Some suggestions

Firstly. A good effort. I have been hanging out for something like this for a long time.
Some Suggestions.
a) Splitting Body, paint, trim, final assembly and pre delivery into at least some of their major sub systems (Paint for example is very much over simplified)
b) Introduction of repair areas and processes. (Again paint shops are the major bottleneck in an assembly plant due to having to repair and or repaint vehicles)
c) Introduction of defects which if left unrepaired cause warranty claims, loss of sales and if repaired cause reduced output volume.
d) A more realistic Tech tree based on some aspects of the real historical tech tree of motor manufacturing.

I can help the team with information based on real car assembly plants, having worked as a manager in the Auto industry.

Hi, we definitely are going to be introducing defects and quality into the game. I’m very interested in your ideas and suggestions.

We already split paint into 4 stages (undercoat, dry, finish, dry) which is obviously a gross simplification but I’m interested to know what we are missing.

What tech tree items are we currently missing? I know that we haven’t covered any of the more recent hybrid, electric engines and self driving tech, which I definitely intend to add later, but I am sure we are missing a lot of other stuff too :smiley:

I’m especially interested in peoples ideas for in-house component production processes and tech upgrades. I know that went out of fashion for a long time, with components being made mostly by 3rd parties, but it seems companies like Tesla are bringing back the idea of vertical integration and in-house production.

Something that is definitely in our plans is to replace the current system of assembling the ‘engine’ within the cars own production line, with a system where an engine is created from a certain number of components (probably an engine block, transmission and valves) and then fitted in one go, so you wwill have the main car production line, plus a little short 3-stage production line for the engines handled separately.


The main thing that bugs me right now with the game is that we can’t make all the components of a basic car in-house (arches and bumpers come to mind). I think adding those to the game should come before manufacturing the extra features. I also think manufacturing should have its own research tree to give players the option to research in-house production without being forced to research specializations first.

Maybe in-house components could have a higher rate of defects when you first set up the manufacturing slot, with quality gradually improving over time and/or QA stations and research. You could also have a way to research even greater efficiency in component manufacturing.

Engine sub-assembly is a great idea, and we should be able to make several types of engines and choose which one to put in each model. Ultimately, it would be nice to be able to design a car model first and have to set up the assembly line for the model we designed. Perhaps also make the upgrades something that is available but not necessarily fitted into the car at each station, and we could decide what the “standard” features are for each model.

Finally, I have a question about the new car types. Will the same components be used for all car types, or do we have to make SUV doors, and sedan doors, etc?

Bit of a taster for you to see if you can incorporate some Ideas into the game from a real car assembly plant.

A) Lets talk inhouse components.
Typical motor car manufacturers do:
a) Stamping (Stamping Plant)

  1. Stamping of all skin panels and their corresponding inner panels are done in house (doors, hood, decklid/lift gate, roof, fenders and quarter panels/Sides)
    These are pre-assembled inner to outer and glued with metal adhesive prior to being clinched together put into pallets and delivered to Body shop.
  2. Stamping of all heavy gauge large panels are done in house.
  3. Smaller stuff and some sub-assemblies a left to outside suppliers.
    b) Engines.(Engine Plant)
  4. Block, Heads, Camshafts,crank shaft are cast and machined in house.
  5. All other engine components are brought in from suppliers and assembled to the engine at the engine plant. (Fuel injection system)
  6. Gear boxes are shipped separately to the Assembly plant and are married up to the engine in the engine dressup area.
    c) Plastic parts
  7. Bumpers, grilles, door handles, side mirror scalps and fuel filler lids are moulded and colour painted at an outside suppliers. Paint supplier same as that for plant to ensure proper colour match.
  8. Interior trim plastic parts usually sourced to same supplier.
  9. Supplier can also do door trim, dash panel and other interior components.
    d) Drive train components.
  10. Suspension, braking, steering components are all by outside supplier/s
    e) Seats
    Seat framing, foam, and covering are all by outside suppliers.
    It can be said that anything that goes on to a car on the trim lines is generally from an outside supplier.

Basically motor car manufacturers confine themselves to doing what they consider is their core business.
a) Stamping all the major parts that go to make up a car. (Stamping Plant)
b) Making the engine (Engine Plant)
c) Putting the Body together (Body shop)
d) Sealing, Painting the Body.(Paint shop)
e) Fitting out the Interior of the body. (Trim line)
f) Installation of Engine/Gearbox drive train/ suspension, wheels etc. Filling of all fluids + fuel. (Final Line)
g) Test Rolls (Verify engine, gearbox, Brake system works)
h) Final Assembly Inspection (FAI LIne) and repair.
i) Final Buyoff. into the yard, onto the truck and out to the dealer.

