Friday, May 11, 2018

Eaton Rapids in the news

So far Ford has been hit hardest by parts shortages. The company has had to temporarily lay off 7,600 workers as it cuts production of the F-Series pickup truck, the top-selling vehicle in America.

But General Motors has been forced to stop producing full-size vans at a factory in Missouri, and production of Fiat Chrysler’s Pacifica minivan has been curtailed in Windsor, Ontario. BMW says it expects some production interruptions at its SUV plant near Spartanburg, South Carolina.

It’s all because of a May 2 fire that severely damaged the main plant at the Meridian Magnesium Products of America factory in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, near Lansing that makes structural parts, about one-third of which goes to Ford. Multiple automakers have turned to Meridian to produce parts made of the lightweight metal as they try to shed pounds to meet government fuel efficiency standards.


Yup, a fire in little, old Eaton Rapids, Michigan might knock a few tenths of a percent off the nation's annual GDP growth.


  1. "Just-in-time" manufacturing and logistics supply is great, as long as system failure is impossible. As an old driller, I would always have a backup to the tool being used, and a workaround plan if things didn't go according to plan. Contingency is everything.

  2. Yep, that will have long running effects...

  3. So what happened to moving some operations to Europe?

    Somehow the GM strike in Flint comes to mind, when GM pulled the dies and shipped them somewhere that the workers wanted to put them to use, and it was expensive, but it kept the final lines running. Seems like that would apply here, especially with Ford.

    1. I think they did ship the dies out to another plant owned by the same parent company but are constrained by the other work those facilities are already contracted to do. That is, there is not enough excess capacity in the other plants to pick up the slack.

      Part of the issue is the material. There are not lots of houses die-casting magnesium alloys.

      If it were 380 aluminum there would be lots of other houses that could plug-and-play those dies.

      One more example of "Exotic materials have exotic failure modes."


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