Tuesday, June 9, 2009

ERC TOUR 2009 - Detroit

Today was a great tour of the Ford River Rouge Factory. This may be the most famous auto plant in the world. Henry Ford bought the land in 1915. The Rouge plant was an integrated manufacturing facility. Media.ford.com says the Rouge included "ore docks, steel furnaces, coke ovens, rolling mills, glass furnaces and plate-glass rollers. Buildings included a tire-making plant, stamping plant, engine casting plant, frame and assembly plant, transmission plant, radiator plant, tool and die plant and, at one time, even a paper mill. A massive power plant produced enough electricity to light a city the size of nearby Detroit, and a soybean conversion plant turned soybeans into plastic auto parts."

The Rouge today assembles F-150 pick-up trucks. We are able to walk around a catwalk above the assembly facility. We were able to see how Ford implemented ergonomic and other safety measures. After the Rouge tour, Luis Vazquez from the UAW provided a nice overview of safety and health issues of auto workers. Thanks to Luis and the UAW for participating and presenting to our group. Our final tour included the Henry Ford museum. There was a great exhibit on Cars and Guitars - the cars and guitars of rock stars. The museum had a very powerful exhibit "With Liberty and Justice for All." They had Rosa Parks bus, and we sat in her seat. Other fun exhibits were the Dymaxion House, MTV studio and lots of Americana. This was an excellent and worthwhile stop.

We are in Toledo, with a stop at Brush Wellman beryllium tomorrow. Pictures to be added in the morning.

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