in automatic cutting edge.

in automatic cutting edge.

More compact, faster, more flexible, and less manpower: Peugeot’s historic factory in Sochaux wants to be at the forefront of automation, ahead of the arrival of its first electric model in 2024.

The 3008 and 5008, Peugeot’s star SUVs, are now produced on a single assembly line, and at a rate of 60 vehicles per hour (memory)


In Doubs, the new Stellantis group, resulting from the alliance of Peugeot, Fiat and Chrysler, wants to prove that it is “capable of renovating the historical site”, emphasized on Monday the industrial director of Stellantis, Arnaud Deboeuf, during his visit. with journalists. “It’s over, the beauty of big factories.”

This large area, which caused the diversion of the national road and the river to take up to 265 hectares, has lost a third of its area.

Operations (stocks, stamping, assembly, painting) were housed in certain buildings, and part of the land was allocated to subcontractors or transport companies, following a 200 million euro transformation plan launched in 2017.

The 3008 and 5008, Peugeot’s star SUVs, are now produced on one open and assembly line, instead of two before, and at a rate of 60 cars per hour. Robots transport parts along the assembly line, ensuring the installation of engines, windshields, and quality check parts.

Automatic equipment

The small upper floor building has a new masterpiece costing 8 million euros, the “transtocker”: an automated warehouse that can store and unload up to 4,500 pallets, inspired by the systems used by Carrefour or Amazon.

The ballet of forklift drivers, who transport parts from the warehouse to the beginning of the assembly line, can soon also be provided by “buters”, a type of yellow robotic turtle that was testing the routes marked on the ground on Monday.

This automatic shipment “will serve as a demonstration for our other factories”, in Italy, the United States or Eastern Europe, emphasized Mr. Deboeuf. Stellantis, which has shown excellent financial health since its creation, has pledged to reduce its production costs by 40%.

The group’s 92 factories are rated every month: Sochaux is currently ranked in the first quarter for quality, and the first third for the cost of its production.

The stamping workshop, which stresses the metal parts, is also in full speed, after an investment of 33 million euros: blocks of 20 tons will soon stress 8 parts at the same time, at a rate of 15 strokes per minute.

Jobs have halved

The drought regime also affected employment: the leading industrial site in France until 2013, Sochaux saw its workforce halved in ten years, mainly in terms of workers, through several voluntary exit schemes. The plant now employs 6,200 workers on permanent contracts, with fewer and fewer part-time workers.

By increasing its production, the site aims to improve its profitability and maintain its volume at 400,000 vehicles per year. The manufacturer also wants the factory to remain flexible, in an automotive sector disrupted more than two years ago by Covid and the logistics crisis.

The shortage of microchips has however caused management to stop the line several times in recent months. “It’s a very worrying situation at the sector level, and at the social level: you don’t know if you will be working the next day”, emphasizes Vincent Rinaldi, representative of the CFTC union. Partial unemployment guarantees wages up to 84%.

Jérôme Broussard, representative of the CGT party, regrets the “catastrophic” job cuts for the region. And “we don’t know when it will stop,” he worries. “The work environment is very difficult, the pace is high. Despite the semiconductor problem, we push the machine to the limit with continuous work rhythms. We have a Saturday planned in spades.