Ford is set to restart production of the F-150 and Super Duty trucks after production was halted by a supplier’s factory fire a week ago.
The decision to fire-up the Dearborn Truck Plant on Friday will see Ford’s most profitable truck start to roll off the line once again. The Super Duty plant in Kentucky and the other F-150 facility in Kansas City are expected to restart production on Monday.
After the serious blaze at Michigan-based Meridian Magnesium Products, a division of Meridian Lightweight Technologies, Ford has been working with everyone involved in the supply chain to ‘refurbish and relocate’ all the tooling necessary to produce the parts needed for Ford’s trucks.
Incredibly, as part of that, Ford air-lifted a massive production die to a Meridian facility in the UK in just 30 hours from extraction to reinstallation, courtesy of a huge, specialist Antonov An-124 transport plane. Its new location, just north of Nottingham in the English East Midlands, is now producing F-150 parts at speed to help with the return to normal production scales.
Those parts are being flown daily back to the US by Boeing 747 until Meridian’s Eaton Rapids plant returns to full capacity and can take the die back. Presumably there were no other US-based locations where Meridian could operate the die properly.
Ford and Meridian were able to gain access to the partly burned-out Eaton Rapids plant even while the wreckage was still smouldering, according to Ford, allowing them to salvage tooling and restart at least some production very quickly. Parts supply for Ford’s Expedition, Explorer, Flex and the Lincoln Navigator was unaffected.