One Line, Two Machines

Volvo CE’s Pederneiras, Brazil, facility is the first plant among the company’s 16 worldwide assembly facilities to be able to make two machines – in this case, wheel loaders and articulated dump trucks – on the same manufacturing line simultaneously.

By Mauro Belo Schneider

It’s not unheard of for one production line to be able to make small batches of different products. This is frequently seen in many engine and component plants. But when it comes to making two entirely different OEM machines? Not so much.

But Volvo Construction Equipment’s Latin American plant is an exception to the rule — and the exception amongst Volvo CE’s 16 production/assembly plants around the world — as it has operating on a shared concept that has wheel loaders and articulated dump trucks (ADT) being built on the same line, at the same time.

Located in Pederneiras city, São Paulo state, Brazil, it’s currently the only Volvo facility manufacturing two distinct products on the same line. “We are part of the brand’s global industrial platform,” said Wladimir Garcia, vice president and general director of Volvo CE Latin America complex. “Constant innovation is very important to continue growing and improving our presence.”

At Pederneiras, Volvo produces the A25G and A30G ADTs and the L60F, L70F, L90F, L110F and L120F wheel loaders. The trucks are used in the region for construction, infrastructure and mining applications, while the loaders are used for construction, mining, quarries, recycling and agricultural applications, the company said. Approximately 50% of the production is sold in Brazil, with the rest exported.

“We’ve reduced the complexity of our plant, consolidating and optimizing support areas, like engineering, quality and logistics,” said Alex Ikeda, Volvo manufacturing engineer. By optimizing the internal structures and manufacturing support areas, Volvo said it has also reduced assembly time for the machines by 10%. Afrânio Chueire, Volvo CE Latin America’s president, called that “a benefit for the final client, who will receive his machine more rapidly, with a reduced lead time.”

The change also generated environmental gains, as Volvo calculated that some  41 metric tons of CO2 emissions will be reduced annually, with an annual energy savings of 120,000 kW.

“We have increased our efficiency and improved our installed capacity,” said Fernando Remoto, assembly engineering chief at the plant and one of the project’s creators.

This is not the first time that Volvo has begun an innovation in Brazil. Pederneiras, which is marking its 42nd year of operation this year, was also the first multiproduct plant in the world, the first of the group to work with dry machining and is among the leaders within Volvo CE in lean manufacturing.