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FORD PLANT UNVEILS $400 MILLION TRANSMISSION LINE

 FORD PLANT UNVEILS $400 MILLION TRANSMISSION LINE
 LIVONIA, Mich., Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F)


has invested nearly $400 million in its Livonia (Mich.) Transmission Plant for production of a new electronic automatic overdrive transmission (AODE).
 The AODE is a four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission that will improve and strengthen Ford's powertrain lineup. The first production units will be installed in the 1992 Lincoln Town Car built at the Wixom (Mich.) Assembly Plant.
 "Launching this highly advanced transmission required installing 91 new machines, and required more than 20,000 hours of employee training," said Plant Manager Gene Wise. "Successfully completing this effort reflects the cooperation, hard work and dedication of our salaried and hourly employees, the leadership of UAW Local 182, and Ford management who comprise the Livonia team."
 An Employee Involvement (EI) process created cross functional teams of hourly employees, supervisors, process engineers and quality control representatives for each AODE component.
 The AODE launch training team, for example, had the challenge of training employees on new transfer lines and machines that were purchased specifically for this program. The team worked closely with machine and component suppliers, many of whom had never provided training to the extent that was asked of them for this launch.
 "It truly was a total team approach," said Wise. "Each AODE team analyzed how the program could be improved. Issues were discussed openly and plans were refined to reflect the suggestions of each team. In some instances, hourly employees helped design machines, machine layouts and gauging systems. This resulted in cost-effective methods to increase productivity and quality."
 The AODE line incorporates many new manufacturing technologies, including innovative vision, robotic and gauging systems. Lasers are used to weld steel parts together, resulting in exceptional strength, accuracy and quality. All transmissions are tested by a computer- controlled system that cycles each unit through its full range of operating conditions and loads.
 Magnetic Displacement Sensing (MDS), a new technology being used on the AODE line, can spot missing or misplaced components inside sealed components. Magnetic fields pass through nonferrous materials, such as aluminum, and inspect complicated subassemblies.
 MDS scans such components as pins, springs, and bearings assuring that the subassemblies are assembled properly. The MDS-based system performs an on-line inspection of a transmission subassembly within one second.
 In addition to the AODE transmission, the Livonia Plant manufacturers the AOD and AXOD transmissions, the later a front-wheel- drive transaxle used in the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable.
 At 3.3 million square feet, Livonia is the largest of Ford's component operations. Opened in 1952, the plant has undergone six major additions. Livonia presently employs 3,570 people with an annual payroll of $175 million.
 -0- 11/12/91
 /CONTACT: David Caplan of Ford, 313-322-1300/
 (F) CO: Ford Motor Company ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU: PDT JG -- DE007 -- 3347 11/12/91 09:59 EST
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Date:Nov 12, 1991
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