UK: PM Blair OpensAdvanced Dagenham Manufacturing And Learning Centre
The British Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, M.P., today officially opened Ford Motor Company's advanced Dagenham Diesel Centre (DDC) and the adjacent Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence (CEME), a world-class education and learning facility. The landmark buildings are located at Dagenham in Essex.
Mr. Blair joined Ford Motor Company President and Chief Operating Officer, Sir Nick Scheele, in touring both state-of-the-art facilities, which underline a unique and major private/public commitment to regeneration in the Thames Gateway region.
Ford Motor Company is investing £325 million in diesel engine engineering and manufacturing alone at Dagenham, which remains the largest industrial centre in the Greater London region and is a positive contributor to the local community. It is expected that around 50 per cent of all cars sold in Europe by 2006 will be diesel-powered.
"We are writing a new chapter of our operations in Britain," said Sir Nick. "We made a firm commitment to diesel engineering and manufacturing excellence at the Dagenham Estate and our investment in the new Dagenham Diesel Centre is an investment in the future. It is designed to be a best-in-class engineering facility for many years to come.
"The Dagenham Diesel Centre doesn't though, represent the full extent of our involvement in the regeneration of Dagenham. We've also committed our investment pounds and our intellectual capital to helping establish the Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence, an educational facility that will be the envy of many in the technical learning arena," he added.
The CEME project was established with some £37 million funding from a unique private/public partnership led by Ford and the London Development Agency, together with Barking and Havering Further Education Colleges and London Riverside Limited. It offers a world-leading learning environment specifically aimed at encouraging a diverse, socially inclusive and innovative range of learning activities to build engineering, manufacturing and business capabilities at the Heart of the Thames Gateway.
The two contemporarily designed buildings fulfill very different roles, while jointly representing a very significant initiative. The Dagenham Diesel Centre becomes the focus of Ford Motor Company diesel engine development and production and is a state-of-the-art facility that will create and build a new range of premium high technology diesel engines for Jaguar, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Ford Motor Company customers.
CEME will also support the training, education and development requirements of the Diesel Centre, but will also offer a focal point for learning within the local community and for small and medium-size businesses in the area.
Dagenham Diesel Centre (DDC)
The new Dagenham Diesel Centre is at the vanguard of Ford Motor Company's global diesel engine engineering and manufacturing capabilities. It is the first major new building on the Dagenham Estate for more than 30 years and, with contemporary design and workplace layout, has industry-leading integration of both office space and production areas.
It will function alongside the existing Dagenham Engine Plant, which produces Ford's current diesel family, the Ford Duratorq engines available in the Focus, Mondeo, Transit Connect and Transit. This plant, which has just built its 33-millionth engine, will continue to produce these and to focus on engine machining for the new V6 diesel engine.
The DDC covers an area of 44,530 square metres, equivalent to seven football pitches, and has pioneered the development of cross-functional business groups for Ford Motor Company, combining design and production engineers with the manufacturing teams, purchase and quality control operations and support staff, all under one roof.
At its heart, and taking up most of the floor space, is the engine assembly area itself – the Clean Room Assembly Hall – which features a state-of-the-art induction and extraction system to minimize airborne dust particles that could interfere with the build of the sophisticated, high technology, diesel engines which will be assembled there.
This clean assembly approach supports the precision process demanded by a new generation of high pressure common rail fuel and turbo charging systems featured on the latest diesel engines.
The enclosed building has controlled access points and 'air-locked' entrances, a fully filtered and temperature controlled ventilation system and an integrated monitoring system, checking air continuously to ensure it meets the highest standards (EN ISO 14644-1 Class 8, which is equivalent to British Standard BS 5295 Class K).
To ensure that the highest quality is achieved in manufacture, a highly ordered and logically laid-out assembly process has been developed, which has been optimized to further reduce risks to cleanliness. Specific components are fitted in 'areas of special attention,' where additional protective clothing and operating requirements are applied and for which there is additional training required of the operating team.
Parts for assembly at the designated areas of special attention are also manufactured in clean rooms established at supplier facilities and sealed until the point of use at the DDC. The Clean Room will help to increase Dagenham's diesel engine build capacity, a key part of Ford's European Transformation Strategy.
