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Ford to restart F-150 truck production after supplier fire

Michigan plant
Auto industry   Ford has successfully repaired the supply chain

Ford Motor Company plans to restart production of its F-150 pickup truck at the Dearborn Truck Plant in Michigan on Friday after just over one week of downtime following a fire at one of its key suppliers, the company said.

Ford has also successfully repaired the supply chain for its Super Duty truck, with production targeted to restart Monday at the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, as well as the Kansas City Assembly Plant that also makes F-150 pickups, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

The decision to restart follows a massive May 2 fire at the Meridian Magnesium Products of America facility in Eaton Rapids, Michigan.

The plant, which began operations in 1994, has magnesium product production capacity 13,140 mt/year and produces instrument panels, steering columns, front-end structures and lift gates off 15 diecast machines.

"While the situation remains extremely dynamic, our teams are focused on returning our plants to full production as fast as possible," Joe Hinrichs, Ford president for Global Operations, said in the statement.

"The ramp-up time to full production is improving every day," he said.

Ford and a team of contractors and suppliers removed 19 dies from Meridian's badly damaged facility, and in one case, moved an 87,000-pound die from Eaton Rapids to Nottingham, UK, via cargo plane in just 30 hours. A die is a tool used to cut or shape material using a press.

"Thanks to their heroic efforts, we are resuming production of some of our most important vehicles ahead of our original targets." Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's executive vice president of Product Development and Purchasing said in the statement.

Ford recovered, repaired and validated most dies that were at the Eaton Rapids facility, and Meridian is now producing parts for the F-150 at Eaton Rapids and Nottingham, the company said.

Parts produced at Nottingham are being shipped via daily flights on a Boeing 747 jet until production in Eaton Rapids returns to pre-fire levels


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