CHENNAI, India — Ford India is ready to fully support production of the all-new EcoSport in 2013 after the inauguration of the new Blanking Line Two at its Maraimalai Nagar manufacturing facility in Chennai.
The sprawling 4,115 sq.m Blanking Line Two – which will have a capacity for 4.5-5 million hits per year – is housed in a new building adjacent to Blanking Line One and was completed in just 13 months. The facility will also support increasing demand from export markets for vehicles manufactured in India.
Blanking Line Two was inaugurated by Michael Boneham, president and managing director, Ford India, and Joginder Singh, who will succeed Boneham on November 1, 2012.
Welcoming Boneham and Singh to the inauguration ceremony, Blanking general manager Ramachandran Radhakrishnan thanked all the teams involved in making the new line a reality.
“This is indeed a great milestone for the plant. Like our past successes in Line One, we hope to achieve new heights in manufacturing at this new world-class facility and gear up to meet demand for exports and our new line of vehicles,” he said.
Tom Chackalackal , executive director, Manufacturing, Ford India, said the achievements of Ford’s facilities in India and the talent of its workforce are getting attention from the entire Ford world, adding that he hoped the new line would set new benchmarks.
“It is no longer just manufacturing, it is how we add to the value stream that is important”, he said.
Boneham and Singh unveiled a plaque to announce the commissioning of the new line and pressed the control switch to start the line. Amid huge applause, the huge 600 ton press by FAGOR roared into life and blanks started rolling into it.
“This is what I love doing the most, being among this talented team that has crossed so many milestones during my tenure here … from growing the plant to launching the Figo, then expanding capacity to getting ready for EcoSport … so much probably an individual cannot imagine in his lifetime,” said an emotional Boneham. “I am sure with Joginder taking over next, this team will go further and accomplish much more.”
Singh thanked everyone and said the shop floor is where the reality check of strategy takes place.
“It is extremely gratifying to see how this team has overcome complexities to achieve so much. The underpinnings of any great achievement are a great set of people and I feel so much confidence for the future for having you with me in the journey forward,” he said.
The new Blanking building has been erected as per all global specifications and visual standards and has ample natural lighting and ventilation. Overcoming hurdles like large ground water deposits and a hard rock under its base, the plant engineering and Blanking and Stamping APA VOME teams did a commendable job erecting the structure in such a short time and with absolute safety.
Blanking Line Two, built as part of the US$142 million new investment for the all-new EcoSport, has been equipped with a die-cart to move dies between the two lines for more flexibility. There are also two overhead cranes with a 30 metre span and a coil hanger with a rotating function to move coils. Further, there are barricades and mesh enclosures to keep the high-risk work zones safe.
Joginder Singh lights a traditional lamp to mark the inaugural ceremony as Michael Boneham, president and managing director, Ford India, and Tom Chackalackal, executive director, Manufacturing, look on.
Michael Boneham, president and managing director, Ford India, shakes a leg with employees of the Blanking line.