4c were out in force last night at IMechE’s factory visit to Terex Motherwell, the birthplace of some of their notoriously gargantuan trucks. Aside from communicating and networking with fellow engineers the night provided an insight into a titan manufacturing operation which works to surprisingly tight deadlines and utilises stringent quality control measures.
Utilising specialised plasma and gas cutters thick metal plates are formed into ‘airfix’ type components that are tack welded together by hand before given a thorough going over by the world’s oldest welding robot. After grinding, the resultant parts have a near perfect finish which is astounding considering they will soon be thrashing around some of the most hazardous work environments known to man.
Component robustness is king in this industry as the trucks will often be used on a 24/7 basis to maximise production and provide a maximum return on investment. This results in some parts racking up a service life of over 3000 hours in the space of only 5 or 6 months. As Terex offer a 12 month bumper to bumper warranty, it is easy to understand why they enforce such rigorous quality control measures throughout their production process. Terex’s assembly process are backed up by a host of operations management procedures such as ‘kaizen’ and ‘lean’ to ensure that the right parts are in the right place and at the right time.
Testing and Transport
At the end of the line and after ensuring that each of its vehicles are as rugged as Chuck Norris on the onsite test track they are transported all over the world from the coal mines of Siberia to bridge building projects in South America. However, this can be a huge challenge in itself seen as these vehicles aren’t allowed to travel on roads and can often be going to places that truly define the term back and beyond!
This was a fantastic trip and gave a great opportunity to see some big trucks! Furthermore it was brilliant to see a big name heavy engineering company operating such a flourishing manufacturing base right here in the heart of Scotland. For more information on TEREX and “Scottish heavy metal” the discovery channel recently filed a fascinating documentary on their production process, well worth a gander!
In the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi – “these blast points are too accurate for sand people”