The millionth RoCam engine has rolled off the production line from the Ford Struandale Engine plant in Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth).
During November, the plant – which started producing the Ford Essex engine and other variants in 1964 – will mark the manufacture of its 2,5-millionth unit.
There’s still more reason to celebrate, as the South African RoCam engine plant has just passed another strict Ford quality audit, and is now officially ranked among the best of the European engine plants, according to plant manager Brendon Lowe.
“We have a proud history spanning 40 years of quality at the plant, with it being awarded Ford Q101 certification as early as 1986. Since 2000, we have also been certified to meet the ISO14001 environmental standards,” he says.
Assembly of the RoCam engine started in 1999, and the export program to India and China started in 2002. The Port Elizabeth Engine plant is the only RoCam plant outside of South America.
Between 85 and 90 per cent of production is currently exported to Europe and South America.
Engines are now being exported to Spain, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile and Argentina, in addition to being fitted to the local Ford Bantam bakkie range. The Spanish-made Ford Ka sold in South Africa, is also powered by a RoCam engine from Struandale.
Port Elizabeth is the sole supplier of the 1,3 litre RoCam engine to the global Ford group, in addition to the 1,6 litre RoCam which is also made in South America.
The Plant is on the cutting edge of the move towards environmentally friendly biofuel engines with the planned manufacture and export of the Flex Fuel 1.6 litre RoCam engine, according to Lowe.
With an output of over 200 000 engines a year, the Ford RoCam Engine Plant is one of the main drivers of the Nelson Mandela Bay components industry. In addition, the Plant produces 580 000 manifolds for catalytic converter exports a year, and retrofits (dresses) the Ranger V6 4.0 litre engine for the South African and Australian markets.
Awards and certifications at the Plant include ISO 9001, ISO 14001, TS16949, and Ford Q1.
“Our next challenge is to secure a successor to the RoCam engine – and to continue delivering quality engines on time and at the right price around the world,” he says.