Production for the next-generation SA-built Ford Ranger will be commencing in due time. With this, the South African arm of the American brand will be making extensive revisions to the Silverton Assembly Plant in an attempt to create a final product that hopes to improve on the success of the current generation.
In order to accommodate the next-generation Ford Ranger, the Silverton plant will be implementing a third shift which falls part of its R15 billion investment that was announced in February this year. The goal of the upgrades to this plant will to improve efficiency and quality while meeting an increased volume target of 200 000 units per year.
The Silverton Plant experienced a seven-week plant shutdown to facilitate the installation of new upgrades. This included a complete redesign of the vehicle plant layout with the removal of 1 km of vehicle movements. The benefits of this alteration are reduced driving of vehicles and movements of people in the plant. All manufacturing processes and quality checks are also now completed in each assembly zone. This results in a lower risk of vehicle damage.
The next-generation Ford Ranger will also benefit from a new high-tech skillet system that is currently being used in the Thai Ranger and US F-150 plant. Thanks to it being height-adjustable, the new system eliminates having to station employees at different levels and caters to workers of different heights. The new piece of equipment is also more ergonomic and boasts enhanced safety to the employee.
The plant also benefits from a new box line where the lead compartment and vehicle body is worked on separately for easier assembly. The panel line has also been improved for fitment and wiring of harnesses and components.
Additional upgrades to the next-generation Ford Ranger plant include an automated robotic windscreen fitment station, new headlamp and wheel alignment booths, vac and fill facility for filling liquids and air-con gas and a final integration of automated wheel and tyre facility that is delivered directly to the line via a roof-mounted conveyor system.
With these changes implemented to the plant, Ford says that “The new Ranger will surpass the quality of the current generation, and we hope for sales to be even better.”