The Ford Event, "What Women Want," was last Thursday, and I was not prepared for what we experienced. (What was I expecting? I'm not sure, but my expectations were certainly exceeded!)
After a breakfast and bus ride we arrived at the Chicago facility, which included the assembly line for the all new Ford Taurus and the Lincoln MKS.
Our first stop was the virtual lab. This first picture is what a "model" sees when wearing virtual reality gloves and glasses. (Oh yeah. Look at me with all of the fancy names for stuff!) This simulates the ergonomics of elements in the engine so that they can study if it is easy or hard to work on or assemble the engine based on where things are located. Even in reaching for something the workers can only assemble something with so much strength, so this is how they make sure that everything can be reached and worked on without, say, breaking their backs?
My group took the tour of the assembly line floor next. I'm not sure what I really expected, but it was clean, the temperature was comfortable, and the workers were really happy and friendly. Special thanks to Dawn Diggs for stopping to answer some questions that our group had!
This picture shows the cars being carried on a monorail-type thing. Since the cars don't have wheels yet this moves each car down the line. Sometimes, like in this picture, they go higher so the workers can easily reach the lower parts of the car: the engine, etc. At other times the track goes lower so the workers can get to the interior easily.
The next picture shows the installation of the side-curtain air bags. The doors are off so that they don't get dinged in the process of installing all of the interior.
This is the guy that gave us our tour. Uh, by snafu I have lost all of my company information (Big blogger FAIL) and I didn't take note of his name. He was awesome, as was the plant manager, Jan Allman. (Please, someone, leave his name in the comments!!!)
This blue car is the 2010 Lincoln MKS, with it's wheels on the ground, fully assembled for the first time. Pretty cool, huh? You can see a hand on the wheel...this guy (and some others,) get to drive them for the first time to another part of the plant for finishing touches. I could have that job!
The one below is the all new, 2010 Taurus SHO. Seriously, a HOT car. Notice the new body style and fancy rims. (There are other great features, too, that I'll talk about in my next post.)
My sincere thanks to Ford for making this day possible. I can't wait to tell you about the rest of what I learned!