Assembly Magazine, a monthly trade publication that focuses on manufacturing and design, has named the Ford Motor Company’s Michigan Assembly Plant (MAP) its “Plant of the Year.”  The award was given to Ford for the eco-friendly improvements they made to MAP during a $550 million transformation back in 2010. Ford is the first automaker to ever be recognized by Assembly Magazine, and likewise, MAP is the first plant to be recognized in the state of Michigan.

Assembly Magazine’s senior editor Austin Weber said that Ford’s MAP was the easy choice because of its “flexible, green, lean manufacturing.”  He also expressed that the magazine was impressed with the fact that Ford took a plant that had historically been known to manufacture large SUV-like vehicles and transformed it into a facility for the assembly of fuel-efficient vehicles like the 2012 Focus.  Both the Focus and the Focus electric are manufactured at the plant, which is located about 20 miles west of Detroit in Wayne, Michigan.

According to Ford’s website, the transformation of the plant was made possible by the automaker’s industry-leading virtual manufacturing technology.  The technology empowered Ford to create multiple virtual assembly plants and therefore better enabled them to determine which prospective manufacturing processes would be most economically and ecologically efficient.  This ensured that the automaker was implementing the best possible improvements during the plant’s transformation and prevented them from erroneously investing in processes that would ultimately be disappointing and costly.

Ford’s ultimate goal was to transform MAP from a traditional assembly plant into a flexible body shop capable of manufacturing multiple different vehicles at once.  With reprogrammable tooling, standardized paint equipment and a final assembly common-build sequence, Ford has done just that.  Because over 80% of the plant’s robotic equipment can easily be reprogrammed to manufacture different sized cars, MAP is no longer a product specific facility.  Its flexible production ability plus an advanced, synchronous material flow and a team of workers committed to efficiency have made MAP not only a success for the Ford Motor Company, but if its recent recognition by Assembly Magazine is any indication—a success for the auto industry as well.


  1. Ford Wayne Plant is having a difficulty with dealing with physical pollution at the plant. As for Automation – part of the process that was not spoken about in the ‘award’ is that after cars have been made ready for transport they are driven along public highways and streets at high speeds – at which point heavy duty plastic bags coated with an unknown adhesive peel off and fly into the roadway. They have accumulated on the roads and woods and river in great numbers – tens of thousands at least After the cars are delivered in these careening caravans (sometimes made up of of 20 or 30 vehicles) the ‘drivers’ are picked up by a van hardly adequate to accomodate all of them, and driven back to the starting point to do it all over again. The General Manager of the Ford Wayne Plant reportedly pays a contractor specifically to pick up the bags – the excuse for the horrendous accumulation of these chemical soaked bags is that the contractor has not been doing a very good job. The local municipality does not have the manpower to keep up with this stream of unnecessary waste. The award to this plant from ‘Assembly Magazine’, should not, I believe go to the for Ford Wayne Plant. The General Manager should immediately return the award and let it go to some company and persons more deserving and more forthright about the actual process that they are competing with.
    Photos of this direct pollution of our national waterways are at :
    If you want to see the Careening Caravan and the Convict Clown Van – merely come to the plant area itself and wait. I am not sure that the person(s) responsible for giving out this award from Automation Magazine actually performed a very thorough review of the actual process that results in these automobiles. That would be unfair to the other participants if that were the case.


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