Ford Automates with Mac minis

The automotive assembly lines at Ford are getting a little help from Appleis Mac mini computers. The Mac minis help ensure that the parts workers need to build cars are doled out in the correct sequence, according to Macworld.

Ford hired Information in Place to help design the automated parts tracking system. The companyis vice president of business development and chief financial officer, Jonathan Schalliol, commented "Mac minis are cost effective and they are reliable machines. We did a lot of research and determined they were the best deal."

14 Intel Core Solo-based Mac minis are managing the bulk parts sequencing process to ensure that the right components arrive at each workeris station in the correct order and at the right time. The system helps reduce assembly line down time caused by missing or mis-ordered parts.

The project also had an unexpected side effect: Information in Place has now transitioned its own computers to Macs. Employees that need Microsoftis Windows operating system for specific tasks are using Parallels Desktop to run those applications in a virtual environment on their Mac Desktop.

The company plans to install its Mac-based solutions in additional companies in 2007.

In Fordis case, the Mac minis are performing without any problems. The computers have been doing their job since early November and are helping assemble about 800 cars a day. The Macs, according to Mr. Schalliol, are performing perfectly.