A plant visit is always an unique experience and this was just that. I am talking about the massive Hyundai plant in Chennai which we had visited few days back. Hyundai India had invited a select audience and on reaching the airport we were greeted by the massive (and very very comfy) Hyundai H1 which we have to say beats luxury sedans for sheer comfort!
Anyways from the hotel where we were staying to the Hyundai Motor India plant there was a long journey in between but on reaching the sheer scale of it was impressive to say the least. It was also a visit where all the senior Hyundai India officials were at hand to explain everything that goes into making the Hyundai cars that you see at the showrooms.
Back in November 2012 Hyundai Motor India had made an an investment of USD 300 million for a flexible engine plant and a new press shop. That resulted direct employment opportunity for 500 persons apart from significant indirect employment opportunities. Hyundai India is Tamil Nandu's biggest investor and the total land area is 535 acres with total manpower of 9,500.
We were told regarding the various facilities and benefits offered by Hyundai to its employees including the fact that it has a fleet of buses which is sent to every part of the city to fetch its employees plus having various development programs among others.
Now environmental initiatives are very important and the Hyundai India plant actually has 100 percent recycling of waste water with a reverse Osmosis plant to recover water plus rain water harvesting, a 56 acre green belt inside the plant. There are also various energy saving practises.
After being briefed we were ready to go for the plant tour. It is a fascinating sight to see the creating of a car and the Hyundai India Chennai plant was no different. With successful launches like the Hyundai Xcent and plus the fact that it is the country's biggest exporter, production has been on a full swing and you can see both LHD and RHD cars built on the same line.
There are two plants inside- one for the high-end Hyundai cars like the Elantra plus CKD models Santa Fe and Sonata and the other for cars like the Xcent and Grand i10. 34 percent of components are supplied direct from Hyundai Korea while 66 percent comes from 77 local vendors and 42 Korean vendors.
We were then given a detailed tour of the Press shop, Body Shop, Paint shop, Assembly shop and engine, transmission shop. The Press shop is where a computer controlled line converts sheet metal to body panels with high dimensional accuracy and consistency.
The Body shop is where a hi-tech line that builds full body shells from panels. Automated robotic arms are used for intricate welding operations that ensure superior and consistent build quality.
The Paint shop is where a unique process management system followed which helps deliver the most extensive colour range, independent of minimum batch requirements.
In Assembly Shop all the engine and suspension parts, the electrical parts, the under body parts etc are fitted into the car. The cars go through complete testing in the Assembly Shop. The Assembly Shop comprises the Trim Line, the Chassis Line, the Final Line and the OK Line.
Overall the facilities, various manufacturing processes impressed us but along with that the special relationship that the company shares with its workers is what makes this one of the best and most state of the art car manufacturing facilities in India