ANNA, Ohio — Honda has expanded its giant Anna Engine Plant here to supply the company's new assembly plant in nearby Greensburg, Ind.
Already Honda's largest automobile engine plant, Anna has begun making parts previously imported from Japan. Honda also has introduced new environmentally responsible manufacturing technologies here and added 100 employees as part of a two-year, $138 million expansion.
The plant has begun shipping four-cylinder engines to Greensburg, about 75 miles away. Production of the Civic begins in Greensburg this month. The new assembly plant will build 200,000 vehicles annually.
The expansion didn't boost Anna's capacity. Instead, Anna's staff helped Honda launch a new engine plant in Alliston, Ontario. Anna previously supplied four-cylinder engines to Honda's Alliston assembly plant. Now the Alliston complex can take care of itself, using some engine parts supplied from Anna.
That frees Anna to feed engines to Greensburg. Anna also ships parts to Honda's engine plant in Lincoln, Ala.
"It gives us a tremendous amount of flexibility, because the market is very fickle," Dan Smith, Anna plant manager, says of the expansion. "One day they want V-6s and power, and the next day they want fuel economy."
Anna makes four-cylinder and V-6 engines.
Through the first nine months of 2008, U.S. Civic sales rose 12.1 percent to 285,715.
Before, all camshaft casting and machining had been done in Japan. Now nearly 60 percent of that takes place in the Anna plant. Honda sources the rest from domestic suppliers or Japan.
The Anna plant now machines about 80 percent of the connecting rods for four-cylinder engines. Most connecting rod forgings come from domestic suppliers. Previously, all those rods were supplied from Japan.
The plant also expanded its crankshaft machining. More than 85 percent of crankshaft machining now takes place in the Anna plant, compared with 30 percent before the project. Crankshaft forgings come from domestic suppliers.
The Anna plant also implemented new technologies, such as spin-casting technology for cylinder sleeves. Spin casting uses centrifugal spinning molds to cast molten iron into tubes. The engine cylinder sleeves are then cut to length and machined. Spin casting replaces sand casting, where molds are formed using sand.