Your model in the game uses a chassis.
This is the old way to build cars and is currently only used to build trucks (Ford Ranger)
Cars are build with an integral chis in the floor pan.
I will give you an example of how it all goes together in the body shop.

a) Engine Box sub-assembly
Inners of engine compartment, engine mount brackets, fire wall, front suspension mounts, and chassis rails (which will connect to the Front floor)
b) Front floor
Passenger compartment floor pan, rocker panel inner.
c) Rear floor
Chassis rails, rear wheel suspension mounts, luggage compartment floor.

Underbody weld line
a), b), c) are delivered from subassembly areas on accumulating overhead conveyors to an indexing underbody line where a heap of robots weld the 3 components together over some 10 stations.

Body Side Sub -assembly (Left Right)
Body Side outer (A pillar, B Pillar, C pillar, Rocker and Rear Quarter Panel) All one piece, has rear Wheel Arch inner, a * B pillar reinforcements attached.

Basically a big fixture that holds the Underbody + Body Sides together whilst they are being welded.
Components added are:
Radiator bridge, Dash Panel, Roof Headers (Front, Rear and centre), Roof outer skin, rear parcel shelf assembly (sedans only), Tail light panel.
(Basically all the transverse bits that hold the 2 sides together)

Panel fitment.
Fitment of front and rear doors, Engine hood, Decklid (Luggage compartment lid) or lift gate and Fenders

Body shop inspects for the following defects.
Panel flushness (Rectified by manual adjustment)
Uniform Margins between Panels.(rectified by manual adjustment)
Dents and Dings, scratches) (Damage from handling or dirt in stamping dies) Dent pulling, metal filing sanding.
Excessive anti flutter, adhesive splurge interweld adhesive. Solvent wipe/clean up.

Metal finish and Buyoff for OK to paint.
All above defects are attempted to be repaired.

a) Better fixtures (research & investment) + More robots = Better flushness and margins = better quality.
b) Better dies, die handling and cleaning processes = less dents & dings.
c) More advanced material handling, better pallet design = less scratches
d) More training and better machines and abrasives = Higher skilled metal finishing specialists = better chance repair will hold up after paint.
e) Investment in Robot application and metering of adhesives and sealers = less spluge of adhesives sealers and anti flutter.

Notes: Inspection has around 85 to 90% reliability in finding defect.
Repairs to more than 10-15% vehicles cost cycle time and start to stop the line.
Poor standard of Metal finish repair and clean up result in having to re-repair after first coat of paint, may ultimately result in scrapping of panel.
Iron filings contaminate paint pre treatment machines and ultimately cause dirt in paint problems.
Sealer, ant flutter, adhesive splurge leach out in pre-treatment machines, get chewed up by pumps and get redeposited on bodies = dirt defects which are really hard to remove in paint.

Your model in the game basically say that the more research I do the faster my process is at producing cars.
In real life automotive plants the limiting factor is how much work can be done in a work station in a given cycle time.
Stamping cycle times are short, 10- 15 seconds, but die change times are long = hours.
Body shop cycle times are generally around 60 seconds per work station.
Paint shop cycle times are around 90 seconds to 120 seconds
Trim Final cycle times are approx 60 seconds.

So life in an assembly plant is all about how many people I need to do the work split into work stations at 60 to 120 seconds duration.
People make mistakes, stop the line so to get rid of the quality issues and the line stoppages plants invest heavily into automation which gives a repeatable, predictable result.

Around 500 to 2000 units per day is what a car plant is set up to build.

If the above gives you some Ideas to further enhance the game and you would like me to step through the remainder of the car making process then let me know and I will continue.

I can also give you some Ideas about how we measure efficiency (OEE) overall equipment efficiency, (FTT) first time through, MTTF Mean time to failure and MTTR mean time to repair.
Given the plant is a complex machine it has lots of challenges with breakdowns, stock outs, and other reasons for stoppage and relief breaks and meal breaks have to be planned and manged if the plant is to be able to deliver its daily volume requirement.


Awesome ideas and insight here. I definitely want to canvass design opinions on how the game should handle the process of defects. My initial thought is to have periodic in-line inspections, and for these to reduce the number of defects, with defects actually being fixed right at the end of the line (before shipping obviously :D).

Its interesting that you mention plastic. Obviously loads of car components are plastic but I had not really considered it, and currently it is not a resource. Obviously we do need to simplify the process of car construction compared to real life, otherwise it becomes more like a job and over-complex, and less like fun :smiley:

I’ve been reading a book about toyotas Lean production system and how it compared to car production beforehand and it is very interesting stuff. I definitely want to reward the player for sensible factory layout and process design. Something that the game currently focuses on which it seems (from my experience) that real plants do not is space optimisation. Most of the plants I’ve seen or visited seem fairly sparse, with a lot of open space. Am i right in guessing that due to their locations, rent and space restrictions are not much of a real issue?

