Buderus Guss GmbH expanded the foundry at its main works and company HQ in Breidenbach, Germany, and today opened the new facility for production in a festive ceremony. The company invested 36 million euros in expanding is foundry capacities. "This will enable us to face any market challenge", says Lars Steinheider, General Manager of Buderus Guss GmbH. Steinheider emphasised the ecological aspects of this investment and made the 160 invited guests including speaker Dr. Christean Wagner, chairman of the CDU fraction in the Hessian State Parliament, aware of its forward-looking significance. "The facility meets strictest ecological standards."
Buderus Guss GmbH, a subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH, is a leading developer and manufacturer of OEM brake discs for passenger cars and first in class supplier to the European automotive industry.
The enterprise has been headquartered in Breidenbach since 1913. Owing to the expansion of its modern foundry works since the beginning of this year, more than 60 jobs have been added to its previous workforce of over 700.
In his welcome speech, Gerhard Steiger, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Buderus Guss GmbH and Group Executive Manager of Robert Bosch GmbH's Chassis Systems Brake division, said that "expanding the foundry and processing capacities in Breidenbach will brighten up the company's outlook on the future."
The expansion project covers all parts of foundry production - from core making at a core production centre to two medium-frequency inductive crucible furnaces, a moulding line, enhanced sand conditioning and downstream systems such as cast cooling, blasting line, cylindrical grinding line, testing and packaging equipment.
General Manager Lars Steinheider explained the background of this ambitious expansion project that boosts the company's annual capacity to 20 million brake discs by deploying complex automation solutions. He also pointed out that dry dust removal started operation more than a year ago, providing the Breidenbach works with the latest in gas scrubbing technology for cupula furnaces anywhere in Europe.
The new systems were commissioned a couple of weeks ago. "All building activities were completed without interrupting production", says Steinheider, thanking the highly motivated and flexible team, who look back on an excellent performance during the challenging building stage.
Steinheider also announced that mechanical handling will be expanded during the next year. This capital expenditure of twelve million euros will create yet more jobs.
Dr. Christean Wagner, chairman of the CDU fraction in the Hessian State Parliament, appraised the expansion of foundry capacities at Buderus' Breidenbach works as follows: "Many German foundries are medium-size companies whose quality and power of innovation justify their leading rank in Europe. This expansion is an important step into the company's future - and a clear signal to regional employees. It also underlines the economic potential and quality of our federal state. To maintain and extend them is the objective of our economic policy."
In his speech, Kay Präfke, general management member of the Federal Association of German Foundries (BDG), emphasised the grand history of Buderus within the German foundry industry and certified that the company "is a leader among German foundries with regard to energy efficiency and ecological standards."
Major European brake disc foundry
Buderus Guss GmbH specialises in brake discs and brake drums for passenger cars and supplies unmachined and finished parts to nearly all notable European automotive manufacturers. In recent years, the company has developed into the European leader in this sector. The foundry has been consistently streamlined for this product group since 1990. Machining and coating the parts to manufacture products ready for installation has steadily expanded in line with market development.
Its decision to invest some 36 million euros into expanding its foundry and processing capacities this year was Buderus Guss' response to today's market demands. This latest expansion now taps the full potential of the options laid down as early as 2000. Annexing the warehouse of raw materials and finished parts for dispatch completes the block of buildings making up Foundry II.
In 2002, when capacities reached their limits, the foundry site already underwent major enlargement. A newly built 7,500 square metre foundry hall was commissioned to add to the previous plant.
Capacity added in 2011
The latest expansion project covers all parts of foundry production, from core making at a core production centre to two medium-frequency inductive crucible furnaces, a boxless moulding line with a vertical parting line, enhanced sand conditioning for clay-bound moulding material and downstream systems such as cast cooling, blasting line, cylindrical grinding line, testing and packaging equipment.
The technological process of foundry production includes trend-setting automation solutions which not only improve productivity but also warrant products of outstanding quality. Industry was very much interested in the technological advancements made at the Breidenbach works. Thus, following a recent plant inspection, the experts of the Federal Association of German Foundries (BDG) certified that what they saw was a prime example of energy efficiency and ecological standards at a leading German foundry.
The first unit to start operation was the dry dust removal facility built last year at costs of six million euros. It is the most advanced among Europe's gas scrubbing lines for cupula melting furnaces, ensuring that all exhaust gas from the melting process is extracted and burnt in the combustion chamber. The five megawatts of waste heat recovered this way are used to heat halls and process water. Unlike earlier scrubbing methods based on water, gas from the cupula melting furnaces is now scrubbed with air. This leaves behind so-called clean gas which is let out into the open at pollution levels far below statutory emission limits. Further benefits characterising this unit include smell elimination, saving of water and clearly reduced noise levels.
In the last couple of years, Buderus Guss' share in the European market has increased by about 20%.
Whereas in 2006, about 100,000 tons of product were sold to a small number of customers, plant output will rise to approximately 180,000 tons in the next year. In the years after that, production is anticipated to double to a peak volume of some 200,000 tons. The number of brake discs will increase to 20 million in 2012.
Last but not least, being an affiliate of Robert Bosch GmbH further ensures steady growth that will help to maintain the volume of orders and stabilise employment even if there is a slump in economy at large.
Commissioning the extended foundry in August 2011 is another culmination in the history of Buderus Guss as the prime European brake disc foundry. Considering its current workforce of more than 700 highly qualified employees, this makes the company perfectly fit for the future. Expanding foundry capacities was paralleled by creating some 60 new jobs. Yet another 30 will be added when the mechanical handling line is extended at a capital expenditure of twelve million euros in 2012.
In order to keep having qualified personnel at hand and to guard against the increasing lack of skilled labour, Buderus Guss trains about 20 apprentices a year in various technical and commercial occupations at its Breidenbach site.
Buderus Guss GmbH, history and affiliation
Buderus Guss has been operating its Breidenbach site since 1913. Since 1985, production has been streamlined to the sole manufacture of brake discs and is now entirely focussed on the passenger car industry.
In 2003, Buderus Aktiengesellschaft was acquired by Robert Bosch GmbH. Buderus Guss GmbH was integrated into the business line Chassis Systems Brakes, part of the Automotive Engineering division.
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