Just north of Singapore’s borders, a factory in Malaysia builds many of the MAN and Scania city buses that operate on our roads. Gemilang Coachworks Sdn. Bhd., is a bus bodybuilder that builds and assembles a variety of city buses and coaches for the local and international market, with Singapore being its main customer.
- Assembly Process
- Singapore Buses
- Hong Kong Buses
See Also: The making of a bus – MAN Lion’s City DD
Established in 1989, Gemilang Coachworks designs and manufactures buses for its core market in Singapore and Malaysia, as well as developing markets in Australia, Hong Kong, China and India. The company sells its products in two forms – (i) in the form of bus bodies (SKDs and CKDs) for local assembly and onward sales; and (ii) in the form of whole buses (CBUs) which are assembled onto chassis for direct delivery.
Between 2006 to 2010, Gemilang Coachworks built knock-down kits for SBS Transit’s Scania K230UB buses, only 3 of which were assembled by Gemilang themselves. The majority of the 1,101 buses were built in Singapore by ComfortDelGro Engineering or SC Auto. Also around 2006, knock-down kits were built for SMRT’s Mercedes-Benz OC500LE buses, with all 134 buses assembled by Thonburi Bus Body of Thailand.
Around 2009, Gemilang Coachworks also built and delivered its first double-deck bus, a Scania K310UD for SBS Transit, registered SBS7888K. In 2013, it followed up with a Volvo B9TL, fitted with a prototype bodywork for SBS Transit and registered SBS7777Y.
From 2011, Gemilang Coachworks built and assembled whole buses for SMRT on the MAN chassis, using the MAN Lion’s City bodywork design. Originally available only as an integrated product from MAN, Gemilang Coachworks was awarded a license to reproduce the design. Between 2011 and 2015, it built 734 MAN NL323F buses for SMRT, along with 40 MAN NG363F buses, built with the Lion’s City Hybrid and Lion’s City G bodywork respectively. From 2013 to 2017, the MAN A95 was also produced by Gemilang with the Lion’s City DD bodywork.
The production these bodywork kits, along with the assembly of whole buses, are performed at Gemilang Coachworks’ factory in Senai, Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
Assembly is largely undertaken in five stages:
1. Construction of body structures
The construction of body structures starts with various structural components (such as those supplied as a SKD kit), and a chassis frame. Gemilang usually works closely with the chassis manufacturers to identify the critical dimensions for setup and levelling.
2. Assembly onto chassis
The body structure is then mounted on the chassis. For steel buses, a body-on-frame construction method is used, and the superstructure is welded onto the chassis. On the other hand, for aluminium body structures, the five major superstructure parts (front frame, rear frame, left and right side frames and roof) are bolted together, part by part, onto the chassis.
Panelling consists of exterior and interior panelling, where all the panels are moulded and secured onto the body structure to enclose the bus.
4. Installation of exterior and interior accessories
Installation of exterior accessories includes the installation of doors, windows, windshields and other systems on the bus. An integral part of the bus assembling process also involves the installation of interior fixtures and accessories. The interior layout and requirements are based on bus transportation operator’s specifications covering various aspects including aesthetics, safety as well as optimising the number of passenger seats and luggage space.
Coatings are part of body surface finishing works, protecting the bus from corrosion as well as for aesthetics purposes. The Gemilang factory has four spray booths, which are purpose-built structures with proper ventilation and filtration systems.