Measurement technology developer, Kistler Group is expanding three of its facilities, located in Switzerland and Germany, which the company says is “sending out a strong signal despite the backdrop of a global downturn”.
As Kistler’s CEO, Rolf Sonderegger stated, “We anticipate a slowdown in growth for the current financial year, especially in the automotive industry. But at the same time, we are confronted with megatrends such as autonomous and electrified driving, coupled with growing requirements from our customers. Taken together, all of these factors make it essential to adapt and expand some of our facilities.”
Winterthur: creating space for the smart factory of the future
The Kistler Group originally planned to build its own smart factory at its Winterthur headquarters in Switzerland over the next few years, with an estimated investment volume of about CHF 50 million (US$50.4m). The company says it has had to postpone this investment for the time being, but the capacity problem at the facility remains unresolved.
“We’d already reached our limits at the site several years ago. So that we can continue growing and give ourselves time and space for our own smart factory, we need to relocate some of our workforce to additional premises,” Sonderegger explained.
In mid-September, more than 100 employees will be moving to the new location in Winterthur’s Else-Züblin-Strasse, located 7km from Kistler Group’s headquarters. The site will bring together development, assembly and sales under one roof.
Heidelberg: “Home of Dummies”
At the Heidelberg site in Germany, a new production hall is currently under construction next to the existing office building. This hall will provide an additional 1,300m2 of space, which will be used to develop and manufacture THOR, its proprietary crash test dummy, in the future.
Sonderegger commented, “The growing trend towards vehicle electrification is creating new requirements for vehicle safety – and for crash tests as well. Our efficient, flexible dummy positions us optimally to support the automotive sector as it develops new generations of vehicles.”
Opening of the “Home of Dummies” – as the facility is known – is scheduled for winter 2020.
Meerane: lean production on 1,200 square metres
Kistler Group has also reached the capacity limit at its Meerane site in Germany. To accommodate growing orders, Kistler decided to relocate to a larger and more modern building in Meerane’s industrial zone – only 1km away from the original location. In the new 1,200m2 facility, employees are now able to manufacture cables in a range of lengths from 0.5 to 100m, as well as special lengths to meet customers’ specific requirements.
At the old site, finished cables had to be transported across three floors from the production line to the warehouse, but now this all takes place on one level. “This relocation within the town of Meerane was a major step along the path towards efficient production,” Sonderegger added.