Ford Brings Heavy Metal to Auto Show
By James D. Sawyer
While the lightweight 2015 F-150 pickup has generated the most news for Ford at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), it is some heavy metal that is attracting the most eyeballs. A 37.5 ton (34 t) assembly line dominates the automaker’s 66,167-ft2 (6153-m2) display.
Rising 22' (6.7 m) above the floor of Detroit’s Cobo Center, the line is about 150' (45-m) long and approximately 10 ' (3-m) wide. It simulates the assembly process for the upcoming truck (which weighs in as much as 700 lb [315 kg]) less than its 2014 predecessor) beginning with the all-new steel frame that undergirds the new pickup. The display moves the trucks along the upper level of the line, lowering and raising each vehicle via central elevators to illustrate a different stage of assembly. The stages contain robots that go through the motions of welding different sections of the vehicle. The automaker calls the display “The Future of Tough” to go along with its truck marketing mantra of Built Ford Tough.
While at the auto show the equipment is used only to simulate assembly, according to a Ford spokesperson, after the event the line will be disassembled for use in one of the two plants where the new F-150 will be built. The more likely candidate is the Dearborn Truck Plant (Dearborn, MI), where the 2015 will enter production before it is added to Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant (Claycomo, KS).
Suppliers Comau and Siemens partnered with Ford in creating the display for NAIAS and will also be key players in changing over the two pickup assembly plants to handle the new vehicle.
Published Date : 1/21/2014