Monday, 29 August 2016

GM’s Tonawanda awaits news affecting its future

General Motors’ Tonawanda engine plant is expecting to hear some news that could affect its future.
“We’re just kind of waiting for all of the programs and everything that is going to be announced to see what happens for us at Tonawanda,” plant manager Steve Finch recently told The Buffalo News.
“What I tell employees all the time is, ‘Let’s not give the corporation a reason to rethink the decisions that may be coming our way. Let’s make sure our performance is as good as it possibly can be and we’re at the right spot at the right time when those decisions and announcements are made.’”
Tonawanda Engine sits across from the Niagara River in Buffalo, New York state. It comprises three plants in Buffalo: GM Powertrain Tonawanda Engine Plant #1 at
2995 River Road; GM Powertrain Tonawanda Engine Plant #5
240 Vulcan Road; and GM Powertrain Tonawanda Engine Plant #4
2390 Kenmore Avenue.
In 2010, GM awarded Tonawanda Engine two new product lines: $425 million for the next Generation Ecotec 2-litre and 2.5-litre engines, and $400 million for a new V8 small block engine. Including those 2010 announcements, GM has invested $2.6 billion into Tonawanda Engine over the past decade
Roll back the clock to 2007 when GM made that famous announcement datelined TONAWANDA, NY. It stated: General Motors Corp. will introduce a new, state-of-the-art 4.5-litre V-8 Duramax turbo-diesel that improves engine fuel efficiency by 25 per cent, reduces CO2 emissions by 13 per cent and cuts particulates and NOx emissions by at least 90 per cent for North American light duty trucks and the HUMMER H2 built after 2009.
GM went on to say: “The premium V-8 diesel is expected to deliver class-leading torque, power and refinement while maintaining a significant fuel efficiency advantage over comparable-output gasoline engines.
The new dual-overhead cam, four-valve V-8 diesel engine will fit within the same space of a small-block V-8 gasoline engine. This compact size is made possible by using integral cylinder head exhaust manifolds, integral cam cover intake manifolds and a narrow block.
"This new GM light duty diesel is expected to become a favourite among customers who require excellent towing ability and fuel efficiency," said Tom Stephens, group vice president, GM Global Powertrain and Quality. "It will meet the stringent 2010 emissions standards, and it will be compliant in all 50 states, making it one of the cleanest diesel vehicles ever produced."
                   Compacted graphite iron vee block
GM added that the “Technical highlights of the engine include aluminium cylinder heads with integrated manifolding; a variable-vane turbocharger with intercooling; a compacted graphite iron (CGI) block for a stronger and lighter engine base (compared to lower-strength aluminium or heavier grey cast iron); and fracture-split main bearing caps and connecting rods for a precise fit. An electronically controlled, ultra-high-pressure, common-rail fuel system is used, which has the ability to inject fuel five times per combustion event to control noise and emissions.
Since those days of course the world was hit by the financial crash of 2008. This impacted on North America’s automotive scene and nothing more has heard about the ground-breaking 4.5-litre Duramax.
But does Steve Finch know something? Or is he trying to keep his ‘troops’ happy?
With many Americans buying pick-up trucks and SUVs, Finch says that Tonawanda’s “production of a “Generation V” engine supporting those vehicles is doing “really, really well.”
He declared that line is operating with three shifts each weekday, plus two out of three shifts each Saturday. Production of four-cylinder engines at the GM Tonawanda complex is on a two-shift, five-day-a-week schedule.
“But it’s pretty steady,” Finch added.
“The way we measure how well we’re doing is whether we’re working and producing a lot of volume, and by that measure right now, we’re doing extremely well,” he told The Buffalo News. “A lot of factors are coming in to make the auto industry very strong.”
The Tonawanda plant expects to produce about 636,500 engines this year, roughly the same as last year. The total might end up higher.
GM’s Tonawanda is a cornerstone of the region’s manufacturing sector, with nearly 1,700 hourly and salaried employees. The engines the site’s workers produce are shipped to GM vehicle assembly plants around North America.
Amid all the current activity, the Tonawanda plant has its eye on attracting future work. A four-year national contract with GM that UAW members approved last November pledged an unspecified amount of new investment in the Tonawanda site.
Finch said: “No announcements involving GM Tonawanda have been made yet.” But is something coming?

1 comment:

Alan Bunting said...

I note the assertion by GM that its new GM light-duty V8 diesel will meet emission rules in all 50 states. It could have given it further emphasis by adding 'including California'.
For years the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has imposed tougher diesel emission limits than the 49 other states, albeit for one or two others sometimes to adopt CARB rules as mainly a 'green PR' exercise.
But there are signs that CARB is coming to realise that some of its future emission proposals (relating mainly to heavy-duty diesels) are unrealistic.
Its chairperson Mary Nichols said last week that California would now fall into line with federal 'Phase 2' proposals on progressive diesel emission limit reduction (of NOx especially) through to 2027.
That means abandoning the demand, set out only two months ago with tacit CARB approval, by a dozen air pollution monitoring agencies - mainly in California - for the 2010 heavy-duty diesel NOx limit of 0.2g/bhp-hr to be reduced by no less that 90% to just 0.02g/bhp-hr.