Ford's efficient new engine is being built on an efficient new production line
Earlier this year, Ford unveiled its brand new EcoBlue diesel engine with fanfare of efficiency facts and savings stats. Now, the carmaker has revealed that the engine isn't just efficient to run, but to produce too, with the new production line at its Dagenham Diesel Centre said to cut energy and water use by 50 percent.
Based in the UK, the Dagenham Diesel Centre is Ford's largest diesel engine production facility around the globe and, prior to the EcoBlue diesel, was being used to build its 1.8-l TDCi diesel engine. A newly installed "state-of-the-art" production line, however, has begun knocking out 350,000 of the new EcoBlue engines, with that figure set to rise to 500,000 when a second phase of production begins next year.
According to Ford, the amount of water used per engine at the plant will be among the lowest at any of its facilities worldwide, with 17.5 million liters (3.9 million gallons) less used per year than in 2011. Almost 16 million liters (3.6 million gallons) of that will be down to the "minimum quantity lubrication" (MQL) machining tools being used on the new line.
Fine mists of oil are used to cool, lubricate and clean the new machines during the metalworking process, rather than high volumes of coolant. As a result, they are said to use 99.8 percent less water than those they have replaced.
Ford says the reduced amount of coolant being pumped around the facility is also helping to reduce the amount of energy being used, with three smaller coolant systems requiring about 70 percent less energy than what was previously installed. Indeed, energy use per engine from is down from about 188 kWh in 2011 to 92 kWh in 2016. Energy use has been further reduced with the installation of LED lighting, which is said to be saving just shy of 750,000 kWh a year.
A number of other initiatives at the Dagenham plant are also helping to improve its green credentials. Ford is now sending "zero waste to landfill" there and at its other 11 European manufacturing plants. New technology means that engines can now be tested without being started, saving 50,000 l (11,000 gal) of diesel a year, and advanced tooling is helping to reduce component rejection rates. Three wind turbines are installed to contribute to the facility's power requirements.
The EcoBlue diesel engine debuts in the new Ford Transit and Transit Custom.
The video below provides an overview of the Dagenham facility.