Avida Factory Tour

Reviewed by RvTrips.com.au

Keen and very excited to see this state-of-the-art factory, we arrived early at the Avida factory and headed straight to reception where we signed in and were given a visitor’s pass. We were asked to make ourselves comfortable while the other guests arrived.

Avida motorhomes and caravans are manufactured at their factory located in Emu Plains near Sydney, NSW. Factory tours are conducted once a fortnight on a Friday afternoon, you can make an appointment on the Avida website. The tour commences at 1:15 pm and you are asked to be at the front office by 1:00 pm. You need to wear enclosed footwear and bring photo identification.

A family owned business

Avida is a family owned business which started building Freeway motorhomes in 1965 and in 1978 changed their name to Winnebago. There is an interesting timeline along a wall in reception, highlighting the various stages of Avida’s history. For example, they first built caravans in 1975, the first slide out was made in 1995, and Avida even provided support vehicles for the Olympic Games in 2000.

In 2013 they had to undertake a name change from Winnebago, and Avida was born. The Avida operation is set on 10 acres, and they produce approximately 600 motorhomes, campervans and caravans each year employing over 230 staff. The vehicles are not sold at the factory but are sold through their dealer network in Australia and New Zealand.

First impressions

Our group was soon led off to the factory by Darren who is a Customer Relations Coordinator at Avida. He was most informative, very professional and could easily answer the group’s questions about the manufacturing process. A great choice!

Unfortunately, most of the Avida factory shuts down in the afternoon of every second Friday, the time the tours are on. A little disappointing, as seeing the manufacturing process ‘in action’ is always a rewarding experience. All for safety reasons, which we can understand.

Hi-tech manufacturing

There are two factories in the Avida complex, one for manufacturing, the other for assembly. Our tour begins in the manufacturing factory, where all the components that go into making an Avida RV are made. This building houses high tech cutting and laminating machinery to ensure the cabinetry, walls, floors and roof of each new vehicle is of the highest quality.

A lot of capital has been invested in machinery to ensure high-quality components are consistently produced. They even monitor the air for humidity and temperature and adjust the heat of the glue to ensure the bonding of the material is optimal.

Avida has staff continually working on new designs and ways of streamlining the production process. Jobs are assigned up to 6 weeks before assembly so the walls and furniture can be prefabricated on-site before the chassis arrive. Very impressive.

Assembly line efficiency

We then headed to the assembly factory where we viewed the vehicle chassis being prepared for new motorhomes. The chassis is adjusted in size (if necessary), then tanks, bins, plumbing, electrical harnesses and any underfloor requirements are added before moving along the line. The vehicles then go into a state-of-the-art spray painting booth before heading further along the production line for fit-out.

The floor is bolted to the chassis before adding beds, cupboards, hot water, ovens, toilets etc. All cabinetry is attached to the floor which provides extra support and strength. It is easier to work on these before the walls are added. Avida also prefers to put sky-lights, air conditioners etc., into the roof at waist level and then lift and attach the roof to the top of the vehicle. Very clever!

Finally, the TV, Microwave, blinds and finishing touches are added. The curtains, cushions and pelmets are manufactured on site, and the original seats in the trucks are re-covered to match the colour chosen for seating in the new motorhome.

Industry leading warranty

A series of tests are conducted along the production process to ensure a first class build quality, and finally, they are fully water tested. Avida offers a 3-year manufacturer warranty and a 5-year structural warranty – the best on the market.

On completion of the tour, visitors head back to the office to return passes and receive an information pack containing brochures on the Avida range and a pen. One information sheet talks about the Avida RV Club (ARVC) which is open to anyone – you don’t even need to own a motorhome or caravan to join. It is a forum for like-minded people to meet new friends and enjoy membership benefits – upgraded roadside assistance, discounts, information seminars, magazines, guided safaris etc. For more information call 1800 258 278 or email askme@avidarvclub.com.au.

All in all, a fascinating tour. We learnt a lot about Avida, their staff and their passion for quality and efficiency. Highly recommended if you are in the market for a new RV or just want to know more about the RV you already own. The online booking form can be found at www.avidarv.com.au/buying-tools/book-a-factory-tour/.

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