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Production of new diesel engines at Struandale engine plant

Home Manufacturing & Processing Automotive Production of new diesel engines at Struandale engine plant

IN preparation for the upcoming launch of the Next-Generation Ford Ranger later this year, the Ford Struandale Engine Plant in Gqeberha has commenced production of the latest addition to its engine family – the 3.0L V6 Diesel, which will power the range-topping Ranger pick-up models to be produced at the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria.

This forms part of Ford’s R600-million investment in the Struandale Engine Plant operations, which has also facilitated upgrades to the existing assembly line for the 2.0L Single Turbo and Bi-Turbo diesel engines. Design changes and additional derivatives of the engines have been added for the Next-Gen Ranger, which will be sold locally and exported to more than 100 global markets.

“In its updated and extended format, the assembly line that is now producing the new 3.0L V6 turbodiesel continues with production of the existing 2.2 and 3.2 Duratorq TDCi engines, making it the only facility of its kind in the Ford world that produces both V-configuration and in-line engines on the same line,” says Shawn Govender, Plant Manager of the Struandale Engine Plant.

“Although this was a major challenge for our team and required a lot of creative and innovative thinking, it was essential to make optimal use of our facilities to contain the total investment required, and ensure that we are competitive from a cost-per-unit perspective.”

Relying on a flexible production format, with scheduled batches of the two different engine programs being assembled, the line incorporates 40 stations that are common to both units and a further 25 stations that are unique to the 3.0L V6 Diesel. The total installed capacity for this line is 130 000 engines per year.

“The investment in extending and retooling this assembly line allowed us to modernise the facility by introducing the latest advancements in traceability and quality management technologies, including highly accurate GPS tool positioning systems, torque-to-turn monitoring for every bolt on the engine, and multiple camera stations that validate and record the accurate fitment of parts throughout the production process,” Govender explains. “This guarantees that every engine we produce is of the highest quality, and will complement the significant improvements in performance, efficiency and refinement that will be hallmarks of the Next-Gen Ranger.

“Our employees have undergone extensive training with our in-house team and global Powertrain Manufacturing Engineering specialists to ensure that they are fully equipped to manage the complexity and maximise the efficiencies of the flexible production format for the two engine programs.”

The Struandale Engine Plant is also responsible for machining of the cylinder heads for the 3.0L V6 Diesel, which is performed in a completely revamped facility using new and redeployed machines that have been updated with the latest tooling, operating and quality control systems.

2.0L Single Turbo and Bi-Turbo

The R600-million Struandale Engine Plant investment introduced numerous changes for the latest versions of the highly rated 2.0L Single Turbo and 2.0L Bi-Turbo diesel engines that will be the core line-up for the Next-Gen Ranger. Around 23 design changes were implemented for the new application, while the number of derivatives produced on the dedicated assembly line for this engine program has increased from nine to 13.

To support the increased demand for the 2.0-litre diesel engines, the plant has gone from the previous two shifts to 2.5 shifts, with a total installed capacity for producing up to 120 000 engines per year.

Tested to the limit

As with any new or updated engine program, the new 3.0L V6 Diesel and latest specification 2.0L Single Turbo and Bi-Turbo engines are subjected to exhaustive in-process and off-line testing. Additionally, the existing Duratorq TDCi engines have also undergone extensive tests to ensure that the advanced production systems, tooling and technologies used on the modernised flexible assembly line are within specification.

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