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Old 21st May 2010, 16:24   #1
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Default PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...

NOTE : Click here (PICS : Jaguar's Castle Bromwich (UK) Factory. Detailed report on the making of the XJ) to read Khan Sultan's detailed report on the Jaguar Factory at Castle Bromwich.

PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-p1130263.jpg

Have you ever seen a car factory in India? Been explained, in the highest detail, the entire production process by Heads of Manufacturing? Right from the time that sheets of steel come in, to the car actually rolling out? I've been to other factories before, but no one allowed a camera inside. I was pleasantly surprised when Ford accepted my request to click pictures inside their production facility. And why not? Ford has a facility that's worthy of showing off

I am no engineer, and what follows is a pictoral report of the Ford Factory at Chennai. Through the eyes of a regular car enthusiast. I'm trying to keep this report as simple as possible, so that the average enthusiast as well as the technically inclined find it informative.

Visiting any Ford plant is a special experience; after all, its Henry Ford who originally mastered the assembly line. Some highpoints on Ford's Chennai factory:
  • Without doubt, Ford upgraded its facility to meet the demand generated by its entry into the hatchback segment (i.e. the Figo). Brand new engine manufacturing facility completed in end '09. First Figo rolled off these lines in Feb '10. 18,000 booked and 13,000 already delivered.
  • We aren't talking mere assembly here; this is a full-fledged production line. Massive localisation. To the tune of 80 - 85% on the Figo & Fiesta.
  • Total investment of 2,500 crore rupees over the last 2 years. Chennai factory will serve local as well as export markets. Engine plant capacity of 250,000 per annum. IB5 gearboxes also locally sourced.
  • Engines produced include 4 cylinder petrol & diesel, with sizes ranging from 1.2 - 1.6 liters. Yup, we also saw a 1.6 liter 118 BHP petrol unit on the presentation slides. Terribly disappointing that the said unit isn't offered to Indian enthusiasts.
  • Same production line can handle the Figo, Fiesta and Ikon. Multiple engine variants too (complete product mix) in any order (no need for batches)!
  • 4 engine dynos located onsite.
  • Currently running on a single 8 hour shift. Fully ready for three 8 hour shifts in the future (effectively meaning that the facility runs 24 hours daily, 6 days a week).
  • Employee count at factory currently stands at 3,000. Will add another 2,000 in the near future. That said, crucial processes are fully automated. 66 robots recently installed.
  • Environment-friendly, Ford claims that their new painting process reduces volatile organic compounds by 20 percent, and is a first for India.

The now familiar red dashboard leads us in. Max speed limit within Ford's facility = 15 kph:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-p1130245.jpg

P.S. : You better have a high-speed internet connection to view this thread. It's a biggie

Last edited by GTO : 22nd May 2012 at 10:03.
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Old 21st May 2010, 16:28   #2
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Stage ONE : The Metal Blanking Section

Coils of steel being lifted and brought to the blanking machines:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-1.jpg

Neatly placed into cradles:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-2.jpg

Here is where the steel is uncoiled, washed and then cut:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-3.jpg

To the right is the end of processing:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-4.jpg

Scrap (excess from cut sheets):
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-5.jpg

The Control Panel. Notice the real-time video screen that tells this engineer exactly whats happening inside:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-6.jpg

Heavy duty machine that stacks the blanks on a palette:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-7.jpg
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Old 21st May 2010, 16:36   #3
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Stage TWO : The Stamping Process

The Stamping Machine:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-1.jpg

Grippers (arms to hold the metal sheets) of varying sizes (for different body parts):
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-1-1.jpg

Measurement of panels, ensuring that the stamping is perfect:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-1-2.jpg
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-1-3.jpg

Finished panels of the Figo's bonnet lined up, and ready to proceed to the body shop:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-1-4.jpg

That’s the Figo’s roof:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-1-5.jpg

Side body panels:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-1-6.jpg

You'll see the Fiesta's side body panels on top:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-1-8.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 21st May 2010 at 16:37.
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Old 21st May 2010, 16:51   #4
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Stage THREE : The Body Shop

PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0.jpg

Underbody being automatically fed to the underbody line. All the points are welded (front and rear sub assemblies included):
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-1.jpg

