“Built Ford Tough” and Now All Electric: Ford Selects Rockwell to Accelerate Electric Vehicle Production
With all-electric trucks, mustangs, and vans, Ford has expanded its product offerings to fit the evolving consumer market. In order to meet the growing demands, Ford has selected Rockwell to aid in electric vehicle production.
Ford Motor Company has a longstanding history in American culture, transforming cars from a luxury to an everyday item and changing the automotive manufacturing industry by introducing assembly lines.
Ford’s all electric vehicles include (from left to right) the F-150 Lightning, the E-Transit, and the Mustang Mach-E. Image used courtesy of Ford
Ford All Electric
Ford has been in the electric vehicle (EV) business for some time now, with the Ford Comuta on the market in the 70s and the Ford Ranger EV on the market in the late 90s. Although Ford’s all-electric vehicles didn’t see particular success, after witnessing the popularity of the Toyota Prius in the 2000s, Ford rolled out the Ford Escape Hybrid, and later, several other hybrid makes.
As the popularity of EVs has risen and nations have mandated future restrictions on gas-fueled vehicles, Ford has set additional focus on designing and manufacturing all-electric vehicles. Ford currently offers the Ford F-150 Lightning, Mustang Mach-E SUV Crossover, and the E-Transit, popular for commercial use. By 2024, Ford aims to have nine all-electric vehicle offerings in Europe.
Rockwell's products and services will aid Ford in EV production in three of Ford’s assembly sites. Image used courtesy of Rockwell Automation
Rockwell EV Program
As Ford ramps up production of its EVs, it has turned towards Rockwell Automation to meet customer demands and speed time to market. Rockwell’s EV program offers EV manufacturers smart solutions which help companies design their infrastructure, digitally transform their operations, and optimize production.
With California’s executive order to only allow new vehicles sold to be EVs by 2035 and nations across Europe aiming for similar regulations, Rockwell has seen the growing need for controls and solutions in the EV market. In 2019, Rockwell opened an EV Innovation Center in Silicon Valley, a center that uses augmented and virtual reality to aid car manufacturers in their production processes.
Rockwell’s “smart” EV program includes utilizing a number of tools to enhance EV production. Image used courtesy of Rockwell Automation
Smart EV Production
As part of Rockwell’s EV program, Rockwell aims to “smarten” EV production with a number of its tools, including:
Analytics from FactoryTalk InnovationSuite to make informed decisions
Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) to track productivity of production from beginning to end of a product
Connected Enterprise for communication across the company and partners
Augmented reality for machine diagnostics
Speedy and reliable Intelligent Conveyance
Rockwell and Ford
Together, the two big-name companies will accelerate the development of EVs at three of Ford’s assembly sites: Oakville, Canada; Blue Oval City, Tennessee; and Avon Lake, Ohio. Collaborating on architecture and tooling designs, as well as Rockwell working as Ford’s controls and solutions provider, Rockwell and Ford hope to roll out Ford’s electric vehicles on time to meet customers' needs and keep costs of capital to a minimum.