National Geographic: Megafactories, Trucks - Tuesday April 10

NZ Premiere: Megafactories: Trucks
National Geographic – Tuesday 10 April, 9.30pm

At the Peterbilt factory, workers are busy building Model 387 trucks – titans of the road, made to pull vehicles weighing up to 36 tonnes. To produce this aerodynamic marvel, the Peterbilt design team partnered with its engineers to create the ideal full-scale model. However, with more than 20,000 parts per vehicle, turning this truck from a lifesize model into a full-fledged vehicle made of aluminium and steel is a formidable task. Making things more difficult, each truck is individually made to fit exact customer specifications so no two trucks are built exactly alike. Giant robotic arms, capable of lifting over 8000 kilograms, are put to the test of hoisting the truck’s entire chassis. When robotic “Rembrandts” are used to paint the truck’s cab with any of more than 5,000 different paint colours, assemblers must assemble by hand a custom-made dashboard featuring anywhere from 50 to 60 connections and roughly 300 metres of wiring. With its mechanical brute strength and human creativity, this mega factory brings Peterbilt’s aerodynamic king of the long-distance fleet to the road.

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