FCA US started production of its newest stamping press at its plant in Warren, Michigan. The Company invested $63 million to bring the latest state-of-the-art stamping technology to the 65-year-old facility.
"The good news is that we needed to increase our stamping capacity because FCA keeps selling more cars and trucks,” FCA North America's Vice President of Manufacturing Brian Harlow, referencing the 69 straight months of year-over-years sales increases in the U.S. and the best year of sales in the 90-year history of FCA Canada.
"All of this is great for the Company, our workers and everyone associated with FCA. From the standpoint of our manufacturing operations, the new Servo Tandem line will help us meet this upsurge in demand,” he added.
According to the firm, the high-speed Servo Tandem Press technology (a 180-inch press line) is the first press of its kind at Warren Stamping and the only one currently in operation in the Company's North American stamping operations. Construction for the new press line began in the spring of 2014 and production launched in December 2015.
The new press line will increase capacity by up to 12,000 hits per day or approximately 3.6 million parts per year, company officials said. In addition to the new press, Warren Stamping also operates 12 major press lines and three large progressive press lines, bringing total plant capacity to nearly 84 million parts annually. More than 2,000 employees work at the plant.
The new Servo Tandem Press increases the output rate, reduces complexity of the press, and improves reliability and maintainability, while also reducing energy usage. The press's servo drive allows for 100 percent programmable control and movement of the ram speed at any position in the press stroke unlike a mechanical press that operates at a fixed speed.
Company officials said this advanced technology also allows for maximum flexibility by allowing die changes more frequently and more quickly, in about 4 minutes as compared to 20 minutes with older presses. The Tandem Press is multiple presses in line in series, under which a single die is positioned in each press to perform an incremental function to make the stamped part.
"Installing a new press line is always a major undertaking," said Harlow. "However, completing installation of this new press line while continuing to run the plant at peak capacity was an exceptional challenge and a tremendous accomplishment."