Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Ford can make 700,000 F-150 pick-up trucks a year

The first production 2015 Ford F-150 pickup with its aluminium body rolled off the line today at Ford Motor Company’s Rouge Center, Dearborn, Michigan, truck plant after years of preparation.

The F-150 will be built at two plants – Dearborn and Kansas City givin a total output capacity of 700,000 a year.

Ford claims the 2015 F-150 is the first mass-produced truck in its class featuring a high-strength, military-grade, aluminium-alloy body and bed, standing for “the future of trucks, and brings the latest in smart technologies and state-of-the-art build processes.”

The F-150 is part of the Ford F-Series truck line-up which is now in its 66th year, F-Series has been the best-selling truck in America for 37 consecutive years and best-selling vehicle in America for 32 consecutive years.

Ford claims its latest truck is the “toughest, smartest, most capable and most efficient F-150 ever”.

It is certainly the first F-150 to be powered by the 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6 gasoline engine with a compacted graphite iron (CGI) cylinder block, which in itself makes it a benchmark in its class. It will be interesting to see what proportion of buyers choose gasoline engines over diesels.

Interest in the new F-150 has grown steadily since the truck was revealed in January at the 2014 North American International Auto Show. Over 225,000 truck enthusiasts have submitted contact information about the vehicle, and over 250,000 customers have built and priced their own version of the truck on line.

The new model will be in showrooms next month and the real test of the true customer demand will begin to materialise.
                                           Manufacturing innovations

Ford claims the new F-150 is the most innovative truck in Ford history, featuring breakthrough technologies and features that redefine the light-duty pickup for a new generation.

The scope of innovation reaches beyond the truck’s overall design with a new approach to how it is built.  

With a "deep understanding of customer needs for a dependable, more capable and more efficient pick-up truck", Ford claims its teams designed the advanced manufacturing process to include the latest in materials and in forming and joining technologies. This makes the 2015 model a dramatic advancement over anything the competition has to offer.

Ford’s refurbished Dearborn Diversified, Stamping and Tool & Die facilities provide the latest equipment to give the truck its tough body. This includes new press lines to help stamp four different types of high-strength aluminium alloys that reduce cab and cargo box weight while improving durability. New hydroforming lines use pressurized oil to form metal tubes into strong support rails for structural soundness, a new chemical coating system prepares the aluminium for high-strength adhesives, and a new heat treatment area bake hardens the alloys, resulting in more robust, durable materials.

Ford engineers have installed 500 new robots in the all-new body shop conduct state-of-the-art joining technology that leads to a tougher truck. Smaller, more compact robots install the roof and doors, transfer the vehicle to final assembly, and scan the body to ensure the highest quality standards are met.

The Dearborn Truck Plant paint has been updated with what Ford calls “dirt protection” technology and increased robotic paint automation for more durable paint application resulting in best-in-class exterior appearance for the all-new F-150. Other new processes support the addition of new truck features, such as installation of a class-exclusive 360-degree camera with split-view display.  

To support the launch of the all-new F-150, Ford added 850 new workers across its Dearborn Truck, Diversified and Stamping facilities. These new workers join the more than 4,000 existing team members, who work to ensure the 2015 model is built with the highest level of craftsmanship.

“The new F-150 is the true definition of America-made and speaks to the commitment of the hardworking men and women of the UAW,” noted Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president and director, National Ford Department. “From the beginning, our production workers in stamping and assembly, as well as our skilled trades, have been an integral part of this historic transformation."

 “The all-new F-150 is a showcase of innovation and class-leading capability for truck customers,” added Mark Fields, Ford president and chief executive officer. “It underscores the product excellence and innovation we are delivering in every part of our business as we accelerate our pace of progress toward profitable growth.”

In addition to Dearborn Truck Plant, the all-new F-150 will be manufactured at Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri, starting in the first quarter of 2015.

Combined, the two plants will have capacity to produce more than 700,000 trucks a year for availability in 90 markets globally.

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