Manufacturing

General Motors announces investments in plants, 3D printing facility, GM Defense center

The new Additive Industrialization Center will be home to GM's 3D printing efforts.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

General Motors is in the midst of making a number of announcements regarding facility openings and investments. The latest news reveals that a new facility dedicated to 3D printing has just opened in Michigan; two GM engine plants, one in New York and another in Ohio, are getting upgrades; and subsidiary GM Defense is renovating a center in North Carolina for production.

Additive Industrialization Center

The 15,000-square-foot Additive Industrialization Center (AIC) has opened in Warren, Michigan. The center is new from the ground up and dedicated to the production of 3D parts that will be used throughout the GM lineup. GM is calling the center the "capstone" of their expertise.

"The core component of GM's transformation is becoming a more agile, innovative company, and 3D printing will play a critical role in that mission," said Audley Brown, GM director of Additive Design and Materials Engineering. "Compared to traditional processes, 3D printing can produce parts in a matter of days versus weeks or months at a significantly lower cost."

Inside the facility are 24 3D printers, which create polymer and metal solutions. Machines inside AIC are able to conduct selective laser sintering, selective laser melting, Multi-Jet Fusion, and fused deposition modeling. These technologies will be used to validate various applications for the parts in future vehicles, such as the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing. Chevrolet's race cars have also been trying out the parts.

Additionally, AIC is using the tech to create parts for retooling GM's production facilities. For the launch of the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and Cadillac Escalade, GM"s 3D printing team printed nearly 100 hand tools. Normally, these tools would be made of aluminum and weight 10 to 40 pounds each. The new designs, printed using carbon fiber, weigh as little as three pounds and have

$76 million plant investment

General Motors engine plant Tonawanda New York Buffalo

The GM Tonawanda powertrain plant produces a number of engines for GM's trucks and SUVs.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

GM plans to invest $70 million into its Tonawanda, New York engine plant and over $6 million into its Parma, Ohio metal stamping plant. These manufacturing-related investments are being made to support demand for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks.

The Tonawanda investment will be used to increase capacity on the engine block machining line and the Parma investment will be used to construct four new metal assembly cells to support increased truck production volumes.

GM's New York plant currently produces the 4.3-liter V6, 5.3-liter V8, and 6.2-liter V8 family of engines for the Chevrolet Silverado, Suburban, and Tahoe; GMC Yukon and Yukon Denali; and Cadillac Escalade. It also builds the 6.6-liter V8 for Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD pickups. The SUV models have all been completely redesigned for the 2021 model year, a move that is likely to spur increased sales in the model line.

The Tonawanda engine plant is home to approximately 1,300 employees. The plant's hourly workforce is represented by UAW Local 774.

Ohio's Parma Metal Center processes over 800 tons of steel per day and services and supports approximately 35 customers, including the majority of General Motors North America produced vehicles. The plant is capable of producing up to 100 million parts per year.

The plant employs approximately 1,000 employees. Hourly employees are represented by UAW Local 1005.

GM Defense renovates North Carolina technical center

GM Defense Concord North Carolina

GM is repurposing its Technical Center in North Carolina.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

GM Defense LLC, a subsidiary of General Motors, has begun renovations of an existing GM building in Concord, North Carolina to support the production of the Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV). The company recently showed off the vehicle, which was part of the contract to create an agile all-terrain troop carrier. GM Defense won the $214.3 million contract for the production of the vehicles from the U.S. Army in June 2020 and the first ISV was delivered in October.

Construction at the 75,000-square-foot facility is expected to continue into early spring, with vehicle deliveries expected to begin in April. The facility will help to manufacture 649 ISVs and will support the production of up to 2,065 vehicles with additional authorization over eight years.

The location of the facility puts it near Hendrick Motorsports, which is already a Chevrolet partner for its various racing teams. Hendrick Motorsports is responsible for providing the chrome-moly steel exoskeleton of the vehicle frame, including the ISV ROPS system.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Rolls-Royce Dusk in Tokyo collection features unique accents.

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Nearly every aesthetic aspect of a Rolls-Royce can be customized. From traditional leather choices to intricate inlays, vapor blasted titanium, and million-stitch embroidery, the options for owners from the Bespoke side of the brand are nearly endless.

"The Bespoke Collective scaled new heights of greatness in 2020 – that they did so against the backdrop of numerous, unprecedented constraints and challenges makes their accomplishments even more impressive," said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. "Never before have we seen such levels of Bespoke detailing in each commission, demonstrating that Rolls-Royce clients around the world have sought solace in creativity – commissioning introspective items of luxury that will stand the test of time to become lasting and poignant legacies."

Here, AutomotiveMap takes a closer look at some of the most intricate designs that the luxury automaker crafted in 2020. Click here to see their hits list from 2019.

Dusk in Tokyo

Rolls-Royce Dusk in Tokyo interior

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The 'Dusk in Tokyo Collection' is comprised of a Phantom, Wraith, Dawn, and Cullinan that celebrate the life and culture of Japan's capital city. Each model features a z complex, multi-faceted white paint, eponymously named 'Dusk in Tokyo', that is reminiscent of high-rise glass and concrete buildings bathed in the warm light of early dusk. The paint contains aluminum and mica flakes that create subtle tones in low light.

