DOWN "THE LINE."
MODERN MAGIC CARPET. AUSTIN ASSEMBLY WORKS. MANUKAU ROAD FACTORY. Travel down the "assembly line" in one of the world's most colourful industries. Start where the liigh-slung electric crane swings in the big wooden cases, lifts out the steel body-shells, engines and chassis; follow one of these bare shells as it travels through the rubbing-down bay, through the spray booths with their sweet scent of atomised duco, through the baking ovens and their steady up-draught of heated air; journey with it step by step until with the exactness born of synchronised efficiency it meets with its own numbered chassis and power unit, until the two are locked together, wheels fixed, adjustments and checking completed, and the finished car, new and bright and precise, rolls'off the line for its final road tests.
No further than Auckland need you go to travel on the modern magic carpet that is the motor car assembly line. Newest and mo.s£ up-to-date are the spacious works, laid out and equipped on advanced lines, of Seabrook, Fowlds, Limited, in Manukau Road, where the output of Austin cars for distribution throughout the Auckland and Taranaki provinces averages 20 a week. Hygienic Spray Booths. The journey begins at the rear of the works, where the cases of knocked-down cars are unloaded from the trucks which bring them from the wharves. Each case holds the components of one car - the body-shell of bare steel, crammed full with parts, the engine, the wheels and the chasis. An overhead electric crane which, by ingenious pulley arrangements, travels forwards, backwards or sideways, distributes the various sections to their proper departments. Order and cleanliness are impressive features of the whole of the works.
On to an easily handled t •>1 loy goes the body-shell as it begins its journey down the line. It enters first the wet rubbing-down bay to acquire a smooth, fine finish under the pulsating motion of a pneumatic sanding machine. Soon conies the first visit to the spray booths, among the best in New Zealand as far as hygiene is concerned. The workmen who direct the streams of atomised paint have no need for masks, for spray is whisked away by big electric suction fans at the rear of both booths. The car body is run on to a turn-table, on which it may be swung as required with a minimum of effort.
To harden each coat of paint the body enters one of two pumice-insu-lated ovens, heated by an external electrically fed and thermostat-con-trolled fuel oil furnace which sends a continuous flow of hot air through grilles in the oven floors. The body stays here for varying times in temperatures of up to 180 degrees. Rubbed down again to remove any blemishes, it now takes its final coat and emerges to a department where one man and his machine do the work of four hand polishers. A whirring felt head, used in conjunction with a wet cutting compound, removes the thinnest of layers from the paint; then a lamb's wool mop is fitted to the electric polisher, and the ultimate result is the silky finish typical of a new car. Rearguards, wiring, dash instruments and windscreen are now fitted, and the electrical equipment is tested while it is most easily accessible. Ready for the Road. To a new section of the line the body goes next, and under the deft hands of the trimmers it takes on its head linings and door fittings. All trimmings have to be made up in the factory from materials cut to shape. I'pholstery pirating* must be filled, bucket scats and cushions upholstered. Step Instep the car is taking shape. The body comes now t«i meet its own numbered chassis, which has in the meantime been made ready on a separate line. All engines, gear boxes and rear axle units are actually assembled and tested in the Austin factory in England. The body is swung atop its chassis by a pneumatic hoist which is fed by" an efficient compressed air plant, and as it moves forward again wheels, seats and remaining parts are fitted, wiring completed, petrol and water added, and the engine run and adjusted. Underpays are touched up in the paiutlinisliing department, and the car is ready for it« road tests and final adjustments. This last is an all-day job for one man. and when he has finished with the car it satisfies all conditions of the Government warrant of fitness.
There are .">4 on the office and works staff of this efficient and up-to-date factory.
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DOWN "THE LINE.", Auckland Star, Volume LXVIII, Issue 260, 2 November 1937
DOWN "THE LINE." Auckland Star, Volume LXVIII, Issue 260, 2 November 1937
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