On our visit to the Nissan Factory in Sunderland we got to see Nissan Leafs and Qashqai being manufactured. (excuse the Photo of jukes, we weren’t allowed to take pictures in the factory so I found this on google!) It was a great experience seeing all these robots put together cars, felt like science-fiction in a way. In fact 90% of the production of Nissans cars were automated. Human hands were needed for parts that a robot could not reach or parts that needed a bit of jiggling.
I guess most high production cars are manufactured in this way. You could definitely tell the cost and quality measures that have been cut to produce such high quantity. For example the lack of under seal and galvanisation of the metal bodies after welding. The ‘marriage’ of the engine, gearbox and suspension with the body was surprisingly simple especially for the Leaf in which the electric motors were just pushed into the bottom and bolted on with 4 bolts.
The one thing that did make me sad was the quality of life for the men and women working there. I understand that most factory jobs are similar, doing one thing all day everyday, and at least the Nissan workers got to rotate jobs after every break. I felt bad but realised I was lucky to be in university.