During preparation to expand Ford Motor Company’s Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly Plant – which touts a 60-car-per-hour rollout – it was made clear that any impact on production would be unacceptable. Throw into the mix 3,700 employees working in shifts around the clock, and a massive construction program would have to be orchestrated flawlessly.
As Walbridge proceeded with the 2011 expansion of Ford Hermosillo, disruption remained virtually non-existent. Through a fast-track design-build contract, the Detroit-based construction firm successfully completed more than a dozen new additions at one of the auto giant’s most profitable facilities.
Working around the work
Located in northwest Mexico, the Hermosillo plant operates on a double-shift, six-day work week to keep up with production demand for the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles. Walbridge, which built the original facility back in 1986, was tasked with bringing more than 750,000 square feet of structural additions to the site in just 15 months while the plant remained in full swing. The team had 500 workers on site at the peak of construction.
Each addition – ranging from office spaces and training facilities to cooling towers and production floors – was considered its own jobsite with its own deadline and specifications. Construction started in October 2010, and the entire project was turned over in December 2011. The largest addition, which brought roughly 455,000 square feet of new space to the plant’s Body Shop, had to be turned over to the client for the start of process equipment installation in July 2011. Eight new additions totaling 600,000 square feet were constructed at the Body Shop and five new additions totaling 150,000 square feet were constructed at the Final Assembly Facility. New production spaces ranged from two work bays to 20.
Challenges and Solutions
As part of the project’s scope, all major incoming site utilities – power, natural gas and domestic water – had to be turned off at some point to complete the required work. Detailed utility shutdown plans were developed, discussed with the owner and scheduled for times that would be least impactful to the plant’s operations, mainly during scheduled breaks and holidays.
Extensive planning, scheduling and consistent communication were required to build efficiently at the 15 designated jobsites around the Hermosillo complex. By studying aerial images and existing site plans, Walbridge was able to determine off-limits areas and the space needed for constructing each addition. The diligence helped the team devise logistical plans for each area of the project, which guided and coordinated construction efforts.
In addition to adding new, state-of-the-art manufacturing spaces, Ford Hermosillo now has upgraded mechanics and infrastructure, new dining facilities and office spaces.
Walbridge logged 1.2 million work-hours at the project site without a lost-time injury.