Being transferred to the framing line, where the side panels & roof will be fitted:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-2.jpg

The Ikon assembly line:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-3.jpg

Robots – this is an entirely automated line – are in charge of welding the side panels & roof:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-4.jpg

Welding done!
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-5.jpg

Fiesta on the same framing line. On its way to pick up the doors, fenders, hood and trunk:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-6.jpg

Look to the extreme left of the picture. An engineer is manually checking the frame for dents / defects (just in case). The Endeavour & Figo (picture center) are being prepared for painting:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-7.jpg

Figos going for a bath. Literally (Water jet wash, then spray paint):
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-8.jpg

Coming out of the paint shop:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-9.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 21st May 2010 at 18:24.
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Old 21st May 2010, 17:11   #5
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Concurrent Stage : The Engines!

Engine Cylinder head. Fully localised:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0.jpg

The rather smallish looking Turbocharger:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-1.jpg

The seal press machine:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-2.jpg

Engineers running a check on the cylinder heads:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-3.jpg

Internals assembly line:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-4.jpg

Being transported to the next stage:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-5.jpg

Flywheel fitment. At the back, you’ll see the engines being cold-tested. Most other manufacturers use “hot testing” (where the engine is actually started). Ford uses the cold testing approach (no need to start the engine at all). Checks include fuel injectors, sensor connectivity, fuel rail leakage, oil pressure and camshaft positioning:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-6.jpg

On the way to get “dressed”:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-7.jpg

This is where the engine is “dressed up” with the starter, alternator, oil filter and more:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-8.jpg

The finished engine:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-9.jpg

Automatic storage & recovery system. Machines store the engines on top (caged area), remember the positioning, and automatically retrieve the units when required (remembering what was stored where too). On the RHS is the hot testing room (engines are pulled out randomly for testing. Only 1 – 2 from a batch of hundreds):
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-10.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 21st May 2010 at 18:26.
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Old 21st May 2010, 17:36   #6
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Stage FOUR : Trim Chassis and Final Line

Cars waiting for their trim:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0.jpg
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-1.jpg

This is the pre-trim stage. Some basic parts are being fitted:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-2.jpg

That’s the Endeavours assembly line at the back. At the top right, you’ll see doors getting their wiring, window mechanism etc:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-3.jpg

Under-hood trim line. This is where the compressor pipes, firewall insulation etc. are installed:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-4.jpg

Dashboard, interior plastics and more being fitted. Note that the parts bins moves ALONG WITH its respective car:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-5.jpg
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-6.jpg

The Figo’s interiors being kitted out. Notice how the body panels are covered to prevent scratches / damage:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-7.jpg

Windshield experts:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-8.jpg

An automated guided vehicle installing the engine, suspension, steering and transmission onto these Fiestas. Components installed from down up. Body remains suspended. Its only some nuts & bolts that are fitted manually. The process is overall fully automated:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-9.jpg

Finito!
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-10.jpg

Final inspection:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-11.jpg
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-12.jpg
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-13.jpg

Lined up & ready to be shipped:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-14.jpg
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-15.jpg
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-16.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 21st May 2010 at 18:30.
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Old 21st May 2010, 17:41   #7
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Safety messages being amply communicated to staff members:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0.jpg

PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-1.jpg

PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0-3.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 21st May 2010 at 18:32.
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Old 21st May 2010, 17:44   #8
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"Driving Skills for Life"


As part of its "Corporate Social Responsibility" initiative, Ford has recently launched the "Driving Skills for Life" education program in India. The program's scope will cover its employees, while some dealers too have evinced interest in conducting the program at their level.

