Alabama Governor Robert Bentley joined associates at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama (HMA) recently in celebrating production at its new $71.4 million state-of-the-art automated engine assembly facility, marking a breakthrough for Honda engine production in North America with the development of more highly automated assembly. The new facility will supply V-6 engines for the Honda Odyssey minivans, Pilot sport utility vehicles and Acura MDX luxury SUVs made in Lincoln.
“Our new automated engine assembly line is the most advanced facility of its kind at any Honda operation across the globe – and it’s right here in Lincoln, Alabama,” said Jeff Tomko, HMA president. “This facility embodies the tremendous amount of confidence that Honda has in our Alabama team – a team that can now more quickly respond to customer demand for light truck vehicles equipped with some of the most dependable, powerful, fuel-efficient and technologically advanced engines in our industry.”
Since the start of production on Nov. 14, 2001, HMA has cast and assembled all of the V-6 engines used to power the vehicles produced at the plant – totaling more than 3.4 million units.
The new facility employs more than 250 associates in two shifts, producing 1,500 V-6 engines each day and utilizes 92 advanced robots. The highly automated system performs a wide variety of parts handling and parts installation functions inside the 186,000 square foot facility. Included along the engine assembly line is a robotic station which can assemble more than 9,000 pistons daily, at a cycle time of six seconds per piston. The line also features a fully-automated piston installation process, a first for any Honda engine plant in the world.
HMA is the sole production source of the Odyssey, the Pilot and the Acura MDX luxury sport utility vehicle and the V-6 engines that power each vehicle. It also was confirmed earlier this year that the next generation Honda Ridgeline will go into production at HMA in early 2016.
Honda Manufacturing of Alabama employs more than 4,000 associates at its 3.7-million-square-foot Lincoln facility and has the capacity to produce as many as 340,000 vehicles and engines each year. Over the past three years, HMA has invested more than $510 million and added more than 450 jobs in expansion efforts designed to enhance manufacturing flexibility and increase annual production.