Ford’s Dagenham Engine Plant, UK, which supplies half of the company’s global diesel demand, seems to be assured of its future thanks to an additional £190 million to produce the new Panther advanced technology 2-litre diesel engine for cars and commercial vehicles.
This investment includes £8.9 million from UK Government's Regional Growth Fund. Ford is creating 318 new jobs connected with this investment.
Ford's official announcement of the Panther programme confirms the second phase of investment in the new engine programme following the original investment of £287 million for phase one with support from the UK Government's Regional Growth Fund.
This brings the total invested in the project to in excess of £475 million, and underlines Ford's commitment to high-tech engine manufacture at Dagenham.
The announcement comes in the wake JaguarLandRover making great play of its own new 2-litre diesel engine programme based at the new Wolverhampton, UK, engine plant which will also produce gasoline engines at the rate in the first phase of up to at least a total of 300,000 a year. Machine tool supplier MAG-IAS proved to be the principal beneficiary of the machining lines, though that fact has never been made public. Previous close links between former Ford employees at Jaguar and Land Rover weighed in MAG's favour - at one time MAG's machine tool equipment was much in evidence on both sides of the Atlantic. The consequence is that JLR's i54 facility at Wolverhaampton is a MAG 'stronghold'. If JLR does build an engine plant in the US alongside its projected car plant, it will be interesting to see which machine tool vendor comes out on top over there as, more than likely, the engineering will be done in the UK at Whitley and elsewhere.
The first phase of Ford’s investment for Panther relates to the production of state-of-the-art "low carbon" 2-litre diesel engines for Ford’s global commercial vehicles (CVs); low carbon being the current euphemism for fuel thrifty. Most of the major contracts for Phase 1 have been let, though it is expected that major machine tool vendors will be quoting for Phase 2. Job 1 for Phase 1 is expected in the middle of next year. The second phase is for "low carbon", 2-litre diesel engines for passenger cars. Here Ford will be looking for well over 100bhp/litre generated by the current 2.2-litre bi-turbo engine (207bhp) and over 200Nm/litre (455Nm from the current 2.2-litre) as well as aim for sub 100g/km for CO2 emissions. Ford's current 2-litre dates back to the PSA developed engine based on the DW10 introduced in the Focus in 2007 and in mondeo in 2007. The 2-litre diesel in the latest Audi A6 gives 190PS and 400Nm, but the Volkswagen AG group has more powerful engines in Passat. So Ford engineers in Dunton will be keen to keep with the pack.
This all-new range of "low carbon" 2-litre diesel engines for cars and CVs has been designed and developed at Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre in Essex.Engineers at Dunton have worked closely with their colleagues the Dagenham Engine Plant in the engineering of the various machining and assembly lines.
‘Phase 1' engines will begin to come off the line towards the end of next year. Production capacity will be up to 350,000 units a year - one every 30s - and will be installed in Ford commercial vehicles from 2016.
This new, "low carbon", London-built 2-litre advanced diesel engine will deliver “dramatically” lower NOx emissions, according to Ford, satisfying the air quality requirements of the London Mayor's proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
The second phase, Phase 2, of Panther engine production is set to start in 2017, with the first installation in Ford cars planned for 2018. The added capacity of up to 150,000 units for this phase brings the total annual capacity for the all-new engine range to up to 500,000 units.
Stephen Odell, Ford executive vice president, Europe, Middle East & Africa said, "The overall investment of over £475 million, supported by the UK Government, underlines Ford's commitment to the UK. This all-new, state-of-the-art, 'low carbon' diesel engine has not only been designed and developed here it will be manufactured by Ford in the UK too. And it will be great for UK plc as these engines will be exported to markets around the world."
This latest diesel engine programme for the Dagenham Engine Plant forms part of a £1.5 billion investment by Ford in low-carbon and environmentally friendly engine and vehicle technology over five years.
Ford produces engines at two UK locations: gasoline engines from the Bridgend Engine Plant in Wales and diesel engines at Ford Dagenham. Total production from the two plants exceeded 1.5 million engines in 2013. In 2013, the Dagenham Engine Plant produced 787,400 engines. However, it will be recalled that in September 2012, Ford Motor Company announced the closure of its Southampton Transit van plant - having promised workers that a replacement van, the next generation vehicle would be placed at the plant - and the closure of the stamping and tooling facility at Dagenham with the loss of 1,500 jobs. In the end, as readers will be aware, the next generation Transit went to Turkey. UK Government Business Secerarty, Vince Cable, said at the time: "Today's news will be very disappointing for the workers at Southampton and Dagenham who have been very aware of the challenegs facing the auto sector throughout Europe. Our priority will be to help the workforce and we will be working with Ford to get them into new jobs as quickly as possible." To sweeten the pill, no double, Ford also announced that a new Panther diesel engine would be built at the Dagenham Engine Plant and that the company would be developing work at its Bridsgend Engine Plant and its design and engineering centre in Dunton. But Ford did not announce any new jobs as a result of those two developments. As a result of that announcement of the Panther, some machine tool vendors associated with machining lines and the like, as well as other equipment suppliers did begin work on the first phase of the programme and they, and others, are already making their preparations for the second phase. Over the last few years, the Dagenham Enginer Plant has been transformed and it is now one of the leading producers of diesel engines in the world.
Low carbon and low NOx eh? Let's see how that works out. They'll need SCR to do it and people will want to know how the urea (AdBlue) consumption and hence cost will offset the undoubtedly good fuel usage and cost.
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