Ford Motor Co. has adopted the phrase “Factory of Tomorrow” to describe its vision of the future, which includes in part a plan for the automaker to transform into “a truly digital operation.”
The phrase is a little deceiving, however, once you hear what Ford is doing in the way of advanced technology today—because it’s already doing quite a lot.
In his Dec. 3 keynote address during IndustryWeek’s Manufacturing & Technology Virtual conference, Mike Mikula, global chief engineer in Ford’s advanced manufacturing organization, shared some of the company’s advances in areas such as additive manufacturing, collaborative robots, extended reality and even exoskeletons. And more.
For example, while Ford has been using additive manufacturing since the 1980s, today’s deployments go far beyond simple prototyping or cosmetic flourishes. Mikula described how the company is both designing and fabricating, via additive manufacturing, parking brake brackets for the Mustang GT 500.