Small-vehicle production ramps up

Ford Motor Co. plans to convert a body shop that will eventually produce smaller vehicles.


Ford Motor Co. will invest $75 million in Michigan Truck Plant’s body shop to prepare for small-vehicle production .

The robotic welders and other equipment that are currently building SUVs at Ford
The plant will begin converting its body shop in November when the tooling and equipment specific to the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator will be disassembled and transferred to Kentucky Truck Plant, which begins producing the large SUVs in the second quarter of 2009.

The move paves the way for Michigan Truck to convert to a car plant that will begin producing global C-car based vehicles in 2010.

In the interim, the plant’s 1,000 employees will be transferred next door to Wayne Assembly Plant where a third crew will be added in January to accommodate increased production of the hot-selling Ford Focus.

Michigan Truck is one of three truck and SUV plants in North America that will be converted to build small fuel-efficient compact and subcompact vehicles. Cuautitlan Assembly , which currently produces F-Series pickups, will begin building the new Fiesta subcompact car for North America. Louisville Assembly , home of the Ford Explorer mid-size SUV, is slated to start production of yet more unique small vehicles from the automaker’s global C-car platform the following year.

At the heart of this manufacturing transformation is a flexible operation, which uses reprogrammable tooling in the body shop, standardized equipment in the paint shop and common-build sequence in final assembly, enabling production of multiple models in the same plant.

Producing more compact and subcompact cars will yield significant gains in fuel economy for Ford, but of course those gains will be gradual and incremental. Looking more toward those technologies that can yield revolutionary gains in fuel economy, the Progressive Automotive X Prize announced recently that it is now accepting official registrations for its competition.

To date, more than 120 teams from 17 countries have declared their intent to compete for the $10 million prize, which will be awarded those that can design and build production-capable, market-friendly vehicles able to achieve the equivalent of at least 100 mpg. Teams have until the end of this year to register, and those that qualify will participate in a long-distance stage race that will be judged on speed, distance, urban driving and overall performance, while also having to meet the fuel economy goal and strict emissions standards. DOE is providing nearly $3.5 million for education and outreach related to the prize.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me