Malaysia's first car manufacturer Proton unveiled their new hi-tech engine assembly line at Tanjung Malim at an exclusive event.
Operational since April 2022, the facility produces the company's 1.5 Turbo Gasoline Direct Injection (TGDI) engine, the first time it has been assembled outside of China and is one of the most advanced automotive engine assembly lines in Malaysia.
Located in Proton Tanjung Malim's Engine and Powertrain facility, the assembly line covers an area of 18,000 sqm and has a current maximum capacity of 180,000 engines when running on three shifts. The project is also part of the RM1.8 billion earmarked by PROTON to upgrade its facilities at Tanjung Malim.
When Geely's technology meets Malaysian vendors and talents
An engine deployed over multiple Geely Group brands, the three-cylinder 1.5 TGDI, and its variants has thus far been used in over 750,000 vehicles sold globally.
Utilizing solutions such as engine downsizing, optimized thermal and lubrication systems, a low inertia turbocharger, and homogenized GDI the engine pairs performance with reduced fuel consumption and emissions and is capable of meeting Euro 6 requirements.
As a locally assembled product, Proton sources parts from Malaysian and regional suppliers, and for its new engine, there are currently 72 parts supplied by 19 Malaysian and four ASEAN vendors. The company is also using the new assembly line to advance its human capital development goals, with 202 workers directly employed to work there. With an average age of just 24 years, they represent the next generation of automotive talents for the nation.
"When the agreement was made to partner with Geely in 2017, one of our commitments was to invest in Malaysia's automotive industry both financially and through the introduction of new high technology components. The new assembly line does this while also giving proton an avenue to attract and develop young talents who will help drive the automotive industry and the company into the future," said Roslan Abdullah, deputy CEO of Proton in a press release on July 5, 2022.
Focusing on quality by using technology
Featuring 88 stations comprised of 17 automatic, 15 semi-automatics, and 56 manual stations, the 1.5 TGDI assembly line was built using an IR 4.0 ethos featuring a high level of automation to boost productivity.
Housed in a climate-controlled clean environment that has an anti-static station to allow for the discharge of static electricity to protect the high-tech electronic components used, the assembly line moves on a conveyor system that is not only smoother but is also cleaner, more durable and less costly to operate than one that uses a chain.
All workers on the assembly line have undergone extensive training with Geely as well as the suppliers of the machines used, which include names such as ABB, COMAU, FEV China, FEV India, WiBeda and Hangxin.
It also deploys the Internet of Things (IoT) technology in the shape of intensive data capture and analysis tools to ensure quality meets the standards required and is maintained.
Additionally, 207 Error Mistake Proofing (EMP) controls and 34 intelligent high-resolution cameras have been installed on the line to prevent process and assembly defects and reduce downtime with 100% real-time defect detection capabilities.
"Aside from the quality monitoring measures deployed on the assembly line, we also work closely with our counterparts at Geely to troubleshoot issues and share best practices in our efforts to produce a world-class engine," added Roslan Abdullah.
Proton’s 1.5 Turbo Gasoline Direct Injection (TGDI) engine; Credit: Proton