Ford Motor Company announced the completion of a new high-tech stamping shop at the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria.
The huge facility measures 10,320 square meters, nearly 1.5 times the size of a standard football field, according to the group.
“Our new stamping plant is a first for Ford in South Africa,” said Rhys Davies, Site Conversion Manager at the Ford Silverton Assembly Plant.
“We previously used external suppliers to stamp our metal body parts, but we have decided to set up our own stamping plant for the next generation Ranger, which will begin production later this year.”
“Because we were focused on delivering the highest levels of quality and performance for the next generation Ranger, it was important that we handle the stamping operations in-house.
“This ensures that we can control production quality throughout the stamping process, verify that all parts are to specification, and then ship them seamlessly directly to our new body shop located next to the stamping plant.”
Davies said the facility will also significantly increase plant productivity and efficiency through higher levels of automation, as well as eliminate the time, cost and potential damage that comes with transporting these parts over the road.
“Most importantly, it allows us to deliver the highest quality vehicles to our customers in South Africa and over 100 markets around the world.”
200,000 vehicles per year
The stamping shop consists of five tandem presses, including a 2,500 ton drawing press, a 1,600 ton press, and three 1,000 ton presses, which stamp the various interior and exterior body panels required for all three Ranger body styles from flat sheet metal: cab, super cab and double cab.
The presses are housed in a fully sound-absorbing enclosure to greatly reduce the noise generated by the stamping operations, with an automatic inter-press feed system moving the stamped panels along the process to the end of the line. The entire line is fully automated, with a set capacity of 16 strokes per minute.
“We have 47 sets of dies, a total of 208 dies, which make 67 different parts, including the underbody, body sides, roof, hood, doors and cargo area,” said Jan Grunewald, Stamping Plant Regional Manager.
To facilitate the movement of heavy dies, the plant is equipped with a 50 ton automatic sling crane, two 60/20 sling cranes and a 50 ton half gantry crane.
“The Silverton assembly plant now has an installed capacity of 200,000 vehicles a year. When operating at full capacity, the stamping plant will process 272 tons of steel per day in three shifts,” says Grönewald, who leads a team of 22 full-time employees and about 270 hourly employees at the plant,” he said. .
The stamping shop also boasts the advanced GOM ATOS ScanBox blue light scanning system.
“This is one of the important new technologies that allows us to measure the perimeter and surface dimensions of each part and create an accurate 3D model that is compared to the 3D model stored in our computer system,” Groenewald said.
The ScanBox has reduced scanning and part measurement time from over an hour on previous CMMs to less than three minutes. We have 3 hour production runs scheduled at the same time and the ScanBox measures 30 consecutive parts during each production run.
“This gives us analyzed data for parts before they are moved to the warehouse or installed on the vehicle in the body shop, which was simply not possible with the previous system. By following the Six Sigma process, it ensures that we have a 99.997 percent chance that all parts produced are to specification, meaning that all body parts that go into the Ranger will be of the highest manufacturing quality.”