Ford India's capacity expansion completed at its Chennai powertrain plant

Wednesday 18 July 2012, 10:33 AM by

Ford India
Ford India's capacity expansion completed at its Chennai powertrain plant

The expansion of the powertrain manufacturing plant of Ford India in Chennai has been completed, according to the company announcement. This has increased the total annual production capacity of the factory to 3,40,000 units, which is an advantage of 36 percent and as a result, the plant has now transformed into a small-scale powertrain hub for the region. Completed in record 14 months, the new facility has an additional annual manufacturing capacity of 80,000 diesel powertrains.

This additional capacity of diesel units will help the car maker to meet the increasing demand for the same in the country as well as increasing exports. This in turn will generate more employment opportunities as well. In the process of the ongoing expansion, the company has already hired 200 employees. President and Managing Director (MD), Ford India, Michael Boneham, said, “We are delighted to see this new addition to our capacity in the Engine Plant as we gear up to move to the next stage of growth in India and the region.”

There are several firsts to the credit of the new plant; it is the first Ford plant across the globe to incorporate a solitary flexible production line to produce both diesel and petrol units. It is also the first to house a malleable crank-shaft assembly like along with a a fully flexible Cold test, Hot test and Dyno test facility.

Boneham stated, “We are at an interesting phase of growth with the markets demanding swift responses from manufacturers, and I’m proud to say that with this plant’s amazingly flexible production lines of both petrol and diesel engines, we’re well-poised to move quickly.” He recently cut the ribbon in the presence of Vice-President (VP), Powertrain operations, Ford India, Radhakrishnan Balasundaram to mark the roll out of the 4,00,000th unit from the plant.

Balasundaram who is also the chief of the powertrain manufacturing plant, said, “This is a special occasion for all of us at the Chennai Engine Plant. Commissioning this facility in record time is a tremendous milestone and just adds to the many significant achievements this plant has in terms of Quality, Safe, Smart and Green.”

VP, Manufacturing, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa, Gary Johnson, said, “To be rolling out the 400,000th engine from the Chennai plant in just under four years is an outstanding achievement, and one that everyone involved should be extremely proud.” He further added, “Ford is currently building seven new plants across Asia Pacific and Africa, and we are making a significant commitment in India, which will see it become a regional hub for low-displacement engine production.”

The Chennai Powertrain plant boasts of many smart steps taken by the car maker to improve performance. The Crankshaft Machining, Cylinder Head and Cylinder Block Machining at the Machine Shop have been upgraded with the aid of USD 72 million investments. The plant is capable of handling more complex tasks, thanks to the new equipments purchased by the car maker. Presently, 12 variants of Duratec petrol motor and five versions of Duratorq diesel unit are manufactured at the facility. This ensures that the skills of the workers are polished well by working on different variants.

The investment by the company in a bid to expand its production facility is one of the crucial factors that will make it a major export and manufacturing hub of small displacement engines. The company will export its 1.6 TiVCT, 1.4 HC and Duratorq units to countries like South Africa, Thailand and Taiwan. Around 40 per cent of the total production capacity at the Chennai plant will be exported overseas.

The manufacturing facility also boasts of several achievements in terms of the car maker's four key beliefs viz. Quality, Green, Safe and Smart. It has the lowest water consumption among all the plants of the American car maker across the globe. The coolant used in its machinery is vegetable-based oil, which is environment-friendly. The plant has also been the recipient of Ford’s Technical Excellence Award (TMM) for four successive years.

Ford India's capacity expansion completed at its Chennai powertrain plant 1

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