nick8086

REMEMBERING AN ERA

28 posts in this topic

Great story. Thanks for sharing.  I wonder what OSHA would say today about stacking the finished frames 40 feet high.

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I believe the building where this took place still stands, and is still in use.  Today Talgo refurbs rapid transit train cars there:

2725 West Hopkins Street, Milwaukee WI 53216   After spending millions of dollars to redevelop the former A.O. Smith Corp. complex on Milwaukee's north side, city officials are seeing the first signs of payback.

 

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Nick

 

Thanks for posting, very interesting.

Is there a video of this assembly line in operation?

I did some quick searching of  Google/You Tube including King Rose, but nothing came up.

Would love to see some footage of it in operation. Always have thoughts of 'how did they do that?' when it takes me an hour to replace one rivet.Not to mention I could sure use one of those step machines to straighten out a small kink in a side rail.

You would think there has to be something out there!

 

Brad

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This might be something to start with...

 

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Good video. Notice the drumming in the music sounded like a press.

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The biggest change is the number of employees.  In the current manufacturing environment one robot can displace maybe 1-5 humans on the line.  Where an assembly plant might have employed 5,000-7,000 Tesla says they employ only  3,000.  That is where many of the manufacturing jobs went.

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I agree with you completely Larry S.  When people complain about a loss of jobs due to regulations or foreign competition, they need to watch these two videos and read the AO Smith brochure.  

 

Automation is nothing new, from Henry Ford's assembly line, to AO Smith's frame factory, to the Tesla assembly line.  Manufacturers always strive to find more efficient (that is - less labor) means of building their products.  Throughout the process, fewer and fewer people are needed to produce more and better products.  

 

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Jacquard loom, 1801

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Posted (edited)

5 hours ago, Larry Schramm said:

The biggest change is the number of employees.  In the current manufacturing environment one robot can displace maybe 1-5 humans on the line.  Where an assembly plant might have employed 5,000-7,000 Tesla says they employ only  3,000.  That is where many of the manufacturing jobs went.

 

While you're right about robots displacing people, Tesla is the antithesis of an efficient, automated manufacturer. The have 6,200 people at Fremont building less then 100K cars. GM maxed out at about 6,800 workers at that plant, but they could build over 400K vehicles at that level.  

Edited by Buick64C (see edit history)
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I'm not sure about antithesis I think there is a substantial difference between building a car and assembling it.

If I'm not mistaken Tesla makes more of its own parts for the car in house as opposed to outsourcing parts from external suppliers and then simply assembling it. Might be a fairer comparison ( not sure to whom since I don't have the numbers) to look at the total of all employees producing all components of the car and the final assembly. They are also ramping up for new production so I'm not sure what point in time the people number refers to.

Either way, the robots have it in for us. To quote a popular musician , 'those jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back'

If you want a job, best learn how to fix the machine that builds the machine ....at least until they make a machine that does that as well!

 

What still amazes me watching the old videos was just how much automation they achieved with simple mechanical processes. I've seen the GM assembly line video before and watched it several times through. Always fascinating . Was hoping there was something similar for AO Smith.

 

Brad

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I remember when cars used to be made with quality, not technology and shiny crap. Driver Start used to be a key, no buttons. Consumerism is eating American passion for good ingenuity alive.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, bradsan said:

If I'm not mistaken Tesla makes more of its own parts for the car in house as opposed to outsourcing parts from external suppliers and then simply assembling it.

 

I think you are mistaken. Tesla is simply not efficient at making cars.  And remember, their cars lack the complexity of having an internal combustion engine, transmission and differential. Less moving parts should make it easier to build.

 

 

IMG_0553.PNG

Edited by Buick64C (see edit history)
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I am always amazed at the accuracy of these robots.

I suspect that there must be a lot of time setting them up and probably need labor keeping them accurate.

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Those big blue silos and liquid manure tanks you see on farms thruout the US are made by A.O. Smith.

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3 hours ago, Restorer32 said:

Those big blue silos and liquid manure tanks you see on farms thruout the US are made by A.O. Smith.

So are some of the 200 thru 500 gallon, multi-flue commercial water heaters.  And they do make smaller 65-100 gallon models.

 

Craig

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On ‎14‎/‎03‎/‎2017 at 10:08 AM, LarryP said:

I agree with you completely Larry S.  When people complain about a loss of jobs due to regulations or foreign competition, they need to watch these two videos and read the AO Smith brochure.  

 

Automation is nothing new, from Henry Ford's assembly line, to AO Smith's frame factory, to the Tesla assembly line.  Manufacturers always strive to find more efficient (that is - less labor) means of building their products.  Throughout the process, fewer and fewer people are needed to produce more and better products.  

