a common issue. For example, this photo shows the power supply for a distribution block in the front right vehicle controller in a Model 3. A nut is missing that should be there to secure electrical connections. Wires in this part of the car go to the touchscreen, car computer, door latches and window regulators on the right hand side of the Model 3, while the red cable distributes power into the systems on the right hand side.
Although it's a low-voltage connection, if it's not properly secured, it can heat up and cause problems, the former Tesla technician said. Model 3s with loose connections can be hard to detect during inspections, the ex-technician and factory workers said. Tesla said the company "has a robust quality assurance team that reviews each vehicle at the end of the GA4 assembly line to ensure every car was built correctly and is perfect before it leaves our factory to go to customers. Current and former employees also said Tesla reduced "water testing" on cars as the company began ramping up production of Model 3s.
In a water test, a vehicle goes into a booth where jets blast it with water from all different directions. Any leaks in the seals are immediately found and fixed. The tests take about 10 minutes each. In late , Tesla changed its policy and now only conducts sample testing for water leaks on Model 3s.
Since then, if workers see an issue with the urethane seals around a Model 3 glass roof, for example, they can request a water test. But many in GA4 are hesitant to make that request because of time pressure and a lack of experience or training that they need to identify flaws, a current associate said.
A Tesla spokesperson said the company is not aware of any instances where workers were told not to do water testing because that may slow production. The company says it encourages employees to identify opportunities for improvement, and engage all appropriate teams to evaluate potential risks and identify possible solutions. In addition, six current and prior employees said, workers often violated a rule that cars should only be driven in "factory mode," which now limits speed to 10 mph.
Workers would sneak freshly built Model 3s out of factory mode to zip them over to a camera calibration station or "cam cal" , which was located far away from the GA4 tent. That station has since been moved closer to the tent. Mike Ramsey , senior automotive research director at Gartner, said that even before Tesla put a Model 3 assembly line in a tent, it had a "ship-it-now, fix-it-later" mentality inspired by software patching.
Tesla's focus, instead, has been to exceed expectations in other areas like brand, vehicle acceleration or charging, he said. While Tesla has been successful with those efforts, he said: "Every time a car rolls off the lot and a piece of trim falls off, or an electrical system is failing after a month, it undermines the brand. That customer is not likely to buy another Tesla.
Ramsey also said, "The idea that you would not stop the line, and would patch something with spit and bailing wire — OK, not literally that, but close to it — almost certainly injects quality issues down the road that they are going to have to fix. Six current and recent Tesla employees said GA4 workers have repeatedly asked Tesla's environmental health and safety teams to help with cold temperatures overnight, sweltering heat during the days, and pests — including mice and bugs — in the tent.
Tesla installed big fans in GA4 to distribute heat and circulate air. However they are not on consistently, these people said, and usually don't make a big difference. Tesla said its environmental health and safety team monitors temperatures to ensure they are within a comfortable range for the safety of employees, production equipment and car parts.
They also said they provide temperature controls like cool fans, hydration, rest breaks and heat stress awareness training to employees.
On Nov. Tesla did not proactively distribute respirator masks to GA4 workers in the first few days after the Camp Fire began. Workers had to request the masks, according to internal correspondence shared with CNBC. Inside the building portion of the factory they had HVAC and good air flow, but tent workers were stuck, said Maggie Aranda, and they did not get time off due to the smoke.
Tesla says it offered air filter masks who those who wanted them and provided face masks every day as a precautionary measure. When conditions turn cold and wet, other problems arise. For instance, this photo shows rain seeping into the tented roof at GA4. Employees wear layers, and big coats that can impede their movement. Supervisors distribute disposable hand-warming packets that workers slip into their gloves or tape to their bodies.
Tesla provided big red jackets for GA4 workers last year, but stopped distributing them by early , according to several current and former employees.
Find out how Daimler Trucks powered up a digital transformation in its Portland connected factory. Automotive manufacturers can dramatically boost agility and mitigate risk by applying an intelligent, converged network approach to their processes. Benteler Automotive makes production efficient with help from Cisco partners and the industrial IoT. Manage cybersecurity risk and compliance requirements in your industrial automation environments.
