Tag: manufacturing

Source: Ford

Ford Motor Company has announced an investment of R15.8-billion in its South African manufacturing operations – marking the biggest investment in Ford’s 97-year history in South Africa. It also represents one of the largest-ever investments in the South African automotive industry, boosting Ford’s production capability and creating new jobs.

“This investment will further modernise our South African operations, helping them to play an even more important role in the turnaround and growth of our global automotive operations, as well as our strategic alliance with Volkswagen,” said Dianne Craig, president, Ford’s International Markets Group. “Ranger is one of our highest volume, most successful global vehicles. This investment will equip our team with the tools and facilities to deliver the best Ford Ranger ever, in higher numbers and with superior quality.”

Ford announced the investment at a media briefing attended by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, as well as several key government leaders, including Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel, Department of Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan, Gauteng Premier David Makhura, City of Tshwane Executive Mayor Randall Williams, and senior Ford executives.

With this investment, Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant is expected to generate revenues exceeding 1.1 percent of South Africa’s gross domestic product.

The annual installed capacity at the Silverton plant will increase to 200,000 vehicles from 168,000, supporting production of the all-new Ford Ranger pickup truck for the domestic market and export to over 100 global markets. The plant also will manufacture Volkswagen pickups trucks as part of the Ford-VW strategic alliance.

The expanded production will help create 1,200 incremental Ford jobs in South Africa, increasing the local workforce to 5,500 employees, and adding an estimated 10,000 new jobs across Ford’s local supplier network, bringing the total to 60,000.

The overall investment includes US$686 million (R10.3 billion) for extensive upgrades to the Silverton Assembly Plant that will increase production volume and drive significant improvements in production efficiency and vehicle quality.

These include construction of a new body shop with the latest robotic technology and a new high-tech stamping plant, both of which will be located on-site for the first time. Both facilities will modernise and streamline the integrated manufacturing process at Silverton while contributing to higher quality and reducing overall cost and waste.

The new stamping plant will use a high-speed line to produce all the major sheet metal components for the new Ranger. It includes a fully automated storage and retrieval system for stamping dies, which will be housed innovatively in the roof of the facility, thus eliminating related labour-intensive processes. In addition, a modern blue-light scanner system that scans surfaces for imperfections will ensure the highest-quality final product leaves the stamping plant.

Extensive upgrades also will be made to the box line, paint shop and final assembly to improve vehicle flow within the plant, along with the expansion of the container and vehicle yards.

Ford also will build new vehicle modification and training centres – the latter developed to ensure all Ford employees are equipped with the knowledge and skills required to maximise the efficiencies of the enhanced Silverton facilities.

“The extensive upgrades and new state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies will drive efficiencies across our entire South Africa operation – from sequenced delivery of parts direct to the assembly line, to increased vehicle production line speeds and precision of assembly to ensure the world-class quality that our customers expect,” said Andrea Cavallaro, director of Operations, Ford’s International Markets Group.

Island mode

The new investment program builds on the recently announced Project Blue Oval renewable energy project, which aligns with the company’s global target of using 100-percent locally sourced renewable energy for all its manufacturing plants by 2035 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

The first phase of Project Blue Oval already is underway with the construction of solar carports for 4,200 vehicles at the Silverton plant.

“Our aim is to achieve ‘Island Mode’, taking the Silverton Assembly Plant completely off the grid, becoming entirely energy self-sufficient and carbon neutral by 2024,” Cavallaro said. “It will be one of the very first Ford plants anywhere in the world to achieve this status.”

Modernising our supplier base

Ford also will invest US$365 million (R5.5 billion) to upgrade tooling at the company’s major supplier factories.

“Supporting our suppliers with this new tooling will ensure we modernise together to deliver world-class quality for the all-new Ranger at higher volumes for our domestic and import customers,” Cavallaro said.

Economic growth

“As part of our extensive investment in the Silverton plant, we also are building a new Ford-owned and operated chassis line in the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) for this new vehicle programme,” said Ockert Berry, vice president, Operations, for Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.