So, what is the Driving Skills for life program?
  • Training that includes theoretical (classroom) and practical sessions
  • Total time = About 2 hours in the classroom, and another 1.5 hours for practicals
  • Subjects : Driving for Safety. Driving for Economy.
  • Several points covered, including the importance of seat belts (for rear passengers too), maintaining a "3 second" distance from the car ahead, right of way at intersections, the dangers of speeding (e.g. the dramatic difference in braking distances from 60 versus 65 mph), blind spots, avoiding distractions (SMS'ing while driving) and, of course, maximising fuel economy (the right gear changes).
  • Videos made the training interesting. Sure-shot way of captivating the audience.
  • Mr. Shakti from Hubert Ebner (Ford's partner in the event) is so obviously well-read on the subject. He frequently backed up bits of safety advice with sheer statistics (nothing like numbers to drive the safety message home).
  • Though the program is targeting regular drivers, even as a petrolhead, I benefited from some key points (e.g. seat belts for rear passengers, importance of daytime running lights etc.). Great refresher of safety pointers for pros too.

More info at the Driving Skills for Life Homepage

PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-p1130247.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 21st May 2010 at 17:47.
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Old 21st May 2010, 17:58   #9
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A Fiesta 1.6S on Ford's Test Track


The "Driving Experience for Life" practical session being conducted. Among other things, how braking distances can vary in real-life conditions was demonstrated:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-1.jpg

Me & the 1.6S getting ready for the arrow straight section of the track:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-2.jpg

Indian "rough road" conditions have been artificially created on the track. Don't miss the potholes:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-4.jpg
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-5.jpg
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-6.jpg

Amazing, fast, right-hander:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-7.jpg

Where handbrakes and low gear ratios are tested:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-8.jpg

The "Belgian Block" section. Engineers switch the engine off, let the car roll down, and check for unwanted noises:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-10.jpg

That's the Endeavour's territory. Nope, I didn't take the Fiesta down this way:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-11.jpg

You do realise what an empty lock-to-lock test track and a Fiesta 1.6S mean, right? I had an absolute blast:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-12.jpg

Among other things, the steering & suspension are checked on this section:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-13.jpg
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-14.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 21st May 2010 at 18:33.
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Old 21st May 2010, 18:11   #10
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Child Parts

Ford carries the "expensive to maintain" reputation from the early Ikon / Mondeo days. In its effort to reduce ownership costs, Ford has adopted the "child parts" approach. To give you an example of the child parts approach, if the solenoid of your starter fails, you do NOT need to change the entire starter assembly. Rather, Ford will sell you only the solenoid assembly (which will, of course, cost only a fraction of that for the entire starter).

The door & door skin sold separately:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-0.jpg

Important in India - Mirror glass and cover sold independent of the assembly:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-1.jpg

Starter motor parts:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-2.jpg

Ditto for the compressor:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-3.jpg

And the Alternator:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-4.jpg

Float unit can be purchased separately:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-5.jpg

That's what your gears look like. Again, ratios can be bought individually:
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-6.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 21st May 2010 at 18:34.
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Old 21st May 2010, 18:17   #11
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I'm not sure if anyone else at the event noticed this board standing in the corner...but it sure as hell made me smile.

To pick a few lines:

Quote:
If there were no cars, there would be
- no car pools
- No lying about your age for a licence
- No romancing in the back seat
- Nothing to put a just married sticker on
- No peeping into new cars
- No eyes meeting in the rear-view mirror
- No "Are we there yet, Daddy?"
- No "new car smell"
- No Women drivers
- No Driving off into the sunset
- No 0 - 60
- No love bug...........
Just the thought scared the heck out of me

PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...-p1130230.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 21st May 2010 at 18:35.
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Old 21st May 2010, 18:26   #12
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Very Impressive !! Ford seems to have started playing hard and wants to catch up with maruti. Good going ford!
GTO you were invited down to chennai for this?


Edit -
So many Figos? And I wonder why people complain about not getting their cars on time.

Last edited by Captain Slow : 21st May 2010 at 18:28.
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Old 21st May 2010, 18:29   #13
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Awesome! Just awesome GTO.

The whole write up made me feel that I was there at the Ford facility!

Btw, I have heard about a internal crash test facility. Is that true!?
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Old 21st May 2010, 18:30   #14
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GTO, Awesome pictures from inside factory. Engineer's delight to visit one and you brought the factory live in front of us. Salutes to you.
One thing I noticed. Many of these pictures could be unique and there are no Team-bhp water marks on any photos? Me Curious.
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Old 21st May 2010, 18:31   #15
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Awesome stuff! Just makes me want to take up a job in Automobile engineering. Great report! as always.
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