Big farm machinery manufacturer Claas has finished a three-year refurbishment of its tractor factory in Le Mans, France.
The $A62 million project has seen the complete renewal of assembly and logistics equipment and processes to improve the efficiency and ergonomics of the plant.
The French Government recently bestowed a Vitrine Industrie du Futur (Industry of the Future) award on the factory.
The Le Mans factory produces more than 10,000 tractors each year with throughput scheduled to increase to 13,000 as global sales increase.
Claas Harvest Centre general manager for product Tim Needham said the refurbishment of the Le Mans factory raised the bar for quality.
"The Le Mans assembly line is at the cutting edge of technology and it sends a strong message to our customers about the quality of our tractors," he said.
"It creates entirely new opportunities for the manufacture of increasingly complex and individually configured tractors.
"Le Mans is the home of five Claas tractor series spanning 75 to 460 horsepower (55.9 to 343 kilowatts).
"At any one time there might be 20 different models on the assembly line, each incorporating hundreds of different options."
The modernisation project was developed using state-of-the-art technologies including virtual reality to simulate complex processes throughout every stage of assembly.
A fleet of 40 automated guided vehicles, each with a maximum lift of 20 tonnes, transport the tractors between each assembly station.
A new logistics infrastructure delivers parts along the assembly line as they are needed, freeing up space at each of the ergonomically-designed workstations.
In addition, bright colours and LED lighting technology provide a pleasant working environment that resembles natural lighting conditions.
Claas has invested more than $A125m on in its tractor development, manufacturing and testing facilities in France since its acquisition of Renault Agriculture in 2003.
The story Claas says factory upgrade in Le Mans puts it in poll position first appeared on Farm Online.