Georg Fischer, Mettmann’s biggest employer, is looking to the future. The company is investing 36 million euros in a new manufacturing plant that is unique worldwide and will manufacture lightweight castings for the automotive industry from July 2012 onwards. ‘This way, we can produce up to 60,000 tonnes of cast iron per year’, says Managing Director Andreas Güll.
Works for the construction of the 2,800-square-metre-large hall that will house the new moulding and casting plant started in July this year after the regional government gave the green light for the major project to go ahead. Currently, the ground for the new Mettmann-based foundry, which will be built next to the large production hall and neighbouring iron and metalworking factory Gustav Overhoff, is being compacted. ‘This requires us to drill 1,500 holes in the ground and fill them with a mixture of sand, gravel and cement’, says Managing Director Güll. For the new hall, 1,200 tonnes of steel and 9,500 tonnes of concrete will be used, which is equal to 422 lorry loads.
With the help of 15 robots, the new manufacturing site will produce various parts, including chassis parts, crank shafts and rear axle housing for renowned car manufacturers. Project manager for the new casting plant is Stephen Schott from Mettmann, who learnt model construction at Georg Fischer and then studied casting technology in Duisburg. He will be responsible for the major plant, which will have 63 employees. The foundry will manufacture parts for the automotive and lorry industries. Its main customers include several renowned manufacturers, including VW and Daimler, and the whole Golf platform will also be manufactured in Mettmann. Around 12 million parts will be produced a year for car chassis alone.
This year, the company had estimated that it would require a capacity of 176,000 tonnes. However, the order situation is so good that the Mettmann foundry will in fact cast 190,000 tonnes as parts for the automotive industry by the end of the year. Georg Fischer managed to secure three major orders for cast parts that Hyundai/Kia put out to tender across Europe.
The new plant will produce less noise than the old and consume less energy. ‘And productivity will be considerably increased at this site’, says Güll. Once the new site goes into production, our two smaller manufacturing lines from the 1990s with a lower capacity and automation will be still kept, but only as reserve sites.
Workstations along the new manufacturing line have been designed in accordance with the latest medical findings by a team of employees, the in-house doctor, works council and management team. ‘The technical environmental requirements have been met and in most cases exceeded many times over’, says Güll. This was achieved by using modern ventilation plants, heat recovery systems and state-of-the-art filter units.