The right investments in the right place at the right time is a crucial factor in a company’s success. At FUCHS, we do this worldwide – and have done for many years. Some recent examples demonstrating our global growth strategy.
MORE FLEXIBILITY AND INDIVIDUALITY IN AUSTRALIA
Within 18 months it was built: the new plant with quality and research laboratory in Beresfield, Australia. The 25,000 m² space was officially opened in mid-February 2018 and replaces the plant in Wickham, Newcastle, which FUCHS had operated since 1979. The Beresfield plant predominantly supplies mining, agricultural and transport markets in Australia and New Zealand. With this new plant, FUCHS is ensuring customer proximity and creating greater flexibility for customer requirements. The plant meets the highest quality, safety and environmental standards, for example through automatic high-speed filling and corrosion-resistant piping and tanks. A special feature of the plant is that 30 % of its electricity requirements, roughly 155 kilowatt, are generated by its own solar panels.
DIGITALIZATION AND CUSTOMIZATION IN THE US
Wireless sensor technology for industrial fluids constitutes a future market for our business. Products targeted at precisely this field are manufactured at Fluid Vision Technology LLC in Texas. The American company joined the FUCHS Group in March 2018, meaning that FUCHS customers will have the ability to monitor the condition of their process fluids digitally, automatically and in real time for optimizing fluid maintenance processes. This means improved performance, more uptime and reduced operating and waste-related costs. Thanks to the new specialty grease plant in Harvey, Chicago, customers in the US can now be confident that the specialty greases they require are of the exact same quality and composition as those in Europe and Asia. It covers 3,200 m² and cost around € 24 million. Since 2017, it has been supplying American customers with around 30 specialty greases for the North American automotive, truck, construction, railway and off-road markets. The adjoining R&D laboratory, which features a highly specialized test facility, enables the development of customized products.
HIGHER QUALITY AND FASTER RESPONSE TIMES IN AFRICA
In May 2018, FUCHS commissioned a new grease plant in Isando near Johannesburg at a total investment cost of around €8 million. The fully automated facility is equipped with state-of-the-art technology for producing a whole range of specialty greases. In this way, FUCHS is responding to rising demands of African customers for ever-increasing quality, improving its ability to respond on the African market and making it easier for itself to export greases to other African countries. The new facility will also allow FUCHS to meet the rising demand in the mining industry.
MORE THAN 30 YEARS OF GROWTH IN CHINA
FUCHS has been operating its own production facilities in China for more than 30 years. In 1988, Dr. Manfred Fuchs purchased the first plant in Yingkou in the northeast of China. Then plants and facilities in Shanghai (1996) and Hefei (1998) followed. The Shanghai plant became the Chinese headquarters in 2008, at a cost of around €10 million. Five years later, a new plant was built for around € 24 million in Yingkou because the old one offered no more scope for expansion. The ten-year-old Shanghai plant is now also reaching its limits. In response, and at a cost of approximately € 50 million, a new plant is currently being built around 100 kilometers west of Shanghai in Wujiang, where eight highly automated filling lines, 31 blenders and 55 tanks with a capacity of between 60 and 500 m³ are scheduled to be brought on line in April 2019.
MORE CAPACITY AND HIGH LEVELS OF AUTOMATION IN KAISERSLAUTERN
In 2018, FUCHS LUBRITECH in Kaiserslautern underwent further expansion with a fully automatic high-bay warehouse, two production halls and modern offices for 70 employees. The new high-bay warehouse has doubled previous storage capacities. Thanks to state-of-the-art software, it even cleans up after itself at night and on the weekend. Furthermore, the fire hazard is minimized through energy-saving oxygen reductions. Open-plan offices, a library, rest areas for employees and new rooms for the laboratory and quality control team were all constructed at a cost of €16 million without disrupting operations and with increased output. Another new production facility in Kaiserslautern is scheduled to enter service by the end of 2019.
A SPACE FOR HEADQUARTERS AND PRODUCTION
Our home location is now ready to undergo the next phase of expansion. After several years of searching, FUCHS has managed to acquire two new properties in the immediate vicinity of its current location in Mannheim. This will increase the headquarters’ floorspace by 25 % to 135,000 m². And the construction plans for the recently acquired properties are already on the table. Once a few old buildings have been torn down, a new building will be constructed for the holding by the end of 2020, creating workspace for over 200 employees. FUCHS is also building a high-bay warehouse for packaged raw materials used in lubricant production. An existing office building will be retained and renovated. And last but not least, FUCHS will also be expanding the canteen area. The investments amount to around € 50 million. And there will still be room for further growth.