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GM Utilizes 3D Math-Based Technology to Design and Construct New Facilities

WARREN, Mich. - General Motors is the first automotive manufacturer utilizing 3D technology to build state-of-the-art facilities. GM has always been an industry leader for its use of 3D math modeling to design world-class vehicles. Now, the company has taken this technology a step further. GM facility engineers can strap on special 3D goggles, step into a virtual cave, and see how a plant looks before the first piece of steel is put in place. Results: GM’s fastest assembly complex ever built, Lansing Delta Township, which was constructed 20% faster than the five-year-old Lansing Grand River facility; and a 442,000 square feet expansion of Flint Engine South, constructed 27% faster than target.

“GM operates more then 170 plants in 34 countries,” said Jim Wiemels, Vice President and General Manager GM Manufacturing Engineering. “By integrating this type of technology into our design build, we are continuously improving, changing the construction industry and leading in lean construction.”

Much like virtual reality games, GM engineers, architects and contractors can enter another world, one which only exists on the hard drive of a supercomputer, and collaborate on best practices. Until recently, all facility designs were limited to the traditional 2D world, where engineers had to hope that lines intersecting on a page did not actually intersect in real life. Imagine the problem of learning that a HVAC system intersected a water line and all the time and money needed to fix that problem in the field. This new virtual world helps compress design and build time and allows GM to be more flexible in adjusting to the ever-changing vehicle market.

“Designing in 3D allows suppliers to fabricate their building sub-systems in a controlled environment, which leads to better work quality and less rework, clutter and scrap on the job site,” said Dave Skiven, Executive Director of Worldwide Facilities Group. “Simply put, this technology adds quality and safety while subtracting time and money.”

GM partnered with GHAFARI, Alberici Group, The Ideal Group, Inc. and Dee Cramer, Inc. in achieving this math-based vision. GHAFARI was the main architectural firm on both projects and led deployment of the 3D Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology. Ideal was the main contractor for the Flint Engine South facility; and Alberici was the main contractor for Lansing Delta Township’s Body Shop, General Assembly and Central Administration. The lead contractor for the Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning system (HVAC) was Dee Cramer, Inc. The numbers alone reflect the scope of this complex project and the coordination needed to make the dream a reality. Lansing Delta Township took almost 1.2 million construction hours to build; and used over 100,000 yards of concrete, 14,000 tons of structural steel, and 200 miles of wire during construction.

About General Motors:

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world’s largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader for 75 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 327,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 34 countries. In 2005, 9.17 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. More information on GM can be found at

About Alberici:

Alberici Constructors, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is the flagship and largest of all Alberici Group companies. Alberici Constructors completed over $330 million of automotive projects from its Livonia, Michigan office in 2005 alone. As the core organization, Alberici Group provides strategic direction, resources and shared services to each Alberici company and ensures a common commitment to unflinching dependability, forward thinking and passion for building. For additional information about Alberici please visit


GHAFARI is an organization of architects, engineers, consultants, and staffing specialists providing services to a global client base that includes the manufacturing, aviation, government, and commercial sectors. Founded in 1982, GHAFARI is playing a leadership role in the deployment of 3D Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology across the design/construction supply chain. GHAFARI employs over 1,300 people from its Dearborn, Michigan headquarters and offices in Chicago, Indianapolis, Dallas, and Sacramento. For more information please visit the GHAFARI website,

About Ideal:

The Ideal Group, Inc. consists of (6) member companies. Founded in 1979, Ideal Group employs 140 people and up to 200 tradesmen. Headquartered in Detroit with facilities in Howell, Hamburg and Auburn Hills as well as regional offices in Florida, California and Arizona, The Ideal Group, Inc. and its customer focused companies deliver innovative solutions and provide maximum value in construction services, manufacturing and indirect material management. More information on The Ideal Group can be found on

About Dee Cramer, Inc.:

Dee Cramer, Inc. is a third generation Sheet Metal/HVAC (Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning Contractor) with offices and fabrication facilities in Grand Blanc, Lansing and Wixom, Michigan. In business since 1937, Dee Cramer, Inc was ranked the eighth largest sheet metal contractor in the country by ENR (Engineering News Record) Magazine. With over 200 employees they have been doing construction work for GM for over 50 years. More information on Dee Cramer, Inc. can be found at

Plant Facilities Fact Sheet

Lansing Delta Township:

General Motors has invested $1.5 billion in the Lansing Delta Township plant, which represents one of the single largest investments by the company in the United States. The facility will start regular production later this year. The plant will manufacture three crossover vehicles: Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave. The complex is 2.4 million square feet and will have approximately 3,000 team members when in full production. Lansing Delta Township Assembly is critical to GM’s global manufacturing strategy, and sets the world standard for a state-of-the-art, innovative, high-tech automotive manufacturing facility of the future.

Flint Engine South:

The 3D technology can be easily transferred from a green-field project to a brown-field expansion. The existing Flint Engine South plant is about 760,000 square feet was opened in 2000. Using virtual technology, the plant was then expanded an additional 442,000 square feet in 2005. Flint Engine South is now producing the Vortec 4200 I-6 engine used in TrailBlazers and Envoys. In September, production begins in the new section of the facility that will build the HFV6 engines to be sent to Lansing Delta Township. The HFV6 will be used in the Buick Enclave, Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia. The HFV6 also will be used in Cadillac STS, SRX and CTS models.


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