smart Hits 1.5 million
“1.5 million smart fortwo vehicles underline the uniquely compact smart’s success as a city car,” said Dr. Annette Winkler, head of smart earlier this week, on the occasion of the smart plant in Hambach, France, producing its 1.5-millionth fourtwo, an electric drive cabrio.
The plant has been building smart fortwos since 1998, which means about 100,000 units per year.
There are some 1,500 people working in “smartville,” or 800 smart France employees and the balance at the seven supplier companies that are on the site. The assembly line is in a plus (+) configuration to facilitate providing modules to the line for vehicle build.
After building that landmark vehicle, production is being suspended at the facility for a couple months because they are undertaking a massive, more than €200-million expansion and modification. They will be spending some €50-million alone on a new paint shop, replacing the powder-based system with a liquid-based system that meets the Daimler Group environmental standard for passenger car plants.
The smart fourtwo is sold in 46 markets. The top three markets for the diminutive car (it is 98 in. long, 59.6 in. wide, and 60.9 in. high) are Germany, Italy and China, presumably three places where parking is at a premium.
Here's an overview of the study of assembly plant productivity that gets the undivided attention of all automakers: "The Harbour Report." Although the Big Three companies are getting better, they still have a way to go. But given the levels of competition, better won't be good enough for some plants, it seems.
Additive manufacturing (AM) is just one manufacturing method that drives advanced mobility forward and also has a history of embracing the digital connectivity demanded by this trend.
Topology optimization cuts part development time and costs, material consumption, and product weight. And it works with additive, subtractive, and all other types of manufacturing processes, too.