Mercury Racing opens Horsepower Highway

FOND DU LAC, Wis. – Mercury Racing, a division of Mercury Marine, recently introduced Horsepower Highway, a four-cycle manufacturing process developed to improve efficiency in its sterndrive engine manufacturing capabilities and enhance plant capacity and product quality, the company said today.

The center is located at Mercury Racing’s world headquarters in Fond du Lac, Wis., and resulted from the company’s first Green Belt Project. The process conforms to Mercury Marine’s company-wide Lean Six Sigma initiative, and is modeled after Racing’s 2.5 EFI outboard and Integrated Transom System (ITS) processing centers.

“This Lean Six Sigma project allows the creativity and craftsmanship of Mercury Racing associates to be focused on delivering superior quality to our customers,” said Patrick C. Mackey, president of Mercury Marine.

A cross functional team from Mercury Racing identified the nonvalue-added activities associated with long-block assembly, then created a center specifically designed to accommodate the process.

How it works

Horsepower Highway provides the technician complete control of engine production. The five-station center features a continuous build process in which technicians move engines along a rail system from one stage of the build to the next. Each station is equipped with the tools, parts and equipment necessary for each stage of the build, according to the company.

Cylinder blocks and cylinder heads are prepped in separate areas before being delivered to the center. A piston-assembly feeder line provides piston, ring and connecting rod assemblies measured, honed, filed and deburred. Completed piston/rod assemblies are then delivered to the point of installation via a gravity-feed roller system.

Horsepower Highway has reduced the time required to build engine long blocks by 2.5 hours thanks to a 2000-foot reduction in travel distance, Mercury reported.

Each engine continues to be handcrafted from the bare cylinder block, with one technician building the complete engine from start to finish, the company said.

The center, with $60,000 of material investment, is estimated to produce $130,000 – $200,000 in annual savings. It was designed, developed and fabricated within Mercury Racing. Team members instrumental in the project were Doug Walters, Lawrence Ginnow, Pat Cartwright, Jerry Polzean, Tom Dudzinski, Jim Bartels, Russ Kuklinski and Jim Schlichting.

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