Ford Motor Company of South Africa has announced plans to produce the new Puma diesel engine are well underway, following a R3billion investment to expand its production facilities and the opening of a new Training Centre.
Ford ramps up to Puma production
Most of the recent construction has been centred around the Struandale facility in Port Elizabeth where a new Puma assembly hall was constructed alongside the existing RoCam hall. The existing production and assembly lines for the RoCam engine were also revamped.
Construction of the 1 750m2 Puma facility was completed in the middle of June and more than 100 machines imported for the engine programme are currently being installed in the new facilities.
Puma production is expected to fire up in April 2011 and annual capacity at the engine plant will amount to 220 000 sets – 75 000 for assembly at the Silverton plant outside Pretoria, where a new compact bakkie will be produced from early 2011, while the balance will be exported.
In addition to the changes to the engine plant, a new training centre has also been opened for the benefit of current Puma workers and new staff contracted to the project. Three specialist technicians will provide training in pneumatics, hydraulics, electrical, and engine assembly.
Ford's Struandale plant holds ISO 9001:2008 quality certification, as well as the maximum Level 8 rating from Ford's Powertrain Organisation.
"However, the level of technology and sophistication employed in the advanced new-generation Puma engine, as well as the equipment used to manufacture and assemble it, demands that we take the competence and skills of our employees to an entirely new level,” Wallace Yearwood, plant manager of the Ford Struandale Engine Plant, said.
"In the process, we will develop a highly skilled team that are able to not only maintain our impeccable existing quality standards, but raise them to new heights in order to deliver truly world-class engines and components to our customers around the world," Yearwood concluded.
“The official opening of the new plant and Training Centre proves that the Engine Plant team is more than up to the task, meeting the strict deadlines for the new buildings, and the upgrading of the existing facilities to world-class levels," said Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa.