South Africa a Global Hub for Ford's Diesel Engines

The Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) is now manufacturing a new line of diesel engines at Struandale, outside Port Elizabeth, turning its local engine plant into a global hub for the carmakers diesel engines.

The production of Duratorq TDCi engines, which started at the end of June, forms part of the company’s R3.4-billion export investment programme that also includes the upgrade and expansion of production facilities at the engine plant and Silverton Assembly Plant outside Tshwane.

The Struandale Engine Plant has upgraded and expanded its assembly and machining capabilities utilising Ford’s global manufacturing processes and quality standards, and now has an annual production capacity of 75 000 engines and 220 000 engine component kits.

“This programme is more than just an engine, it is confirmation that our Struandale Engine Plant is truly world-class in every respect,” said FMCSA chief executive Jeff Nemeth in a statement last month. “The remarkable transformation that has taken place is the result of the extraordinary dedication and support of our employees, suppliers and partners.”

New era for Struandale Engine Plant

The Struandale Engine Plant is unique in that it is the only Ford facility that shares both component machining and engine assembly for the Duratorq TDCi diesel engine programme supporting the Ford Ranger.

The machined components are used for engine kits which are exported to other Ford Ranger assembly plants, and the fully assembled engines will be used in the South African-built Ranger.

“The diesel engine programme represents an entirely new era for the Struandale Engine Plant, which, through Ford’s stringent global quality standards, has undergone a complete transformation to ensure that it competes with the best in the world,” explained Struandale plant manager Wallace Yearwood.

Over the last 24 months, the plant has been completely overhauled, including the construction of an entirely new assembly hall for the Duratorq TDCi programme, which expands the total floor area to 16 514 square metres.

Employee training

The high-tech assembly hall was fitted with the latest, most advanced equipment, systems and processes, and is complemented by a specialised clean-room, state-of-the-art cold and hot-test benches, as well as an all-new dynamometer specifically developed for the production of the high-torque Duratorq TDCi diesel engines.

“Employee training has been central to this project,” said Yearwood. “We launched a new training centre last year, and every operator has been through extensive simulation training to ensure that we’re able to deliver engines that meet all quality, cost, and efficiency requirements.

“Our employees are simply the best.”