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Ford Celebrates Simultaneous Launch Of 2024 F-150 and Ranger Pickups, Enhances Production Methods

by | April 12, 2024

Ford is betting big on the truck segment with simultaneous launch of the 2024 Ford F-150 and Ranger models. Both trucks are ready to bring the fight to their rivals and cement Ford’s dominance in truck sales while also helping the firm improve its production processes. 

Ford’s Truck Takeover event took place at the Dearborn Truck and Kansas City Plants

When Ford announced that it was celebrating the dual launch of the 2024 Ford F-150 and Ranger, it was a historic moment. This was the first time that the pair were launched at the same time and the company is hoping that the duo will help Ford’s truck sales rise to greater heights and cement its dominance in the truck market. 

The F-150 and Ranger pickups are each bringing major updates to their respective nameplates that go beyond what customers see with Ford also updating and adding new innovations in the production process to help reduce costs while also speeding up how quickly they can get assembled trucks to dealerships as the pickup market continues to be a vital battlefield for Ford and its domestic rivals. 

A party to remember 

The event kicked off the launch of the 2024 Ford F-150 and Ranger pickups.

To find out what the company did to achieve this, we were invited to Ford’s Truck Takeover event at the Dearborn Truck Plant in the heart of Ford’s Rouge Industrial complex. Ford made the event to not only celebrate the F-150 and Ranger, but to also recognize and thank the efforts of the employees there that assemble the Ranger and the F-150 along with their counterparts at Ford’s Kansas City plant which saw the event via an online stream. 

These employees are a vital part of the F-150 and Ranger’s success and Ford representatives at the plant claim that a fully assembled truck comes out of the facility every 33 seconds thanks to improvements in both the production process and employee training. The timing of this particular Takeover event was also key with the event happening after Ford’s contract negotiations with the UAW which included a historic stand-up strike at the company along with rivals Stellantis and General Motors. 

Production innovations streamline assembly process 

The trucks are not only bringing updates to truck owners, but are also adding new things to the assembly process.

While the 2024 Ford F-150 and Ranger are bringing updates to consumers, these revisions go beyond the ownership process and prompted Ford to update the way that both trucks were produced at the factory level. We had the chance to tour portions of the assembly line to see how these improvements were helping the company achieve its goals. 

For example, the body decker apparatus that unites the body of the truck with the frame underneath is entirely automated by computer and sensors within this piece of equipment can perfectly align the bolt holes every time. Meanwhile, the Ford badge itself also forms a key part of the production process, and Ford reps say that the badge is their seal of approval for any truck that leaves the plant. The company takes this notion very seriously and has actually tested the emblems in brutal torture tests to ensure that they are just as durable as the rest of the truck in long-term use.

The company also says that it has done a better job of listening to feedback and suggestions from line workers and that some of the improvements that they highlighted at the Truck Takeover celebration originated from feedback that company reps and managers received from employees on the assembly line.

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3D printing is changing the production process 

Dearborn Truck Plant’s 3D printers can create a wide array of custom tools and components.

3D printing technology has slowly become an integral part of the production process and the Dearborn Truck Plant has made extensive use of the technology to not only cut the weight of certain components but to also cut manufacturing costs. The Dearborn plant has four of these printers in their final assembly building and each one can be used to produce a wide range of components that ultimately go into every Ranger and F-150 assembled. 

However, the biggest advantage that 3D printing brings to the plant is the ability to produce custom tools that don’t exist for operators to use. The ideas for these tools often come from plant workers themselves and while small items like socket covers and other hand tools make up the bulk of the work done by these printers, there have been occasions where the printers have created larger more elaborate tools.  

Using 3D printers to make these tools has helped improve efficiency with the plant being able to print many of these tools in 3 days which is better than the three months that it would have taken for the tools to be ordered and shipped to the facility. Each of these tools is tested extensively and if any flaws emerge, the CAD file for the tool can be quickly modified to address the problem and quickly make a new tool. 

Ford says that 3D printing will play a larger role within the company in the future as it prepares to use more of these printed components in upcoming vehicles. This expanded role will help create more cost savings and allow the company to focus on putting customers and the plant workers that make their products first in their long-term sales plans.

 

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