Bowling Green Assembly Plant
The Bowling Green Assembly Plant is the one and only home of the Chevrolet Corvette, America's sports car.
The first 300 corvettes, the C1, were hand built in Flint, Michigan in 1953. They moved the next year to a facility in St. Louis, Missouri, and then finally ended up in 1981 at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant. The General Motors plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky opened their doors for production in June 1981. What was once an abandoned Chrysler air-conditioning unit factory, is now a one million square foot facility that employes almost one thousand people. The Plant hosts tours through out the year Monday through Friday, three times a day.
Many large investments have been made in order to keep the plant as updated and cutting edge as possible. As the corvette changes and betters throughout the years, the technology to create it has to be revamped as well.
|2014/2013||$3.5 million for the relocation of the Performance Build Center to Bowling Green|
|2013/2012||$131 million for the plant remodel to make way for the C7 changeover, with $52 million for the Body Shop|
|2007||$4.5 million for conveyor addition and remodel|
|2005||$12 million for ELPO paint system|
|2005||$5 million in ANDON global error proofing|
|2005/2004||$19 million for C6 model changeover|
|2005/2004||$3 million for paint sludge system/ air balancing|
Performance Build Center
The performance build center allows engine aficionados to build their own specialty engines. With the relocation of the performance build center from Michigan to Bowling Green it allows customers to be able to build and watch the production of their car all in now one location. The opening of this center in Bowling Green is adding 20 new or relocated jobs to the community as well.
The center is the source of all the hand assembled dry sump engines. These would be the 6.2L LS3 V8 engine of the grand sport coupe (manual transmission only), the 7.0L LS7 V8 Z06 engine, and the 6.2L supercharged LS9 engine for the ZR1.
The new body shop now allows for the aluminum frame to finally be able to be produced in-house. The new shop also was designed to have the advancements to make the most complex frame design in Corvette's history. This new frame is 99 pounds lighter and 40% stiffer than the C6 frame. With the chassis being so strong the C7 convertible will not need any additional structural reinforcements to the frame, which is very rare.
Flowdrill Fastening "The Corvette Stingray’s frame features 188 Flowdrill-machined fasteners with structural adhesive. The fasteners are installed by a high-speed drill that extrudes the frame material to create a strong, integral collar that is tapped for screw-type fasteners. It is a GM first for body structure joining.
Flowdrill fastening joins closed sections, where only one side has open access and where arc welding could cause heat distortion or weaken material. Dimensional quality is also maintained, eliminating the need for post-assembly machining."
Aluminum Resistance Spot Welding "Pioneered by GM, aluminum resistance spot-welding process is an efficient method for joining aluminum to aluminum where there is two-sided joint access. It is particularly effective with the thicker materials – up to 4mm – used on the new Corvette’s frame. It is also used for welding aluminum extrusions, die castings and aluminum sheet metal. There are 439 aluminum resistance spot welds on the Corvette Stingray coupe.
The process is used in the Corvette’s aluminum structure tunnel subassembly and in mainline attachments of various components. Additionally, licensed suppliers use the process to produce a few subassemblies for the car.
GM’s new resistance spot welding process uses a patented multi-ring domed electrode that does what smooth electrodes are unreliable at doing: welding aluminum to aluminum – and it does it more cost-effectively than other methods of joining aluminum. The multi-ring domed electrode head disrupts the oxide on aluminum’s surface to enable a stronger weld."
Laser Welding "Laser welding is used in the frame’s tunnel subassembly to attach sheet aluminum closeout panels to the tunnel structure. The process enables continuous welding quickly when only single-sided access is available.
Additionally, the precise beam of high energy used in the welding process minimizes heat beyond the weld area for improved structural accuracy, and the laser creates a leak-free joint that does not require additional sealing, which could add weight to the frame structure.
There are two robotic laser-welding stations in the plant – one with a pair of robots and another with a single robot. Each robot has a dedicated laser power generator and together, they lay down 71 segments for a total of 37 welded feet on every frame."
Laser Vision Inspection "Laser-based vision inspection for quality assurance now includes Perceptron-supplied tools to monitor critical points on every Corvette body that comes down the line.
By checking every car and major assembly in the plant, process variation can be seen – and addressed – immediately. Tighter tolerances on parts and new, improved tooling for the Corvette’s various assembly procedures are helping the plant achieve approximately 25 percent or greater improvement in meeting tolerance targets.
Perceptron is essentially a three-dimensional measurement system that uses fixed and robotic-mounted Helix laser sensors, or cameras, to monitor critical build features. It is a three-part “in process” quality inspection for frame rail assemblies, uniframe bodies and composite bodies with a fully dressed cockpit.
On the composite body alone, 39 specific points are measured. It takes approximately 2.5 minutes to measure each car in station to within 0.25 mm. One hundred dimensional measurements are taken with each frame assembly.
The 2014 Corvette Stingray is the seventh generation of the sports car, which has been built exclusively at the Bowling Green plant since June 1981. Shipping of the Corvette Stingray Coupe to dealers is underway. It starts at $51,995 including destination. The Corvette Stingray Convertible, which goes into production later, is priced at $56,995 including destination." 
Features a wildlife habitat that is spread across 75 acres. The space also features a 42,000 pounds of ground-up ergonomic mats recycled from the plant for a picnic area. The land also features sunflowers that were planted by students and blue bird boxes that were made and installed by a local boy scout troop. The plant employes an environmental team that chooses appropriate plant species for the grounds.
- "Bowling Green". GM News. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- "GM Relocating Performance Build Center to Bowling Green". GM News. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- Mceachern, Sam. "General Motors Re-Opens Overhauled Bowling Green Assembly Plant To The Public". GM Authority. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- "Four Paths to Corvette’s Strength, Refinement and Quality". GM News. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- "Experience Corvette As Never Before". Chevrolet. Retrieved 28 February 2014.