Bowling Green MetalForming Running at Full Capacity

By: Jon Hardison
By: Jon Hardison

The Transpark's first tenant is now fully operational and putting thousands of truck frames on the road every week.

"Bowling Green Metalforming" has quietly become one of our area's biggest employers.

The Bowling Green Metalforming plant is almost 1 million square feet in size and houses more than 800 employees.

But tucked away in the back of the Transpark it has quietly but quickly become a streamlined industrial powerhouse. Although admittedly publicity shy, the plant's managers did allow 2 media members to tour the facility Friday.

The plant produces frames for the Ford Explorers assembled just up I-65 in Louisville. It is capable of producing over 300,000 frames per year, at peak demand.

Raw steel comes into the plant on huge circular bales and by the time it leaves, a series of robotic and human hands have formed it into the 550-pound basis for the most popular SUV on the road.

Parent company Magna's corporate culture is one of managers with offices that open onto the floor and all of the top management at the Bowling Green plant started out working on the factory floor.

Team leaders also stress what's called "lean manufacturing," an emphasis on eliminating any ineffeciency and waste and constantly improving their process.

The automotive market is more cutthroat than ever and this plant is trying its hardest to stay ahead of the curve.

Magna brought in about 15 leaders from their ontario plant to help start this operation, but the rest of the near 800 employees are South Central Kentuckians.

The plant will spend 2006 launching their lines to build frames for the Ford F-250 and superduty trucks, and is still trying to attract more business from other assembly plants within the region. That could also mean more jobs at the plant.

Managers I spoke to today say they couldn't be happier with the knowledge and work ethic of our local workforce, and are actively working to help recruit more businesses to the Transpark.


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