This is only the second diesel engine to be introduced at the Port Elizabeth plant since opening its doors in 1964, and will be built alongside the current Duratorq TDCi four and five-cylinder diesel engines as used in the existing Ford Ranger and Everest models.
The new assembly line is located in a totally revamped 3 868 m2 section of the Struandale Engine Plant, and boasts the latest Ford technologies.
“Our new engine assembly line represents Ford’s latest, state-of-the-art manufacturing processes that guarantee the highest standards of workmanship, product quality and performance,” explains John Cameron, Plant Manager of the Ford Struandale Engine Plant.
“We invested in a sophisticated sub-assembly area for the cylinder head, incorporating four automated robotic stations which ensure maximum precision in the fitment of parts.
Throughout the line we have extensive errorproofing and traceability mechanisms in place with multiple camera and transponder systems,” Cameron says.
In addition, there are two cold-test cells at the end of the assembly line to check operating parameters and pressures, followed by a hot-test cell that evaluates the integrity and performance of the engine in normal running conditions. There is also a brand new engine dynamometer located at the plant to conduct a wide range of performance and durability tests.
Eight derivatives of this engine will be assembled at the Struandale Engine Plant when production officially commences in the fourth quarter of 2018. Its most noteworthy application will be in the thrilling new Ford Ranger Raptor, which will be produced at Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria for local release in 2019. Additional models set to receive this new diesel engine will be announced in due course.
The new assembly line has an installed capacity of 120 000 engines per annum, although the volumes will be significantly lower during the start-up phase, beginning with a single shift comprising 85 employees dedicated to this line. The assembly crew is drawn from Ford’s existing employees, who have undergone extensive training during the build-up phase over the past year, both at supplier companies overseas, and within the Struandale Engine Plant’s on-site training centre.