With respect to defects:
The old way.
Separate inspection at end of the process by Q/A, followed by collection of vast amounts of data, analysis and the reaction to try and prevent.
Defect itself was sent off to repair which was usually overdone, repeated and finally given up on resulting in a repaired defect which was far worse than the original defect and then shipped off to the customer in the hope that it would not be noticed.

The newer way.
a) Process documentation and control with visual aids and proper techniques to ensure the process is done correctly (Concentrate on process input as opposed to outcome).
b) Cataloguing of defect types and defining correct repair procedures for each. Having Teams work on improving these and error proofing the process as a matter of everyday business.
c) Getting rid of Inspectors (Non value added ) and doing buyoff using operators who do repair process themselves.

example. In paint.
Principle defect is Dirt in paint. Followed by paint application defects such as runs and sags.
There is a permanent team that works on dirt reduction, dirt is counted Particles per unit, dirt is analised by layer. There is a dirt library which visually catalogues where in the process particular dirt comes from.
All dirt is Identified and polished out on the Polish line. If there is insufficient time to polish out the defects in the cycle time, the unit goes to a static heavy repair area where it is dealt with. If polishing fails Unit is sent for spot repair (in a separate booth) or panel change where the defective panel is swapped for a good one from another unit of same colour. If there are more than 3 defects to be repaired on a unit (too many for spot repair to deal with) the unit goes fo all over repaint, after all good panels have been replaced with defective panels,and these have been prepared for painting.
The old way.
75% to 85% First time through lots of rework and scrap. Currently with Panel change, spot repair, dirt team and skilled polish operators FTT is 96% with spot doing about 3 units per hour Max and panel change doing 2-3 units/shift and all ove repaints down to also 3-4 units.

Space relative to other industries may seem sparse however an operating plant (in the case op paint) during operation does not utilise all of its space with Stripping conveyors being empty during operation.
Pre-treatmet, Electrocoat, ELectrocoat oven, Sealer oven and Topcoat booth and oven need to be empty between shifts and given units cannot be stopped in these facilities gaps need to be run to facilitate relief breaks.
Real plants try to minimise system size (number of cars in system at one time) and there by shorten the Dock to Dock time units spen in the plant. Minimum stock is kept on line and KAN BAN is used extensivly to keep stock delivered just in time. This prevents plant being crammed full of stock, ensures stock is processed first in first out ensures defects in stock are picked up as soon as possible and there is not a pile of defective stock to sort and return or throw out after the first defect is found.

Toyota have their lean manufacturing system and it is very similar to the Ford Production System that I am most familiar with.
I have been in the business of AUto Manufacture for coming on 38 years, mainly in paint, but also in alloy wheel manufacture, head manufacture and run production. It is a tough business to be in and fun of problems every day but for me it is a source of immense interest and above all fun.

When you mention polish, this is an interesting point. If we were to add an extra step after final paint drying of ‘polish’ would that make any sense? I’m sure that cars get more than 2 coats as it is… and obviously the game is just an approximation, but I’m guessing there is some sort of ‘sealant’ layer or polishing that is applied right at the end of the process?

Paint process is as follows.
a) Pretreatement
Phosphate and Electrocoat.
b) Electrocoat oven (35 min Bake + heat up and cool down)
I would not model this
b) Metal inspection and repair.
Electrocoat paint highlights body defects and gives opportunity to repair these with metal grinding & Spot repair prime.
Heavy repair is done in off line repair station.
c) Body Sealing.
Manual process some 20 odd people seal inside of car body, seam seal door clinch flanges, engine hood, deck lid and engine bay.
Also apply deadener pads to floor pan, luggage compartment and underside of roof and inside of doors.
Sealing is to prevent water leaks, dust ingress and deadener pads are to stop road noise and panels drumming.
d) Underbody sealing.
Can be robot or manual.
Masking holes on underside of vehicle (Manual)
Spraying underside with PVC underbody sealer (Manual or robotic). Helps with corrosion protection and sound deadening of floor pan.
e) Sealer Gel oven.
20 min at 120C to Gel sealer so subsequent operations do not smear it on body.
f) Body Preparation.
Detail sanding of electrocoat paint finish to remove any dirt, and sealer prior to painting.
There is a heavy repair station(s) included in this line for heavy repair or sanding of re-runs.
Generally around 8-12 people work in pairs on this line doing Interiors and exteriors.
g) Spray booth. (Fastest a single booth can produce is 45 unit/hour), it is limited by what manual /robots can do in a 90 second cycle time)
We now do not have a separate prime area but do what is called a 3 wet process.
Booth process is as follows