The Black Leather interior, punctuated by Rose Gold Bespoke Audio grilles and on Phantom, the fascia's Rose Gold clock case, is meant as a contrast, just as the long shadows of the city's call buildings cast on the ground below them.

At the cars' face is the Spirit of Ecstasy, presented in Rose Gold for the first time in Japan, representing the setting of the sun.

The Steed Phantom Extended

Rolls-Royce Phantom Steed Extended

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

This horse-themed Phantom features complex bespoke embroidery that embellishes the interior rear doors. The design was developed from a sketch presented to the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Design Collective, by a Chinese client with a very clear vision.

Neon Nights Color Trilogy

Rolls-Royce Neon Nights Trilogy

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The new Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective collection featured a limited run of four of each color Dawn, Wraith, and Cullinan models. Each is colored with a hue inspired by the natural world. Read more about these models here.

Phantom 'Iridescent Opulence'

Rolls Royce Iridescent Opulemnce

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

This Phantom includes artwork that originally debuted as a concept in 2017. It was created in partnership with a Swiss materials specialist with the result being a gallery that houses over 3,000 sustainably sourced iridescent tail feathers. These feathers have been hand-sewn in to the open pore fabric. A Mother of Pearl casing surrounds the clock at the heart of the Gallery while bespoke embroidery at the rear waterfall and silver inlays on the picnic tables complete the design.

Wraith 'Inspired by Earth'

Rolls-Royce Wraith Inspired by Earth

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The Earth gave the design team the inspiration for this solar system-themed Wraith. The one-of-a-kind model was showcased earlier this year here on AutomotiveMap.

Wraith Kryptos Collection

Rolls-Royce Wraith Kryptos Collection Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The Wraith Kryptos Collection comes complete with its own cipher that is concealed in the cars' bespoke detailing. Just 50 models were commissioned as part of the series. AutomotiveMap took a closer look at the vehicles here earlier this year.

The Mahlangu Phantom

Rolls-Royce The Mahlangu Phantom

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

A South African client commissioned the bespoke model to display a highly personal work of art from globally celebrated South African artist, Dr Esther Mahlangu. Dr Mahlangu, a national icon in Africa from the Ndebele region, was the first artist to create an artwork in this way and the motor car was named 'The Mahlangu Phantom' in her honor. Positioned front and centre in the Phantom's interior, the one-of-a-kind commission is a striking display.

Cullinan Spirt of Russia Collection

Rolls-Royce Cullinan Spirit of Russia

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Four Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUVs were created and dedicated to Russian mountains: Elbrus, Krasnaya Polyana, Golden Mountains, and Klyuchevskaya Sopka. The exteriors of the models are painted Iced Black Diamond, Iced Gunmetal Steel, Midnight Sapphire Blue and Premiere Silver - colors chosen because they are reminiscent of the frosty peaks. Inside each, a map of Russia is on the starlight headliner while mountain peaks are embroidered on the headrests. The engraved sill plates of each car bear an inscription naming the mountain region that inspired its design, as well as the height of the highest peak in each region.

Dawn Silver Bullet Collection

Rolls-Royce Dawn Silver Bullet Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The Dawn Silver Bullet Collection features an ultra-metallic paint job and unique aero cowling. Click here to read more about the car.

Sportive Collection

Rolls-Royce Sportive Collection

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

A Collection of two Black Badge Dawns and nine Black Badge Wraiths were commissioned for the United Arab Emirates. The group features bold color combinations and technical fibers that intertwine to create vibrancy. Each has a hand-painted coastline. They also features woven-leather door panniers and engraved bespoke audio frets.

Arctic White and Hotspur Red Phantom

Rolls-Royce Hotspur Phantom

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

An Arctic White exterior paint job with a double pinstripe in Hotspur Red is just the beginning of this model. The red continues inside where the lambswool floor mats, privacy curtains, and luggage compartment are completed in the color. The 'Lakeshore Aurora' Gallery is designed and created by the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective.

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Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 delivers new safety and driver assistance tech to the company's 2021 model lineup.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has made public a list of proposed upgrades to the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). NCAP testing addresses the crashworthiness of a vehicle as well as the vehicle's headlight functionality. These new proposed measures go even further, putting driver assistance and safety technology to the test.

Automakers often strive to achieve the highest score possible in NCAP testing, wearing their five-start safety ratings and Top Pick designations as badges of honor in marketing campaigns.

"Thanks in part to NCAP, new vehicles today are much safer than a generation ago," said NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens. "Even so, there are still too many fatalities and serious injuries in crashes every year, so it is critical that vehicles keep getting safer in the future, and a modernized NCAP will better enable American families to select vehicles with the safety features they want."

The immediate planned update to NCAP testing includes four advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS): lane keeping support, pedestrian automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, and blind spot intervention. Engineers have designed these four specific technologies to mitigate high-frequency and high-risk crash types.

NHTSA is currently seeking public input on how best to develop a rating system for ADAS technologies.

"These upgrades will make NCAP more dynamic," Deputy Administrator Owens said. "American car buyers want safety, and NHTSA wants to empower them with comparative safety information about vehicles in the market. This information creates powerful market-based incentives for automakers to invest in advanced safety technologies that will save lives and prevent injuries."

The NHTSA began testing vehicles in 1978. The first tests examined frontal impact protection and used data from crash test dummies. The five-star safety rating system was established in 1993 and have been steadily increasing the scope of the testing over the last two decades.

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