 

Now watch Volkswagen Phaetons being assembled in Germany...  

Craig

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Glad to see they mentioned Peerless cars.

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2 hours ago, 8E45E said:

Now watch Volkswagen Phaetons being assembled in Germany...  

Craig

How many assembly workers did you see in the plant working on cars compared to a 1915 Ford plant. As for technology the moving floor and AGVs  are old technology as well as the monitored  torque guns. A GM Flex plant can run a car down a line with a pickup right behind it with a change in programing. The building is nice but I think the Spring Hill Tn. plant is better efficacy wise. Spring Hill is built below ground level to not take away from the country side is a better structure but not as much as a show piece. Spring Hill also has a storage silo for built body's and the plant was completed in 1988. As for the parts in a drawer now days parts are scheduled to the line in the similar format from a tier one supplier or scheduling warehouse. Anything that is new high teck  they are not going to show you and will not allow a camera on tour. I have seen paint plants built next to the factory that would have to be leveled after 25 years because of old technology and corrosion from the chemical's. Times they are a changing.   

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10 hours ago, Joe in Canada said:

How many assembly workers did you see in the plant working on cars compared to a 1915 Ford plant. As for technology the moving floor and AGVs  are old technology as well as the monitored  torque guns. A GM Flex plant can run a car down a line with a pickup right behind it with a change in programing. The building is nice but I think the Spring Hill Tn. plant is better efficacy wise. Spring Hill is built below ground level to not take away from the country side is a better structure but not as much as a show piece. Spring Hill also has a storage silo for built body's and the plant was completed in 1988. As for the parts in a drawer now days parts are scheduled to the line in the similar format from a tier one supplier or scheduling warehouse. Anything that is new high teck  they are not going to show you and will not allow a camera on tour. I have seen paint plants built next to the factory that would have to be leveled after 25 years because of old technology and corrosion from the chemical's. Times they are a changing.   

This video is TEN years old, already!  Therefore, the technology is OLD compared to the Tesla plant, et al.

 

VW did not build their flagship plant underground for a reason.  It also houses a museum, and showcases their most expensive car.  And its located in the center of the city of Dresden.  Through efficient use of the local public transportation system, they can deliver components without disrupting traffic, and at the same time, pays trackage fees to the city for the use of the line, offsetting the city's operating transit costs which usually run into a deficit. 

 

Perhaps the City of Detroit can learn from this by extending the People Mover track inside the Renn Cen, loading docks for Cadillac parts, and GM can started their own 'transparent factory' by assembling Cadillacs in full view!!

 

Craig

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6 hours ago, 8E45E said:

This video is TEN years old, already!  Therefore, the technology is OLD compared to the Tesla plant, et al.

 

VW did not build their flagship plant underground for a reason.  It also houses a museum, and showcases their most expensive car.  And its located in the center of the city of Dresden.  Through efficient use of the local public transportation system, they can deliver components without disrupting traffic, and at the same time, pays trackage fees to the city for the use of the line, offsetting the city's operating transit costs which usually run into a deficit. 

 

Perhaps the City of Detroit can learn from this by extending the People Mover track inside the Renn Cen, loading docks for Cadillac parts, and GM can started their own 'transparent factory' by assembling Cadillacs in full view!!

 

Craig

 

We really need to stop using Tesla as the benchmark for a "new" plant. They are inefficient and produce poor quality vehicles.

 

The VW plant is really fascinating, but I think it also a bad choice as a benchmark. I'd say it was more of a vanity project for Ferdinand Piëch (the former VW Chairman) and a branding exercise to elevate VW's stature. I would look to a Toyota plant to see what the state-of-the-art looks like.

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3 hours ago, Buick64C said:

 

We really need to stop using Tesla as the benchmark for a "new" plant. They are inefficient and produce poor quality vehicles.

 

The VW plant is really fascinating, but I think it also a bad choice as a benchmark. I'd say it was more of a vanity project for Ferdinand Piëch (the former VW Chairman) and a branding exercise to elevate VW's stature. I would look to a Toyota plant to see what the state-of-the-art looks like.

Nah....

 

I'll just take a trip to Malvern Link over in England and watch how cars are REALLY made!!!!  https://www.morgan-motor.co.uk/factorytours/

 

Might be the best two hours of your life.

 

Craig

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Morgan is a benchmark for any business.  They have kept control by keeping the company private.  They have done this (IMHO) by always financing themselves in house.  Never let a Bank or the public be involved in your business.  They may not be big in the global sense of the auto industry but I believe the family members have all the conveniences and none of the headaches of a publicly traded company.  Also they have never needed taxpayers money as a bailout.  Three cheers for the builders of the best true sports car in the world. 

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