Acura today announced that the all-new Performance Manufacturing Center will begin serial production of the next-generation Acura NSX supercar in late April, with customer deliveries to commence thereafter.
The new Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) is the exclusive global manufacturing facility for the all-new Acura NSX supercar and is structured around an innovative blend of people and technology. Combining human craftsmanship and technological innovation, the PMC utilizes new approaches to vehicle construction, paint, assembly and quality confirmation to deliver on the Acura brand DNA of Precision Crafted Performance.
The PMC is constructing the Acura supercar entirely in-house and, like the NSX itself, is a clean-sheet development – a manufacturing facility designed around the NSX’s unique Multi-Material Body and aluminum-intensive space-frame design and optimized for low-volume production of high-performance specialty vehicles.
“All of the innovative thinking and hard work that has gone into the creation of this state-of-the-art manufacturing facility has fulfilled our goal to build a supercar in America,” said Clement D’ Souza, the engineering large project leader of the PMC, who managed the creation of the facility. “The incredible passion and challenging spirit of our highly skilled associates enabled us to develop and build a new supercar factory from the ground up simultaneously with the ground up creation of an incredible new supercar in the Acura NSX.”
The PMC was designed to innovate both the means and the methods of producing low-volume specialty cars and to explore new ideas for next-generation Acura craftsmanship and quality. The efforts of PMC associates to innovate many areas of the NSX manufacturing process have led to the application for 12 U.S. patents. The PMC employs approximately 100 associates that support and are directly engaged in body construction, painting, final assembly and quality confirmation, working in concert with advanced robotics to build the NSX to the highest levels of quality and craftsmanship.
Complementary production of the Acura NSX’s bespoke, 75-degree, twin turbocharged V-6 engine takes place at the company’s nearby Anna, Ohio engine plant and is undertaken by a small group of master engine builders.
With trial production underway and serial production starting in April, Acura is revealing additional details of the innovative manufacturing processes at the PMC and Anna Engine Plant.
Precision robotic weld technology: the NSX’s aluminum intensive space frame is constructed using advanced joining technologies.
The multi-material space frame is created with 100-percent robotic MIG welding, an automobile industry first. Eight weld robots apply 860 MIG welds to the space frame, ensuring highly precise and repeatable welds and a highly accurate body.
360-degree-rotating rotisserie-style body fixtures aid precision by turning the body during the process to provide optimal access for the robotic weld arms.
In-line quality confirmation: highly skilled weld technicians both visually inspect and take precise measurements of each part and at every stage of the welding process to validate the quality, precision and dimensional accuracy of the space frame, which is critical for both the dynamic performance of the vehicle and precise fitment of its powertrain, suspension, body panels and other components in assembly.
World-class Craftsmanship: hand craftsmanship complements the high-tech robotic processes throughout the assembly of the NSX:
Manufacturing technicians spend over 14 hours assembling the NSX powertrain, suspension, electronics, interior components and exterior body panels. Advanced visual operations standards aid technicians in ensuring that each process is performed to established requirements.
Critical bolts on the NSX are hand started by a PMC technician and tightened to precise tolerances using wirelessly enabled torque wrenches. This technology allows for the recording of torque settings for every bolt on every car, further ensuring quality in the assembly process.
Unlike conventional cars with unibody construction where exterior panels are attached in welding, the NSX utilizes a space frame design, so that the exterior body panels are actually the last parts to be installed on the car. This allows for the exterior panels to be installed at a high level of precision, achieving superior fitment and maintaining world-class paint finish.
All-glass quality confirmation center: A total quality approach to production is evident not only in the mindset of every PMC technician but also in the very design of the facility, which features a glass-enclosed quality confirmation center that is centrally located within the plant. This allows technicians from every department to monitor all aspects of a vehicle as it moves through the entire production process.
Hand built engine: the NSX’s 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine with dry sump lubrication is hand assembled by master builders at the Anna Engine Plant. Each engine takes over six hours to assemble.
Each and every component is hand assembled and each of 547 bolts is hand started and manually tightened to precise torque tolerances.
Each NSX engine is machine balanced, bench tested and broken-in to the equivalent of 150 miles of service to ensure that every NSX engine is track-ready upon customer delivery.
The engine build process was benchmarked against the company’s race engineering programs to ensure the highest possible quality and performance standards were achieved.
First ever automotive application of Ablation casting: a first-ever application of new technology in the automotive industry, ablation casting, developed by Alotech, Ltd., is utilized for the creation of six nodes with the NSX space frame, serving as rigid suspension and powertrain mounting points and as critical elements of the vehicle’s crash structure. The ablation cast nodes are produced at the company’s Anna, Ohio engine plant, where its V-6 engine is also assembled.
World-class exterior finish: with up to 11 coats of primer and paint, along with an extensive substrate preparation and polishing, the PMC achieves a high-quality paint finish unmatched in the class.
Space frame with zirconium pre-treatment: the aluminum-intensive NSX space frame undergoes an etching process prior to application of corrosion-resistant primer using a zirconium-based material. While instrumental for world-class quality, the use of zirconium also reduces environmental waste in the painting process.
Rotisserie-style sealer application: The use of two rotisseries in the body sealing application process – in which the space frame is loaded onto the fixture, elevated and rotated 360 degrees – provides for more precise application of sealer and improved ergonomics for technicians. The rotisserie is also employed in an industry first application in that it allows for one-sided attachment of the frame for more efficient loading and unloading and is a patent-pending design.
Dynamic performance confirmation: Drawing from the company’s extensive race engineering expertise, the NSX undergoes a rigorous pre-delivery dynamic performance confirmation process that includes a detailed 45-minute wheel alignment process, fourcorner weight and ride height check and precision measurements of brake performance at all four wheels, along with other critical performance quality checks. Half of the PMC’s 12 U.S. patent applications relate to the unique processes created in this area.
About the Acura NSX
Created to bring a new experience to the supercar segment, the next-generation Acura NSX challenges conventional beliefs about supercars, with cutting-edge and world-first technologies. Much as the first generation NSX did a quarter century ago, the 2017 NSX breaks the mold through a first-of-its-kind Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive power unit, a multimaterial body structure, advanced aerodynamics and a cockpit that supports performance driving on every level without sacrificing comfort. The 2017 Acura NSX is the only supercar designed, developed and manufactured in the U.S. and is produced exclusively at the Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio using domestic and globally sourced parts. The NSX engine is manufactured at the Anna, Ohio engine plant, also using domestic and globally sourced parts.