Hummer Factory Overhauls Assembly Line Operations

AM General uses parts replenishment and assembly tracking systems to reduce inventory, increase productivity

AM General uses parts replenishment and assembly tracking systems to reduce inventory, increase productivity

Santa Clara, CA  March 9, 2004  AM General, the world-leader in the design, engineering and production of military and special purpose vehicles, said today that it has adopted wireless solutions provider WhereNet's wireless location technology at its Hummer H2 factory in Mishawaka, Ind. AM General is currently running one WhereNet-based application to streamline assembly lines and optimize plant-floor operations.

WhereNet said its WhereCall wireless parts replenishment system and GE Fanuc's CIMPLICITY Tracker application, which uses the WhereNet wireless location infrastructure, enable AM General to accelerate production and delivery of the H2 all-terrain vehicles to dealerships throughout the world.

The AM General factory uses about 500 WhereCall devices to support just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing processes. The company said its strategic intent is to further enhance the efficiency of its operation by using the WhereNet wireless architecture in conjunction with the GE Fanuc CIMPLICITY Tracker application to monitor work in progress.

The WhereCall software provides an electronic means for assembly-line operators to request bulk material replenishment. When supplies on the line start to run low, the line side operator presses a button on the WhereCall pendant that sends a request specifying the type of material required and its delivery location.

WhereNet said the Tracker application would be the most robust of its kind in the automotive industry, citing that the AM General Tracker application is integrated with WhereNet's wireless system comprised of 18 antennas, more than 60 active radio frequency WhereTag transmitters and 50 WherePort devices in order to support 98 percent accurate data capture.

"The flexibility and reliability of the WhereNet system has allowed us to operate at peak efficiency and ramp-up production to meet the pent-up demand for the Hummer vehicles," said Deborah Cafiero, chief information officer/director, Information Systems, AM General. "Wireless on the plant floor is revolutionizing the automotive industry and we are a perfect case in point. Through lower operating costs, AM General has already realized a return on its WhereNet investment and the applications continue to pay big dividends every day."

The WhereCall wireless parts replenishment system is used by several leading automakers and currently deployed in more than 70 factories around the world, WhereNet said.