General Motors' Fort Wayne Assembly plant will grow from 3 million square feet to 4.6 million
ROANOKE, Ind. (WANE) Officials at General Motors’ Fort Wayne Assembly plant on Tuesday opened the doors of its $1.2 billion expansion, a project that will increase the footprint of the mammoth complex by more than 50 percent.
It was nearly a year ago, in May 2015, when GM announced it would greatly expand operations at the plant with a new pre-treatment facility, expanded body shop and an expansion of its general assembly capabilities. At $1.2 billion, the investment is General Motors’ highest-ever at Fort Wayne Assembly and one of the automaker’s largest commitments to any of its manufacturing facilities anywhere.
Steve Andreen, the Manufacturing Engineering Manager at General Motors’ Fort Wayne Assembly plant, shows off the facility’s $1.2 billion expansion on Tuesday, April 12, 2016.
And it’s well underway.
The multi-level pre-treatment facility on the campus’ north end – all 825,000 square feet of it – is enclosed and internal equipment is being installed. Some 500 trucks per shift will take pre-treatment, electrodeposition processing and sealing inside the building – a 2-hour process – before they are moved along to the plant’s paint shop for prime and top-coat application.
Steve Andreen, Fort Wayne Assembly’s Manufacturing Engineering Manager, said the pre-treatment building will include features like a new cascade air system that will preheat the air before it hits the drying ovens that will decrease gas usage by 20 percent, and an environmentally friendly cascade water flow process that will use less water in the painting process.
The steel frame of the east-side 865,000 square foot body shop is up, and the trestles that will transport the trucks from shop to shop are installed.
A new pre-treatment facility at General Motors' Fort Wayne Assembly plant will add more than 825,000 square feet to the facility. It is part of a $1.2 billion expansion of the facility.
The facility has also raised a new 195,000 square foot logistics operation center that will present materials to the line operators remotely. The expansion will also require the addition of 21 truck docks to take in raw materials, and GM will add a third electrical transformer to ensure the additional areas are fully powered.
The additions will increase the plant’s total square footage from 3 million square feet to 4.6 million – some 716 total acres.
To be clear, the expansion is large.
“When you think of the magnitude, and that every shop in the facility is touched, it’s really a big deal, not just for the painters, but for everyone else in the facility, as well,” said Andreen.
Andreen said the project’s budget is unchanged, and construction is on schedule – “right where we want to be.” Communications Manager Stephanie Jentgen said construction on the full project should be complete in 2018 or 2019.
A new pre-treatment facility at General Motors’ Fort Wayne Assembly plant will add more than 825,000 square feet to the facility. It is part of a $1.2 billion expansion of the facility.
When construction is complete, Andreen said the plan is to disrupt production as little as possible, though he said plans are still being set to determine just how many shifts may be impacted.
And that’s GM’s ultimate goal, to continue producing high quality General Motors trucks in Allen County and northeast Indiana. By shelling out $1.2 billion, it hopes to continue that process into the future.
“I want everyone to continue buying those GM vehicles, so making that investment, making Fort Wayne viable for the future, continuing to produce those trucks is just fantastic.
“It’s definitely a ‘Yes, we’re going to be around for the future.”