• Ford Motor Company made a R600 million investment in its South African engine plant.
• The investment will prepare both staff and the facilities for the next Ranger's engine applications.
• The big news is the addition of the V6 turbodiesel engine that will also be produced locally.
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Ford Motor Company announced an R600 million investment in Struandale Engine Plant in Gqeberha, previously known as Port Elizabeth. The investment has been brought about to support Ford South Africa in producing the next-generation Ranger bakkie and the engines that will be powering it. And, of course, the financial injection will help prepare both staff and machinery for engine production for the all-new Ranger that will launch locally in 2022.
Currently, the Struandale plant only produces the 2.2- and 3.2-litre Duratorq TDCi engines and the single- and bi-turbo 2.0-litre diesel engine. Come next year, Ford South Africa will also be building the new 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine that will power select Ranger models.
Ockert Berry, VP Operations, Ford South Africa, says: "The R600 million investment in the Struandale Engine Plant is part of our commitment to modernizing and growing our local operations. It is over and above the R15.8 billion investment in the Silverton Assembly Plant and supplier tooling that we announced in February to support the next-generation Ranger production.
"Through this investment, we are introducing a third diesel engine to the Struandale operations, in the form of the new 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine that will power selected next-gen Ranger models when production commences next year. The majority of the investment is going into expanding and modernizing the current assembly line that has produced the existing 2.2L and 3.2L Duratorq TDCi engines since 2011, with 792 000 engines assembled to date."
Upgrading existing assembly lines
The investment is not just to wholistically prepare the Struandale Engine Plant's workforce for the uptake of the new V6 engine, but to also equip them to produce the updated 2.0-litre turbodiesel engines. While the engines will be carried over to the next Ranger, Ford says that they must be upgraded and adjusted for application in the new bakkie.
It also means that the assembly line must be improved to facilitate greater complexity with additional derivatives of this engine that will be introduced. In 2022, a total of 13 engine applications will be available on the new Ranger - four more than what is currently offered.
With all the changes implemented, the number of engines produced per day will increase from 320 to 445. The annual engine production capacity remains unchanged at 120 000 units per annum.
Berry concludes: "We are introducing Ford's state-of-the-art production technologies - such as the latest tooling along with advanced camera and transponder systems that are fully integrated into Ford's global Quality Management System - as used in our modern assembly line for the 2.0L single-turbo and 2.0L bi-turbo engines. This allows us to record and validate every step of the assembly operations to capture the entire birth history of each engine. It is an essential part of ensuring that we deliver world-class quality for our customers around the world."