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FORD LAUNCHES HIGH-TECH FORGING PLANT

 WOODHAVEN, Mich., Aug. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) broke ground today for a new state-of-the-art forging plant to manufacture steel crankshafts for high-tech truck engines of the late 1990s.
 The 60,000-square-foot plant is being built on a 103-acre site, at a cost of $44 million, and will employ about 60 people.
 When the new Woodhaven Forging Plant begins production in 1995, it will forge steel crankshafts that are expected to be quieter and stronger than crankshafts made through the present casting method.
 "Ford is making a strategic move into a new manufacturing process that will help power us to the leading edge of producing world-class powertrains," said George Booth, general manager, Ford Casting Operations.
 "We are in the midst of a revolution on the materials and processes we use to satisfy our customers."
 Ford benchmarked the world's leaders in forging technology before forming a technical partnership with Krupp-Gerlach of Homburg-Saar in Germany for crankshaft forging technology.
 The plant will have a state-of-the-art, semi-automated forging line using the impression die forging process as opposed to the more familiar casting method. Whereas crankshaft casting is performed by pouring molten metal into a sand mold, forging relies on forming steel in a hot, but plastic state between a pair of dies mounted in a press.
 Crankshafts produced at the new plant will be shipped to the Windsor (Ontario) Engine Plant where they will be machined and assembled into new Ford "modular" truck engines scheduled for production for the 1996 model year.
 The Woodhaven Forging Plant will have a capacity of 700,000 crankshafts a year, but there is sufficient space to expand should additional capacity be required.
 The plant will employ about 50 hourly and 10 salaried personnel, and will produce crankshafts on two shifts. A third shift will be utilized for plant maintenance. The new plant will have the same management and union team as the Ford Vulcan Forge Plant in nearby Dearborn, Mich., which will continue to operate.
 "For almost 30 years, Ford has been a good neighbor and major employer in the Woodhaven area," said Booth. "That commitment to this community will grow with this new plant."
 -0- 8/17/93
 /CONTACT: Mike Vaughn of Ford, 313-322-1300/
 (F)


CO: Ford Motor Company ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:

ML -- DE009 -- 3576 08/17/93 13:00 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 17, 1993
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