“Having this new line and our major component suppliers located adjacent to the Silverton plant in the TASEZ is key to expanding our production capacity, as parts will be sequenced directly onto the assembly line,” Berry added. “This will significantly reduce logistics costs and complexity, improve efficiency and allow us to build more Rangers for our customers.”

In addition to its representation on the TASEZ board, Ford also is working closely with all three spheres of government and relevant state-owned entities such as Transnet, in developing the Gauteng Province – Eastern Cape Province High Capacity Rail Freight Corridor. This will be a full-service line linking the Silverton Assembly Plant and the TASEZ with Port Elizabeth, which is home to Ford’s Struandale Engine Plant and the Coega Special Economic Zone.

The GP-EC High Capacity Rail Freight Corridor will channel all of Ford’s inbound and outbound logistics exclusively through Port Elizabeth to support the higher production volumes. It is projected to create thousands of jobs within the value chain.

“Ford’s investment in our South Africa manufacturing operations underscores our ongoing commitment to deliver ever-better vehicles to our customers in South Africa and around the world, while providing opportunities for our own employees, new team members and our communities,” said Neale Hill, managing director, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.

By Anneken Tappe for CNN Business

Machines are expected to displace about 20 million manufacturing jobs across the world over the next decade, according to a report released Wednesday by Oxford Economics, a global forecasting and quantitative analysis firm.
That means about 8.5% of the global manufacturing workforce could be displaced by robots.

The report also notes that the move to robots tends to generate new jobs as fast as it automates them, however it could contribute to income inequality.

The use of robots is on the rise: At this point, every new robot that is installed displaces 1.6 manufacturing workers on average, according to the Oxford Economics model.

Automation isn’t a new trend in manufacturing, of course. The automotive industry, for example, used 43% of the robots in the world in 2016.

But robots are becoming cheaper than many human workers, in part because of the falling costs of machines. The average unit price per robot has dropped 11% between 2011 and 2016, according to Oxford Economics. And they are increasingly capable of functioning in more sophisticated processes and varied contexts. On top of that, the demand for manufactured goods is rising.

China presents a big opportunity for growth in automation. That country already accounts for a fifth of the world’s industrial robots, with every third new one being installed there. Beijing “is investing in robots to position itself as the global manufacturing leader,” Oxford Economics said. By 2030, some 14 million robots could be working in China, “dwarfing” the rest of the world, according to Oxford.

The effect on economic output could be tremendous. Oxford Economics estimates that boosting robot installations to 30% above the current growth forecast by 2030 would lead that year to a 5.3% increase in global GDP, or $4.9 trillion. That’s more than the projected size of Germany’s GDP for that year.
So what’s not to love? Robots will boost productivity and economic growth, as well as spur industries that don’t even exist yet. But Oxford Economics also warns that they will be seriously disruptive.

How automation could lead to inequality
One potential downside to the robot revolution: Automation could increase income inequality.
“This great displacement will not be evenly distributed around the world, or within countries,” according to the report. “Our research shows that the negative effects of robotization are disproportionately felt in the lower-income regions compared with higher-income regions of the same country.”

The workers who drive knowledge and innovation within the manufacturing industry tend to be concentrated in larger cities, and those skills are harder to automate. That’s why urban areas will deal better with the increased automation, according to the report.

On the whole, the increased use of automation will likely create new jobs at a pace comparable to the jobs that will be lost, which nullifies fears about permanent job destruction, according to the Oxford study. That said, the poorer regions that are expected to lose the most jobs will probably not benefit equally from this new job creation due to a gap in skills. That will lead to increased income inequality between cities and rural areas, as well as between regions.
“Automation will continue to drive regional polarization in many of the world’s advanced economies, unevenly distributing the benefits and costs across the population,” the report said.

For policy makers, this means they will have to think about how the increased efficiency will hold up against the effect on income inequality. Some have already worked automation into their political platforms. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president, recently said he was worried about what artificial intelligence and robotics “will mean to working people in this country,” for example.

“We need to have a long discussion to make certain that millions of workers are not thrown out on the street because of robotics,” he said during a CNN town hall in February.

In the United States, Oregon, Louisiana, Texas, Indiana and North Carolina are the most vulnerable states, according to Oxford Economics. That’s because those states are reliant on manufacturing jobs that could disappear because of robots.

