US – The first unit of the 2015 model rolled off the line at the Ford Rouge Center in Detroit, a facility which has been updated with modern manufacturing technology to build the aluminium-bodied pick-up truck.
Ford’s Dearborn Diversified, Stamping and Tool & Die facilities have been equipped with new press lines to stamp four different types of high-strength yet lightweight aluminium alloys. New hydroforming lines use pressurised 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 treat area bake-hardens the alloys for increased durability.
In the new bodyshop, 500 robots perform state-of-the-art joining processes. Small, compact robots install the roof and doors, transfer the vehicle to final assembly and scan the body for quality control. Meanwhile, the paintshop has been updated with dirt detection technology and greater automation. Other new processes have been implemented for the installation of features such as a 360-degree camera with split-view display.
In addition to the equipment upgrades, Ford has increased Dearborn’s existing 4,000-strong workforce by 850. The new F-150 will also be made at Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri from the start of 2015, and together the two factories will have an annual capacity of more than 700,000 trucks.