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The GM Powertrain Engine Plant in Tonawanda, New York is a key facet of General Motors’ manufacturing arsenal. It is one of the largest engine producing facilities in the world with over 3 million feet of floor space dedicated to the manufacture of several key lines for the company. Recently, $425 million was committed to bring manufacture of the Ecotec 2.4 Liter, four-cylinder engines to the plant, currently found in the critically acclaimed Chevrolet Malibu, an endeavor expected to create approximately 470 new jobs in the area. GM has invested $2.3 billion into their Tonawanda facility over the last decade with several additional lines being added in the next few years. Since operations began in 1938 the plant has churned-out nearly 75 million engines.
Under a $1.45 million contract from Hohl Industrial Services, O’Connell Electric was hired to build GM Powertrain’s new Ecotec 2.4 Liter engine and crank assembly lines. This was our eighth major project completed at the Tonawanda plant marking a working relationship that has spanned more than ten years with the auto giant.
O’Connell demonstrated its core values of adaptability, by constructing the two new lines under fully operational industrial manufacturing conditions and dependability, by completing all work without interruption to the surrounding production lines. Our management and technicians worked in tandem with GM plant operations and safety personnel to establish communication and scheduling protocols, utilizing one and two-week ‘look-aheads’ as well as the training and enforcement of stringent onsite safety procedures.
O’Connell powered all new machines and equipment off of the plant’s existing bus ducts with wire drops from a complex electrical duct system for equipment hook-up and testing. Throughout the five-month project, O’Connell systematically energized the giant snake-like conveyor assembly lines and worked closely with assembly line production systems manufacturer, Hirata, to bring hundreds of machines and equipment online and operational. In addition to electrical, O’Connell was responsible for all communications systems related to the assembly lines which required installation of all data cabling, hook-up to machines and machine consoles, and tie-in to the main communications hub.
O’Connell met all timelines for the project and had no recorded safety incidents.