Ford Motor Company’s $US 600 million investment in its Silverton Assembly Plant operations in South Africa is coming to fruition, with the completion of the high-tech new Stamping Plant, which is now in operation.
The Stamping Plant comprises five tandem presses, including a 2 500-ton draw press, a 1 600-ton press and three 1 000-ton presses that stamp the flat sheet metal into the various inner and outer body panels required for all three body styles of the Next-Gen Ford Ranger Truck.
The presses are housed with an automated inter-press feeder system which transfer the stamped panels along the process to the end of line. The entire line is fully automated, with an installed capacity of 16 strokes per minute.
As part of the focus on achieving the highest production quality, the Stamping facility boasts an advanced GOM ATOS ScanBox blue light 3D scanning system. “This is one of our important new technologies that enables us to measure the perimeter and surface dimensions of each part, and generate an accurate 3D model that is compared to the stored 3D model on our computer system,” says Jan Groenewald, Area Manager for the Stamping Plant.
The scans provide Ford with a quality inspection of the parts before they are moved across to the warehouse, or fitted to a vehicle in the Body Shop, which wasn’t possible with the previous system.
“The ScanBox has reduced the scanning and measurement of parts from more than an hour with the previous CMM machines to less than three minutes,” Groenewald explains. “We have three-hour production runs scheduled at a time, and the ScanBox measures 30 consecutive parts during each production run.”
Previously Ford had used external suppliers to stamp the metal body parts, but with a focus on delivering the highest levels of quality and efficiency, it was essential that they brought the stamping operations in-house.
This ensures that Ford are able to control the production quality throughout the stamping process, validate that all parts are within specification, and then seamlessly deliver them directly to the new Body Shop located adjacent to the Stamping Plant.
The new Stamping facility also dramatically improves the plant capacity and efficiency with a higher level of automation, while eliminating the time, cost and potential damage incurred when transporting these parts by road from external suppliers”
The Silverton Assembly Plant now has an installed capacity for 200 000 vehicles per year. When running at full capacity, the Stamping Plant will be processing 272 tons of steel per day over a three-shift system.
See the full story at Metrology News or click on the image below to view a YouTube video of the project.