I’m one of those truck industry journalists that truly enjoys touring vehicle, equipment and component manufacturing plants. I’m fascinated by what goes on inside them.
Thanks to Volvo Trucks, I had the opportunity to travel to Sweden, and among other things, got to tour Volvo’s Tuve Truck Plant in Gothenburg.
The 1,194,795-square foot plant manufactures Volvo FH, FH16 and Volvo FM cabover models. There are some 1,200 workers at the plant, of which, I noticed during the tour, a good percentage are women.
Each working day, the Tuve plant builds 50 trucks, plus 40 knockdown kits, on two assembly lines. Every 4-1/2 minutes a truck comes off the line.
As with truck plants in the U.S., the process of manufacturing a truck from beginning to end takes place at a number of different stations in the factory, with one team at each station.
The first step in Tuve plant’s production process is when the large coils of cold-rolled steel that have been shipped to the plant are pressed into a U-shape, cut, stamped and machined into finished frame rails. This is followed by assembly, a test drive on rolling road facilities inside the plant and then a final pre-deliver inspection.
Because environmental care is one of Volvo’s core values - the others are safety and quality - the Tuve production plant has devised an action package to environmentally optimize the facility. This includes a total ban on the use of fossils fuels (oil, coal and gas) for heating and power supply in the plant.
Instead, heating and electrical supply are handled via a biofuel power plant and five wind power stations.
The result, I was informed, is the world’s first vehicle factory with absolutely no emissions of carbon dioxide.
The plant gets its cabs from Volvo Trucks’ cab factory in Umeå in northern Sweden.
I learned that due to considerable environmental improvements over the past several years, the factory’s paint shop is the world’s cleanest and most energy-efficient paint shop.