3 June 2014
Volkswagen Group South Africa’s (VWSA’s) 500 000th EA111 engine rolled off the production line on Friday, marking the 2-millionth engine produced at the company’s manufacturing plant in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape.
Production of the EA111 engine, which powers Volkswagen’s Polo and Polo Vivo models locally and equivalent models abroad, began in 2010 with volumes of 89 000 a year.
“Since then, there has been a steady growth in production volumes, with this year’s production set to reach the 175 000 mark,” Richard Reid, head of VWSA’s engine plant, said in a statement on Monday.
Reid said that, of these 175 000 engines, 77% were targeted for export to international markets, including factories in China, India, Malaysia, Taiwan and Mexico.
“Last year in September, we introduced a fourth shift in the engine plant which increased the production capacity from 147 000 to 175 000 engines. The bolstering of production was due to the high demand from the Chinese market,” Reid said.
The company said it had introduced new production line technology over the years to handle the increased growth in production. This included a state-of-the-art testing facility which ensures that each engine is 100% proof tested before it leaves the line, as well as hi-tech interactive machinery that assists operators with instructions via a screen connected to the electronic bolting equipment.
VWSA managing director David Powels said these improvements had enabled the company to produce an engine every two minutes, while ensuring “that we are continually improving our products for both the local and international markets”.