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GE Appliances recently announced that its refrigeration plant in Decatur, Alabama, has been named the 2019 assembly plant of the year by Assembly Magazine. Established in 2004, the award showcases state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities that have applied world-class processes to reduce production costs, increase productivity, shorten time to market and improve product quality. The award is open to all manufacturers that assemble products in the United States.
“The Decatur plant was selected for our award because of the way that it has applied cutting-edge technology to reduce operator errors and improve productivity,” said Austin Weber, senior editor for Assembly Magazine. “We were also impressed with how the facility has invested in state-of-the-art automation, such as robotics and automated guided vehicles, to address issues related to ergonomics and material handling. And, GE Appliances Decatur is a leader in using data analytics and lean manufacturing principles to streamline assembly lines and improve product quality.”
In June 2018, GE Appliances announced that it would invest $115 million to transform the 42-year-old facility into the company’s manufacturing center of excellence for top-freezer refrigerators. That investment also resulted in the creation of 255 new jobs, bringing total employment to 1,300.
The plant now utilizes data visualization, 3D scanning, rapid prototyping and other technologies as part of GE Appliances’ “brilliant factories” initiative to increase efficiency, safety and quality. For example, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) move heavy refrigerator doors through processes, reducing damage and eliminating workers’ ergonomic burden. In addition, multi-access robots perform heavy-lifting operations, repetitive tasks, foam and adhesive applications, and other challenging jobs. Robots also help to ensure consistent bending and flexibility in fabricating condenser coils and compressors.
“I could not be prouder of the hard work and dedication of our employees that led to this honor,” said Renee Story, GE Appliances’ plant executive director. “The investments we’ve made here are just one part of the story of our transformation into a manufacturing center of excellence. Every employee has had a hand in helping us achieve this honor. I’m so proud of our amazing team.”
For more information, visit www.geappliances.com.