Thursday, 30 October 2014

“Flawless” standards for JLR’s Ingenium engines

As readers know, JaguarLandRover’s (JLR) Engine Manufacturing Centre (EMC) will be home to the ‘Ingenium’ engine family, which will power a new generation of JLR products designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK. The company says flawless standards will be adopted in the plant that is "future proof".

Production begins with the 2-litre diesel engine in the Jaguar XE. JLR is transforming its business and brands through a programme of sustainable, strategic investments, it claims.

This £500 million facility is the latest demonstration of the company’s commitment to supporting the UK’s burgeoning manufacturing industry, an indication that JLR is marching to the beat of its own drums.

When operating at full capacity, the EMC will employ 1,400 people with a further 5,500 jobs  claimed to be created in the supply chain, where production of these engines will help provide a "critical mass for inward investment".The plant will make diesel and gasoline engines.

JLR claims almost half the total investment of £500 million investment can be found in the machining hall.
                                                           "Chunks of metal"

This area represents the cutting edge of manufacturing technology, utilising 150 state-of-the-art machines working across three lines. Everything from assembly robots and lasers, to drilling and high-pressure washing machines, (standard in any engine machining hall) “represent an investment of more than £150 million”.

The first line is where the aluminium block begins its transformation from what JLR calls "a simple chunk of metal". Such a naive description hardly fits in with JLR;s aim of setting "flawlwss standards". In fact, the cylinder block is required to be a precision, high-quality aluminium casting, if it is to the "technologically advanced heart" of the Ingenium engine. And, as foundrymen know, aluminium blocks require specialised casting technology (most notably in the UK Cosworth Castings of Worcester developed a special process for cylinder blocks used many years ago by Aston Martin and Jaguar) and they can have their flaws; they require special testing proceedures of their own to identify these and eliminate faulty castings before they reach the customer. JLR chooses not disclose the identity of the supplier of the "chunks of metal" in its press release, but in fact, the blocks ahd heads are supplied by Nemak which as seven product development centres based in Austria, Canada, Germany, Mexico, and Poland. Nemak uses semi-permanent molding technologies for cyclinder heads and the main technologies used for block manufacture include low-pressure precision sand, the Cosworth process as well as high-pressure die casting. So under no circumstances could these be castings be called "chunks of metal", as JLR describes. Indeed, Nemak has been in the business of making precision aluminium castings for over 30 years. And it names Jaguar, Land Rover and Tata as amongst it 30 customers which also includes BMW, Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG on its website. Interestingly, the aluminium blocks are heated in an oven prior to undergoing a series of machining operations, punctuated by high-pressure washes to remove aluminium swarf.

The second machining line is the cylinder head line, which has similar processes. The crankshaft line differs as of course it is machining a precision forged steel component. Here, the steel is milled, turned and drilled. Both automated and manual tests take place throughout each line, ensuring that each component is made to the highest standard of quality possible. Again, JLR has declined in its press release to either name or give credit to the builder of the CNC machining centres. In fact, again, as already revealed in previous posts, the head and block machining lines have been supplied by MAG-IAS, which also supplied the crankshaft machining set-up. With so many ex-Ford staff on JLR's payroll the choice of MAG was obvious, even though Audi and BMW, which some might regard as benchmarks for the powertrain industry, use head and block machining lines from Grob-Werke of Mindelheim, Germany. It will be recalled that in 2008, JLR appointed Paul Cope as director of manufacturing at Land Rover. Cope started life at Ford Motor Company in 1977 as trainee foreman of the Dagenham Engine Plant where later he became production manager and nightshift foreman before leaving in 1992 to move up the road  to be in charge of engine test at Ford's Dunton research and engineering centre, Essex. In 2000, Cope joined Visteon. Cope's valued experience of Ford's manufacturung techniques and purchasing strategy proved useful to JLR. Four years after Cope left Ford, the Dagenham Engine Plant started production of the Lion V6 diesel engine with a compacted graphite iron (CGI) cylinder block. Last year, Cope's position at JLR was taken (as we reported on 18 June 2013) by Wolfgang Stadler, latterly senior vice president of BMW's Plant Dingolfing - a move no doubt endorsed by JLR's group engineering director, Dr. Wolfgang Zeibart. Besides Stadler adding an important piece of the jigsaw, the two men could talk the same language - in more senses than one - as well as understanding the full meaning of the words 'quality', performance and excellence. Ford has many times in the past tried to ape BMW; will Tata Motors succeed where others have failed?

JLR says "This area represents the precision of technology, driven by human craftsmanship. It is where the very first parts of the engines are made, containing within them the DNA of Ingenium."

JLR calls engine assembly the “birth of the engine”. This is where some 245 separate parts come together to form an engine derivative. It is also where JLR’s commitment to people is most evident; more than 150 associates currently work here, across a total of 17 zones.

More associates will join the team when the gasoline engine assembly hall also becomes operational. The aluminium block, cylinder head and crankshaft move through the zones, each one bolstered by additional components and rigorous testing, before finally joining together in final assembly.

