Gorky Automobile Plant (GAZ) today is a state-of-the-art hi-tech plant with a high automation level. There are over 20 production facilities at GAZ, including automotive part production, metal production, casting and press shops, forging and toppling shops, cabin and body welding shops, a few paint shops and assembly lines.
The plant, its premises, machinery and equipment are regularly revamped, renovated and upgraded. There have been the following manufacturing lines launched for NEXT generation vehicles:
Think about your customer
A customer is not just an end-user but also an internal customer (a section or a shop where the product moves to for further operations or even an operator who works with the product next). For a supplier it means that they must make products in full compliance with the technical and quality requirements.
People are our most valuable asset
Investment made to develop your people are the best in performance as while developing a person influences the manufacturing factors around them: methods, technology, equipment, materials. All employees should feel sure that that the company needs them and they will be well paid for if they work honestly and make positive contributions to develop the company.
Manufacturing processes should continuously improve. Work standards (workplace arrangements, quality, sequence, etc) are the foundation for improvements as they define the manufacturing process and are continuously improved. The main idea of continuous improvements (kaizen) is that you should never stop once you have made an achievement, the process of changes should be ongoing daily work.
Decisions should be made on the factory floor
Production decisions should not be made in the offices - they should be made on the factory floor (gemba) where the problem is or where an improvement is required. The efforts of the management and the auxiliary services focus on where most work is done and where products are made, i.e. on the factory floor. It is there where problems are solved and improvements are made.
Stage 1 Stamping
Stage 2 Welding
Stage 3 Painting
Stage 4 Assembly line
Stage 5 Quality Management System
The automated class A stamping line is equipped with the latest generation six-axis multifunctional robots and presses with dies. The line is used to make large parts, including external side panels, underbodies, sliding and swing doors. With the new state-of-the-art equipment high accuracy and good production performance are delivered.
HIGH-PERFORMANCE PRESSES WITH A FORCE UP TO 800 TONS.
the total weight of dies used in the Next gen manufacturing process.
High-quality metal from leading steel works get to the press shops of our company. High-quality metal from leading Russian steel works get to the press shops of our company. Internal and external body elements are made from metal with double-side zinc coating.
Each metal sheets goes from a series of presses for plane-strain deformation to shape it in strict compliance with the specification.
Each part is then measured for geometry accuracy before going to the Welding Shop.
Bodies and cabs of the Next gen vehicles are welded on state-of-the-art automatic welding lines. The new welding line. The intelligent control system monitors all parameters of the production process. With the feedback mechanism the system can automatically adjust the welding parameters if necessary.
Robots at the GAZelle NEXT van body welding line
Robots are installed in the cab welding line
of welding operations are performed automatically
welding points in the GAZelle Next van body
maximum allowed deviation for each spot
carrying capacity of the highest-powered robot
The smart control system with a feedback mechanism.
Each robot can perform a few operations at a time: welding, hemming, gluing and transportation of the parts.
At the moment a future vehicle gets onto the welding line sensor read information about the model and the type of the body or the cabin.
Once the robot has got and installed the parts it changes its grips to welding guns.
The welding guns start holding a part and the welding current goes through the electrodes.
Then come the so-called holding moment when there is no welding current while the welded surfaces stay under pressure in the welding guns for the weld bead crystallization. The system controls the current strength and the welding gun pressure force and time.
After the operation the robot changes the welding gun to the grips and carries the part onto the next welding line section.
The finished body is then taken to the measurement machine to for its geometric compliance with the reference model.
The deviations, if any, shall not exceed 0.2 mm.
The vehicle body is made from galvanized steel with high corrosion resistance. That is why we offer over 8 years of corrosion warranty.
The state-of-the-art paint shop delivers high quality of surface treatment, priming and painting. A positive air pressure is built up inside the working zone, which pushes even the tiniest dust particles from the spray booths.
OF SURFACE CLEANING, PREPARATION AND PRIMING
AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEMS
AIR CLEANLINESS CLASS
Pretreatment. The vehicle body is dipped into 13 baths for pre-washing, phosphating and priming. During the pre-washing the surface is decreased and de-oxidized for best primer adhesion. Phosphating is a chemical process of treating the metal with phosphates to form a phosphate layer on the surface to protect the metal, deliver better adhesion of the paint and prevent rust on car bodies.
Priming. E-coating is the most important stage. Cabins and bodies are dipped into the bath followed by a chemical reaction to form a protective coating delivering up to 15 times better corrosion resistance.
Sealing. The paint line comes with state-of-the-art equipment for cavity sealing. All joints are covered with special sealants and then covered with another primer coat for better adhesion.
Drying Booth. Drying booths are fully automated. They may be set up for the paint type used (normal or metallic), and feature a 3-zone ventilation system delivering different drying temperatures for particular body zones. A second primer coat is applied to dry bodies before they are delivered to painting.
