The Fiat 500L is produced at the Kragujevac (Serbia) plant, inaugurated last April after three years of intense and continuous work carried out to upgrade the infrastructures and restore the buildings, with new roof coverings, new production departments, reclamation of lands and installation of advanced machinery and production systems.
Over 1 billion Euros have been invested from 2010 to today, in addition to Fiat's best professional resources. Every day 2500 workers and suppliers took part in the plant's reconstruction. In addition, 1,100,000 hours of staff training were provided to create a new industrial culture. Besides, its great engineering tradition and culture, and also the presence of universities and technical schools, reinforced the decision to invest in Serbia, a country where Fiat has been present in collaboration with the Zastava group since long ago in 1953.
The new Kragujevac plant production capacity exceeds 700 cars per day thanks to the new design and structure. With its compact, flexible and modular structure - it can indeed produce various models - the industrial site was built to last for years, to be productive and competitive, in addition to abiding by the principles of World Class Manufacturing, the production system applied throughout the Fiat Group.
New technological standards have been applied for the production of the 500L in order to support other production cycles (flexibility), to make maintenance easier and to reduce energy consumption (simplicity) and to assure quality (sturdiness). More specifically, every production station has been designed taking all the essential parameters into consideration. Those parameters include safety; quality, with over 1,900 controls on the line; logistic flow, developed on the basis of the operation station; efficient maintenance; environmental sustainability by reducing consumption; and ergonomics, which cuts stress and fatigue factors to a minimum.
The Fiat 500L is also Large in terms of quality. As the innovative metrology room, where all the components are physically taken to be controlled, measured and tested, demonstrates. Nonetheless, product quality also depends on quality of the process in terms of geometry, and on a rigorous execution. The walls, roof and floor of the coach building department are all assembled with precision. The coach building department of the Serbian plant, for example, was studied to have a sound geometric structure of utmost precision by adopting a method and a level of well-reasoned automation.
As they have been designed for more than one life cycle, the systems are large and simple to make maintenance easier while at the same time boasting high performance and reliability. What's more is that they stand out in terms of flexibility. They can house a number of models, including various platforms, without having to interrupt the production line.
A solvent methodology for "high solid" metallic paints has been introduced for the first time in the paint shop. Interiors are painted by hand while the exteriors are painted by robots, and then go to the solvent-based GAS oven booth for transparent coating. Let's move on to the assembly line, where the level of complexity is amazing with more than 5,000 components to manage and have delivered to the line in the correct quantity, at the right place and at the right time. The professionalism of the personnel is essential here. In fact, experience and manual skills add value to the product. This is why the operation station and the entire logistic system have been defined based on the movements of the hands. All this promotes quality in an integrated fashion.
The Serbian plant was built in keeping with the concept of sustainability, both by reducing negative effects on the environment in industrial production by way of planning attentive to environmental issues and workers, and by implementing the FIAT Biodiversity Value Index as the ratio between human activities and biodiversity. The planting of over 1000 indigenous trees in the plant area together with the employees' children and the creating a bio lake that is the home to many dying species, for example, are proof of that.