Quality control testing of the 2.3-liter Focus RS engine includes listening
By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company
Closed in soundproof booths, highly trained Ford production workers listen carefully. EcoBoost 2.3-liter engines run as their tuned ears seek out a rattle that might indicate a damaged gear tooth or a whistle that might hint at a blocked oiling passage. It’s all part of an effort to ensure the engines are ready for performance duty in the new 2016 Focus RS.
“This team knows what a perfectly calibrated engine sounds like and they know the tiny sounds to listen for in case there is a problem,” Vice President, Quality, Ford of Europe Gunnar Herrmann said. “Think of it like a doctor who has the most advanced diagnostic technology but still uses a stethoscope to gather vital clues to a patient’s health.”
The production staff receives months of training before receiving the qualification to conduct these one-minute auditory tests. Testing of the Focus RS powerplants—as well as the S-MAX and Mondeo engines—take place in 18 soundproof cells at the end of the production line. Over the course of a day, testers listen to 2,000 engines at the Valencia plant.
See the testing in action right here…
“The experience of hearing thousands of engines allows us to sense straight away when something is not working perfectly,” Juan Carlos Rosmari, quality technician at the Valencia Engine Plant, said. “Each different engine type has its own unique sound, and from listening to them in the test cells we get to know their individual characters—and the tell-tale signs which indicate a problem.”
If the employees hear something out of the ordinary the engine isn’t installed in the vehicle. Instead, it is pulled aside for further quality-control inspections.
“The skills of Ford employees, supported by the latest technology, help us deliver high-quality vehicles which perform better, look better, and provide outstanding durability throughout their life,” Gunnar added.
Ford Performance knows the 350-horspower engine powering the 2016 Focus RS will see some extreme duty, so trained workers put the engine through stringent quality checks before it is installed in the company’s hottest hatch.
One of those tests is a one-minute auditory examination conducted in a soundproof cell at the end of the assembly line in the Valencia Engine Plant.