Ford's most flexible factory rolls out plug-in hybrid

8 November 2012
By Bryan Betts
Mobile version
Share |
Ford Cmax Energi

Ford Cmax Energi

A former SUV factory in Michigan is now one of the world's most versatile auto assembly plants, according to Ford.

The carmaker said that with its first plug-in hybrid car, the C-Max Energi, in full production, its rebuilt Michigan Assembly Plant (MAP) is the world's only plant to build petrol-powered, electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles all on the same production line, and the only one to produce four vehicles delivering 40mpg (48mpg UK) or more in real-world driving.

Indeed, the C-Max Energi is rated as delivering 108MPGe (130mpg UK, 2.2l/100km) on a city driving cycle. Ford claimed this made it “America's most fuel-efficient and affordable plug-in hybrid vehicle”, eclipsing its great rival, the Toyota Prius plug-in.

Making MAP this flexible has taken an investment of $550m over four years, Ford said. During that time, its manufacturing and product development teams have worked together to create product platform designs that enable the use of programmable equipment to produce multiple variations of products in one facility. Today, more than 80 per cent of the tooling in the plant's body shop can be programmed to weld a variety of body styles. This allows Ford to quickly adjust the mix between models as customer preferences change.

The company's engineers also collaborated with UAW union representatives, for example to design job stations in the final assembly area that can be adapted to different kinds of work content, depending on the vehicle. So even though C-Max vehicles have 1,074 parts that differ from the Focus, both vehicles travel through nearly all of the same 604 workstations in the trim and chassis areas.

Several workstations play key roles in the plant's ability to build both electrified and gasoline-powered cars. At one chassis station, workers have plastic fuel tanks on one side of the line and electric chargers on the other. Depending on the build sequence, they install either a charger in a Focus battery-electric vehicle (BEV), or a fuel tank in a C-Max or petrol-powered Focus.

Similarly, multiple stations in the trim area have been reconfigured so that the work team has a longer time window for the complex functions of installing the high-voltage wiring and battery into a C-Max or Focus BEV, while being given quicker tasks to perform when petrol-powered Focus cars come down the line.

"Michigan Assembly Plant is setting a new global standard for flexible manufacturing, and is a central part of Ford's important milestone, sweeping Toyota across the board for fuel economy leadership," said Jim Tetreault, Ford vice president of North America Manufacturing.

Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1604

"Should the UK's engineers be in or out of Europe? The IET sets out its official position on the EU referendum this week - will you agree?"

->

E&T jobs

  • Solutions Engineer

    Bristol Water
    • United Kingdom
    • £41,000 - 49,000

    We serve a population of over one million people and all the associated businesses in an area of 1,000 square miles centered on Bristol.

    • Recruiter: Bristol Water

    Apply for this job

  • Senior Mechanical Engineer

    Bristol Water
    • United Kingdom
    • £41,000 - 49,000

    We serve a population of over one million people and all the associated businesses in an area of 1,000 square miles centered on Bristol.

    • Recruiter: Bristol Water

    Apply for this job

  • Software Renewals Manager

    BAE Systems
    • Preston, Lancashire, England
    • Negotiable

    Software Renewals Manager Would you like to work in a resourceful and developing role within IT Services? We currently have a vacancy for a Software Renewals Manager at our site in Preston Channel Way. As a Software Renewals Manager, you will be responsi

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Technical Manager

    Aggregate Industries
    • Hulland Ward, Ashbourne
    • Attractive salary plus comprehensive benefits

    A key Technical Manager role driving product improvement and compliance with Aggregate Industries, market leader in Construction Solutions.

    • Recruiter: Aggregate Industries

    Apply for this job

  • Field Application Engineer

    Intel
    • Madrid

    Responsible for giving product presentations to the customer describing how Intel products provide the optimum solution to their application.

    • Recruiter: Intel

    Apply for this job

  • Engineers and Scientists

    European Patent Office
    • Munich and The Hague
    • See job description

    We are looking for Engineers and scientists in various technical fields for our locations in Munich and The Hague.

    • Recruiter: European Patent Office

    Apply for this job

  • Director of Product Management

    EMS Recruitment Group
    • West Yorkshire
    • Circa £70,000 PA + car allowance, excellent benefits including lucrative bonus scheme

    Our client is the undoubted world leader in their field. A highly innovative and progressive specialist electro-mechanical product manufacturer....

    • Recruiter: EMS Recruitment Group

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Engineer

    Premium job

    Scottish Prison Service
    • Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh
    • £40,654 to £48,579 plus annual supplement of £10,000

    Build Your Engineering Career. The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) is an Agency of the Scottish Government, working in partnership.....

    • Recruiter: Scottish Prison Service

    Apply for this job

  • Sales Electronics Engineer

    Premium job

    Precision Microdrives
    • London (Greater)
    • £25,000 - £30,000 starting salary, inclusive of on-target commissions.

    Precision Microdrives (PMD) is a fast growing technology company that designs, produces and trades miniature electro-mechanical mechanisms

    • Recruiter: Precision Microdrives

    Apply for this job

  • Installation and Commissioning Engineer

    Premium job

    Crest Solutions
    • Corby
    • Competitive

    You will be involved in installation, commissioning & servicing of printing and machine vision related solutions.

    • Recruiter: Crest Solutions

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶

Subscribe

Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T