In production and logistics, the areas of focus in 2016 were workplace safety and ergonomics, product and process quality, and efficiency. We also implemented a number of measures as planned as part of efforts to optimise our network of sites.
The Cologne plants, Germany
Last year, we initiated various steps aimed at improving quality and safeguarding the assembly processes in Cologne-Porz, our largest assembly site for production engines. This included optimising and renewing the cleaning and drying sections of the painting area and the automated adjustment of valve clearance. We also held kaizen workshops to further refine processes and procedures. Numerous tasks were consolidated in connection with vacating the Cologne-Deutz site, such as the management of empties. We also expanded shop floor management.
The process of vacating the Cologne-Deutz site began at the start of 2016. In May, the two transfer lines for the processing of crankcase housing for the 2011 and 91x engine series were moved to our plants in Zafra, Spain and Ulm, Germany. The relocation of shaft production from Cologne-Deutz to the newly built shaft centre in Cologne-Porz got under way in April without production being disrupted and was completed in February 2017. A total of 130 pieces of machinery and equipment were removed and then brought back on stream.
The plants in Ulm and Übersee on Lake Chiemsee, Germany
We continued with our expansion of the Ulm plant in 2016. This site is evolving into the plant for small production runs, focusing on DCS products, project business, exchange engines and models that are soon to be discontinued. The Xchange assembly activities, which had been relocated in 2015, were optimised, costs were lowered and throughput times were shortened. In addition, the necessary preparations for integrating all of the other functions from the Übersee plant were carried out. The relocation of the remaining functions in connection with the closure of the Übersee site will take place in 2017. In mechanical fabrication, all transfer lines were replaced with production machines; mechanical component production has thus been attuned to the flexibility that is required in small production runs.
The Zafra plant, Spain
Our plant in Zafra, Spain produces the crankcases for engines of up to 4 litres in addition to the other major engine components already manufactured there, namely cylinder heads, conrods and gearwheels. Relocation of the production of crankcases for the 2011 engine series, which were previously built inhouse in Cologne-Deutz, was completed in 2016. Manufacturing of crankcases for the 2.9 engine series was also ramped up in 2016.
The Pendergrass plant, USA
In the year under review, we extended our plant in Pendergrass, Georgia/USA, to cover the additional volume resulting from the growth of the exchange engine business. This included expanding capacity for removal and final assembly activities and increasing the number of production employees. There is now capacity for roughly 2,400 engines in one-shift operation.