After shutting down its storied Cleveland Engine Plant No. 1 back in 2007, Ford has kicked the site back into life with production of its brand new EcoBoost engines starting today. The plant is the first manufacturing site in the world to build the EcoBoost engine and the first examples are destined for the 2010 model-year Lincoln MKS, Lincoln MKT, Ford Taurus SHO and Ford Flex crossover.

Ford has invested more than $55 million for tooling and equipment upgrades at the Ohio plant, and approximately 250 employees are needed for each shift. To ensure top level quality and reliability, a new database system attaches a sophisticated “birth history” to each engine, which allows plant engineers to track every stage of production.

The engine history, maintained in a microchip database, will include hundreds of metrics and allows engineers to trace the precise path taken by any part so any quality control issue can be traced back to its source.

The first EcoBoost engine is a 3.5L V6 unit with 355hp (265kW) at 5,700rpm and 350ft-lb (474Nm) of torque from 3,500rpm. Thanks to a combination of direct-injection and turbocharging technologies, a 10-15% fuel-economy benefit is expected versus normally aspirated V8 engines found in the same class as the Ford vehicles equipped with an EcoBoost engine.

The V6 unit is the first in a wave of EcoBoost engines coming from Ford as part of a strategy to bring affordable fuel efficiency to millions, with more than 90% of the company’s North American lineup to be fitted with EcoBoost technology by 2013.