January 13, 2009
Gill Industries Inc. has ramped up an automated production line at its Trenton, Ga., facility to supply steel chassis for a new series of utility vehicles by Club Car Inc. that targets the agricultural and outdoor recreation markets.
The facility has the capacity to fabricate up to 30 frames a day for the XRT950 side-by-side utility vehicle that satisfies a demand for more horsepower and versatility for the midsized-utility-vehicle market, said Scott Cronan, regional business development manager for Gill Industries in charge of the Club Car account.
Jacques Saint Denis, director of operations at the Trenton facility, said the plant employs about 115 people, and the XRT950 work will help to offset a potential downturn in orders from automotive customers. While he doesn't expect the line to create new jobs in the near future, Saint Denis said the new business creates a solid foundation for potential job growth in the long term.
Technical personnel at the Trenton facility worked closely with the Augusta, Ga.-based Club Car during the initial design of the frame to determine the most cost-effective ways to manufacture it. Gill Industries was able to design, install, and debug an entire production line in about 10 months.
The production line employs hydraulic presses, machining centers, and robotic welding units to bend and weld 2-in. by 3-in. rectangular steel tubing to make the frames, which weigh about 200 lbs. each. After fabrication, the frames are electrostatically painted and powder-coated before being shipped to Club Car's assembly plant in Augusta.