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Ford Begins EcoBoost Engine Production

Ford Motor Company began production of its EcoBoost engines (earlier post) at Cleveland Engine Plant No. 1. 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.

The EcoBoost begins production. Click to enlarge.

EcoBoost technology combines turbocharging and direct gasoline injection to deliver up to 20% improved fuel economy, 15% 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 for driving performance.

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% 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 first EcoBoost engine in the family—the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine—is the first V-6 direct-injection twin-turbocharged engine produced in North America, and will 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.

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 reprogrammed to perform new tasks with minimal disruption to production.

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 an 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.

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. It’s a new technology in manufacturing that’s only been made possible by close collaboration between Ford and our suppliers.

—Joseph Basmaji, Ford direct injection fuel system technical specialist



"250 employees are returning to the plant"

Without the UAW, they would have no skilled labor to draw on to reopen the plant. For 100 years, Ford has been closing down plants for retooling, without considering the workers. After car makers destroy the unions, we will see if they can open and close lines and still get the workers that they need.

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