Rhenus Automotive opened a production site to manufacture front and rear axles for a new BMW vehicle in the Chinese city of Shenyang on 26 April. The automobile logistics specialist within the Rhenus Group will work as a tier 1 supplier for the BMW factory located in Dadong, about ten kilometres away, in future. Rhenus has also taken over responsibility for procuring all the components upstream, quality management and supervising the global network of suppliers.
Rhenus not only welcomed representatives from the BMW Group, but also the German Consul General and the mayor of Shenyang, a city with millions of residents, to the factory opening ceremony. An 18-month preparatory phase preceded the start of axle production. Alongside establishing the first Chinese production site for Rhenus Automotive, this also included setting up an Asia holding company in Shanghai, which will manage the general processes and the ongoing development of Rhenus Automotive in China.
“We’ve managed to develop highly automated machines, which combine the concepts and technologies of Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing with each other. This has resulted in well-interconnected components, tools and machines, which ideally meet the high customer requirements in terms of output and quality,” says Dr Marcus Ewig, Managing Director of Rhenus Automotive, summarising the outcome.
Overall, the business site, which is exclusively operated for the BMW Group, covers an area measuring about 20,000 square metres. About one hundred sub suppliers transport the components required for the axle production to the Rhenus factory. The production of the axles passes through about 20 fixed stages.
The finished vehicles are designated for the Asian market, particularly China. “China is an important growth market for us and we’ve had our eye on it for years. The current market launch has been deliberately chosen, because we’re expecting a great deal of dynamism here during the next few years. In addition to well-knownOEMs, more and more local partners are introducing alternative production concepts to the market,” says Dr Marcus Ewig.
Rhenus Automotive has 67 business sites around the world; in addition to China and Germany, it operates in the USA, Belgium, Poland, Spain and Russia.