Ford is on schedule with F-150 body shop transformation image

A weeklong process started when the last of the 2014 F-150 pickup trucks rolled off the assembly line on Saturday. After that early morning production stop, the Ford body shop at the Dearborn Truck plant was torn apart.

Yesterday, midway through the program, mountains of scrap steel were still hauled off site, as 1,100 tractor-trailers full of the latest automotive equipment are ready to unload their precious cargo. All the trouble is needed to rebuild the body shop of the factory to cater for the production of the aluminum intensive 2015 F-150 pickup truck.

“No hiccups so far,” comments Brian Kinnie, assistant plant manager. “It is going well and on schedule. Every basket lift in southeast Michigan is here,” he adds. “It looks like synchronized Transformers dancing.”

No less than 1,500 workers — around 600 Ford employees and another 900 contractors – work 24/7, switching every 12 hours to install the new robots, tooling equipment and conveyors. During the last six months, as Ford was preparing to switch production from the 2014 to the 2015 model year, the workers at Dearborn also worked around the clock to build inventory for the last-generation model. No less than 300,000 were churned out the production lines, which equates to 1,360 pickups a day. Their best result – 70 vehicles an hour for the body shop, while the usual requirement is of just 63 vehicles.