Yesterday the Husband and I got a chance to tour the factory floor at the St Thomas Ford assembly plant. The tour was arranged through his school but I suck in too.
The plant is enormous, much larger than it seems from the out side. They only do assembly there, so all the parts come in ready made. It was really neat to see the big robots doing the welds on all these cars. It was also weird how few people it takes to make them.
It starts with some people putting all the bits of the car on the robots so that the frame can be welded. Then it gets bolted, sealed and painted. The chassis and engines are on another line, and they come together in a melding of assembly lines. The bodies come down from above, and the bottoms and engines meet them from the bottom.
The finishing line is where the most people were, with guys (it was mostly guys, but a few women) adding the finishing touches to the cars, like detailing the body work or adding the power steering fluid.
The tour was impressive but two things struck me as strange. One, was that each station had a Tv so the workers could watch their shows while they assembled the cars. The second was that we saw two men smoking while the were working. I thought it was illegal to smoke in workplaces.
I can see how, with the wages that the assemble workers are paid it would be really easy to get a job there at a young age and get sucked in by the money and never ever leave.
I still like my Toyota though. And we plan to buy another one when we are in the market for another car.