In Oregon, for example, “high dependence on manufacturing … and the state’s exposure to globally competitive sectors, means its workers are vulnerable to rapid technological progress”, according to the Oxford study.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Hawaii, DC, Nevada, Florida and Vermont will see the least impact from increased robotization. Manufacturing plays a smaller role in those places.

Ford has officially recalled the Kuga SUV after a number of them burst into flames on the road, resulting in one fatality. A total of 31 claims have been lodged, with a class action lawsuit set to follow.

The question now relates to the recall: will Ford South Africa be able to retain its market standing after this incident, or will it be forced to downsize, cut jobs or even shut up shop.

According to IOL:

The majority of families whose Ford Kuga SUVs burst into flames in South Africa in the past few months will be filing a class action lawsuit, their attorney announced on Tuesday.

“Initially I have been instructed by the Jimmy family,” attorney Rod Mantono told a media briefing in Pretoria (Reshall Jimmy died in December 2015 after his Ford Kuga burst into flames).

“The initial goal was to assist in the investigation by the SAPS in George into the inquest relating to Reshall’s death. As the matters progressed, with the epidemic of Ford fires that have occurred, we’ve come into contact with other Ford fire victims.

“I am also currently instructed to act on the other families behalf in bringing a class action against Ford.”

He said 31 claims against Ford were handed to the National Consumer Commission on Monday.

“We are in the process of obtaining the remaining few victims,” he added. “The difficulty we had over the December period was getting into contact with those persons. Consultations are ongoing and we do hope that we will act on behalf of all Ford Kuga fire victims.”

He said the class action, targeted at Ford, would be pursued jointly through the NCC, as well as civil claims for the losses suffered in the fiasco.

Recall

Ford Southern Africa announced on Monday it was recalling the controversial Ford Kuga 1.6 SUV as part of a “safety recall” after about 40 incidents of the model igniting on South African roads.

Ford chief executive for the sub-Saharan Africa region, Jeff Nemeth, told a media briefing in Pretoria: “The Ford Kuga 1.6, manufactured between December 2012 to February 2014, must be taken to a Ford dealer as soon as possible.”

Nemeth said the recall affected more than 4000 vehicles.

“We’re now announcing a voluntary safety recall for the affected Ford 1.6. Our investigations has enabled us to narrow the number from the originally stated 6,300 to a total of 4,556 affected vehicles.”

He said other Ford models and other Ford Kuga engine derivatives – the 1.5 and two-litre models – would not be affected. Nemeth said besides the Jimmy case which was still being investigated, his company was not aware of any injuries that have resulted from the engine compartment fires of the Ford Kuga 1.6.

Nemeth that it would not disclose the cost implications of recall programmes and was finalising the second phase of the repair.

“This is a responsibility we have to our customers and does not have anything to do with investment decisions in South Africa,” he said.

Oil leak

“Based on the current data, we have determined the fires are due to overheating caused by lack of coolant circulation which can lead to a cracking of the cylinder head and therefore an oil leak. If the leaking oil reaches a hot engine component, it can potentially catch fire,” said Nemeth.

“We’ve seen various numbers circulating, however, today we can confirm that a total of 39 incidents have been reported to Ford.”

Jimmy, 33, was on holiday in the Wilderness when his vehicle caught fire. He was burnt beyond recognition.

By Jonisayi Maromo for www.iol.co.za

There are lots of “see how it’s made” videos on the Internet and not all of them are interesting, but this roughly nine-minute clip of how to make printing ink is one of the best.

The video documents the process undergone at The Printing Ink Company where they make pigments for mostly-offset printing workflows. They mostly deal in cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK as you probably know them), but they also mix a bunch of custom colours in the Pantone system as well.

Like most of these videos, the ink-making process is a rather intense combination of artistry and industry. The batches are rather huge, the tolerances are low, and the machinery is extremely expensive. But, there are human hands on almost every aspect of the process. It is very inspiring.

Even if you’re not big into printing, just seeing them chop pieces of early-process ink off of the massive globs is pretty satisfying.

By Stan Horaczek www.popphoto.com

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