ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The General Motors plant in Arlington took a major step forward today in its plant expansion.

The first shipment of gigantic equipment, that will be used to stamp out components for GM full-size SUVs, arrived at the Arlington plant.

Senior project engineer Douglas Broom said the first component of the stamping press weighs 94 tons and was shipped into the Port of Houston.

“It took some efforts but we had good cooperation from the State of Texas Department of Transportation,” he explained. “We’ve got 19 axle trailers that’ll be delivering the two loads today. They are permit loads that have escorts… front and rear.”

The overland journey started days ago at the Houston ship channel. Friday’s first trailer more than 100-feet in length, so long, a separate driver had to guide the back end.

The equipment is coming to the U.S. from Korea, one of the few places in the world that makes it, according to Brad Hart, the stamping plant manager.

“They’re sourced overseas because that level of manufacturing is hard to find anymore in the United States,” he said.

There will be three more shipments arriving, in all weighing a total of 400 tons.

GM is in the process of building a $200 million stamping facility at the Arlington plant. Officials say it will create 184 new jobs. The stamping equipment is arriving ahead of the building’s completion. At that time the Arlington plant will operate three press lines of five presses each, making external and internal sheet metal components for the nearby vehicle assembly plant.

“It is a huge press system. It’s extra large and will make the press parts for the [Chevy] Silverado, Suburban’s, Tahoe’s and Escalades,” Broom said.

GM plant manager Paul Graham says once operational the new stamping plant should save company money in shipping and other costs.

“From a logistics savings alone we’re going to save $40 million a day by stamping larger panels like doors and hoods here onsite for the assembly plant right next door.” GM has separately invested an additional 300-million dollars in the plant and added a third shift. Graham puts its payroll at more than one million dollars a day. If all goes as planned, the new stamping plant will be operational in June.

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