US: Wayne plant to be Ford’s manufacturing benchmark
2012 Focus preproduction at Wayne
Ford’s Wayne assembly plant in Michigan, home of the 2012 Ford Focus, will become the company’s most flexible high-volume manufacturing facility in the world.
Wayne is one of three truck plants in North America that Ford is revamping to make fuel-efficient passenger cars. The plant will build the new Focus and an electric variant beginning next year with more models coming in the future.
The plant will use programmable equipment in its body shop allowing the company to run multiple body styles down the same production line without requiring downtime for tooling changes.
Body construction has long been a limiting factor in any plant’s flexibility. With traditional systems, unique tooling is required to weld each individual vehicle body style. Running a different body style down the same line traditionally requires considerable additional downtime for physical tooling changeover.
Ford North American managing chief Jim Tetreault, vice president of North America Manufacturing, said: “Customer wants and needs can change quickly – much more quickly than we have been equipped to respond to efficiently in the past. At Wayne we will achieve a level of flexibility we don’t have in any other plant around the world, which will allow us to meet shifting consumer preferences in real time.”