Kuka is apparently rather pleased with itself for having helped produce 2 million Jeep Wranglers.
A few days ago, the Kuka Toledo Production Operations celebrated the completion of its two millionth Jeep Wrangler body-in-white.
Kuka says it’s “the latest milestone in a stellar history that has seen this unique plant rank consistently among the quality and productivity leaders in the North American automotive industry”.
KTPO, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuka Systems North America, started operations in 2006, and since that time, it has built the body-in-white of all Jeep Wranglers sold worldwide – both two-door and four-door models.
The company says it took seven years for KTPO to build the first million, but only four years to make the second million, as it expanded output to keep up with growing global demand for the iconic Wrangler.
Larry Drake, CEO of Kuka Systems Group, says: “KTPO has been a tremendous story for Kuka, a study in technical excellence and ambition, complemented by a strong commitment to the venture’s continued success by all involved, especially our Toledo staff.
“It’s a platform for implementing Kuka innovation and best practices that attracts visitors from around the world to understand how this works so well on multiple levels.”
With a fleet of 259 robots, KTPO produces the unpainted vehicle body – 828 per day, or one every 77 seconds, over three daily shifts – in the 330,000-sq ft body shop.
Following a trip through the paint shop, the KTPO bodies are then mated to the chassis frame during final assembly at the Toledo Assembly Complex.
Assembling the body-in-white involves welding the underbody, windshield and closures together, which enables Kuka Systems to showcase its best-in-class, automated metal joining technologies used in automotive assembly plants worldwide.
The plant’s robotic fleet and 60,000 other inputs are linked to a “powerful back-end digital monitoring system and a master data management system”, says Kuka.
This networking of production processes has evolved into an intelligent lifecycle management platform designed to Industry 4.0 principles.
The fully digitized solution controls and monitors the entire value chain in real time, from receipt of materials to the actual production processes and goods dispatch. It also identifies bottlenecks and optimizes capacity utilization.