  1. Ostrich feather machine (ELectrostatic feather duster to clean exterior)
  2. Manual tack off 2 people (Tack off interiors) and fit door ajar tools and hood props.
  3. Exterior Prime painting 6 robots.
  4. Manual interior painting (IN more advanced plants = robots)
    Paint Engine bay and underside of hood in Base coat. 2 Operators. 1 Coat.
    Paint door interiors and door steps In Base coat. 4 operators 2 Coats.
    Paint interior deck lid /Lift gate in Base coat. 2 operators 1 coat.
  5. Base Coat exterior 8 Robots
  6. Clear coat interior.
    4 Operators 2 coats clear on door interiors.
    Engine bay generally left in BC finish.
    On High end vehicles inside of Decklid/ Luggage compt gets 2 coats of Clear coat. = +2 operators.
    6 Clear coat Exterior 8 Robots.
  7. Touch up and slave tool removal 2 operators.
  8. 10 min flash time.
    10 Oven 45 min dwell time.
    Preliminary inspection.
    Oven stripping line/cool down.
    h) Polish Inspection and Buy off.
    Approx 8 - 12 operators inspect/polish and Buy off all exteriors and interiors.
    Work station can handle 4 particles of dirt per operator, if more
    unit is sent to spot repair for heavy polish or line stops.
    Any defects are sent to
    g) Spot repair. (3 to 6 stations)
    2 men per station. 40 min -50 min prep/ paint/bake and polish
    Max 3 defects/ unit.
    h) If more defects go to Panel change. (2 people)
    Swap good panels for ones with defects.
    Accumulate defective panels on one unit and send to f) Body preparation. then to booth.
    OK bodies go to WAX application = aluminized wax to door inners and body cavities as extra corrosion protection.(robotic)

Generally paint shops are designed to run 98% up time.
FTT after polish is around 90 t0 95%.
SPOT repair OK rate is around 98%
Most defects come from Interior Sprayers (runs & sags or insufficient paint {dry spray or Light on}
Dirt is major defect but is generally polishable however beyond around 25-30 particles/unit it will cause line stoppages.

Line stoppages beyond a minute in a spray booth cause defects (Flash off of paint is exceeded and partially sprayed units show up surface defects where one coat has not blended into another). Generally a booth stoppage of greater than a minute will generate 5- 5 units requiring heavy repair.

Having said all that I think important processes to include are:

  1. Sealer because it is manual cna causes water leaks which are a big deal to stop customers buying another car.
    Car design advances to make sealing easier and more robust with research.
    Water test(just before shipping unit) finds the water leak but trim must be stripped to get to the leak to repair it and that causes other potential defects in the trim fitment.
  2. Spraybooth + Oven
    Men, Automation, defects.
  3. Polish
  4. Spot repair.

Maybe above will give you some Ideas.

I think you also should add a station for actually tuning and testing the engine. You need to run it and do tests after you build it before you mount it. Maybe you can even make horse power a stat which you can optimize engines for. And the next generation engine has more horse power, but will cost more. Or you just tell the station to build a V8 or V6 engine etc.

A sports car engine for example is much much more expensive than a normal car.

its interesting to know that polish actually is a real thing and not something I imagined :smiley: Plus there is a lot of scope for amusing artwork where the whole ostrich feather thing is concerned. if I was more sarcastic about the game design I’d absolutely include a pen of ostriches next to the paint booth. That would be awesome :smiley:

I’ve always planned that the current setup is basically for producing low end, cheap cars (hence the low prices) and therefore the ‘quality’ and ‘brand’ is currently $0. I’m thinking that maybe we could add a polish stage after paint as an optional one (much like the aircon stage is currently optional) which would boost quality and add a new ‘high quality paint finish’ feature to the car.
Obviously as you outline its MUCH more complex than that (and fascinating btw), but I guess that would make ‘some’ sort of sense?

(Although sealant is obviously required and applied I think its less intuitive to people who know nothing about cars than polishing would be?)

I agree.
Putting in a polishing stage and linking it to improving quality would work in paint.
You might also consider a polishing /finessing stage after trim line .
Trim final operations by their nature cause chips and scratches in the paint work.
One of the big things in car plants was originally to concentrate on a polish in touch up repair at final inspection (After trim Final)
This has been followed by
a) Door, hood, fender protectors to stop paint damage in locations where people on trim have to lean on the car.
b) Including a "Doors off " conveyor where doors are removed from the vehicle at the start of trim, are separately trimmed and wired and returned to the same car after it has had most of the interior trim fitted.

Other innovations on trim which have improved quality

  1. Going from a flat top conveyor to a Clam shell conveyor which changes level as well as tilting. This has allowed people to work on the underside of the car (Brake lines, fuel lines, some wiring, fitting suspension components and wheels) without having to work in a pit.

If any of the above give you some good Ideas then all the better.
Keep up the good work.