Ford resuming F-150 truck production on Friday after supplier fire

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Ford Motor Co. will resume building its biggest moneymaker, the F-150 pickup, two weeks after a fire at a supplier's factory halted production of trucks at three plants.

The automaker said on Wednesday that work will restart Friday at the Dearborn Truck Plant.

The fire on May 2 at Meridian Lightweight Technologies' facility in Easton Rapids, Mich. shut down the assembly line, creating a parts shortage for F-150 and Super Duty trucks.

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Dearborn-based Ford put together a team that refurbished and relocated tooling needed to make parts for the vehicles. Reflecting the urgency to restart production, one 87,000-pound die was loaded into an Antonov An-124 cargo plane and shipped to another Meridian site in Nottingham, UK, in just 30 hours door-to-door.

"Faced with unexpected adversity, the Ford team, including our global supply partners, showed unbelievable resiliency, turning a devastating event into a shining example of teamwork", said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's executive vice president of Product Development and Purchasing. The plant makes structural parts with about one-third going to Ford.

The recovery included some herculean efforts, including shipping an 87,000-pound die from MI to a plant in Nottingham, England, using a massive Antonov cargo plane, to produce needed parts. In between, the Ford team received a United Kingdom import license for the die - a mere two hours before the plane touched down.

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