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Ford is increasing production of two popular full-size SUVs to meet surging demand for both all-new models.
The company is using advanced manufacturing technologies and an upskilled workforce to increase line speed at its Kentucky Truck Plant to build even more Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition SUVs, boosting production targets approximately 25 percent since last fall when the SUVs hit the market.
Kentucky Truck Plant’s advanced manufacturing technologies and tools are helping Ford upskill its workforce and deliver better quality vehicles to customers more quickly.
More than 400 new robots – including collaborative robots – were added to the facility during last year’s transformation, mainly in the body shop. The robots enable the plant to increase the line speed while keeping employees safe from repetitive-motion injuries. The plant also added a robot lab, where employees can test out software tweaks or trouble shoot issues away from the factory floor – in both instances, saving valuable time.
Data analytics have helped the plant identify and address thousands of concerns in near-real time. A data analytics hub includes seven big-screen TVs that provide minute-by-minute updates, letting plant officials know whether production is meeting hourly targets or whether there is a concern on the line that should be immediately addressed. Data updates also allow workers to be proactive, alerting them to instances of pending parts shortages so they can arrange for a new batch to be delivered to a work station before parts completely run out. An enormous spare parts “vending machine” allows workers to more quickly locate a necessary part while automatically keeping inventory at optimal levels.