Performax takes quality of production to the next dimension

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The highly-anticipated 2015 Chevrolet Silverado is set to hit the Australian market, and it boasts some serious upgrades and improvements in interior design and on board technology.

Customers can anticipate the highest of quality finish to the Silverado thanks to Performax International’s commitment to continual improvement and a sophisticated pre-production process which includes 3D printing technology and producing a dashboard with high pressure plastic injected moulding.

For over 25 years, the Queensland-based American vehicle specialist has built a hard-earned reputation as the benchmark for supplying right-hand drive American vehicles to the Australian market.

The company is finalising preparations for full automated production of the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD after earlier this year winning approval from the Federal Government to proceed as a full-volume supplier.

One of the aesthetically critical components of the conversion process is manufacturing a new right-hand-drive dashboard. The fit, the finish and the functionality of the completed dashboard is a high priority for the Performax engineering team, as well as giving the driver an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) experience.

A great deal of research and pre-production tooling takes place, and this is where a 3D printed dashboard played an important role.

Jani Stenberg, Performax’s Program Managing Engineer for the Silverados, said that buyers can be assured that the engineering team went the extra mile to ensure Australian drivers will enjoy an original Chevrolet experience, even down to the fine detail of texture on the dash surfaces.

“The process we have adopted seeks to provide an OEM level dashboard for the Chevy Silverado,” said Jani.

“The cost of an injected mould tool is in six figures, so it’s a big investment and you want to confirm it before you kick that investment off.

“First time quality is so important. When we kick off the tooling for the injected moulded part, the parts coming off the tooling should be good to go and go straight into production. Our preparations reduces the likelihood or risks of tooling reworks which are costly and then reduce the quality of parts.”

Jani said that a meticulously engineered right-hand-drive converted dashboard was provided to manufacturing partners in China so they could see the mirrored image. This is scanned and made into a 3D CAD model, which is checked over for finish.

“We check it and ask for tweaks, and when we’re 100% confident that the design is as close as we can get it in the virtual world, we 3D print it. With this 3D-printed dashboard we can do an in-vehicle confirmation, so we can check all the interfaces in the vehicle and check that everything lines up.”

“The reason we use high pressure plastic injection moulding is we have better tooling life and have an OE-quality part at the end of the day. We’re taking things a step higher with the quality and finish of our parts.

“Our automotive industry suppliers in China supplies several OEMs with parts, so they have an understanding of the level of quality that OEM’s expect.”
Performax imported and supplied its first Silverado in 1997 when it won a contract to supply several vehicles to the Victorian Ambulance Service.

Performax International will be importing Silverado 2500HDs and 3500HDs, in crew cab, all with the LTZ luxury badge. The company will also be supply the upmarket Chevrolet brand, GMC Sierra Denalis.

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