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F150 Factory Tour | How Ford Builds An F-150 Every 53 Seconds - The Haul

I'm Justin with americantrucks.com.

And on this episode of "The Haul," we're showing you how the best truck in the land, the Ford

F-150, is built right here in Dearborn.

Very exciting day for us here at AmericanTrucks.

We are in Dearborn, Michigan, the motherland to see where the F-150 comes together.

Now, joining me is Chris Yates, Body Area Manager here for the plant.

Now, Chris, if you would, sir, just tell us a little bit more about what we're gonna see

here today.

Chris Y.: What we're gonna go through is we'll take you through the building sheet metal

components of the F-Series.

We get the components from stamping, and then we assemble them together, make sure they're

sound, metal finish them, and ship them to the paint department.

Justin: Well looks like we have a lot of ground to cover in here.

Sir, what do you say we go check some stuff out?

Chris Y.: Sounds good.

Justin: All right.

Let's do it.

Well, Chris, so we were talking a little bit more off-camera.

Essentially what you start off with is the stamping process, correct?

Chris Y.: That's correct.

Yep.

Justin: Now from there, it goes into what we call your fixtures or your pallets.

Chris Y.: Yeah.

So behind us you'll see a pallet.

It's basically the foundation of the truck.

As you can see, the robots are validating that that pallet is in good shape, there's

no issues with that pallet.

And behind us, you could see where the other bodies the overhead.

This section right here is the beginning of the end, right?

I'm actually taking the unit off the pallet and I'm putting it on a skid.

The skid will travel through my closure line and the paint system, so that it's gonna get

the rest of the components down there.

And I'm taking the pallet, sending them back to the system, and starting all over again.

Justin: So basically this is where the upper portion of the cab and the lower portion,

the floorpan essentially come together.

And you said you riveted those all together.

Any welding happening at this point?

Chris Y.: We do have some laser welds and we'll take you to through that later.

Justin: All right.

And you got a fun name for the robot behind us, huh?

Chris Y.: Yeah, we call that Godzilla.

Justin: All right.

Let's go check out the next step.

Chris Y.: Okay.

Justin: So guys, while Chris and I were on our way to joining he explained a very cool

process going on behind us.

Chris Y.: So what we have behind us, so we have a Perceptron system which inspects the

unit 100%, right?

It looks at over 120 points for the locating strategy.

And if we have a problem with the truck, these lasers will pinpoint that problem and it will

write it to the quality leadership system, and it will be pulled off for someone to inspect.

So it's 100% inspection of the components on 120 points.

Justin: One hundred and twenty points in about how long again?

Chris Y.: Forty seconds.

Justin: Forty seconds.

And that's how you're able to crank out over 1,300 trucks a day.

What do you say we head down to joining?

Chris Y.: Okay.

Justin: Let's do it.

Well, Chris, we're working our way down the line a little bit more here, and you're saying

we're at a part called joining now?

Chris Y.: Yep, we'll have our joining engineer, Chris Gertz, take you through the joining

process on this system.

Justin: Hey Chris, how you doing?

Chris G.: Good, Justin, how are you?

Justin: Thank you so much, Chris.

We'll see you in a bit.

All right?

So what's going on, sir?

Chris G.: Here we have one of our mechanical fastening tools.

This truck is built with mechanical fasteners as opposed to welding.

So here we have a flow drill screw where it is used for single-sided joint access.

When we can't get to both sides to make a joint, we use a screw.

We have a motor that drives it to 5,000 RPMs, and we drive the screw in to create a sound

joint.

Justin: Wow.

So explain a little bit more why you guys don't use welding?

Is it because of the switch to aluminum, or?

Chris G.: Yeah.

When you spot weld aluminum it requires much more power.

So Ford decided to go with the mechanical fastening.

Justin: Seems to do the trick.

Well, Chris, where do we go from here, man?

Chris G.: Next, we'll go down to our riveting process which is another mechanical fastener.

Justin: All right, cool.

Let's go check it out.

Justin: Now, making my way down the line here with Chris.

Just a reminder, where we started earlier in this video, we've essentially already seen

all of this come together.

But we're kind of working our way back and showing you the next part of the joining process

which is rivetings?

Chris G.: Yeah.

Riveting is the next part.

Another mechanical fastener that works with the flow drills and all the structural adhesive

to build the structure.

So riveting we have access to both sides of the joint.

We drive a certain rivet into a die which has a certain profile to create the joint.

So we have two different systems here.

