17. September 2010

Excursion to automotive companies in CEE Region

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In addition to the lecture of the module “Automotive Production and Logistics” on September 9 and 10, 2010 two days field trip to two component supply industries in Slovakia and Czech Republic and one OEM in Slovakia took place.

The first station was the ArvinMeritor, Lozorno, Slovakia. This company is producing sunroofs for well-known German OEMs and Rolls-Royce. Since the factory was built in 2005, the growth of the facility was astonishing. The participants could see the assembly lines as well as cells, the testing station for Noise Vibration Harness, electrical functionality, water leakage, and encapsulation stations. The measurements of modularization and platform strategy in the automotive industry to reduce complexity and the need for the waste elimination could be observed here in practice.

The next stop was the KIA Slovakia which started the production in 2006. This company can produce 300,000 units. At this moment KIA Slovakia produces three different car models and four different engines. After company presentation the plant tour started from Engine shop where 1.4 L and 1.6 L of gasoline and 1.4 L, 1.6 L and 2.0L diesel engines are produced. A part of here produced engines goes to Hyundai Motor Company in Czech Republic. The tour continued at MOBIS which builds modules of the car. After the visit at the press shop 320 welding robots are welding the car body in the body shop. Currently five different bodies are producing, it is possible up to 8 different bodies can be welded here. The degree of the automation is relatively high. In the central production control room controls the whole production processes. As the final stop participants visited the assembly line. At the KIA Slovakia the 60 cars are produced in one hour. It means for every one minutes one car is produced. KIA factory in Zilina is one state-of-the-art factory in Europe, also very clean and has a high degree of automation.

The continental automotive systems in Frenštát p. Radhoštìm, Czech Republic is an electronic factory with a wide range of products and with state of the art processes. The factory is producing electronic components like Door control units, Window lifters, Transmitters, Keyless vehicle systems, Cluster electronics, LC modules, Engine electronics, and Sensors. After the tour through the factory the plant manager attended the meeting. He discussed about the supply chain concepts for the automotive industry and described the situation during as well as after the recent financial crisis. He mentioned that during the crisis the supplier lost the trust in the planning forecast of Continental to the company. Now he is now hardly trying to build trust again and to establish a more collaborative relationship with the suppliers.

At the end it was a fruitful excursion to compare management and production strategies companies and participants of different companies. Participants got new ideas for the improvement of the process in the factory


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