While Ford's Dunton Engineering Centre will remain the core engineering centre for powertrain testing, a range of engineering facilities is being included in the new building to support a more 'hands on' approach to design, development and problem solving.
Over 300 diesel engineers and support staff have now transferred from Dunton and are based in the new DDC, working on engine development, design for manufacturing assembly and launch and post-launch customer/production support. Specialised training is now being completed for around 250 Ford employees who will transfer from existing facilities to undertake assembly roles.
Also to be included in the Centre will be such facilities as a Customer Quality Centre, with vehicle inspection areas; a Value Enhancement Centre to support all technical and financial cost benchmarking of diesel engines; engineering and inspection laboratories; a prototype engine build operation; general purpose workshop; and Project Centres, with dedicated areas for teams to plan work on safety initiatives, quality, productivity and cost improvements.
Ford Motor Company set stringent environmental objectives in the creation of the new Centre, which will in the future receive much of its power from wind-driven power generators. Careful design has allowed maximum use of available daylight, supported by energy efficient lighting, heating and ventilation. Other energy-saving devices, such as flat screen monitors and passive infra-red lighting are all employed, while transport around the Dagenham Estate will be by specially provided electric cars.
Attention was paid to environmental concerns with regard to production. The clean assembly process will mean negligible emissions or discharges from the plant, notably through a migration from the hot testing (with the engine running) of engines to cold testing (zero emissions). A 100 per cent reusable packaging system was put in place to eliminate waste in packaging materials and they will only be handled by electrically-powered vehicles inside the plant.
Ford Motor Company is committed to minimising the environmental impact of its new facility, located beside the lakeland habitat for a diverse range of wildlife, which has a newly-installed storm protection system. The Centre is also integrated into public transport systems to facilitate ease of access.
Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence (CEME)
CEME is a prime example of what can be achieved when private and public organisations are united by a common vision. Its focus on engineering and manufacturing skills, together with its all-encompassing ethos of bridging the gap between basic skills, PhD degrees and beyond, provides a vital educational resource on which to build the globally competitive engineering and manufacturing industries so important to the British economy today and in the future.
CEME will help to fulfill Ford's training and educational needs and was jointly developed by the not-for-profit partnership of Ford Motor Company, the London Development Agency, Barking and Havering Further Education Colleges and London Riverside Limited.
CEME will also focus on Higher Education, including Bachelors and Masters degrees, together with ongoing research and technology programmes through the CEME-based New Technology Institute (NTI) led by Loughborough University, who will work closely with the NTI partners – Barking and Havering Colleges, University of East London and Anglia Polytechnic University. The Centre will build on Ford's long-standing relationships with some of Britain's key academic institutions, including Loughborough University and the University of Warwick.
When CEME is fully operational, there will be around 1,000 students and 120 staff in regular attendance. Additionally, up to 80 children aged up to five years will be cared for in the on-site nursery.
CEME will support the training, education and development requirements of the DDC and offer a focal point for learning within the local community and for small and medium-size businesses in the area. The aim of CEME is to encourage a diverse, socially inclusive, innovative range of learning activities that build engineering, manufacturing and business capability in the heart of the Thames Gateway.
This level of educational capability will give Ford employees and the local community access to a world-class learning resource and will also serve as a catalyst for the continued commercial growth and regeneration of the Thames Gateway region.
CEME will encourage a strong enterprise culture based on entrepreneurial leadership, lean operational concepts and supported by creative Information Technology.
To match and enable the high quality vocational and academic programmes tailored to meet business needs, CEME is also equipped to an extremely high level. The 14,870 square metre learning facility includes a 2,323 square metre technical workshop, 14 heavy-duty training rooms, 22 classrooms, four CADCAM rooms, e-enabled learning resource centre, 400-capacity conference facility, a 120-seat raked auditorium and state-of-the-art lecture theatres.
The CEME building has Britain's largest installation of photovoltaics (solar panels) ranged across its roof and on the entrance walk-way canopy, which are capable of generating 115 kWh peak power, and extensive solar-glare management achieved by using sustainable western red cedar "brise soleil" shading and thermo-dynamic natural ventilation.
A feature lake, key to special landscaping of the CEME environment, recycles rainwater gathered from the building and elsewhere. Timber cladding and decking used in the design has also only been utilised from sustainable sources.