Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Magna plant back in operation following fire


March 8, 2011
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Following a fire on March 2 at the Magna Exteriors and Interiors Atreum Howell plant in Howell, Mich., company officials announced on March 9 that all Howell employees have been called back to work and that the plant is meeting its customer parts requirements. This is thanks to a combination of 80 percent production at the Howell facility and 20 percent production at another Magna location being used on a temporary, emergency-need basis, the company said.

“Crews have been on-site and working around the clock to get this plant back up and running, and we now have as much of our manufacturing capacity as possible back online in Howell,” said Bob Brownlee, president, Magna Exteriors and Interiors North America. “Between the Howell plant and the off-site location, 100 percent of Howell’s customer requirements are being fulfilled. With any situation like this, there are still some challenges to overcome, but we believe we are in a good position to quickly respond and manage any further issues that might arise.”

Forty percent of the facility sustained some level of damage, and 25 percent of the production area was destroyed in the fire. Following the blaze, a wall was constructed to divide the Howell facility into a production zone and a reconstruction zone. With on-site co-ordination and expertise, equipment as well as some tooling was repaired, rewired, cleaned and restarted in order to restore the supply of parts to Magna’s customers.

The plant in Howell Township, about 70 kilometres northwest of Detroit, makes ceilings, consoles and other plastic interior parts for General Motors, Mazda, Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co.

Firefighters are calling the blaze accidental, stating that it appears to have started in a smokestack used in spray-coating interior parts.

www.magna.com