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Guided tour over Kenworth Trucks,

By Probus Club of Donvale Hill


Upon arrival at the reception area, the Club name and the visitors’ names were all displayed on a large video screen.  All then had to sign the waiver agreement, after which high-visibility vests, safety glasses and VIP name tags were issued.

The guide, Brian, who has retired from Kenworth but now comes back to conduct these tours. 

His background was as a mechanic but he progressed to a supervisor level, so his knowledge of the plant was excellent.


The first stop was in a part of the office where all the new orders for trucks are processed.  Then all moved to the display area where all were invited to “climb” into the cabin of a very big truck; that was three very large steps from the floor level.

From there the group saw a vehicle’s chassis rails being fitted with all the piping and wiring; these were then placed in a jig to be connected to the cross members; from there the assembly is put on trolleys upside down and backwards.  The reason was obvious later: being upside down makes it easier to fit all the brackets for fuel tanks and suspension parts to be placed by crane, rather than be lifted from underneath. The chassis is then rolled over so that other parts can be fitted.

The next step is to mask (cover) all parts that don't need painting.

Painting is an electrostatic process, where all sides get paint.  This is then baked at about 70oC.  The whole chassis is moved sideways to the next line (so that it is going the right way) to where the motor, gear box and drive line are fitted, along with the radiator.

Then all visited the cabin line; here all the parts are placed in a jig and riveted together.  Then to the paint line where most of the assembly is done by people but some is done by two robots.  The painted cabin shell is then fitted out with the dashboard, trim, and seats before being fitted to the chassis.  Next wheels are fitted; this is where the truck first touches the ground.  It is then started and driven off the line to be weighed, brakes checked and a “wiggle” test performed to ensure that there are no loose parts.  Finally all visited the QA area for final inspection before dispatch.

The tour was anticipated to take about 1½ hrs but all left the plant a bit over two hours later.  It was a very interesting tour.  They are currently making 10 trucks a day and every one can be different, which makes this production line unique in the Kenworth world.

Arch McDonald