Ford Motor Company said that its investment in the Silverton Assembly Plant operations in Pretoria has paid off with the completion of the high-tech new stamping plant, which is now operational. The massive structure spans 10 320m2, which is nearly 1.5 times the size of a typical soccer pitch (7 140 m2).
“Our new Stamping Plant is a first for Ford in South Africa,” says Rhys Davies, Site Transformation Manager at the Ford Silverton Assembly Plant. ” We previously used external suppliers to stamp our metal body parts, but for the Next-Gen Ranger, which will go into production later this year, we opted to establish up our own Stamping Plant. We needed to bring the stamping operations in-house since we were focused on achieving the greatest levels of quality and efficiency for the Next-Gen Ranger”
” This allows us to oversee production quality throughout the stamping process, confirm that all components are within specification, and then seamlessly deliver them to our new Body Shop, which is located adjacent to the Stamping Plant. With a higher level of automation, the new Stamping facility also significantly enhances our plant capacity and efficiency, while minimizing the time, expense, and potential damage involved while transporting these parts by road. Most significantly, it enables us to provide high-quality vehicles to our consumers in South Africa and more than 100 other countries across the world.”
The Stamping Plant consists of five tandem presses, including a 2 500-ton draw press, a 1 600-ton press, and three 1000-ton presses that stamp flat sheet metal into the different inner and exterior body panels required for the Ranger’s three body styles: Single Cab, SuperCab, and Double Cab. To greatly minimize the noise caused by the stamping processes, the presses are contained in a comprehensive sound abatement enclosure, with an automated inter-press feeder system moving the stamped panels along the process to the end of the line. The entire line is fully automated, with a capacity of 16 strokes per minute installed.
“We have 47 die sets with a total of 208 dies manufacturing 67 distinct pieces, including the floorplan, body sides, roof, bonnet, doors, and load box,” says Jan Groenewald, Area Manager for the Stamping Plant. “The facility is outfitted with a 50-ton automated sling crane, two 60/20 sling cranes, and a 50-ton semi gantry crane to enable the transfer of the heavy dies. The Silverton Assembly Plant presently has a capacity of 200 000 vehicles per year installed. When fully operational, the Stamping Plant would process 272 tons of steel each day across three shifts.”
The Stamping facility boasts an advanced GOM ATOS ScanBox blue light scanner system, with an unwavering focus on achieving the highest production quality yet from the Silverton Assembly Plant. The ScanBox has reduced part scanning and measurement time from more than an hour with previous CMM machines to less than three minutes with the ScanBox.