Ford will invest R600 million in the Struandale Engine Plant located in Gqeberha to support the launch of a new 3.0L V6 turbodiesel engine and upgrades to the existing assembly line for its 2.0L engines.
The company announced the investment on Thursday, 2 November, which will prepare the assembly line for the launch of the next-generation Ranger models.
“Through this investment we are introducing a third diesel engine to the Struandale operations, in the form of the new 3.0L V6 turbodiesel engine that will power selected next-gen Ranger models when production commences next year,” Ockert Berry, VP of Operations at Ford South Africa said.
The changes to this assembly line will allow the Struandale Engine Plant to run with more flexibility, as it will build the new 3.0L V6 turbodiesel engine and the Duratorq TDCi engines.
There are 40 stations on the line that will be common to both engines, with a further 25 stations unique to the 3.0L V6.
The plant will have an annual installed capacity of 21 000 units of the 3.0L V6 turbodiesel engine when production commences in mid-2022.
In addition to the assembly operations, the Struandale Engine Plant will also be responsible for machining the cylinder heads for the 3.0L V6 diesel engine.
“The investment program includes new equipment as well as retooling, upgrading and redeployment of existing machining operations for the cylinder head,” Berry said.
“In addition to the new 3.0L V6 engine program, we are further modernizing and upgrading the existing assembly line for the 2.0L Single Turbo and 2.0L Bi-Turbo engines to accommodate design changes for the next-generation Ranger,” Berry said.
“Furthermore, the updates being introduced on this assembly line will facilitate greater complexity with additional derivatives of the 2.0-litre diesel engines being introduced, increasing the current nine derivatives to 13 when production commences for the next-gen Ranger in 2022.”
Berry also explained how the plant aims to increase production while keeping the size of the workforce the same.
“This will be supported by a move from the current two-shift production to 2.5 shifts, increasing the 320 engines produced per day when we launched this program to 445 units per day to meet the significant local and international demand for the Ranger,” Berry said.
Plant employees are undergoing training to ensure production starts up smoothly for Job 1 in mid-2022.