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Ford Rouge Factory Tour

From the Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, catch a tour of the Ford Rouge factory where they make trucks. Lots and lots of trucks, 60 per hour. A major marvel that has been toured by world leaders and other major carmakers, the Rouge plant was Henry’s idea to keep everything needed to build a car in one place originally, aka vertical integration. Ore is shipped there to their own port and docks, made into steel on giant rolls, pressed into the needed car parts.

Ford Rouge

The floor combines automation such as articulating arms, robots, and the moving assembly line with people’s eyes and hands. Watch a truck built before you while audio/video screens all along the overhead walk explain what is going on. Watch robots install windshields. Articulating arms help workers lift heavy objects like moon roofs and hold them in place while workers screw them in. Lifts under each truck easily raise and lower them as they move through to make it easier for workers.

You would think just building such an impressive line would be enough but they take it farther. The roofs of the plant are covered with sedum, living roofs. The small plants soak up the rain water, block the effects of sun on the roofs, clean any runoff water before it goes to the river, and never need mowing! They also keep the temperature more comfortable inside. Vines being grown up nets on the sides also help with temperature control and sun blocking. There are many huge skylights which do bring in sunlight to the factory floor for workers to see and not feel like they are working in a dungeon. Of course, saving on energy bills is certainly nice too.

Living roofVine wallsskylights

Another thing they are testing is porous pavement. Instead of puddling, rain goes through it into a natural filtering system to be cleaned before it goes back to the river.

Henry Ford shocked the automaking world when he doubled all salaries way back when which made it possible for workers to buy the cars they made. Despite that, he fiercely fought the unions and this plant is known for the Battle of the Overpass when security guards beat up union organizers trying to cross a bridge in the complex into the factory. Newspapers blasted the affair all over the world. In the end, Henry lost and had to give in.

Want to know how to get out of the military and war even when you don’t want to? Come from an important family running a factory retooled for war and be the next in line when one elder is sick and another suddenly dies as happened to Edsel Ford II.

Henry Ford received letters of praise from two famous or shall we say infamous fellows, Clyde Barrow of Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger. Both thanked him for making the V8, the very best getaway vehicle and the one they want to be in during a high speed cop chase. The letters are on view in the plant museum. I would love to know how Henry felt about that!

lettersv8





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