SCHOTTEL, a German manufacturer of marine propulsion systems, has invested a total of €45 million to open a new state-of-the-art Rudderpropeller factory, increasing the company’s production capacity by roughly 30 percent.
The factory, near its headquarters in Spay, Germany, was officially opened in the summer of 2015 following a construction period of about two years. It features four production shops (up to 270 meters long and 18 meters high) and a three-storey building for administration, social and technical purposes.
In all, the new site amounts to 23,000 square meters of production and office space, accommodating a total of 290 jobs in production and administration, including 20 apprentice positions.
According to SCHOTTEL, key characteristics of the factory’s design include versatility, efficiency, product quality and environmental friendliness. “We refer to the new factory as the most efficient Rudderpropeller factory in the world because efficiency has been achieved in every conceivable area here,” said SCHOTTEL Group CEO, Professor Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Jensen.
“It begins with the connection to the existing traffic system and continues on to well thought-out logistics. This includes a completely roofed incoming goods and shipping area and an intelligent flow of materials based on an optimum overall layout of the factory. Quality assurance is directly next to incoming goods and shipping, and the distances for employees in production and production-related areas are short – despite the large size of the factory. Further efficiency gains and flexibility are, of course, also achieved through the versatility of the new machine tools.”
Ensuring a healthy and motivating work environment was also a focus in designing the new facility. Jensen said, “Optimum working conditions are provided to employees in terms of ergonomics and the illumination of the workspaces: The combination of daylight and an automatically controlled lighting system also ensures energy efficiency
. Modern ventilating and venting with corresponding filtering provides safe and oxygen-rich air. In addition, the ventilation system operates with heat recovery. Even the heat of the compressors is used for the heating of paint booths and drying booths. At the same time, the energy supplied
to the water in the test bed is routed through a heat pump and used for heating offices. A photovoltaic system also supplies the plant with environmentally friendly energy.”
SCHOTTEL said it has also placed heavy investment in its new machinery park. Thanks to the mechanical production facility, the company is able to produce all of the essential parts of the Rudderpropeller in-house. The largest multi-axis turning/milling center for the machining of structural support tubes (with a diameter of up to 5 meters) and gear box housings (with a machining height of 5 meters) offers a payload of 120 metric tons. It is possible to equip the machine and to machine workpieces simultaneously. The site features cranes for lifting range from 10 to 50 metric tons, though they can be retrofitted for up to 100 metric tons should the need to do so arise in the future.
The new machine tools increase SCHOTTEL’s in-house manufacturing. “This safeguards our know-how while ensuring availability and consistently high quality,” Jensen said.
Besides the plant in Dörth, SCHOTTEL has further manufacturing facilities in Wismar, Germany and Suzhou, China – each regularly updated to the state-of-the-art, the company said. For example, the modernized mechanical manufacturing facility was commissioned in Wismar in July 2015, and at the Suzhou plant, newly expanded production and service capacity is available – including an electric and hydraulic workshop and new CNC long bed lathes with turning lengths for shafts measuring up to 10 meters.
Additionally, the new site of the SCHOTTEL subsidiary HW Elektrotechnik – with around 4,200 square meters of shop and office space – is nearing completion. Here, among others, the electrical equipment
for the SCHOTTEL marine propulsion systems and controllers will be manufactured in the immediate vicinity of the Dörth plant.
The SCHOTTEL Group headquarters will continue to be in Spay/Rhine. The company’s service division will obtain new capacity here: the former production site will be used to accommodate the service warehouse, which was previously split across different sites. There will be a larger repair area with separate mechanical production facilities. A paint shop as well as a test and development shop will also be available.