As part of a major $550m retooling of its Wayne plant in Michigan, Ford has signed a contract worth more than $7m with Chinese machinery manufacturer Jiangsu Miracle Logistics System Engineering.
It is not only the first Ford order for Miracle Logistics but the first one that the company has gained since it has entered the US market.
The Shenzhen-listed supplier has received a first order of $3.3m and expects another order at the end of the month.
“Jiangsu Miracle Logistics is making conveyors that move components and parts within the new Michigan Assembly Plant,” Ford spokesman Todd Nissen told Automotive Logistics. “Jiangsu sends the parts to Genesys Systems Integrator, which assembles the conveyors for installation into Michigan Assembly.”
All equipment needs to be delivered by December 31, 2009.
The plant is being redesigned with synchronous material flow and will use a skillet conveyor system, the moving platforms that carry both vehicle and assembly workers, designed to promote ease of movement for employees.
Ford is switching from truck production at Wayne, where it previously made vehicles such as the Lincoln Navigator, to produce more fuel-efficient cars. It will begin assembling the Ford Focus with plans to make an electric version of the Focus – the Focus BEV –for the 2011 model year.
Ford is seeking $440m in government loans for the conversion from the $25 billion Energy Department programme, designed to promote the production of fuel-efficient vehicles. Under the agency’s rules, the low-interest loans may cover 80% of the $550m investment in the Wayne plant.
"In many ways, the Michigan assembly plant embodies the one transformation that's taking place across our entire company," said CEO Alan Mulally.
Miracle Logistics has already supplied equipment to Ford production lines in China.
Ford executive chairman Bill Ford and Ford president and CEO Alan Mulally at Michigan Assembly Plant where Ford announced that it was investing $550m to transform Michigan Assembly Plant into a modern, flexible small car plant.