[WATCH] Building the Ford Ranger locally: Behind-the-scenes video at the Silverton manufacturing plant

Ford’s Silverton manufacturing plant, based in Pretoria, is one of five manufacturing hubs of the Ranger pickup around the world. The Ranger nameplate has quickly become one of the leading contenders in its segment and established a solid foundation for the current Ranger to continue a reputation for quality, reliability and durability.

This unique video offers viewers an exclusive behind-the-scenes look into the production of the new Ford Ranger at the Silverton plant. The video highlights the cutting-edge technologies and a meticulous focus on quality employed in the manufacturing process, providing a detailed look at how this multiple award-winning vehicle, including South Africa’s 2023 Car of the Year, is brought to life. This gives Ford’s loyal fans and family a deeper appreciation for the level of expertise and dedication behind the creation of every Ranger.

Production of the new Ranger has evolved and expanded to meet the highest global demands. In 2022 the plant received a major investment in Ford’s South African operations and supplier tooling. This has enabled a record installed capacity for producing up to 200 000 vehicles per year and, based on three-shift 24-hour production, the plant is capable of producing up to 720 vehicles per day, or one vehicle every two minutes.

The investment in the transformation and modernisation of the Silverton operations included the construction of Ford’s first on-site Stamping Plant, a new highly automated Body Shop, and the introduction of the latest vehicle assembly operations on the Trim, Chassis and Final line.

The Stamping Plant is a 10 320m² facility which feeds stamped body panels directly to the adjacent and completely new 44 000m² Body Shop which is highly automated with approximately 493 robots.

In addition, the vast 100 000m² Chassis Plant in the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) supplier park, located next door to the Silverton Assembly Plant, produces the sturdy ladder-frame chassis for the Ranger, with the seamless sequencing of parts directly to the assembly line. It is the only Ford-owned and operated Chassis Plant in the world.

The Silverton Manufacturing Plant also features an advanced Paint Shop which uses a completely automated painting process involving 62 robots. It also has a computerised Paint Defect Detection System that uses 21 high-resolution cameras that capture more than 3 000 pictures in 15 seconds of every vehicle that comes off the line. Any paint issues are addressed on two manicure lines, ensuring the highest quality before the vehicle moves to the assembly line.

One vehicle rolls off the production line every two minutes at Ford’s Silverton Manufacturing Plant. There are almost 600 robots employed on the chassis line to help maintain production volumes with each chassis taking around three hours to build

Along with highly detailed quality inspections in each of the manufacturing lines, plus off-line 3D scanning of parts produced, one of the new technologies deployed at the Silverton plant is the high-tech DeGould Auto Scan system that replaces in-person inspection with a fully automated system. The DeGould Auto Scan captures high-definition full-body images of every vehicle that passes through the plant’s Shipping Tunnel, and can detect any misbuilds, damage or defects smaller than can be consistently found by the naked eye.

The image capture of the entire vehicle is completed in just 6 seconds, with any defects or damage detected and highlighted so that it is addressed before the vehicle is signed off and sent to Ford South African customers, or shipped to more than 100 markets around the world.

10 interesting facts on how each Ford Ranger is built

  • One vehicle rolls off the production line every two minutes at Ford’s Silverton Manufacturing Plant.
    There are almost 600 robots employed on the chassis line to help maintain production volumes with each chassis taking around three hours to build.
  • There are around 3 000 to 4 000 spot welds in the body of every single Ranger, and corrosion protection is provided by dipping the body in 12 chemical baths prior to painting.
  • Every Ranger is covered with approximately eight litres of Ford’s innovative 3-Wet High Solids Paint system.
  • The 3-Wet paint process ensures the durability and chip-resistance appearance customers expect while helping to reduce CO2 and VOC emissions. This is achieved through savings made from reductions in the size of paint booths, decreasing numbers of paint purging, and ovens required to cure the paint.
  • Each Ranger, after painting, passes through a state-of-the-art paint scanner. This electronic eye can detect coating defects as small as 0.2mm², which is smaller than a needle point.
  • There are more than 2 700 parts in each Ford Ranger. Each vehicle undergoes nearly 1 000 quality confirmation checks before it’s allowed to be sent to a dealership.
  • A high-pressure water test sees every Ranger sprayed with water for 20 minutes, in a controlled pressure test, to replicate the worst rainstorm imaginable. The vehicle is then thoroughly inspected for any signs of water ingress.
  • Once the final quality confirmation checks have been completed inside the factory, each Ford Ranger is tested on the Squeak and Rattle Track, High Speed Track and Rough Road Track, and each vehicle must complete one full pass to be approved for release.
  • One example of every single Ranger variant is removed from the line at random, every single day, and a selection of lasers and cameras are used to check wheel alignment and headlights, while a quick lap of the Steering Alignment Test Track shows if the steering wheel is on straight and the vehicle tracks straight as an arrow.