An assembly plant fit for kings and queens.
The Rolls Royce Phantom, a 5,478-lb. sedan stretched across a 140-in, wheelbase, is produced at a rate of 1,000 units per year, and starts its life at BMW's Dingolfing, Germany, Facility. There the aluminum spaceframe is hand-built, cleaned, given a phosphate pretreatment, and electro-coated. Upon its arrival at Goodwood, the body-in-white is inspected, PVC sealer is manually applied, and then transported through two vacuum and tack-rag cleaning booths before heading for the paint booths. In the first, a robot applies one water-based primer coat and one color basecoat. The second booth is where the two solvent-based clear coats are applied. The body is hand sanded before the final clear coat is applied.
The woodworking and leather assembly areas sit side-by-side near the assembly line. Unlike Rolls Royces of yore, thin veneers of wood are mounted to thin strips of aluminum, and lacquered before mounting points are attached. No more solid blocks cut to shape for the new Rolls. Yet some things never change. Up to 16 hides from the same dye batch are used in the interior of each Phantom, and cut into 450 pieces which are sewn together to create seat covers, door panels, etc.
Each Phantom passes through 18 assembly stations, with a cycle time of 85 minutes at each station. And though this adds up to just over 25 hours, Golf says each car spends "at least 80 hours" traveling through the assembly area. Would you expect any less for a base price somewhere north of $300,000?
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|Title Annotation:||Rolls-Royce Motors Ltd.|
|Author:||Sawyer, Christopher A.|
|Publication:||Automotive Design & Production|
|Date:||Feb 1, 2003|
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