Rocket Fuel

From Building B to Building A


From an early age, particularly during math class, we are taught to “show our work.” While this adage was a source of endless frustration in remedial math class, the message it imparts is enduring: there is great value in showing how you reached the conclusion. Showing your work demonstrates a knowledge of the process and a commitment to doing things the right way. From prototype to production, we want to take you through the process of turning an innovative idea into a game-changing product. For this reason, past Momentums have outlined our launch and manufacturing plans. Today, we will take a look at the next step.

At the conclusion of last week’s Momentum, the paint process has been completed, the vehicle has finished curing in the oven and has undergone a thorough inspection. Now, the vehicle is ready to be transported to Building A of our Elio Caddo Operation facility. In Building A, we will add approximately 240 parts to the painted chassis, door, hood, and trunk.


In our past Momentums on manufacturing and launch, we have given a step-by-step look at the process. In Building A, there are approximately 175 individual stations. If we were to give a detailed “play-by-play” of the process in Building A, the Momentum would rival War in Peace in terms of length. Today, we will give an overview of the next step.

Every aspect of Building A is set up to manage the four M’s: materials, manpower, methods, and machinery. The main goal is to create a safe environment for the Elio team, as well as create a high-quality vehicle for Elio customers.

Here’s a look at the four M’s:

The materials are the parts we will be adding to the vehicle. The management of the flow through the line will be handled by our supply and material teams at the plant. Manpower is the team members that are responsible for building the vehicle. Efficiency is of chief importance, as the process is designed to keep the line running and allow the workers to maximize their time adding the materials. Machines are the implements our workers will use to build the vehicle. When we refer to machines, we are referring to everything from forklifts, presses, robot welders to hand tools and air power. Our plant is already equipped with a considerable number of machines we will utilize for production, allowing us to reduce costs. Methods are the “nuts and bolts” of the processes that take place throughout Building A.

Each station will be driven by two main working documents: the Operation Description Sheet (ODS) and the Detailed Task Instructions (DTI.) The ODS provides a layout of necessary actions to be taken at each station and will deliver an efficiency measurement to ensure the station fits perfectly in the overall manufacturing layout. For an example, we will look at the master cylinder station. The ODS will have time assigned for receiving the tool and part, installing the part, walk time to each and the completion of the paperwork. The ODS will add up the total time, down to the second, and from this measurement, we can ensure that the station is keeping perfect time with the conveyor system. Utilizing ODS in each station allows for optimum efficiency throughout the plant.

The DTI represents the more granular detail for installing materials. The level of detail of the DTI can include which hand to hold the part with, telling the operator the best way to install a nut, torque details, as well as every step, in order, to complete the task at hand. This also leads to higher quality and more efficient processes. Great care is taken to make the process safe and ergonomically efficient, as some of these processes can be repeated as many as 40-60 times in an hour.

Next week, we will continue to show our work and outline the final step.

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