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TheStreet Open House

Ford Drives Quality Through $100 Million Investment In Robots With Special Vision

DEARBORN, Mich., June 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Ford plans to invest $100 million globally in robotic plant laser inspection technology to help make parts fit more accurately and reduce wind noise – a top industry quality issue – beginning with the highly acclaimed 2012 Ford Focus and Ford Explorer
  • Chicago Assembly Plant, Michigan Assembly Plant and the Saarlouis, Germany Ford plant, all high-volume facilities, will use the technology to deliver more accurate door panel fit
  • Laser vision technology is one part of Ford's overall drive to achieve industry leadership in customer satisfaction

Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is investing $100 million globally to install robotic plant laser inspection technology to improve quality through reduced wind noise and more refined fit and finish.

This new technology is being used during assembly of the popular new 2012 Ford Focus at Michigan Assembly Plant and the Saarlouis, Germany, plant, and the hot-selling Ford Explorer at Chicago Assembly Plant. The technology then will be rolled out globally as part of Ford's next phase of its quality initiative to lead the industry in customer satisfaction.

"Ford's robotic laser technology gives us a degree of precision like never before," said Ron Ketelhut, chief engineer, Body Construction Engineering. "The vision technologies verify the dimensions of interfaces on the vehicle's body in a highly accurate way, to a tenth of a millimeter."

The technology helps ensure car door panels fit more accurately and reduce wind noise, a key quality factor for consumers and a major industry challenge. The laser and camera systems that are major upgrades to plant robots were developed in collaboration with minority business partner Gonzalez Production Systems, and significantly improve the robustness of the overall manufacturing process.

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