Walbridge was selected in 2012 to manage an expansion and the addition of improvements at Ford Motor Company’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant, where more than 1 million of the automaker’s iconic Mustangs have been assembled.
The plant opened in 1987 as Mazda Motor Manufacturing USA and produced the Mazda MX-6. In 1992, Ford purchased a 50 percent share of the facility and it was renamed AutoAlliance International, according to Ford. Over time, the plant produced the Mazda 626, Mazda 6, Mercury Cougar and Ford Probe. Mustang production was shifted to Flat Rock in 2005. The plant, located 25 miles southwest of Detroit, also produces the Ford Fusion mid-size sedan.
Rolling it Out
Ford announced plans in 2012 for a new era at Flat Rock, including making it the new U.S. production home of the 2013 Ford Fusion. The automaker planned to invest $550 million at the facility, take full management control of the former AutoAlliance International plant, and projected the eventual addition of 1,200 jobs there.
Walbridge’s work started with demolition of an existing façade for the new addition tie-in, drilling caissons, and adding grade beams for new steel columns. The enclosure includes new column steel, purlins, metal deck and perimeter girt steel for new siding. The roof tied into the existing roof and consists of build-up single ply PVC roof membrane.
The expansion, totaling 258,400 square feet, came in three phases. The first involved adding eight bays and 15 truck docks, totaling 28,800 square feet. A second addition added 57,600 square feet of space, including 12 bays. A third addition (171,600 square feet) consisted of six more truck docks. The additions, plus new mechanical, electrical and plumbing, were tied into an existing Ford facility and existing infrastructure.
Four 60-ton and one 180-ton air handling units were brought in to serve the new spaces. All existing plant utility services were used to operate the new units. New interior sprinkler systems were added to the three additions, as well as a new lighting system.
Walbridge Tooling Services installed 18 new body welding systems for Comau, KUKA, Valiant, & GPS. The tooling, installed in the new plant expansion and existing facility, will support ongoing vehicle production.
A new two-lane ring road was also built on the north side of the plant. Construction was managed to coincide with ongoing plant operations and was completed in January 2013.