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Monthly Archives: March 2012


On Thursday the 1st of March 2012, the 4th year Product Design Engineering students traveled down to Sunderland (enduring a rather terrible bus driver) to visit Nissan’s production plant.

The cool kids were led around by a guy named barry (who decided to stick me at the back, so I could not rush around in the excitement that I would have otherwise) who showed us the production lines for the Quashquai, Juke and Note.

Firstly, we were shown the punched-metal components of the car that we quickly saw turn into the shell of the vehicle.
A veritable army of yellow robotic arms clamped, welded, moved, sprayed and cleaned the shells as they made steady progress along the production line.
It was hard not to be overcome with a sense of awe looking over the writhing mass of robotic limbs. I found it difficult to walk by an arm without thinking; ‘I bet that thing could turn, pick me up, cram me into a car frame, clamp me in, and try to weld me – and I would be totally powerless to stop it.’

Next, we were shown the paint shop (which, by the way, consumes more than 50% of the plants power alone) where we saw the finished metallic shells undergo several painting processes.

Vehicle undergoing charged coating

We were also shown a process in which dust is removed using ostrich feathers! (I KNOW!! CRAZY!)

We were then taken to the final assembly line, where the cars are fitted with everything from doors, interiors, windows, engine, drivetrain, fascia, wheels, and everything else. Here we saw entire dashboard assemblies being installed in approximately 2 seconds.

Early final assembly

We then watched as the vehicles were finished and tested. The production scale was simply massive. A new car is produced ever 3 minutes!

To sum up, the trip was great! I loved it because I love cars, I hope to design them at some stage.
Hopefully this trip will prove useful to me in later years!

Iain Grout was kind enough to deliver yet another lecture to us concerning sustainability and our general lack of hope for the future. As I do not want to repeat myself (or for that matter, my colleagues) too much, I want to pick up on just one point that was casually tossed into the conversation. The following quote was mentioned (I’m paraphrasing, but I’m sure you will forgive me):

“The planet would be perfectly happy without us!”

I personally think this is a very flawed and weak argument. Not even from a stance of self preservation. This argument is simply nonsense.

The planet is nothing more than a very large collection of atoms.

Obviously the planet would be happy without us. Equally obviously, the planet would be content to have no life whatsoever. I think the planet would be happy to be a few million degrees warmer. The planet doesn’t mind… its a heap of rocks.

As a christian, I have my own beliefs as to why we are here. In my opinion, we exist on this planet to glorify and honour God.
However, even from a Scientific viewpoint – human beings are often referred to as the universe creating a way to measure itself. This is a phrase thrown around quite often by scientists like Prof. Brian Cox, for example.

So, I think it is fair to say, no matter what you believe – the argument of “the planet would be better without us” is silly.

We are here. I think we have a purpose. Don’t you?