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Report: Factory problems limit Dodge Caliber production
Automotive News | 2:59 pm, July 25, 2006

Problems with body assembly robots are slowing production of the Dodge Caliber car at a time when dealers say demand is outstripping supply, according to a report in The Detroit News.

The robots at the Chrysler group's Belvidere, Ill., assembly plant are bumping into each other, according to the newspaper. When that happens, production at the plant is stopped. The length of the stoppages ranges from a few minutes to an hour or more, the paper said.

The plant uses about 780 robots made by ABB Ltd.

Chrysler spent $419 million to overhaul the plant last year, converting it from building the now discontinued Dodge Neon car. In addition to the Caliber, the plant has started building the Jeep Compass and this year will add production of the Jeep Patriot.

The plant is building about 800 vehicles a day, about 250 vehicles short of its goal. It is in the middle of adding a third production shift.
 

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I hope they resolve the problem quickly! Sounds like that ABB Ltd. needs to do some work in there...hmmm...wonder how long it will take for them to get the issue resolved?
 

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Like I posted in the other forum, maybe Dodge should get a specialist on these robots and shut the plant down for a weekend and figure out what the hell is going on and fix it. I'd rather have them take 2 days off and fix the problem than shutting the plant down everyday because the robots screw up. Its a short term loss for a long term gain.

It sounds like when the robots are working, they can really crank out some Calibers and Compasses so it would be greatly beneficial for them to do something like that IHMO.
 

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Shutting down the plant is not an option.... Do you realize how much it would cost them?? Working in the semiconductor industry, if a plant goes down for 1 day we are talking 100's of millions of dollars. best thing to do would be to take down one robot at a atime for maintenance.
 

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I am almost certain that Engineers from AAB are already on their way and/or on site. With any multi-million dollar robotics deal, if anything goes wrong they send engineers asap. From what I have read, it seems that the problem is occurring in the trim department and is holding up the rest of the process.

Shutting down an entire manufacturing line is very costly, somewhere in the tens of thousands of dollars per minute it stands idled. Growing pains from converting to a flexible manufacturing process I am afraid, I would expect this issue to be resolved shortly.

Dan
 

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calibur said:
Shutting down the plant is not an option.... Do you realize how much it would cost them?? Working in the semiconductor industry, if a plant goes down for 1 day we are talking 100's of millions of dollars. best thing to do would be to take down one robot at a atime for maintenance.
Do you know how much money its costing them now? Cars aren't being built, customers are getting pissed because it takes 4 months to make a car, TONS of bad PR. I think a couple of days down would cost them far less than keeping everything going like it is. The thing is, you can't build the car unless ALL robots are working! So you can't just take one robot down at a time. You'll lose just as much as shutting down the plant.

You can't compare a semiconductor company to a car company.
 

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orangecalibersxt said:
Do you know how much money its costing them now? Cars aren't being built, customers are getting pissed because it takes 4 months to make a car, TONS of bad PR. I think a couple of days down would cost them far less than keeping everything going like it is. The thing is, you can't build the car unless ALL robots are working! So you can't just take one robot down at a time. You'll lose just as much as shutting down the plant.

You can't compare a semiconductor company to a car company.
Let us not forget that FY07 hasn't even started yet. If it is taking awhile to build your car then consider it the price of having to have one right now. I don't think that this is bad PR at all. It is all about Supply and Demand. Consider when the Xbox360 came out and there was none to be had, it did nothing but increase the demand for the item. The same can be said about the Caliber. I know that lots of people are upset that it is taking their new car forever to be built, but only a few are dumping their orders.
 

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Haha the industries actually compare very well.... My WHOLE family is employed in one of the Big 3. 3 of which at chrysler. Shutting down production for 3 days at an average of 10k per minute would cost DCX roughly 43.2 million dollars. Why would you want to halt production on an entire line to fix a couple robots when you could take one tool down at a time and fix them individually. On most assembly lines there are multiple robots to do the same thing.... redundancy. If one robot goes down the production does not stop but it is lessened. Imagine if all of the automakers in the world each had 1 of each robot. How many cars would they produce each day?? You don't buy 1 tool and say it will have 100% uptime, you buy multiple tools so that if one goes down your line is not crippled. Also, what would happen if they did have one tool that went down, woudl all the line workers just take extra long coffee breaks and get paid for it? It is just stupid. If you are any major manufacturer you need redundancy, that is how you keep the process ramped.

