Ford is building the EcoBoost engine at its Cleveland Engine Plant, which has been idle for almost two years.
Sean Welch - CleanMPG
- May 19, 2009
Cleveland Engine No. 1 employee John Baisden builds an EcoBoost engine as Ford's Cleveland Engine Plant No. 1 resumes production to become the first Ford manufacturing site in the world to produce EcoBoost engines.
Ford's EcoBoost has a lot of potential if sized properly for FE.
Ford Motor Co. is confident that consumers will embrace its new fuel-efficient engine, called EcoBoost, even though gas prices are almost $1.50 less per gallon than they were a year ago.
Cleveland, OH. -- Ford Motor Company today marked the start of production of its advanced fuel-efficient EcoBoost engines at Cleveland Engine Plant No. 1 – a key step in Ford’s plan to deliver leading fuel economy across millions of vehicles.
Ford invested $55 million to retool and reopen the plant, which had been idled in 2007. Approximately 250 employees are returning to the plant to build the new engines.
EcoBoost technology combines turbocharging and direct gasoline injection to deliver up to 20 percent improved fuel economy, 15 percent fewer CO2 emissions and superior driving performance compared with larger displacement engines. The “downsize and boost” strategy provides consumers better fuel economy without sacrificing the power they want for driving performance.
“This launch of the first EcoBoost engine is a significant milestone in Ford’s overall commitment to deliver affordable fuel efficiency for millions,” said Barb Samardzich, vice president, Global Powertrain Engineering. “We’ve spent the past two years developing EcoBoost technology and now our customers will finally have the opportunity to experience what this engine delivers, the power of a V-8 with the fuel economy of a V-6.”
The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine, the first V-6 direct-injection twin-turbocharged engine produced in North America, will make its debut in the 2010 Lincoln MKS, Lincoln MKT, Ford Taurus SHO and Ford Flex this summer. A V-6 EcoBoost engine will be available for the F-150 in 2010.
Ford will deliver EcoBoost across the full range of its product portfolio, from small cars to large trucks and by 2013, will offer EcoBoost engines, V-6s and I-4s, on 90 percent of its North American nameplates. Within three years, Ford expects to deliver 750,000 EcoBoost-equipped vehicles per year in North America and 1.3 million vehicles globally.
The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine delivers 355 horsepower and a responsive 350 ft.-lb. of torque across a broad RPM range.
New Life for Historic Plant
Cleveland Engine Plant No. 1 opened in 1951 as Ford's first engine plant in Ohio. Since then it has produced more than 35 million engines, including 24.3 million engines in the famous 302 and 5.0-liter V-8 family. In 2004, Ford invested $350 million into the plant for redesign and installation of an all-new assembly line as well as block, crankshaft and cylinder head machining lines.
Cleveland Engine Plant No. 1 has been outfitted with a flexible powertrain manufacturing system that can be easily reprogrammed to perform new tasks with minimal disruption to production.
“The ability to reprogram on the fly is a key feature of this new manufacturing system,” said Charles Binger, Cleveland site manager. “We don’t have to shut down an entire plant in order to make major changes to the line, helping to speed up modifications and keep downtime to a minimum.”
Plant upgrades also included a special turbocharger installation and test line. After the turbos are added, each EcoBoost engine is turned on speeds between 60-600 RPM using an electric motor to simulate running conditions. Unique to the Cleveland site, this “cold test” checks for proper buildup of pressure on the turbo output side before the engine ever leaves the factory.
To ensure quality is built into the engine from the outset, Ford developed a new, internal database for its operations. Each engine will be built with a sophisticated, embedded engine “birth history” that allows plant engineers to track every stage of production.
The engine history, maintained in a microchip database, includes hundreds of metrics and allows engineers to trace the precise path taken by any part so any quality control issue can be traced back to its source.
Extensive Employee Training
To prepare for production of the EcoBoost engine, Cleveland Engine Plant No. 1 work force participated in intensive quality training. Along with learning basic manufacturing operations, employees also learned to manage their own equipment and work area through “manufacturing work teams” at the facility.
“Training workers to do their jobs is one thing,” said Kevin Heck, Cleveland Engine No. 1 manufacturing manager. “But we’ve gone beyond that by giving team members significant responsibility for their output. It’s up to the hourly team members to produce a high-quality engine, and we’ve empowered them to make that happen.”
“We’re proud of the efforts we’ve made to improve quality,” said Mike Gammella, president, UAW Local 1250. “We have an outstanding work force at the Cleveland site, working together to ensure we’re not just competitive, but the best in the industry.”
Production Innovations through Supplier Collaboration
The twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine’s enhanced fuel-charging system can deliver as much as 2,150 PSI of fuel pressure – more than 35 times the pressure seen in a conventional port-fuel-injected V-6. Ford worked in tandem with Bosch, the fuel system supplier, to ensure that manufacturing and assembly was prepared for the demands of the advanced design.
“The EcoBoost line has a fully automated fuel-charging assembly and rundown station,” said Joseph Basmaji, Ford direct injection fuel system technical specialist. “It’s a new technology in manufacturing that’s only been made possible by close collaboration between Ford and our suppliers.”