We have our tape-feed system, and then we also have the magazine system here which allows

us to fire two different rivets at different points on the truck.

Justin: Oh, wow.

Chris G.: So one rivet at a time depending on the joint.

Justin: Okay.

This is essentially where most of the joining happens, but there is some welding going on

here, correct?

Chris G.: Yes.

On the next line over, we'll show you our laser welding process.

Justin: Okay.

Let's go check that out.

Chris G.: Back here in this booth, we have our laser welding that welds a seam from the

body side to the roof panel.

It creates a nice tight seal joint along the whole length of the roof.

Justin: And that's what we're seeing here going on in the screen, right?

It's all enclosed in this little building.

It looks like it's just running that one beat across the whole roofline.

But there is some human operators going on as well doing some hand welding?

Chris G.: Yeah.

We have two operators up here that do the inspection of the weld.

And there's a small section on the front opening that they have to manually weld that the robot

can't reach.

Justin: There you go.

So there's still some stuff that the humans have to do where the robot just simply can't,

huh?

Chris G.: Yes, sir.

Justin: All right, Chris, so we're moving away from the line a little bit, what are

we going into next?

Chris G.: Yeah.

Next, we'll take you through the laser scanning of parts.

And, Kurt's gonna take you through that part.

Justin: Good.

Hey, Kurt, how you doing?

Kurt: Nice to meet you, Justin.

Justin: Appreciate you as well.

Thanks, Chris.

Take care, man.

Chris G.: Thank you.

Justin: Take care.

What are we doing, sir?

Kurt: So Justin, basically what we do with this scanning is we use it anytime there's

a concern with a vehicle.

Like this vehicle, for instance, happened to be one of the rafters where we were getting

a small little gap between the tail lamp and the box outer, and they wanted us to root

cause it.

So what we'll do is we'll take our scanner and we scan all the relative parts.

And what we're actually able to do is we can scan things that you can't even see.

When we put these targets on here, those targets actually keep the relationship of the two

parts, so we can scan it as a whole.

Then we can pull that tail lamp off of there.

Then we can actually scan the inside of the tail lamp.

And because of those targets, it actually relates it back to that original still built-up

alignment.

And then we're able to root cause and see exactly why we're getting that little bit

of gap.

Justin: So in this case, what was the cause of something like that?

Kurt: And this was actually a little bit of a two-part issue.

The tail lamp like right down in this corner was a little bit inboard.

And it had a little bit of an extra cutout right there.

Because of that, it was just a little bit off, and that was a little bit off.

Justin: They looked bigger than it was.

Kurt: They kind of compounded each other.

So what we did is figure out which ones were good, which ones were bad, they changed the

tooling so it went back to design, and then no more gap.

Justin: How about that?

I was gonna say as a 2017 Raptor owner, no gaps whatsoever, sir, so well done on that.

Thank you so much.

Kurt: Yeah, it was a pleasure.

Justin: Well, guys, Chris just handed us off from the body area at the Ford assembly plant.

Now, we're with Debbie Manzano, Plant Manager here at final.

How you doing, Debbie?

Debbie: Good. I'm great.

Thank you.

Justin: Thanks for having us.

Tell everybody at home what exactly this portion of the assembly is all about.

Debbie: Right.

So this is our final assembly building where the vehicles come in over from the paint shop

after they get painted.

And we have a trim shop over here.

We have a chassis shop.

And we're standing right in front of the decking stall.

So this is where the chassis gets stacked to the body right here.

Justin: At this point, the powertrain has already been dropped in, obviously wheels

are on.

Debbie: Yep.

Justin: But now, the body meets its frame for the first time.

Debbie: It does.

Justin: Very cool.

Could we check out the next step? Do you mind?

Debbie: Yeah, absolutely.

Justin: Let's do it.

All right.

Well, Debbie, we've seen the trucks get dropped onto the frame, but they were lacking a few

body panels at that part.

Debbie: Right, right.

Justin: Looks like we're addressing that here.

Debbie: Right.

So this right here is where we put the doors on the vehicle here.

So the doors actually come off early in the process, which they build our doors on a separate

line for ease of chip and scratch, ease of assembly, for people to get into the vehicles

as well as to build up the doors.

And then they all come back together and sync up right here where the doors get back on

the vehicle before it actually heads off the flattop [SP].

Justin: That's awesome.

And this is kind of an important job for these operators, right?

Because if they're not quick with the door, they're gonna back up production, right?

