PRETORIA, South Africa – The newly built Silverton Body Shop will play a central part in Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa’s (FMCSA) new role as a mass production hub for the all-new global Ranger pickup. The new facility has been designed to produce up to 100,000 vehicles annually.
“Everyone will be influenced either directly or indirectly by the benefits to come from our fabulous new Body Shop facility,” said Matt Pickering, FMCSA’s Ranger Manufacturing Engineering manager. Pickering was responsible for launching the new Body Shop and served as Body Shop area manager during the facility construction phase.
“Our new Body Shop will provide for Best in Class Quality levels throughout the assembly plant, directly influencing sheet metal quality, panel fits, build consistency, wheel alignment, water and dust sealing, interior quietness and first time through,” he added.
The new 10,000-square-metre shop is highly automated with 80 robots, 75 robot welding guns and automated sealant dispensers. The first Launch BIW's (Body Structure Subsystems) for the new global Ranger are currently in-process at Silverton’s new Body Shop. FMCSA will begin the Tooling Tryout Build phase later this month.
“We started to build the first global Ranger pickup on February 18, 2011 in the new Body Shop. Sub assemblies have already achieved high-percentage within-tolerance performance, encouraging results at this phase of the programme and the best we have seen at FMCSA,” Pickering said.
Facility design commenced December 2009, with installation at the FMCSA plant in Silverton commencing November 2010.
“Our Body Shop artisans, master trainers, product specialists and operators love the work stations, fixture and weld gun designs, spacious ground floor layout and simple controls that the new Body Shop provides,” Pickering told @Ford. “Our New Ranger Body Shop will set the benchmark in terms of simple, robust automation; safety, error-proofing and quality.”
FMCSA employees began their training with the new equipment before it even reached the Silverton plant. The Body Shop was first assembled off-site by Design Engineering, a supplier based in Durban, South Africa.
“We actually had 20 of our maintenance personnel go down and work for several weeks with the supplier,” said Kevin Whipp, FMCSA New Model Programmes and Advanced Engineering manager. “They got to know the Body Shop equipment from the ground-up, before it even arrived at Silverton.”
Up to 80 percent of the new global Ranger pickups built at Silverton will be exported to African and European markets. Of course, local South African customers will also have the chance to experience the all-new pickup, built at FMCSA’s newest crown jewel: the Ranger Body Shop.
|New Machinery at FMCSA's Body Shop|
|Robots on duty at the new Ford Body Shop in South Africa |