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How Cars Are Manufactured And How That Will Change

When you’ve seen cars assembled, that’s only the final step of their production process. Before that, each of its components must be manufactured. Most of them are made using machining processes. Many different technologies are involved with the final production of a car. And, there’s constant change happening in the industry.

Chassis Construction

At the assembly plant, a car is built from the ground up. Usually, plants start by assembling the chassis. Each of its components starts off as raw material. Most of the time, materials are processed at a machining plant. Planing tools create the large, flat surface of the hood. Boring tools create spots for things to be inserted along with the frame. Once the final parts arrive at the plant, they’re placed on a line. The suspension system, axles, and driveshafts are all put into place at this point in the process.


Body Production

The flooring component welds onto the assembled frame. Then, the vehicle’s shell is assembled around the rest of it. Each quarter panel is welded onto it as well. The door pillars, roof, and side panels follow a similar process. Most of this is handled by robots. These can place components with incredibly precise tolerance levels. Most of the time, they’re able to place them within 0.001 of an inch.

Then, the vehicle exits the welding area. At this point, several fully-assembled components are put onto the car. These include the fender, hood, and doors. Workers handle most of this using pneumatic tools. Robots don’t usually handle the bolted-on components of an automobile. However, this could change in the near future. Soon, robots should be able to handle nearly the whole production process.


Paint Application

Before painting a vehicle, the assembled frame must be inspected. After passing the inspection process, it’ll be sent further down the assembly line. It enters a cleaning room to fully sanitize the frame’s surface. Then, it’s sent into a drying room to remove any remaining moisture. At that point, the actual painting can begin. First, an electrostatically charged coat of paint is applied to the underbody.

The electrostatic coat has to dry before the rest of the paint can go on. Spraying robots coat the rest of the vehicle with its wet coat. Finally, a clear coat goes on top of that. The painted body goes into a baking chamber to finish the process. There, the paint is dried completely in just a few minutes.


Interior Components

Low volume injection molding services are used for most of the interior. Injection molding allows the creation of precision plastics. Once the plastics have been made, they’re sent to the assembly plant.

Actual workers put the interior components into place inside of the vehicle. This involved handling each of the components by hand. Most of the vehicle’s electronics are assembled using a similar process. That includes the radio, instrumentation, and interior lighting as well.


Trim Components

The final steps of the automobile production process are mostly handled by humans. Some of it is still assisted by robots, though. For example, a suction bot takes the windshield out of a box. Then, it places it onto the assembled frame. Workers make sure it’s secured onto the vehicle.

Weatherstripping is also usually handled by humans. This is applied around all the vehicle’s seals. Finally, the batteries are placed inside the vehicle’s engine bay. Tires get mounted onto the wheels, too. There’s still one more step in the production process before it’s done.


Combining Parts

Up to this point, the car’s shell and frame have been separate. At the end of the assembly line, it’s lifted off the conveyor belt. Both components are mated by human workers. Then, they’ll perform a systems check of the final vehicle. This is where they’ll test the engine and electronics.


The Automobile Manufacturing Process

Automobile assembly is a highly intricate process. Robots and humans work together to create the final product. Before any of that happens, each of the components must be sent to the assembly plant. Components are made in a variety of places. Many of them are created domestically at machining shops, too.

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