Once noted as the worldrsquos largest living roof by Guinness World Records ndash and now the largest in North America ndash the Dearborn Truck Plantrsquos roof has flourished since its installation in 2004

Once noted as the world’s largest living roof by Guinness World Records – and now the largest in North America – the Dearborn Truck Plant’s roof has flourished since its installation in 2004.

Dearborn Truck Plant: ‘Ford’s Vision of Sustainable Manufacturing’

Ford Motor Co.’s Dearborn (Mich.) Truck Plant has produced more than 2.6 million F-150 trucks since it opened in May 2004. Along the way, the factory “has set world-class standards for efficiency and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes."

Ford Motor Co.’s Dearborn (Mich.) Truck Plant has produced more than 2.6 million F-150 trucks since it opened in May 2004. Along the way, the factory “has set world-class standards for efficiency and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes,” says Bruce Hettle, vice president of Ford North America manufacturing.

The plant’s “living roof,” which covers 10.4 acres, is the most visible example of Ford’s green vision for the facility. The roof sustains a diverse ecosystem, removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reduces energy use.

The living roof is part of an innovative stormwater management system that reduces runoff and costs two-thirds less than a conventional water treatment process, according to the automaker.  

Among other green features, the Dearborn facility maximizes the use of natural light and ventilation to reduce the financial and environmental costs of heating, cooling and powering the plant. The paint shop uses water-based primer and base-coat systems that minimize harmful volatile emissions while maintaining paint quality.

Ford says it has developed “a total waste management system” that incorporates transportation, disposal, recycling, reclamation and reuse of plant waste. To date, the facility has recycled more than 20 million pounds of cardboard, paper, plastic and wood.

Lean and Flexible

As Ford celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the Dearborn Truck Plant, the automaker notes that the plant “was conceived as Ford’s vision of sustainable manufacturing and has served as flagship for the company’s next generation of lean and flexible plants.”

Once home to the iconic Ford Mustang, the plant now has more than 3,600 employees on a three-crew operating pattern producing 1,200 F-150 trucks daily. Later this year, the facility will begin churning out the redesigned 2015 Ford F-150.

“There is no better way to celebrate 10 years of top-notch manufacturing than gearing up to build the all-new F-150,” Hettle says.

The plant is capable of building up to nine models on three vehicle platforms. Between its body and paint shops and final assembly area, the facility has nearly 350 robots. This summer, the body shop will retool to build the new F-150.

More than 1 million visitors have toured the Dearborn Truck Plant, which is the centerpiece of the Ford Rouge Center. A self-guided, six-part experience, the tour is designed to educate visitors on the history of Ford Rouge Center and provide a 360-degree look at how vehicles are made.

This summer, Ford says it will retool the tour to include new films, exhibits and hands-on experiences tied to the launch of the new F-150.

“The Rouge factory tour is a true gem, in that it showcases the history and the legacy of Henry Ford’s industrial vision, while highlighting the innovation taking place at Ford today,” says Cynthia Jones, general manager of the Ford Rouge factory tour.

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