Last night myself and a few other engineers from 4c Design set all our sat nav’s to Motherwell for IMechE’s Big Truck event at Terex. For those of you who don’t know, Terex make those ginormous dumper trucks (among things) that race around mines carrying huge 100 ton payloads. The event was intended to give a flavour of the processes that go into manufacturing one of these behemoths and provided us the unique opportunity to tour the facility. It did not disappoint!
As you might expect the manufacturing facility is vast and very efficiently managed. As we were walked up and down the assembly line I was struck by how little stock they were able to carry while pumping out over 400 trucks per year. Many of the main components were fabricated on site and then injected into the appropriate place in the line, ensuring a constant flow. Workers were able to visually indicate to co-workers their progress and highlight a potential bottle neck before it became an issue.
Putting the management part aside and looking at the engineering, these trucks are impressive! They are put to work 24 hours a day and rack up 3000 working hours in only 6 months. Everything on the truck resembles that of a typical car, it’s easy to identify axels, chassis, wheel centres etc. except scaled up and pumped with steroids. The machines used to fabricate the trucks are equally impressive, CNC machines the size of which I’d never seen before and the world’s oldest robotic welder. I would love to have been able to climb underneath and have a close inspection, or better yet go for a drive. But I suppose Terex have to have their limits!