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Old 09-03-2011, 09:37 PM   #1
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Factory Tour

I toured the JC plant on Friday and learned a couple interesting tidbits of info:
1.) the build cycle for an AS is 9 days
2.) approx 330 labor hours are involved in a build
3.) there are approx 1400 rivets in an AS - each requires 2 people
4.) Aluminum is the largest single material cost in an AS
5.) what seemed to be a first, about 6 months ago AS started using automation to make the partial cut-outs and rivet holes in the aluminum
6.) nearly anything that can be fabricated in the factory, is.
7.) a sign on the wall "A=Q/T, Airstream = quality over time"...does that mean not at the time it rolls out the factor door?
8.) There was a Sport model nearing completion and I noticed it had a different casing around the window, so I asked if was still riveted...nope! That was one of the ways AS reduced the cost on the Sport models
9.) Airstream originally began in Sidney Ohio (my home town growing up)
10.) my mother worked for an accounting office in Sidney....she did Mr Henschen's taxes.
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:01 PM   #2
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When we took the tour in November 2009, the interior furniture was not made in the plant, it was subcontracted out to another supplier.

I found that surprising, since it's a significant part of the overall puzzle that makes up an AS...
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:07 PM   #3
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I was there in the fall of 2010 and they were cutting and fabricating cabinets in the plant then.
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:17 PM   #4
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Airstream= Quality.... it's about time will tell.

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Old 09-03-2011, 11:34 PM   #5
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Don held up a small curved cabinet door which used as a example of something they still sub out, but otherwise all done in house "for quality control and ease of maintenance/repair" including the other larger curved cabinet segments. In fact someone was working overtime in the plywood fabrication section during the tour.

Don also mentioned that while no photos are allowed in the plant, they did allow owners of a unit in the build process to come take photos of their unit. This sounded new to me based on some of threads I've seen indicating near clandestine operations to get photos of their unit during the build.
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:36 PM   #6
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Another memorable tour quote:

"Everything in an Airstream is made to fit through the door."
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:40 PM   #7
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I saw the mad man with the caulking gun!
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Old 09-06-2011, 10:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by my3sonsdad View Post
Don held up a small curved cabinet door which used as a example of something they still sub out, but otherwise all done in house "for quality control and ease of maintenance/repair"
To me, it smells like the unit volume dropped and they had to bring back work that was previously farmed out. When we were there, Don made it clear that cabinet mfgr was farmed out, period.

No big 34-footers this year might have made a difference; they have twice what the average model has.
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:12 PM   #9
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I know they contract the upholstery and bedspreads out.

One thing I really like about my AS is the bedspread. Very well made and warm.
On a cold winter night, the orange colour is cheerful.
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Old 09-07-2011, 03:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
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I saw the mad man with the caulking gun!
And I saw the results....plus his buddy with the wavering air drill and screw driver!!!
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Old 09-07-2011, 05:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fly at Night
I know they contract the upholstery and bedspreads out.
I didn't see it, but Don indicated the upholstery was done in a 2nd floor shop that overlooks the factory floor.
No mention of bedspreads though.
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Old 09-09-2011, 09:20 AM   #12
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I just took the tour this past Tuesday - AMAZING - and such torture to go into those almost finished units!

The most amazing thing to me was when Don said that if you get a flat (with dual axles), you can roll up on a 4" board, remove that tire and then roll on 3 tires to take it to be fixed (if needed). You have to drive slower and more carefully, but that is amazing!

I got a good look at how the floor is attached - seeing as I will be doing floor repair this winter......very, very interesting and entertaining - totally worth the 6 hour round-trip drive for me!
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Old 09-24-2011, 10:30 AM   #13
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We got the tour in June, and were even invited to camp at the factory campground with our mpg! The tour was great, and we learned a lot. They were building the cabinets in the factory when we were there, but furniture was purchased elsewhere.

We were told the same thing about pictures. We were allowed to take pictures of the old "front entry" trailer and the old display ones outside, but nothing in the production area.

I found out later that bare frames show up on the floor only on Fridays, and we toured on a Tuesday, so I guess we'll have to go back sometime when we can be there on a Friday.
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