The three-millionth engine produced at Struandale Engine Plant


The three-millionth engine produced came off the line to great fanfare at Ford’s Struandale Engine Plant.

Employees, media and officials cheered when the 3,2 litre, five-cylinder Duratorq TDCi engine – destined to power a Ford Ranger – joined the long line of high quality engines that have been produced at Ford’s Port Elizabeth facility, since it opened in 1964.

“The engines produced here, just as the people who produce them, are world class and have helped power Ford’s success in Africa and around the world,” said Jim Benintende, president of Ford Middle East and Africa, who is in South Africa to celebrate the engine and Ford’s Go Further event next week.

“Ford has a long term commitment to South Africa. We are proud to serve our customers here with a full family of high quality, safe and fuel efficient vehicles. We are also very proud of our highly motivated and world class workforce. Every day they demonstrate a commitment to Ford’s philosophy of continuous improvement with every vehicle that comes off the line,” added Benintende.

“This is fantastic achievement for the Struandale Engine Plant,” said plant manager Satya Banda. We can be especially proud of the work our local team has done to position the Struandale Engine Plant as a centre of excellence, exporting not only to Asia and South America, but now also to North America for the first time in our history.”

The Struandale Engine Plant employs approximately 600 people, and received a major boost in 2010 when it was awarded the export contract to machine components and assemble high-tech Duratorq TDCi engines for the Ford Ranger.

Over R3,4-billion was invested in the Struandale Engine Plant and the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, which produces the Ranger for the South African market, and for export to over 148 markets around the world.

The crucial investment at the Port Elizabeth facility expanded the annual capacity of machined components at the plant to 220 000 component kits, comprising the cylinder head, block and crankshaft.

Approximately 75 000 of these are used for assembly of the advanced 2,2-litre four-cylinder and 3,2-litre five-cylinder engines which are shipped to Pretoria for installation in the Ranger. The balance of the component kits are exported to Ford engine assembly plants in Argentina and Thailand, thus enhancing the country's position as a regional centre of excellence and an export base for vehicles, engines and components.

Notably, the Struandale Engine Plant is the only facility in the world that both machines components and assembles engines for the global Ranger programme – which means that every Ranger around the world has a heart born in Port Elizabeth.

The new-generation turbocharged common-rail Duratorq TDCi engine uses Ford’s newest powertrain technologies and complies with the latest EU emissions standards, bringing commensurate benefits in environmental compatibility, fuel efficiency and performance.

In 2014 the Struandale Engine Plant also commenced production of the 3,2-litre five-cylinder diesel engine for the North American market – the first time FMCSA is exporting to the United States. The additional annual capacity of 31 000 engines is destined for the Ford Transit van, which is assembled in Kansas City.

Over the past half century, the Struandale Engine Plant’s roll call of significant locally produced engines includes the venerable Ford Essex V6 that powered various generations of the Cortina, Sierra and Sapphire, along with the Ford PTe 1.4 and 1.6 EFI engines that were exported to Europe.

In 1999, the plant began production of the RoCam 1.6 engine and was appointed the same year as the sole global manufacturer of the RoCam 1.3 for South African and Europe. The RoCam was later also exported India, Russia and South America, and wrapped up its local legacy on an impressive tally of 1 346 919 units.

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