|Our last morning in Dearborn included a tour of "The Rouge". Back in the 1920's Henry Ford had already been successful in producing the Model T, affectionately known as the Tin Lizzy. He depended on suppliers for many parts on that car and many times production was held up because the parts weren't available. Ford envisioned a manufacturing facility that made all the parts needed for his automobiles. He built that factory on the Rouge River. It had a deep water channel from Lake Erie and ore ships docked right along side the factory. The ore was smelted right there making steel for everything needed. This factory was/is huge, a couple of miles long, and a mile wide. At full capacity over 100,000 men worked there. Those workers were paid $5.00 a day. So just Ford's payroll was $500,000 a day. That's a heck of a lot of money, even today. This factory, with the assembly line technology that Ford set up, cut production time down from 12 hours per car to just 90 minutes!!
Our tour of the Rouge took us into the F-150 truck assembly line. Photos were not permitted inside. We walked on an overhead catwalk and watched workers do their task as the truck cabs moved by. Each worker had one or two tasks and had about a minute to do them. They did the same tasks on every cab that came by, all shift long. Parts were brought to them as needed. Some of the manufacturing was mechanised. The windshield for example was picked up by a machine with suction cups, guided by laser light beams, and perfectly placed and sealed in a matter of a few seconds. A finished truck comes off the line every 60 seconds. It's amazing!!
The adventure continues,