To recap, the Proton SUV is based on the popular 5-seater Geely Boyue, which is selling in huge volumes in China.
The Baoji plant, which has an annual production capacity of 200,000 units, is notable for the fact that it only produces the Boyue.
The Baoji plant is 180km from Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province and home of the famous Terracotta Army clay soldiers.
The other production site for the Boyue is the Chunxiao plant at Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province, which also produces the flagship Borui sedan.
Construction of the Baoji factory began in March 2014, with the first vehicle coming off the line in June 2016.
Presently, it has 2,400 line workers and 500 support and operations staff, and aims to assemble 800 cars a day.
The site also includes a powertrain production and development plant, which will produce 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engines jointly developed with Volvo.
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It can house over 2,700 employees and facilities include restaurants, supermarkets, medical facilities, gyms, and recreational centres.
Now, as the Baoji plant is quite new, it uses the latest state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies, equipment and processes including fully automated production lines in the stamping, welding, and paint workshops.
For example, the stamping workshop uses stamping presses from Japan’s Amino Corp, and advanced seven-axis linear robots from ABB (Switzerland).
Meanwhile, the welding workshop with an 80% automation level, has 155 Comau robots from Italy and is fully automated on all production lines, thus ensuring consistent weld quality and accuracy.
For better safety, the welding workshop has robotic CMT (Cold Metal Transition) technology from Austria’s Fronius and to reduce energy consumption by 30%, there are a large number of Bosch (Germany) medium frequency inverter adaptive welding equipment.
Also, the Geely Boyue has the nation's highest vehicle collision safety score, thanks to a body formed by 27 integrated thermoformed steel parts.
The Baoji plant also uses measuring equipment from Perceptron and Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence (United States) that ensures 100% accuracy when inspecting the vehicle body.
The paint shop adopts the most advanced water-based coating process, and 45 highly advanced robots from Germany’s Durr.
A 360-degree rain seal test also ensures no car with a leak leaves the factory.
The site also includes a 3km test track, with over 20 types of roads such as twisting roads, sharp turns, cobble roads, and long straights.
In the factory, we also noted banners with meaningful sayings (written in Chinese) that are aimed at motivating employees - examples include "Make the impossible, possible"; "Waiting will not get results, only by striving towards the objective will one achieve the desired results"; "Adopt a culture of benchmarking, compliance, problem solving and achievement."