West Point, Ga. Oct. 28, 2008 — More than 3,500 tons of equipment that will be assembled into two automotive stamping presses have begun arriving at the $1 billion Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) facility in West Point from the Port of Savannah.
“The stamping presses use the latest technology to be responsive to the changing market demands,” said Bobby Locke, KMMG’s senior manager of stamping.
The Rotem 5,400-ton transfer press with destack feeder will stamp steel into 17 different types of vehicle panels with 10 sets of dies operating at a speed of seven to 15 strokes per minute. The massive stamping equipment spans from almost 20 feet below the floor to 39.4 feet high. The 186-foot-long press will form the most distinctive panels of Kia’s next-generation Sorento. Among the panels are the side outer right and left, the inner and outer hood, the left and right fender, the roof, the inner and outer tailgate, the inner and outer rear doors on both sides and the inner and outer front door on both sides.
The Rotem 600-ton blanking press and coil feeding line cuts the steel blanks for the transfer press and operates at speeds of 10 to 80 strokes per minute. Like the stamping press, it sits about 20 feet below the floor level and reaches almost 25 feet above the ground. The blanking press with the steel coil feeding line is 175 feet in length.
Locke says that the presses have a targeted die change time of around four minutes, a very fast time, which will maximize flexibility at KMMG.
In the stamping process, a steel coil feeds into the blanking press. The steel is then cut into the correct size and length. “The blanking machine is like a cookie cutter,” said Locke. “It cuts the outside shape of the panel. The steel ‘cookie’ is called a blank. The blanking machine then stacks the blanks into a pile.”
Next, the destacker machine takes the blanks one by one from the stack and feeds them into the stamping press.
Stamping dies consist of an upper and lower half that close together at a high rate of speed to form the steel panel. “Each die within the transfer press has a different function to help create the finished panel,” said Locke.
“For example, with the door outers, one die in a set may give the door its shape — such as the curve of the door and the feature lines, one may stamp out the window, one may trim off any excess metal around the edges and one may punch out the key hole and drain holes,” he added.
The entire shipment consists of 182 pieces and has been coordinated by Aerocosta Global Systems, Inc. The shipment left Masan, Korea on Aug. 12, and arrived at the Port of Savannah on Oct. 8.
Built in Korea by Rotem, the equipment will also be assembled by Rotem once it arrives at KMMG. Rotem is staffed with 3,800 individuals including 700 researchers that produce many types of railway vehicles, such as electric multiple units, high-speed trains, light rail vehicles, locomotives and passenger coaches; ground weapon systems; armored recovery vehicles; and plant machinery such as presses, steel making plants, car manufacturing systems and environmental plants.
The reassembly process will take approximately two months. Press trials are scheduled to begin at KMMG in December 2008.
Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) is the first manufacturing site in North America for Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, Korea. KMMG is located on 2,200 acres in West Point, Georgia, and is scheduled to begin production in the last quarter of 2009. At full capacity, the plant will have the ability to produce 300,000 vehicles annually and employ approximately 2,500 team members.