The engine is then cold tested for 90s., an eco-friendly procedure that ensures the highest quality standards are met, before leaving the assembly line.

If the machining hall is where the journey of the engine begins, then the assembly hall is where JLR sees the engine as given life, going from a disparate assemblage of components to a finished engine, the first member of the Ingenium family that will power a new generation of JLR products.

The logistical challenge offered by facility of this scale represents is significant, and so JLR claims “the logistical department is every bit as vital to the success of the centre as the manufacturing process”.

However, it could be said that if the major components are not produced to the correct dimensions then it does not matter how good the logistics department is – the engine will be of poor quality. So machining is crucial to consistent, durable, high quality engine performance.


According to JLR, the average cost of one of the "high-tech machines" in the machining hall is £650,000, with 0.003mm representing the detailing on a crankshaft which is polished to be less than the width of a strand of human hair. However, JLR does not give the names of the suppliers of these "high-tech machines".

Swarf from the manufacturing process is filtered away and prepared for transport off-site. This is an environmentally friendly process, and the recycled aluminium briquettes created from it bolster the facility with additional revenue.

The production halls, as expected, are ‘clean room’ environments, ventilated by a positive air system. Energy monitoring facilities in the plant continually analyse the amount of energy being used and identify opportunities to reduce electricity and gas consumption.

The EMC has 71 suppliers, approximately 30 per cent of which are based in the UK. Hundreds of individual parts will be required when both diesel and petrol divisions are operational.

These will be delivered to two main receiving areas – five bays in the assembly area and two in the raw materials area. Once inside the facility, the parts will be transported on specially adapted cargo trains, making 133 movements a day, "facilitating a huge volume of engines while never compromising on quality".

"This process has an inherent capacity for flexibility, allowing logistical operations to keep up with the rapidly evolving demands of the modern automotive industry," claims JLR.

                                         “Most advanced ever”

Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart, JLR Group engineering director, claims: “These engines will be JLR’s most advanced ever. This new family of premium, lightweight, four-cylinder units will utilise the most flexible engine architecture ever produced by JLR, making them efficient, powerful and capable of producing up to 300Nm of torque while emitting as little as 99g/km of CO2.

He add; “The core of Ingenium comprises extremely strong and compact aluminium blocks, which will allow a range of engines to be developed, both quickly and efficiently, to meet the rigorous regulatory and competitive requirements of the future.”

All variants will be equipped with high-tech turbochargers that improve performance, and help reduce CO2 emissions. Their modular design enables gasoline and diesel engines to share many common internal components.

This reduces complexity, raises quality and simplifies manufacturing. Despite adding features and increasing power output, Ingenium engines weigh as much as 80kg less than equivalent engines of today. JLR says the EMC will allow Ingenium engines to deliver outstanding low-end torque, effortless acceleration and class-leading emissions performance with low consumption.

Dr. Ziebart claims that before the first Ingenium engine leaves the factory, it will have already undergone the equivalent of more than eight years of the toughest, most punishing testing that JLR engineers could devise. These include more than 72,000 hours of dyno testing and 2 million miles of real-world testing.

                                                           Flawless standards

He then adds significantly, “We will be the benchmark for excellence across the globe, creating a legacy for generations to come through a tenacious approach to continuous improvement. A proud and passionate family who live our values to create a supportive learning environment where there is equality and mutual respect for all.”

But only time will tell if the EMC does indeed become a benchmark for the industry. It will certainly be the latest high-volume engine plant in the UK to come on steam. And benchmarking does depend on which parameters are set for the various benchmarking processes.

However, he adds: “Amongst the first objectives of the EMC operations team was the establishment of a “Vision and Values” by which its entire workforce would live. These values will ensure that each and every employee plays their part in delivering the flawless standards required to set a new global benchmark for excellence in engine manufacturing.”

Flawless is a very powerful word, and implies without flaw.

When at full capacity the engine manufacturing centre family will be 1,400 strong, with each member showcasing world-class skills and expertise in the UK’s automotive heartland, creating a legacy for generations to come. To deliver this, JLR created a bespoke two-week training programme called ‘The Powertrain Way’ which was developed to teach all employees, from HR consultants to machine operators, the lean engineering principles at the heart of the engine manufacturing operation.

And todate more than 20,000 training hours have been completed by 254 associates, driving quality standards forward.

Meanwhile, in its annual financial statement to 31 March 2014, in the description of indebtedness, the company put its total facility at £3.372 billion, of which £2.009 billion was outstanding leaving £1.337 billion undrawn. JLR's total assets were given as £15.589 billion with cash of £2.360 billion. The company had a revenue of £19.386 billion and a profit before tax of £2.5 billion.

1 comment:

Alan Bunting said...

All very impressive. Auto industry observers, including JLR competitors, must wonder a) how long will it take for Tata's £500 million investment to be recouped and b) how secure Tata's financial position will remain through that payback period, given the vicissitudes of the Indian economy over the past year or two.