As part of its recent R3-billion investment to produce the Ranger Raptor in South Africa (which will go on sale in the local market by 2019), Ford has upgraded its Struandale engine plant in Port Elizabeth to produce the high-performance bakkie's new 2.0-litre 4-cylinder bi-turbodiesel engine and ramp up the production of the Duratorq TDCi engine used, inter alia, by the Ranger and Everest.
By Wezile Bonani
Installed capacity for the Duratorq TDCi program is set to increase from 254 000 machined component sets (cylinder head, block and crankshaft) to 280 000, while assembly capacity will grow from 115 000 to 130 000 engines per annum. In line with this, an additional shift will be added (to the 3 shifts working 5 days a week) and, by the time the additional 2.2-litre engine derivatives come online in the 4th quarter of 2018, Struandale will assemble a total of 56 variants of the Duratorq TDCi engine.
The 2.0-litre unit is only the 2nd diesel engine to go into production at the local plant with its new assembly hall, which measures 3 868 m2 in size, since 1964. The expanded Duratorq TDCi program will also see 22 new 4-cylinder engine derivatives exported to European markets, including for use in front-wheel drive Ford models.
Jacques Brent (Ford President, Middle East & Africa) also took the time to share a global summary and smart vehicle prospects in the pipeline for the brand. John Cameron (Plant Manager of Ford's Struandale Engine Plant) indicated that the plant was to become the machining home of the Duratorq engines utilised in the Everest, Range and Transit by virtue of the shared engine assembly. Other markets to benefit from the production capacity expansion include Italy, Russia and Turkey.
At the moment there is no indication if the popular 5-cylinder turbodiesel will be discontinued as it is still in demand, especially in our market. And, unfortunately, no details were shared on the power outputs for the upcoming engine derivatives, barring the Raptor with its impressive 157 kW and 500 Nm of peak torque.
The new state of the art facility boasts some of the latest technical advancements, for example, tools have allocated areas for workstations and engines will be electronically monitored for the absolute best practice and high-quality standards the plant has been known for.
In conclusion, as a citizen of this wonderful city, while job creation is key, job security is just as pivotal as Ford has demonstrated by the addition of a new shift for the upgraded assembly line.