Hummer Manufacturing Plant Goes Wireless

Vehicle maker uses wireless auto-replenishment technology from WhereNet to improve factory-floor operations
AM General Corp. is going wireless. The maker of High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, better known as Humvees and Hummers, is using WhereNet Corp.'s wireless automatic-replenishment technology at its factory in Mishawaka, Ind., to improve assembly-line and plant-floor operations. The WhereCall wireless parts-replenishment system works with GE Fanuc Automation Americas Inc.'s Cimplicity Tracker to expedite production and H2 vehicle deliveries to dealerships worldwide. The WhereNet system includes 18 antennas, more than 60 active radio-frequency WhereTag transmitters, and 50 WherePort devices.

Although General Motors Corp. designed the Hummer H2, manufacturing is outsourced to AM General. The factory, designed to deliver 40,000 Hummer H2s annually, has churned out approximately 60,000 since production began in spring 2002. Last year, AM General manufactured more than 30,000 Hummer H2s for GM.

Hummer assembly line

Wireless system lets AM General strengthen its assembly lines
The factory has about 500 WhereCall devices to support manufacturing. The system provides wireless communications so assembly-line operators can request material replenishment. "Wireless on the plant floor is revolutionizing the automotive industry, and we're a perfect case in point," says Deborah Cafiero, CIO and director of information systems at AM General. "Through lower operating costs, AM General has already realized a return on its WhereNet investment and the applications continue to pay big dividends every day."
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