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First came the groundbreaking - then the topping out ceremony
Schmitz Cargobull invests more than 30 million euros in new manufacturing technology and expands the production facilities in Altenberge

Altenberge, December 2013 – On 19 December 2013 the topping out ceremony for the new production facility at Schmitz Cargobull's plant in Altenberge took place, just three months after construction commenced. In addition to the Schmitz Cargobull board members, Ulrich Schümer (Chairman), Josef Buddenkotte and Roland Klement, together with the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Dr. Jürgen Kluge and the Plant Manager, Volker Flatau, the Regional Director Dr. Martin Sommer and the Mayor of Altenberge, Jochen Paus, also attended the celebration. From July 2014 onward, the approximately 12,000 m² production facility will manufacture new components for an enhanced generation of trailers, taking into account both ecological and economic concerns. With this new technology Schmitz Cargobull has created a milestone which highlights its competence as the market leader in the trailer industry. The next-generation vehicles will be presented for the first time at the IAA 2014 in Hanover. In the meantime, all of the components are to be subjected to intensive and comprehensive testing both during field trials and at the company's own test centre in Altenberge.

Almost 10 years ago, Schmitz Cargobull developed a revolutionary production technology for its semi-trailer chassis. The "bolted, not welded" production philosophy has since been implemented at all of Schmitz Cargobull's production facilities. Highly-developed individual components with hot galvanised surfaces form the basis of a reliable assembly process. This process is utilised at all of the European assembly plants and sets new quality standards for strength, dimensional precision, tracking and corrosion protection.

"The new chassis is the result of a completely new frame design which is even stronger and sturdier. In future, only one 'base chassis', with customised equipment variants, will be manufactured for all European countries. The high level of efficiency in production and the significantly shorter transport paths reflect the fact that ecological and economic concerns are by no means opposites," states Volker Flatau, the Altenberge Plant Manager.

"Whereas our competitors often focus on production abroad, maintaining the value creation at the existing plants with their highly qualified employees continues to remain an important goal for Schmitz Cargobull," explains Ulrich Schümer, Chairman of the Board of Schmitz Cargobull AG. The l-beams and cross-members are key components of the new generation and will also be manufactured in Altenberge and delivered to the plants in Spain, Lithuania and Russia as modular elements. These plants assemble the individual components to produce a complete vehicle. "For the new chassis generation we will no longer require the welding line previously used for the l-beams. However, the employees who previously worked on the welding line will continue to work in the new production facilities," says Schümer.

The production method for the new generation utilises a "rolled" frame profile rather than the former welded l-beam. The extensive investments in new, state-of-the-art production facilities at the Altenberge plant make it possible to produce the required l-beam designs using cold working techniques.

 

The advantages at a glance are:

  • The chassis has a higher structural stability and also longer durability with the same weight as the material's structure remains unchanged. This also enables perfect dimensional precision.
  • The industrial manufacturing process also provides a high level of production precision.
  • Furthermore, the bolting technology utilised ensures that the vehicles are easy to repair and maintain.

Thanks to the permanent surface protection provided by the galvanisation process, Schmitz Cargobull grants a 10-year warranty against rust. Schmitz Cargobull's marketing motto "Made in Germany" remains a fact and the company continues to promise its European customers high value and quality.

The increased efficiency also speaks in favour of the new manufacturing process. The new design enables the l-beams to be loaded onto trucks using the "LEGO technique", saving a significant amount of space. Far fewer transport runs are therefore required to the galvanising plant in Germany's Ruhr region, where the surfaces of the chassis and cross-beams are treated, resulting in a corresponding decrease in emissions.

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