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 Game Changer: 100th Anniversary of the Moving Assembly Line

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​Timing is everything at all of Ford’s manufacturing plants. The faster the job gets done, the more vehicles are produced. But could you imagine car bodies being delivered by a horse-drawn carriage with teams of workers assembling automobiles atop sawhorses?  While it’s hard to fathom now, that’s exactly what it took 100 years ago today to get the job done. And interestingly enough, back then, that process was considered to be “state-of-the-art.”

So what is the importance of this historical fact you may ask? Well, today marks the 100th anniversary of the moving assembly line. And without the transmissions that are built at Livonia Transmission Plant, it would be impossible for any vehicle to roll off the line.

On this day in history, it’s vital to remember LTP’s role in this incredible milestone.

In a Glance: LTP’s History
1951 - Ford Motor Company bought the property for the future Livonia Plant.
1952 – The Livonia Plant was built to produce M-48 Medium Tanks for the Army Ordinance Department. About 1,000 tanks were produced under the contract.
March 8, 1953 – Announced that the facility would be converted to start production of automatic and manual transmissions.
August 16, 1954 – Production began for Merc-O-Matics and Fordomatic transmission units.
1955 – Plant announced plans for constructing a 580,000 square-foot addition.
June 1977 – Livonia Transmission was making 1.25 million C-6 automatic transmissions a year, along with other Powertrain components.
1977 – Plant builds a 318,000 square foot addition, making LTP Ford Motor Company’s largest manufacturing facility under one roof.
1980 to 1993 - Ford Motor Company launches the AOD transmission. Fords first 4-speed automatic transmission.
1986 to 1991 - Ford Motor Company launches the AXOD transaxle at the Livonia Plant to support the Taurus/Sable program. 
1991 to 1993 - The AXOD is upgraded to the AXOD-E.
1992 - AOD-E is upgraded to the electronic AOD.
1993 - AOD-EW/4R70W strengthened AOD with lower 1st and 2nd gear ratios.
1994 to 2003 - The AXOD-E is upgraded to the AX4S.
2003 - 4R75E/4R75W launched.
2010 & 2011 – LTP receives Harbour award for two consecutive years.
2010 – Received the President’s Health & Safety Award.
July 2011 – LTP receives Neighborhood Environmental Partners Award.
April 26, 2012 – 6R3 Transmission Job 1 Ceremony; the line was certified as running at rate in a FMC record breaking 17 days.
March 2013- The Harbour Report named LTP the “Best Transmission Plant for Labor Productivity.” Workers joined in a celebration of the award on Monday, March 25th.
Livonia Transmission Plant also prides itself in being the most efficient manufacturer of transmissions in North America. In March 2013, The Harbour Report named LTP the “Best Transmission Plant for Labor Productivity.” The occasion marked three consecutive years of winning the award for LTP, and is based on the least amount of hours spent assembling transmissions. So not only has hard work paid off for LTP, but for Ford Motor Company as a whole. And on this day in history it’s important to remember that this same drive and work ethic was evident 100 years ago as Model T’s were rolling off the line. LTP continues to instill those same practices today to produce the highest quality transmissions for the world’s best vehicles.
Click here for an interactive map of all of Ford’s North American Plants.
Below are some "then and now" photos of LTP.
Livonia 1952 100837-5.jpgLivonia 1954 104554-1.jpg

Livonia Interior 1954 105298-7.jpg1956 Ford Transmission Plant Livonia Michigan neg C770.jpg1958 Ford Livonia Transmission Plant neg C902-13.jpg

1969 Ford Transmission Plant Livonia Michigan neg CN5779-054.jpg

10/7/2013 12:00 AM