Ford Completes $900M Renovation Process at Kentucky Truck Plant for 2018 Expedition, Navigator Production
Ford late last month wrapped up the $900 renovation process that will help its Kentucky Truck Plant accommodate production of both the all-new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. The work to upgrade Kentucky Truck took five weeks to complete from the start of its annual summer shutdown, with an exorbitant amount of labor and man-hours going toward getting the job done.
“We went in and ripped out all the old tooling,” said Andrew Tapp, manager at Kentucky Truck Plant. “It took us about 1,000 truckloads to get the material out.”
“After we upgraded the lighting and flooring, we started changeover,” said Tapp. “Portions of the body shop that had been assembled in Michigan were taken apart, put on flatbeds, and transported here—about 600 truckloads of equipment. It was like a Lego set, putting it all back together so we could get ready to run.”
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Ford estimates that somewhere north of 110,000 man-hours were expended just on the process of putting together Kentucky Truck’s new 1.3-million-square-foot body shop. A second paint shop and a third press for stamping aluminum components and parts were also added, and new 360-degree camera calibration cells were installed at final assembly.
“We are the first plant to put 360-degree programming in line for vehicles equipped with active park assist, active steering and parking assist,” said Tapp. “In the past, we had to drive the vehicle to a station outside of the facility, park it into that cell, do the programming, then reintroduce the vehicle back onto the line. Doing it in line is more efficient, and it enables us to adjust quicker to customer demand. If they want more of this technology, we now have the facility set up to deliver.”
The end result is a plant that is capable of producing Ford’s two latest and most technologically advanced SUVs, both of which are set to begin arriving at dealerships before the end of the year.