Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Features Factory
Acura moves NSX specialty car production to Ohio


March 17, 2016
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Mar. 17, 2016 – Acura announced today that the all-new Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) in Marysville, Ohio, will begin full production of the next-generation Acura NSX specialty car in late April, with customer deliveries to commence thereafter. It will make 800 per year for global shipment.

According to the automaker, this will be the first time in the car’s 27-year history that it will be made outside of Japan.

Boasting a combination of “human craftsmanship and technological innovation,” the PMC employs roughly 100 associates that support and are directly engaged in body construction, painting, final assembly and quality confirmation, working in concert with robotics to build the NSX to the “highest levels of quality and craftsmanship.”

“All of the innovative thinking and hard work that has gone into the creation of this state-of-the-art manufacturing facility has fulfilled our goal to build a supercar in America,” said Clement D’Souza, the engineering large project leader of the PMC, who managed the creation of the facility. “The incredible passion and challenging spirit of our highly skilled associates enabled us to develop and build a new supercar factory from the ground up simultaneously with the ground up creation of an incredible new supercar in the Acura NSX.”

Complementary production of the NSX’s 75-degree, twin turbocharged V-6 engine takes place at the company’s nearby Anna, Ohio, engine plant.

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Honda’s decision to build the Acura specialty car in North America is a conscious decision to tap the U.S. market and distinguish itself from European competitors, said D’Souza.

Significant portions of the welding, painting and assembly work are completed by highly specialized robots, one nicknamed the T-Rex.

“We have questioned everything,” said Doug Duff, who handles vehicle quality testing at the centre. “By questioning everything we have done, it’s led to a lot of new ideas.” That includes 21 U.S. patent applications associated with the manufacturing process.

The facility has been operating four, 10-hour shifts a week as ramps up to a full production schedule of 8 to 10 cars daily.

Additional details of the manufacturing processes at the PMC and Anna Engine Plant, include:

• 360-degree-rotating rotisserie-style body fixtures promise to aid precision by turning the body during the process to provide “optimal access” for the robotic weld arms.
• The multi-material space frame is created with 100-per-cent robotic MIG welding, which Acura says is an automobile industry first. Eight weld robots apply 860 MIG welds to the space frame, boasting “precise and repeatable welds and a highly accurate body.”
• Weld technicians visually inspect and take measurements of each part and at every stage of the welding process to validate the quality, precision and dimensional accuracy of the space frame.
• Manufacturing technicians spend more than 14 hours assembling the NSX powertrain, suspension, electronics, interior components and exterior body panels. Visual operations standards aid technicians in ensuring that each process is performed to established requirements.
• Critical bolts on the NSX are hand started by a PMC technician and tightened to precise tolerances using wirelessly-enabled torque wrenches.
• All-glass quality confirmation centre that is centrally located within the plant. This allows technicians from every department to monitor all aspects of a vehicle as it moves through the entire production process, says the automaker.

— With files from Julie Carr Smyth, The Associated Press