Neckarsulm-based KS Huayu AluTech GmbH, a joint venture between Rheinmetall Automotive and Huayu Automotive Systems (a part of China's SAIC Group), is to expand its German operations on higher new orders for aluminium-based castings.
It says an order influx for die castings in aluminium means that is to "urgently" expand its capacities. The company also says it is "venturing more and more into new types of products without, however, neglecting its traditional engine block business".
Whereas at present only around twelve percent of sales is generated by components outside the powertrain, plans are for the proportion to triple over the next decade. Besides the original additions to the portfolio of lightweight components, such as transverse links and rear subframes, orders for other parts in aluminium, e.g. suspension-strut mounts, have also been booked, the company says.
These auto components which will continue to feature even on non-combustion engine cars, are being systematically expanded at KS Huayu in the direction of special components for new vehicle drive systems. Examples include housings for accumulators or for drive units on electric cars.
Lothar Schneider, in charge of the castings business at Rheinmetall Automotive, said: "While expanding its business in engine block castings, KS Huayu will also broaden its focus on products for non-I.C. engine vehicles. Given our casting expertise, we already are a sought-after partner in the production of structural components as well as the highly complex aluminium parts needed in electric vehicles."
KS Huayu says the Neckarsulm expansion will take place shortly, starting with a further foundry and new shops for downstream work such as heat treatment, machining, straightening, and in some cases, component assembly.
Plans are to expand the production area by 5,000 square meters, including a new foundry of 3,400 square meters and the renovation and conversion of the adjacent existing buildings of the piston operations at Neckarsulm. Construction work will start as early as the beginning of 2017 and production start-up is scheduled for 1 July 2018.
Besides this construction work, KS Huayu will be investing in several new die-casters and other equipment. The smelting capacity at this aluminium location will then rise to up to 100 tonnes a day.