Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Impressions from a visit to GM Powertrain, Pontiac, MI

Last Friday I had the opportunity to take a brief tour of GM Powertrain facilities in Pontiac Michigan.  I doubt I saw  more than 1/3 of the facility, but our group did get a sense of some of the work that is done there and one brief snapshot of a segment of the "new" GM. Nice and knowledgable folks, and good tour guides.  A very young workforce -- average age 28. We saw a demonstration of oil pump testing, and of course later on the dynamometer test facility with many bays and operations taking place simultaneously.
A good number of the technicians and engineers are contract employees.  If  one demonstrates ability, ambition, and commitment, a job offer from GM may be forthcoming, but I suspect there are few guarantees. Most testing is tedious and takes advantages of sensors and software.  This "drudge" work, however, is absolutely necessary for the development of an efficient and reliable product.  For many of the technical folks, it is looking at a computer screen and a long hallway with no windows, a tough job in terms of tedium. But at least this takes place in Michigan where the sun often does not shine for the winter months anyway!

 A air suspended pallet that is used to move engines in and out of dynamometer bays

A tilt engine apparatus

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