Aston Martin Factory Tour - How Supercars Are Born. Following the build of Aston Martin Vantage, DB9, Rapide, and Vanquish in the Aston Martin Gaydon Headquarters.
It all starts with the chassis, an extruded aluminum architecture, to which bonding adhesives as well as NVH materials are added. Foam is used to fill the structure to cancel out noise and vibration, and NVH materials, seen in silver with a wavy cut, are placed in key locations such as the around the torque tube and rear transaxle to cut down on vibration. The material is similar to a putty, with the idea of cutting down chassis vibration from the road but still allowing for the exhaust note to penetrate through.
As the build continues, body panels begin to find there way onto the chassis. Depending on the particular Aston Martin, materials range from aluminum and steel on the Vantage to a full carbon fiber body on the Vanquish. Here we can see the roof being added on. An adhesive is used to bond it to the body, the machine shown is applying heat to assist in the bonding process.
Moving along, additional panels are added on. Here we can see the cleverly named James Bonder, one of the few robots in the building that applies an adhesive agent to the panels before they’re bonded to the car. James Bonded that is. To ensure a strong bond, the workers must ensure that within 20 minutes after the adhesive has been laid down, the panel is attached to the car. This is the case because the adhesive starts to cure on the outside.
Once all of the panels are added, the body is ready to be painted. Various layers are sprayed on to all of the body panels at the same time to ensure the paint perfectly matches. The shell is then staged to allow for the paint finish to cure.
With the body painted, wire harnesses, NVH material, and essentially everything the customer will never see starts to get added in. The body is prepped to later marry with the drivetrain. You’ll notice covers all over the body to ensure the paint isn’t damaged during this process. To install the dash, the doors are removed and a mechanical arm is used to line it up and simplify the install. Shortly after, the windshield finds its way onto the vehicle. A bonding agent is applied by a robot prior to securing the glass in place.
Separately, the drivetrain is assembled together. This starts with the engine which attaches to the torque tube, made of either magnesium or aluminum, and connects up with the rear transmission and differential. This is also where the suspension is assembled, all of the control arms, shocks and springs, roll bars, and of course the carbon ceramic brakes. The suspension assembly joins the drivetrain to later attach with the rest of the body.
Once the drivetrain assembly is complete, the process continues to the marriage station. Here the chassis comes forward and the running gear is raised from underneath, and the whole thing is bolted together as one structure.
The vehicle is lowered, and then the front bumper is installed. Wheels and seats are among the final components installed as the interior is fleshed out. The leather used is sourced from the UK, and its possible to have virtually any logo or design stitched in to customize the interior.
With the build nearly complete, the vehicle undergoes a thorough paint inspection, where a white glove is ran over the paint finish to ensure there are no defects. The car spends about two hours here, and there are various lighting booths to view the paint how it will be seen in different regions around the world. For example, the booth on the right is similar to a Japanese gas station, and the frequency of the lights can also be altered to mimic other locations.
One of the very last steps as the car undergoes its final checklist to make sure everything is in order, the Aston Martin badge is placed onto the hood. Not too long after the vehicle is ready to be shipped out for delivery to its final destination. Of course, that’s where the real fun begins as your ears are filled with the exhaust roar, in this case from all twelve cylinders.
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