Two years to the day after its official opening, the GROB plant in Dalian, China shipped its 100th machine, a GA350, a respectable accomplishment if one considers that the original 2011 business plan was to produce 52 machines by June 2014. Currently, Production Planning is anticipating 85 machines for the current fiscal year 2014.The result is impressive: on June 18, exactly two years after the official inaugural celebration of the Chinese GROB plant in Dalian, the hundredth machine was delivered, thus exceeding the original production plan by almost 100 percent. Production included 63 GA350 and GA550-series universal machines and 37 G315, G515 and G325-series machining centers for our customers in the systems business area. The wide spectrum of different machining centers alone demonstrates the growth of the Dalian GROB plant in the first two years after its founding. GROB Dalian Plant Manager Eugen Nägele, when asked about the “precision landing” of production, admitted candidly and with a wink that completion of the machine actually could have occurred two days earlier.
“Keeping the second anniversary in mind, we nudged the assembly process a little so that our entire team could produce this wonderful anniversary present. Further, according to Chinese mythology, the number “8” in the date 6/18 brings luck”. The anniversary machine numbered GA350-1025 is a production line classic, a G350 with five machining axes (X, Y ,Z and A, B) with disc changer, SIEMENS controller and a 18,000 rpm motor spindle producing 35 Nm. The machine was built for our customer CITIC DICASTAL Co. Ltd. in Quinhuangdao, where it will be used for prefinishing and finish machining of cylinder head covers. Dalian plant with maximum production outputCurrently Production Planning is anticipating 85 machines for the current fiscal year. Nine machines are set for export to India alone. Currently 25 machines are in the final assembly stage and three are undergoing a general overhaul (more than ten years old).
With the completion of the second expansion stage in the summer of this year, production and logistics capacity will be more than doubled, from 12,000 m² to almost 30,000 m². This expansion of capacity not only allows the option to set up and assemble the first interlinked systems, but also is a primary factor in the ability to put products on the market in greater volumes. Production with its own dynamicsAs in the first two years of production, final assembly will continue to be characterized by fixed station production. Parallel to this, the first flow assembly unit is currently being developed for construction of primary assemblies (cross slides and rotary axes) in pre-assembly to be relocated in the expansion area. In the next twelve months, by using additionally refined assembly control in conjunction with shop floor management comparable to that used in Mindelheim, throughput times will be further reduced, this increasing productivity and optimizing the value stream. “Only in this way can we at the Dalian plant maintain the German level of quality in the face of increasing product variants and new machine types without startup and pilot phases,” Nägele said, describing the process. “Relying on precision in-house production and/or close cooperation with local partners is the only way we can reduce the proportion of imported products”.
Ambitious goals combined with high expectationsCurrently 374 Chinese employees and 22 German technicians work at GROB Dalian. Currently there are 49 apprentices, for a rate above 13 percent. All provide for a constantly increasing awareness of the GROB brand and its services, an important factor, since after a somewhat reduced investment phase at the start of the year, the market will remain highly competitive in coming months. “The Dalian GROB plant considers itself a strong on site partner with its local customers, effectively combining German development with local production,” Nägele described the continuing orientation of the GROB plant.