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ElringKlinger is stepping up its activities involving innovative lightweight bodywork components: Late 2017 will see the large-scale series production of door module carriers made from so-called ­organo sheets, developed by the cus­tomer in its capacity as a systems supplier, get under way at its ­newly built plant in the Hungarian city of Kecskemét. The Group will then be ­expanding its pro­duction ­capacity even ­further with production facilities in ­Mexico and China.

It is a project on a truly stupendous scale, taking up 13,000 hours from the time the order was received until the start of production at a brand new plant in Hungary. The tight schedule means there is no room for delays and requires maximum flexibility, optimum efficiency, and top quality.

Claudia Daberger is responsible for bringing it all together as the overall coordinator of this major project, which is worth over EUR 100 million and which will run until 2024. With its innovative process, international focus, and the need to build three new plants in virtually no time at all, the project is an extremely complex one to coordinate, as well as being a truly unique undertaking.

As a first step, ElringKlinger is constructing a new, highly automated production site in Hungary that will house all its systems for manufacturing the innovative door module carriers. The project will then be rolled out on two more continents more or less in parallel. The Group will thus be leading the field in 2017 as one of the first automotive suppliers to process the fiber-reinforced composites known as organo sheets in large-scale series production.

Ten months before production commences, the major project is now well into its implementation phase. The design and planning stages for the new building, including the systems for manufacturing the door module carriers, have been completed successfully, the plot of land in Hungary has been acquired, and the relevant permits have been obtained. The initial excavation work has already begun.

~240
days of construction period
100
employees by
late 2017
400
storage bins
8,000 kW
power supply
12 ha
plot area
144 THSD m3
gross building volume
1 ha
production area
3,000 m2
common rooms and offices

There are clearly defined responsibilities within the project team. Each and every member is a proven expert in their field and can fully rely on their colleagues. Nevertheless, regular coordination meetings are absolutely essential as the tight schedule requires several project phases to run simultaneously.

»Industrializing global projects –
that’s where our strength lies.«


Claudia Daberger
— In overall charge of the major project

“If you want success on a global scale, you need to recognize regional differences, generate synergy effects, create networks, and, above all, utilize the knowledge of local experts.” This is the motto of Jochen Schweizer, who is responsible for all construction activity as well as setting up the infrastructure in Kecskemét. In Hungary in particular, a raft of environmental regulations meant that a significant amount of time was taken up seeking the necessary permits even before construction began, which required close consultation with the local authorities. “Laying the foundation stone for our new building will be our first landmark achievement. And then we’ll move straight into the project phase, during which we’ll implement our plans and create the necessary infrastructure,” Site Manager Schweizer continues. Matthias Wurst, the Project Manager responsible for factory planning, made maximum flexibility and sustainability a key priority when planning the new plant. A ceiling height of over 13 meters and a 50-metric-­ton crane mean that the production areas can be used in a variety of ways and even larger systems can be installed. The structure of the building has been ­designed to be just as smart and versatile: alongside high-performance presses for manufacturing prod­-ucts from fiber-reinforced composites and plastics, production lines for thermal shielding systems can also be set up.

At their regular weekly meetings, the team of experts shares ­its latest findings and coordinates the project’s next steps.

As the Product Manager in charge of technology, Mateus Vertu is also responsible for purchasing all the systems and equipment required to make the door module carriers. Working closely with several machinery and system manufacturers, ElringKlinger will be installing a highly automated production system as early as the second quarter of 2017 that will be perfectly aligned to its innovative door module carriers. Having the matching robotics ensures a fully automatic process flow. At the heart of the new system will be the 25.5-metric-ton tool that ElringKlinger’s expert toolmakers have designed and built specifically for this job. It combines two processes – reshaping the organo sheets and traditional plastic injection molding – into a single step. Unlike the two-stage solutions common in the industry, this facilitates a production process with shorter manufacturing times and more accurate shapes and dimensions.

In delivering this project, ElringKlinger is once again demonstrating its strength in industrializing global projects. “Every project proceeds differently. Having the right amount of detail in our planning is key to our success because each country has its own local challenges in store for us that we won’t know about until we get there. But it is precisely this variety that we love about our work,” stresses Project Manager Claudia Daberger. The trick essentially lies in being able to adapt quickly to changes in your circumstances. Streamlined decision-making processes like those at ElringKlinger also allow people to focus their work on finding solutions and achieving their targets. Ultimately, every job revolves around being able to deliver the right end products to the customer on time.

The door module carrier is mounted to the vehicle’s door frame; functional elements such as the window winder and the locking system are attached to it.