They are still producing, just not at goals. 800 cars a day is better than 0.


Also, if DCX did spend that kind of money on robots from ABB they may have onsite engineers supplied by ABB incase the tool does go down.
 

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Xtreme Thunder said:
I hope they resolve the problem quickly! Sounds like that ABB Ltd. needs to do some work in there...hmmm...wonder how long it will take for them to get the issue resolved?
Damn those sweds! You know a old finnish saying: let the sweds try first and them do it yourself :)

Ps. Do you know what is the thinnest book of Sweden? Heroic battles of Sweden in WWII :)
 

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jatael said:
Damn those sweds! You know a old finnish saying: let the sweds try first and them do it yourself :)

Ps. Do you know what is the thinnest book of Sweden? Heroic battles of Sweden in WWII :)
Come on, lets not forget Sweden's contribution to mankind: the Swiss Army Knife. How do they fit all those tools into such a little thing? It blows the mind!:D
 

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SXTANDME said:
Come on, lets not forget Sweden's contribution to mankind: the Swiss Army Knife. How do they fit all those tools into such a little thing? It blows the mind!:D


Shouldn't this handy little tool come in blue with a yellow cross on it when it was invented by sweds?


Did the swed invent anything but blond wigs anyway?
 

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You are absolutely right:) And we have admire the Sweden next generation fighterplane Jas Gripen. See Jas in action in the middle of capital Stockholm :D http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0LBj_8xs_w&search=gripen

If they build their fighterplanes this good I wonder about the robots at plant...Fortunately we chose F-18 Hornets couple years ago ;) Russians almost laughed their asses of when we were thinking to buy those Jas Gripens (it would have been too easy for them to invade us:) ).
 

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After the ass kicking the Finns gave the Russians in the 1939 Winter War I doubt they would try again.
 

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Thanks xlimodriver:D

I hope that it was the last time we have to do that again...Nowadays we are friendly neighbors ;)
 

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Oh so in other words...they can shut the plant down to retool, for scheduled maintenance, and holidays, but not to fix a MAJOR, MAJOR issue with the robots which is hurting their sales and ruining their customer base? Thats f'in stupid if you ask me.

Its not about supply and demand. It has nothing to do with supply and demand if you ask me. First of all, there wouldn't be a supply and demand issue if they could actually make the damn thing consistently without assembly problems.

The whole problem right now resides on these stupid robots that can't stay running. Believe me, they'll lose more money going the way they are now then by shutting down the plant for a couple of days to fix the issue. If they can afford to keep shutting down the plant and send home workers every other day because the robots break down and they can't get them back up and running then they can afford to shut it down completely for a couple of days. Eventually they're losing the same amount of money.

And if you don't think they're losing their customer base then check the link out below the you'll see people canceling orders and going elsewhere. They're not even considering another Chrysler product. I can go to other forums and post links where people are doing the same thing if you would like.

http://www.caliberforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1438&page=3
 

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waa waa waa. If people want the car that bad, they should check out areas where there are Calibers sitting around. I count over a dozen Calibers in the OKC metro area. So you want a custom build? I think it's moronic to think you'll have little to no delay when you are custom ordering a car within 6 months of it debuting. If I were a business I wouldn't want these customers...
 

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Swoop said:
Did the swed invent anything but blond wigs anyway?

Apart from Ikea, Abba and making non-functioning robots for our favourite car maker, don´t forget that one of the fastest cars in the world comes from Sweden.

A sight to behold: The 655hp V8-powered brute called Koenigsegg CC :D
 

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Did the swed invent anything but blond wigs anyway?[/quote]


These five are swedish ? I'd say thats one hell of an invention. Where can i buy shares ?:D
 

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Calibershark7 said:
Could someone please tell me why Chrysler needs robots if they hired a bunch of new workers? Aren't they just throwing money away by using these supposedly "high-tech" robots?
They're needed because Chrysler has decided to make 3 completely different vehicles in the same plant. The Caliber, Compass, and later this year Jeep Patriot will all me made in the same assembly plant. So they use the robots to make most if not all of the body panels. With the robots, they can quickly change the arm for that particular vehicle and make a few of whatever model and then change the arm to something else. Also remember that each vehicle has different models. (ie. Caliber has SE, SXT, SXT Sport, R/T, and SRT)

So when they work, they work very efficiently and they can really crank out some vehicles, but the problem is, they're not working.
 
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