Never underestimate the ability, ingenuity and work ethic of people in the Midwest when it comes to getting a job done. Once again that has been made clear, this time by workers at Ford and Honda.
Ford found itself with a production nightmare May 2 when a huge parts shortage resulted from a massive fire at Meridian Magnesium Products of America in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. The product most affected by the fire was the F-150 pickup, America’s top-selling vehicle and a huge moneymaker. Within a week of the fire, Ford lacked the necessary parts to assemble the F-150 and was forced to shut down manufacturing.
What was happening behind the scenes, however, was truly amazing.
In an effort to get 7,600 workers back on the job, Ford literally airlifted tooling to a Meridian facility in the United Kingdom to produce parts for the F-150. At one point, it used an Antonov cargo plane — one of the largest planes in the world – to fly an 87,000-pound die across the Atlantic Ocean. It took just 30 hours to deliver it door-to-door from Eaton Rapids to Nottingham.
In all, 19 dies from Meridian’s badly damaged facility were refurbished within two weeks of the fire. All the laid off Ford workers could all be back on the job by Monday.
Meanwhile, at the East Liberty Honda Auto Plant in southern Logan County, the new 2019 Acura RDX – a five-passenger luxury SUV – was showcased for the first time.
It was a signature moment for the employees who developed the SUV during the past four years.
“People don’t understand the countless hours that go into this,” said Chris Hardman, the plant project leader. “We build cars every day, so when we build a new model, we cannot build it on the line during the week. All these departments have to come in during the weekends or work third shift overnight to build the cars. However, it has been such a great experience working on this project and to see it come to fruition is a great feeling.”
The new model is the first RDX to be designed and developed in America. The Acura Design Studio in Los Angeles came up with the concept and the North American Research and Development operation in Raymond, Ohio, developed it.