|21st May 2010, 16:24||#1|
PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...
NOTE : Click here to read Khan Sultan's detailed report on the Jaguar Factory at Castle Bromwich.
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:
The now familiar red dashboard leads us in. Max speed limit within Ford's facility = 15 kph:
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.
|21st May 2010, 16:28||#2|
Stage ONE : The Metal Blanking Section
Coils of steel being lifted and brought to the blanking machines:
Neatly placed into cradles:
Here is where the steel is uncoiled, washed and then cut:
To the right is the end of processing:
Scrap (excess from cut sheets):
The Control Panel. Notice the real-time video screen that tells this engineer exactly whats happening inside:
Heavy duty machine that stacks the blanks on a palette:
|21st May 2010, 16:36||#3|
Stage TWO : The Stamping Process
The Stamping Machine:
Grippers (arms to hold the metal sheets) of varying sizes (for different body parts):
Measurement of panels, ensuring that the stamping is perfect:
Finished panels of the Figo's bonnet lined up, and ready to proceed to the body shop:
That’s the Figo’s roof:
Side body panels:
You'll see the Fiesta's side body panels on top:
Last edited by GTO : 21st May 2010 at 16:37.
|21st May 2010, 16:51||#4|
Stage THREE : The Body Shop
Underbody being automatically fed to the underbody line. All the points are welded (front and rear sub assemblies included):
Being transferred to the framing line, where the side panels & roof will be fitted:
The Ikon assembly line:
Robots – this is an entirely automated line – are in charge of welding the side panels & roof:
Fiesta on the same framing line. On its way to pick up the doors, fenders, hood and trunk:
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:
Figos going for a bath. Literally (Water jet wash, then spray paint):
Coming out of the paint shop:
Last edited by GTO : 21st May 2010 at 18:24.
|21st May 2010, 17:11||#5|
Concurrent Stage : The Engines!
Engine Cylinder head. Fully localised:
The rather smallish looking Turbocharger:
The seal press machine:
Engineers running a check on the cylinder heads:
Internals assembly line:
Being transported to the next stage:
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:
On the way to get “dressed”:
This is where the engine is “dressed up” with the starter, alternator, oil filter and more:
The finished engine:
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):
Last edited by GTO : 21st May 2010 at 18:26.
|21st May 2010, 17:36||#6|
Stage FOUR : Trim Chassis and Final Line
Cars waiting for their trim:
This is the pre-trim stage. Some basic parts are being fitted:
That’s the Endeavours assembly line at the back. At the top right, you’ll see doors getting their wiring, window mechanism etc:
Under-hood trim line. This is where the compressor pipes, firewall insulation etc. are installed:
Dashboard, interior plastics and more being fitted. Note that the parts bins moves ALONG WITH its respective car:
The Figo’s interiors being kitted out. Notice how the body panels are covered to prevent scratches / damage:
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:
Lined up & ready to be shipped:
Last edited by GTO : 21st May 2010 at 18:30.
|21st May 2010, 17:41||#7|
Last edited by GTO : 21st May 2010 at 18:32.
|21st May 2010, 17:44||#8|
"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?
More info at the Driving Skills for Life Homepage
Last edited by GTO : 21st May 2010 at 17:47.
|21st May 2010, 17:58||#9|
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:
Me & the 1.6S getting ready for the arrow straight section of the track:
Indian "rough road" conditions have been artificially created on the track. Don't miss the potholes:
Amazing, fast, right-hander:
Where handbrakes and low gear ratios are tested:
The "Belgian Block" section. Engineers switch the engine off, let the car roll down, and check for unwanted noises:
That's the Endeavour's territory. Nope, I didn't take the Fiesta down this way:
You do realise what an empty lock-to-lock test track and a Fiesta 1.6S mean, right? I had an absolute blast:
Among other things, the steering & suspension are checked on this section:
Last edited by GTO : 21st May 2010 at 18:33.
|21st May 2010, 18:11||#10|
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:
Important in India - Mirror glass and cover sold independent of the assembly:
Starter motor parts:
Ditto for the compressor:
And the Alternator:
Float unit can be purchased separately:
That's what your gears look like. Again, ratios can be bought individually:
Last edited by GTO : 21st May 2010 at 18:34.
|21st May 2010, 18:17||#11|
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:
Last edited by GTO : 21st May 2010 at 18:35.
|21st May 2010, 18:26||#12|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Mar 2010
Thanked: 892 Times
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?
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.
|21st May 2010, 18:29||#13|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Mar 2006
Thanked: 1,325 Times
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!?
|21st May 2010, 18:30||#14|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Tenkasi, TN
Thanked: 395 Times
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.
|21st May 2010, 18:31||#15|
Join Date: Jan 2006
Thanked: 187 Times
Awesome stuff! Just makes me want to take up a job in Automobile engineering. Great report! as always.