Debbie: Right, right.

So it's synced up, it's timed perfectly so as the vehicle comes into the station the

operator is able to get the door.

It gives them enough time to get it loaded to the vehicle and secured onto the frame.

Justin: Looks like we're almost at a complete truck, correct?

Debbie: Just about.

It is almost ready for shipping.

So last step which we're gonna head over to is our pre-delivery system.

We're gonna go through all our final testing.

We'll do dynamic testing, static testing.

And we'll go through a final inspection and get it ready for the customer.

Justin: Need any burnout testing?

I'm good at that.

Debbie: Absolutely.

Justin: All right.

Let's go check that out.

Debbie: Great.

Justin: Well, Debbie, we're pretty much there.

Looks like we're looking at some completed trucks here.

And this is actually a very important stage because they're getting started for the first

time, correct?

Debbie: Yeah, this is what we call our final flattop area.

This is where the vehicle for the first time gets started.

And we produce that F-150 truck that everybody is so proud of.

So just prior to this though we do have some inspections.

We also do fluid fills of the vehicle, so you get gas in the vehicle, right, so we can

get it started up and out the door.

And then as we process off the flattop here, it goes into our alignment pit, so we do some

alignment.

We do calibration of all those modules that we've got, right?

So we got a lot of modules on the vehicle to make it a smart vehicle.

And then it goes into dyno testing and static testing before it goes over to our customer

acceptance line.

Justin: And that's where all the power is verified, make sure everything looks right,

checks out okay.

Debbie: Right.

And at that point, you can send it on.

Debbie: Yep, that's it.

Justin: Well, one thing to point out too that we haven't at this point and I think it's

extremely important, very mind blowing, these things haven't stopped moving throughout the

entire tour which basically translate to how many trucks a day or every how many seconds?

Debbie: So every 53 seconds, a vehicle comes off the end of this line.

Justin: Wow.

And that translates, give or take, to around almost 1,300 trucks a day.

Debbie: Yeah, approximately 1,300 trucks a day.

Justin: Best-selling vehicle in the world.

You gotta keep up with demand.

Debbie: You gotta keep moving in order to be the best-selling vehicle.

Justin: There you go.

Debbie: You got it.

Justin: That's awesome.

Let's check out that final step.

Debbie: All right.

Justin: Cool.

Debbie: Super.

Justin: We're walking to the final stage here of assembly.

But Debbie pointed out a very cool area, very busy area at that.

They call it the Waha.

So what happens here?

Well, you get your vehicle tow alignment done upfront.

You get your headlight alignment done as well.

In addition to adaptive cruise control and lane departure stuff.

Now, what you can't see is there's almost like a little pit underneath these trucks

right now, kind of like an oil change place.

That guy is doing the alignment on two trucks at a time, so do this one, go to the next

one, do that one.

And then the truck from here moves onto the dyno

As you guys can see over there, that's where the truck gets verified for power, emissions,

and all that good stuff.

Well, Debbie, I think this is pretty much the end of the line, correct?

Debbie: This is it.

This is where the final vehicle gets ship over to the customer.

So this is what we're standing on right now is our customer acceptance line, so this is

all final inspection of the vehicle.

We got robots that check fit and finish.

We got people that verify the vehicle.

They touch and feel, so we got some fanatical inspections going on.

We actually also have this water booth.

Vehicles go through 100% water testing, make sure there's no water leaks in the vehicles,

and then out the door.

Justin: This is very cool.

In fact, I was talking to Jason off-camera a little bit.

He said these guys know these trucks so well that if they close the door and they hear

something that just doesn't sound right, they know something's wrong.

Whereas you and I would open these doors a million times and never hear something like

that.

But that's just a testament to how well these guys know these trucks.

Debbie: Yeah.

And our people take so much pride in building this vehicle.

They're just so proud of it.

And like I said, you know, it's number one vehicle in the country, and we want to keep

it that way.

Justin: Absolutely.

Well, as a proud F-150 owner, you guys do a heck of a job.

Debbie, thank you...

Debbie: Thank you.

Justin: ...so much for having us here today.

Debbie: Thank you for being here.

Justin: It's been our pleasure.

And it's really cool to see how these things are built.

Well, guys, that's gonna wrap us up here from Dearborn, seeing how the best truck in the

land is built, the Ford F-150.

It was really cool seeing how these things are born all the way to completion here.

Guys, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel if you haven't already done so.

And, remember, for all things F-150, keep it right here at americantrucks.com.