Newmar Factory Tour

Recently, my wife and I went to the Newmar factory tour. Not nearly as sophisticated as I expected. It’s basically a big building with lots of skilled people assembling stuff with mostly hand tools. Kind of reminds me of those old pictures you see of Henry Ford’s early assembly lines. Nothing wrong with this, just not what I was expecting.

Couple of things I did learn:

  1. Gas coaches have about 3 miles of electrical cable in them. Diesel coaches have closer to 5 miles.

  2. The coaches are set on air dollies (under the wheels). It’s surprising to see two guys push around a 40,000 pound coach like it was nothing more than a heavy piece of furniture.

  3. The factory is air conditioned in the summer time. (apparently, this is unusual in the industry).

  4. The place is tidy and clean. Debris is swept into floor openings where it falls onto a conveyor belt and is removed from the factory. The only debris I saw was in the immediate vicinity of active work. Once the work was finished, the debris was quickly cleaned up.

  5. The factory floor is busy. It reminds me of a flock of birds flying in unison without having to follow a leader.

  6. Spartan chassis appear much more robust than the Freightliner ones (to my untrained eye). Followup: I was likely comparing chassis from different classes/models of motor homes. I’m told I would be hard pressed to tell the difference between chassis in the same class/model. I suspect this is true.

  7. Floor workers are all friendly

  8. It takes one worker less than 10 minutes to install the front cap on a coach. I know this because I watched him do it. Used a crane with suction cups to grab and position it.

  9. The walls of the cabs are very robust. Newmar’s reputation for the best wall structures is deserved.

  10. Two workers can install a slide in about 5 minutes using a couple of fork lifts.

  11. The insulation is glued into place. It won’t sag or shift later.

  12. Newmar employs about 750 people.

  13. All wiring is installed with rubber grommets wherever it goes through a wall or conduit.

  14. It takes four days from the time the chassis enters the building to fully assembled and ready for testing.

  15. You’re not allowed to take pictures (bummer).

So was it worth the trip? For me it was 3 hours one way and I learned enough to make it worth while. If I had to drive more than 5 hours one way, maybe not.

Written on November 8, 2016