Overcoming the technical hurdles was just the first challenge. The next one was on a completely different scale: manufacturing the van. The plant in Maubeuge, which has been producing Kangoo vehicles for 25 years, adapted its lines to handle the Open Sesame feature. It took more than a few tweaks: the structure of the body was entirely reworked.
Removing the centre pillar on the Open Sesame door meant that production had to recreate it in the manufacturing process.
François-Xavier, head engineer, All-new Kangoo Van
The production process therefore had to be rearranged. And so it was. Rather cleverly, actually. When the doors emerge from the stamping line, they still have a centre strut. The body size, in other words, is built with a temporary strut to avoid warping in route to the next step in the production process. Then, on the bodywork line, the extra strut is cut off. Then the six robots on this line add a number of reinforcement mechanisms to boost the doors’ shock resistance. Three geometrical devices monitor the doors in real time to make sure they are the right shape (with millimetre accuracy). Then, in the paint shop, purpose-designed hinges are positioned on the car to hold the sliding side doors’ frames in place. Lastly, on the assembly line, the seal is placed in the van – which is quite spectacular to watch because the seal goes all the way around the body.