Ford shows off $1 billion Chicago plant upgrade (Video)

June 25, 2019

Chicago, Illinois – Inside the Ford plant on Chicago’s south side, it’s difficult to recognize that it is the company’s oldest continuously producing plant. A nearly $1 billion investment and 500 additional jobs have completely transformed this plant into a high-tech facility entrusted with building a new version of America’s best-selling SUV over the last 29 years – the Ford Explorer.

Ford announced the $1 billion investment in its Chicago Assembly and Stamping plants and 500 new jobs earlier this year. A strong Chicago workforce – boosted with new technology in the Chicago Assembly Plant – is building Ford’s all-new Explorer lineup, Police Interceptor Utility vehicles and all-new Lincoln Aviator.

The plant changeover took one month – a company record for an all-new vehicle build.

“This reflects American ingenuity at its finest,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president, Automotive. “In the first five days of the transformation, the team moved the scrap metal equivalent to the weight of the Eiffel Tower from the plant, making room for new equipment. Knowing this plant is set in a city and trucks could not go in and out of the plant at all hours, the team got creative and rented a barge, put all of the scrap metal on it, floated it a mile up the river to a recycling center, then moved in more than 500 truckloads of new technology.”

New equipment includes hundreds of Fanuc robots and a 3D printer to support manufacturing efforts from Stratasys.

The automaker gutted and rebuilt assembly space at its massive Illinois campus, adding hundreds of robots and 3D printers to support production.