04 June 2005

I Got Yer Vertical Integration Right Here.

You think it gets busy where you work? The following are excerpts from "River Rouge: Ford's Industrial Colossus" by Joe Cabadas:

In July 1948, a detailed statistical report of the Rouge Plant's operations was prepared prior to the lighting of the "William" blast furnace. Overall, this snapshot of the Rouge showed that it had 13.8 million square feet of floor space, 1 1/3 miles of docks. 26 miles of roadways, parking spaces for 20,000 cars, 132 miles of conveyors, and employed 70,000 workers, with another 5,100 in the Adminstration Building and Rotunda. The Rouge railroad had 14 diesel engines, and 4 steam locomotives that handled 50,000 freight cars a month, while 456 trucks also conveyed materials in the complex.

The 92 1/2-foot-tall "Henry" and "Benson" blast furnaces, which produced heat in the range of 2,700 degree Fahrenheit, had an average casting time of 5 hours and could produce 1,500 tons of iron per day. The Rouge steel plant made 73,000 tons per month, and used 1.9 million gallons of oil and 600 million gallons of cooling water. The 183 Kopper-Becker coke ovens consumed 4,500 tons of coal per day and made 45 million cubic feet of gas, 30,000 gallons of tar, 3,300 tons of coke, 11,000 gallons of crude light oil, and 95,000 tons of ammonium sulfate.

The Glass Plant had 60 grinding units and 100 polishing units that made 3 1/4 miles of glass per day, in sheets 53 feet wide and 3/16 inch thick. The 10,000 employees of the Production Foundry made 6,000 V-8 engine blocks per day, using 1,500 tons of new sand for the molds, and 65,000 gallons of oil per month. The Motor Building had 10,500 workers, 7,000 machines, and 15 miles of conveyors; 135 worker-minutes were requires to assemble one engine.

"B" Building, renamed the Dearborn Assembly Plant, built 500 cars every 8-hour shift, and the line speed was set at 22 feet per minute, giving workers about 1 minute to complete their tasks. The Rouge had a full-fledged hospital, with a total staff of 203, including 27 nurses and 20 first-aid stations scattered around the complex.
Coffee break's over; here comes the foreman . . .

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