Automotive industry in Malaysia
Learn More. According to consumer research, our customers want it all — better mileage, cleaner and safer technologies and affordable new vehicles. While we continue urging all stakeholders to work together toward a national program for fuel economy standards, automakers have our own roadmap to move forward while continuing to meet the needs and expectations of consumers. Continue increasing fuel economy — year after year — to provide our customers with more energy-efficient vehicles with greater emissions reductions and the latest safety technologies. Your Searches. Popular Economy autonomous manufacturing awareness cars move. Featured How many auto jobs are in your state?
His research has focussed for thirty-five years on automation and robotics in building construction, from the planning, prefabrication, on-site production and utilization phases to the reorganization and deconstruction of a building. He is a member of several boards of directors of international associations and is a member of several international academies in Europe, the Americas and Asia. He consulted several international ministries and evaluates research projects for various international funding institutions. He holds honorary doctor and professorship degrees. Professor Bock serves on several editorial boards, heads various working commissions and groups of international research organizations, and has authored or coauthored more than four hundred articles. Thomas Linner is a postdoctoral researcher in building realization and robotics and a research associate at Technische Universitt Mnchen TUM. He completed his dissertation Dr.
While this may sound like science fiction, these kinds of factories have been a reality for more than 15 years. To imagine a world where robots do all the physical work, one simply needs to look at the most ambitious and technology-laden factories of today. In June , the Chinese e-commerce giant JD. Without robots, it would take as many as workers to fully staff this 40K square foot warehouse — instead, the factory requires only five technicians to service the machines and keep them working. To answer this, we took a deep dive into 8 different steps of the manufacturing process, to see how they are starting to change:. Despite representing The timelines and technologies will vary by sector, but most steps in nearly every vertical will see improvement. From drug production to industrial design, the planning stage is crucial for mass-production. Across industries, designers, chemists, and engineers are constantly hypothesis testing. Will this design look right?
Cisco Automotive Solutions
Highly technologically developed industrial sectors such as the automotive and mechanical and plant engineering sectors are almost entirely automated, but are nonetheless facing unprecedented pressure to transform. They must redefine their products and business models within the scope of digitalization and further optimize their development, production, and logistics processes. It used to be the case in manufacturing companies that design, development, manufacturing, logistics, and after-sales services were largely separate areas.
In Henry Ford began production of the Model T automobile. Based on his original Model A design first manufactured in , the Model T took five years to develop. Its creation inaugurated what we know today as the mass production assembly line. This revolutionary idea was based on the concept of simply assembling interchangeable component parts. Prior to this time, coaches and buggies had been hand-built in small numbers by specialized craftspeople who rarely duplicated any particular unit. Ford's innovative design reduced the number of parts needed as well as the number of skilled fitters who had always formed the bulk of the assembly operation, giving Ford a tremendous advantage over his competition. Ford's first venture into automobile assembly with the Model A involved setting up assembly stands on which the whole vehicle was built, usually by a single assembler who fit an entire section of the car together in one place. This person performed the same activity over and over at his stationary assembly stand. To provide for more efficiency, Ford had parts delivered as needed to each work station.
What does the smart factory revolution in automotive manufacturing mean for dimensional metrology?
United States. Confirm your country or area to access relevant pricing, special offers, events, and contact information. Electronics are creating smarter automobiles capable of detecting and alerting drivers to any fault. Keysight provides a comprehensive range of functional test solutions for automotive electronics to help you cut down on product development and manufacturing lifecycle time. Keysight offers one of the broadest set of in-circuit test ICT and boundary scan test solutions for automotive electronics manufacturers. You need to test the electrical integrity of increasingly shrinking and complex assembled printed circuit boards.
Manufacturing: From Past to Present
We talk to a lot of different manufacturers whom generally fall into two broad categories: The discrete manufacturers that make things and the process manufacturers that make stuff. Discrete manufacturers make things that can be counted and itemized, and often require assembly.
Smart Factory with Industry 4.0
Signing up enhances your TCE experience with the ability to save items to your personal reading list, and access the interactive map. The automotive industry includes the production of cars and car parts.
Automotive Manufacturing Test
In , a total of Each of these vehicles requires a vast number of parts to function and operate. With over 30, parts found in a single car, motor vehicle manufacturers rely on key suppliers to assist in bringing these parts to market and to manufacturing assembly lines. The automotive parts manufacturing industry includes those companies primarily engaged in manufacturing motor vehicle parts.
The automotive industry in Malaysia consists of 27 vehicle producers and over component manufacturers. The automotive industry in Malaysia traces its origins back to the British colonial era. Ford Malaya became the first automobile assembly plant in Southeast Asia upon its establishment in Singapore in