Body Painting and Treatment. Both single and double-layer metallic enamels are applied to bodies in the body painting line. Eleven robots are used for inner and outer painting of the passenger and (or) cargo compartment. After painting, sealant is applied to all vertical joints, and corrosion-resistant and wax compounds - to hidden cavities.
Quality Control. At the end of the painting line, all bodies are checked for the paint quality compliance with the reference samples.
Any paint or lacquer is released for application following a range of lab and production tests. After testing, they are applied to several bodies in order to fine-tune robot software and to measure their resistance to external impact and chipping. Such process pre-inspection helps us choose the process materials delivering high paint quality and durability. Tests in the salt-spray booth (simulating operation under real conditions over 16 years) showed no corrosion of the NEXT Gen vehicle bodies.
The vehicles are placed onto the assembly line based on the heijunka principle. Experienced process engineers determine the sequence for alternating more labor-intensive and less labor-intensive models to ensure best balance of the main assembly line operations during a month. The assembly line features a high level of mechanization.
commercial vehicles per shift - capacity of the largest assembly line
assembly lines for drop side vehicles, chassis, vans, mini buses and light duty trucks
the average time to assemble a GAZelle NEXT
The main line receives a "fixed" vehicle pearl chain two weeks prior to the beginning of each month determining the models to be assembled in the line and the assembly sequence. Suppliers receive the same vehicle pearl chain. It is used to determine how many parts need to be fed to each line section and when.
Frames are delivered to the assembly line, where various equipment is installed on them, including front and rear axles, a fuel tank, piping, and wire harnesses.
At the same time, body and cabin undergo a subassembly. Electrical equipment, instrument panels, a heater, and interior parts are installed on them, and the engine compartment is pre-assembled.
Pre-assembled cabins and bodies are transported by the overhead conveyor to the station, where they are installed on the frame. This process step is called ‘marriage’. It is the moment the vehicle gets its finished look. This is then followed by installation of headlights and a front bumper.
There are 7 built-in check points in the assembly process. These are the stations, where the vehicles progressing through various assembly process phases are checked and verified by QA inspectors for consistency with the design drawings and engineering documentation. For example, all connections, which will be difficult to access later, are checked before the cab is seated on the frame.
After rolling off the assembly line, the ready-built vehicles are subject to run-in procedure at the end-of-line test stands. This serves to check the proper function of the engine and its auxiliaries, steering and braking performance, engine emissions, gaps & ﬂushes and paintwork quality as well as to adjust the headlight beam. Manufacturing process ends up in the water tightness test, which is made in a special rain test chamber.
Core Standard Procedures:
STAGE: GET ACCURATE STATISTICS ON QUALITY (GET COMPLETE INFORMATION ON DEFECTS FROM CUSTOMERS AND DEALERS, SET UP AN AUTOMATED ONLINE SYSTEM FOR WARRANTY CLAIM MANAGEMENT).
STAGE: SET UP A SUPPLIER NOMINATION AND APPROVAL SYSTEM FOCUSED TO SELECT SUPPLIERS ABLE TO DELIVER SMOOTH PRODUCTION PROCESSES AND GOOD QUALITY OF THE PRODUCTS.
STAGE: INCORPORATE QUALITY CONTROL INTO THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS.
Customer Satisfaction Audit
CSA auditors check gaps between panels, quality of paint coat, look under the hood and make a short test drive. If the auditor “does not buy” a newly produced vehicle, the real visitor of the showroom will not buy it either. This approach is also used upstream the process to assess the quality of welded and painted bodies and cabins even before the assembly of the vehicle.
A training program for service station employees with mandatory certification has been introduced. Warranty engineers are authorized to make prompt decisions on the classification of breakdowns and maintenance work without waiting for decisions from the plant.
Customer Feedback on Warranty
The key process for the company's operation. This information is used for continuous improvement of vehicles, making changes, and developing new products.
Development of new products based on the ‘Quality Gates’ system (PPDS)
At each development stage of ‘Quality Gates’ the project team includes all design specialists, production engineering specialists, process engineers, Production System and quality management specialists. The PPDS is a product development approach completely based on market requirements: first, we find out from customers which functions a future vehicle should have, and only then we create it, controlling the quality and cost at each design stage with an extensive test program of the vehicle.
Supply of Components: from purchasing products to purchasing high-quality processes.
It is not enough for a supplier to prove that a batch of its products is of a proper quality. It needs to prove that its production processes deliver consistent product quality.
Well-planned production provides a good ground to introduce and continually upgrade quality assurance tools:
Quality standards based on the product requirements, uniform quality indicators, quick feedback, production issue communication chain, efficient employee motivation - all these tools deliver a continual product improvement. Particular attention is paid to human factor prevention. All Production System tools are used to establish the quality system in order to provide operator-friendly standardized working stations and to minimize losses.
In 2017, a new process audit standard - VDA 6.3 - was introduced in addition to the existing quality tools in the GAZ assembly line. This standard applies to the processes of any stage over the vehicle lifecycle: from planning and engineering of new models up to production and aftersales servicing.