Ford rolls out new hi-tech engine in PE
Ford’s Struandale engine plant in Port Elizabeth has started production of new-generation diesel engines to power the new Ford Ranger Raptor and selected Ranger and Everest models to be launched in the first half of 2019.
The company made the announcement on Tuesday.
Assembled on an all-new high-tech assembly line, the start of production for the new engine marks an important milestone for the Bay facility, which opened its doors in 1964 and has produced more than 3.4-million engines to date.
“With the launch of the new diesel engines, the Struandale engine plant embarks on an historic new journey, as it almost doubles our combined installed capacity to 250,000 units for our two engine programmes,” Struandale plant manager Johan Cameron said.
As part of Ford’s 2017 investment of more than R3bn in its SA operations, the plant’s new assembly line has an installed capacity to produce up to 120,000 engines a year.
The new engine programme starts off with low-volume production for the remainder of 2018, ramping up from early 2019.
The new assembly line will produce a total of eight derivatives of the new engines, including the advanced 157kW/ 500Nm Bi-Turbo unit.
All of these engines will be supplied to Ford’s Silverton assembly plant in Pretoria for installation in selected new Ranger and Everest models and the Ranger Raptor.
Ford’s SA vehicle production supports domestic sales along with 148 export markets globally. The new state-of-the-art engine assembly line incorporates a cylinder head sub-assembly line that uses four fully automated robots.
There are four more robotic stations on the main assembly line that apply the special room temperature vulcanising silicone gaskets.
Each of the 110 assembly stations along the 312m line incorporates extensive error proofing.
Every engine is subjected to an in-depth cold test at the end of the assembly line.
This is backed up by a hot test cell to test engine parameters when running.
A range of performance and durability tests are also conducted on selected engines at predetermined intervals.
Continuing alongside the new programme, the existing Duratorq TDCi engine programme has seen annual installed capacity increase from 75,000 units in 2011 to a maximum capacity of up to 130,000 units from the end of 2018.
This engine platform will continue to be offered in the range of vehicles produced in Silverton, as well as exported to global customers.
The Struandale plant’s machining capacity for the Duratorq TDCi programme has increased from an original 220,000 component sets to a peak of up to 280,000.
“Completing the launch for the new diesel engine programme while expanding our existing machining and assembly operations without disrupting our normal production is a great achievement,” Cameron said.
“It is a huge accolade for the entire Struandale engine plant team.”..