The automaker showed off its 135,000-square-foot Advanced Manufacturing Center, where roughly 100 workers use augmented and virtual reality, robotics, digital manufacturing and 3D printing to hone Ford’s vehicle-building processes
DETROIT — Ford Motor Co.’s upcoming Mustang Shelby GT500, which will be revealed next month at the Detroit auto show, will be made with two 3D-printed brake parts from a new manufacturing center near Detroit.
The automaker Tuesday showed off its 135,000-square-foot Advanced Manufacturing Center, where roughly 100 workers use augmented and virtual reality, robotics, digital manufacturing and 3D printing to hone Ford’s vehicle-building processes. Ford invested $45 million in the center as CEO Jim Hackett leads a companywide restructuring that emphasizes faster product development.
“More than 100 years ago, Ford created the moving assembly line, forever changing how vehicles would be mass-produced,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of global operations, said in a statement. “Today, we are reinventing tomorrow’s assembly line — tapping technologies once only dreamed of on the big screen — to increase our manufacturing efficiency and quality.”
The center includes 23 3D printers and is working with 10 3D manufacturing companies. One undisclosed use of the technology could save the automaker more than $2 million, Ford says.
The center also is home to augmented technology that Ford workers use to supplement traditional design or manufacturing techniques. The technology also enables Ford workers from around the globe to put on augmented reality headsets and work together at the same time.
Ford said it is using collaborative robots, or “cobots,” that work alongside employees on an assembly line. Ford uses the robots in 24 of its plants globally to speed work and ease physically demanding tasks for the human workers.
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