Motor Equipment News
Ford Australian design studio undergoes multimillion-dollar update
Ford Australia is positioning for a busy 2021 and beyond, recently expanding its high-tech design studio to accommodate more than 200 designers working on Ford vehicles for Australia and global markets.
The company says that the multi-year, A$12 million facelift was the biggest revamp of the studio since the 1970s and continues Ford’s ongoing investment in Australia, where more than 2,500 of the company’s engineers, designers, technical and automotive specialists are based.
Ford has released photos of the expanded facility, which will benefit from another AU$2.3 million in additional studio technology infrastructure by the end of 2021.
The company says that as the home of some of the most iconic Ford vehicles ever produced in Australia, the Ford Design Studio in Melbourne plays an important role in Ford’s global business portfolio.
Work on the new building, undertaken by Australian architecture firm, Genton in collaboration with Cachet Group, has doubled the footprint of the studio to offer a brighter, well-lit facility “that fosters creativity and innovation”.
It says Genton’s approach to the project was informed by museum design philosophy – creating spaces that complement, rather than compete with the creative processes.
Melbourne-based Max Wolff, Design Director for Ford International Markets Group and China, said the improvements were aimed at keeping the facility contemporary and cutting edge with the technologies required to design the vehicles of tomorrow, from initial concept to prototype.
With the addition of 100 new workstations, an extended clay modeling workshop where full-scale models are made, and a new five-axis gantry milling centre, the 2,300m2 expansion provides flexible and functional facilities that optimise the capacity of the office.
A five-axis milling machine refers to the machine’s ability to move a clay modeling tool or a part in five different axes simultaneously, which gives the cutting tool a multi-directional approach.
The design studio was originally built in the 1970s and has been the birthplace of some iconic Fords like the XA Falcon, XD Falcon, FG Falcon and of course, the Australian designed and engineered Territory SUV.
Today, it is the global lead studio for the Ranger pickup and Everest SUV. The studio also had significant input into the design of vehicles sold in other markets like South America, China and India.
The statement says that Ford Australia is Australia’s largest automotive employer, with more than 2,500 engineers, designers, technical and automotive specialists working at four locations throughout Victoria. Australian-based engineers and designers lead the development of award-winning vehicles like the Ford Ranger and Everest SUV.
The company has invested more than A$1.9 billion in research and development in Australia between 2016 and 2019. In 2020 alone, Ford invested more than A$500 million in R&D and the company is on track to spend a similar amount in 2021.