Proton launches 1.5L TGDi engine plant in Tg Malim – 180k capacity; first outside of China; 47% automation – paultan.org

The 2022 Proton X70 MC was launched just last month, and one of the biggest changes made to the SUV is the use of the 1.5 litre TGDi engine that is also found in the smaller X50. As announced previously, the turbocharged three-cylinder is now locally assembled at the carmaker’s Tanjung Malim plant rather than being imported from China.

Today, Proton brought members of the media on a tour of the new assembly line responsible for the 1.5 TGDi, also known by its internal codename GEP3 (Global Engine Petrol 3). Located in Proton Tanjung Malim’s Engine and Powertrain facility, the assembly line covers an area of 18,000 square metres and has a current maximum capacity of 180,000 engines when running on three shifts.

The new assembly line is part of an investment worth RM1.8 billion by Proton to upgrade its facilities at its Tanjung Malim site, with operations beginning in April this year. It should be noted that this is the first facility outside China to assemble the 1.5 TGDi, which was jointly developed by Geely (Proton’s strategic partner) and Volvo – other sites are Baoji and Zhangjiakou.

Proton says the 1.5 litre TGDi engine features 30% local content and that 72 parts are currently supplied by 19 Malaysian and four ASEAN vendors. It added that the assembly line is manned by a staff of 202 workers with an average age of just 24 years, with some spending time in China for skill training.

On a related note, the equipment used in the facility is similar to what Geely has at its Baoji engine plant in China, enabling a 47% automation level using an Industry 4.0 (IR 4.0) ethos. Of the 88 stations on the assembly line, 17 are fully automatic, 15 are semi-automatic and 56 are manually operated, with equipment being supplied by ABB, COMAU, FEV China, FEV India, WiBeda and Hangxin.

The entire assembly line is housed in a climate-controlled environment that has an anti-static station to prevent potential damage to electric components used in the engine. Additionally, the assembly line moves on a on a conveyor system that is not only smoother but also cleaner, more durable and cheaper to operate than a chain-based system.



Quality control is another key aspect of the facility, with Internet of Things (IoT) technology being used throughout the assembly process to capture and analyse data to ensure standards are met and maintained. This sees 207 Error Mistake Proofing (EMP) controls and 34 intelligent high-resolution cameras installed on the line to prevent process and assembly defects and reduce downtime with 100% real-time defect detection capabilities.

Fully assembled engines are subjected to a cold test to test for potential leaks without being started. The short duration of a cold test allows any defects to be detected and rectified sooner before engines are sent to undergo a hot test, which takes a longer time as it checks engine operating parameters as they would function real-time in an actual vehicle.

Certain engines from completed batches are also pulled out at random and subjected to a more comprehensive dyno test, with test cycles lasting up to 100 hours at full load to mimic 100,000 km of driving – the data is captured on German evaluation equipment and customised software.



Only when quality standards are met will the engines be shipped of to storage and later, be installed in cars. The 1.5 litre TGDi engine is not only used by Geely and Proton, but also in other brands under the Geely Group, including Lynk & Co and Volvo. Variations of the Euro 6-compliant engine are also used for mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains, and to date, it is used by over 750,000 vehicles sold worldwide.

At the current stage, only the 1.5 litre TGDi engine is assembled at the Tanjung Malim facility, but the company says it is able to make other variants of the mill, including the port-injected (PFI) variant for future models.

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