If you ever entered a modern car assembly facility, you know two things are omnipresent – welding sparks and overall noise. But, as the 2015 F-150 is revolutionary made out of aluminum, the retooled Ford Rouge Center also sets new standards.
The facility, which includes the refreshed Dearborn Truck assembly factory that makes the 2015 F-150 is now free of aspects that have been the hallmark of vehicle assembly for a century, especially if we remember we’re talking about a good old-fashioned truck plant – the sparks and noise. That’s because Ford opted to get rid of the usual steel body and axed much of the welding in favor of rivets and adhesives – essentially changing the look, sound and feel of the plant’s procedures. Ford’s investments here include $359 million for the body shop at Dearborn Truck and $484 million at the nearby Dearborn Diversified, Stamping, and Tool & Die facilities that produce parts.
Ford is also fully revamping the second F-150 plant in Kansas City, Missouri, where it plans to spend another $1.1 billion as it closes the facility in 2015 to make the switch to the new generation F-150. “The first day employees were ecstatic,” said Ron Ketelhut, chief engineer for body construction. “It was quiet.” The lack of welding has rendered the usual protective fencing useless, suction cups now move aluminum instead of magnets and clamps that transported steel and the body shop’s new tools, that include 500 smaller, lighter and more efficient robots.