Factory ZERO Becomes First US Auto Plant to Install 5G Technology

General Motors has announced that its Factory ZERO has become the first automotive plant in the U.S. to install dedicated 5G fixed mobile network technology.

Formerly the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center, Factory ZERO is being completely retooled to make electric vehicles. Representing a $2.2 billion investment, the plant is set to assemble the GMC Hummer EV and Cruise Origin later this year.

Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband service is operating at the factory. The benefits of 5G in an assembly plant include reliability, speed and scale. The technology’s high bandwidth will enable engineers to manage and monitor thousands of connected devices across more than 4 million square feet of space.

“Factory ZERO’s new 5G connection will transmit critical application data securely and quickly for our manufacturing team,” says Randy Mott, GM executive vice president and chief information officer.


Auto Workers Succumb to COVID-19

Two workers from FCA’s truck assembly plant in Warren, MI, died in December from COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, six workers from the plant have died from the disease, though it’s unclear where they contracted the virus.

The news follows the death in November of a forklift operator who worked at FCA’s assembly plant in Sterling Heights, MI.

“Based on our aggressive contact tracing protocols, we believe that these positive cases did not come from exposure inside the plants,” FCA said in a statement. “In fact, one of the Warren Truck employees had not been in the plant since June, when it shut down for retooling.”

As of Dec. 11, 2020, 10,900 people in Michigan have died from COVID, the ninth highest total of any state.


Robotic System Assembles EGR Valve

Systems integrator JR Automation of Holland, MI, recently designed and built a robotic line to assemble EGR valves.

Consisting of 12 stations, the line includes a rotary indexing table, 14 robots, a laser welder, an ultrasonic welder, an automatic screwdriving system, vision systems, a leak tester and a hydropneumatic press. The latter is equipped with force and distance sensors to accurately insert a bearing into the valve body. One of the robots is equipped with a force-compliant gripper to assemble and mesh gears inside the valve.


Hyundai Supplier Plans $240 Million Assembly Plant in Georgia

A South Korean auto parts supplier will invest more than $240 million to build a transmission assembly plant in West Point, GA.

Hyundai Transys plans to build the new plant next to its existing factory in West Point, which is also home to Kia Motors’ assembly plant. Both Kia and Hyundai Transys are part of Hyundai Motor Group, the Korean conglomerate that sells cars under the Kia and Hyundai brands.

The new Hyundai Transys plant will build eight-speed transmissions. The 620,000-square-foot plant is expected to create 165 new jobs.


Number of cars sold in the first nine months of 2020, an 18 percent decrease compared with the same period in 2019