09-11-2014, 11:32 AM #1
I toured the Kawasaki factory. Very impressive!
My friend Jon Rall with Kawasaki was kind enough to call me a few weeks ago and invite me up to tour the Kawasaki factory in Lincoln Nebraska. I tell you guys, this place is something to see. Tours are actually open to the public so if you are ever in the area be sure to stop by and check it out. Be prepared to stay a few hours and walk 7 or 8 miles. This place is massive!
You know, when we think of "Kawasaki" we automatically think "JetSkis" or "Bikes and Atv's, but did you know they also make rail cars? I had no idea! They currently have a 1.8 billion dollar contract with the State of New York to build rail cars for their transportation system, of which I got to tour the rail car line and see things things being built.
Not only are they into rail cars, but Kawasaki produces parts for the aerospace industry, producing parts for Boeing and also having built parts for the space station.
The factory in Lincoln was opened back in 1974. Upon talking with Brad, my tour guide who has been employed at the factory since day one, I learned that they employ roughly 2000 employees at the plant. Brad let me know that there are actually still 5 people in the plant that have been there since day one, that's 40 years! Another 111 people have been there 35 years of more and the average tunure is 14.2 years. That's extremely impressive! That speaks volumes about the happiness of these workers and how they are treated by Kawasaki. These people love their jobs and it definitely shows in their work ethic and the products they produce.
One of the first things you notice about this factory is how clean and clutter free everything is and how well organized the entire build process is. For such a large operation to be so stream lined is mind blowing. They even have robots that will go grab parts and bring them back to the assembly line for works to install. Two of these "go fer" robots are named Huey and Louie. Very impressive to watch these bots in action.
Top decks fresh out the press
One thing that blew me away was that Kawasaki is one of the largest producers of wheels in the world. They make up to 10,000 wheels a day. They even produce ATV/UTV wheels for their competitors Can AM, Yamaha, Honda, etc.
Inside the plant Kawasaki has a product display room showing products they've produced since day one. Check out these vintage Jetskis
Kawasaki even does their own hydro dipping. This is a very impressive procedure. Quite mind blowing when you see it done in person!
And they even have a robot, of which they built themselves, doing the hydrodipping.
Here's that rail car production line
09-15-2014, 12:21 PM #2
09-15-2014, 12:37 PM #3
I'm surprised they assemble so many different products at one factory. Usually they run different facilities for each different line.
I've been thru the Harley engine facility and one of the John Deere tractor plants. They are something to see.
09-15-2014, 12:51 PM #4
- Join Date
- Aug 2009
- Shuswap lake, Canada
Nice to see such a very successful and collaborative effort by a Japanese Co. and US workers.
Everyone benefits; the business, the customers and the workers.
09-15-2014, 01:48 PM #5
09-15-2014, 02:29 PM #6
- Join Date
- Aug 2007
Did you get to test drive the 2015 jetski's ?
09-15-2014, 03:23 PM #7
- Join Date
- Jun 2010
- Milwaukee WI
Did you get to bring home a souvenir?
09-15-2014, 03:30 PM #8
09-15-2014, 04:04 PM #9
O M G on those zero miles vintage Kawasaki snowmobiles !!! ( and the STX-R too )
09-15-2014, 04:25 PM #10
Very cool, especially the museum and vintage X-2 and stand ups. Many of the pictures look similar to the automobile plant I work at. 3000 ton is a baby press though...there's three 6000 ton presses outside my office.
Thanks for sharing.
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