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Both the automotive molding and semi-finished plastics businesses of German group Röchling Group have announced the opening of new facilities in the past few days. Röchling Automotive has moved into a 36,000-square-meter property in Wackersdorf, Germany, and has transferred machinery from a facility in a nearby innovation park which it was leasing from its customer BMW.
The total investment in the new facility, which started construction in May 2013, was 23 million euros. In the first stage of operation, the production area in the new plant covers 3,300 square meters, and the logistical area totals 4,000 square meters.
"Our newly opened plant conforms to our high production standards and also offers the possibility of future expansions," said Ulrich Mauss, executive vice president of Röchling Automotive.
The company already plans an initial expansion in 2015. It expects to add another 1,000 square meters for production and 1,500 square meters for logistics. It also suggested a further expansion could take place after the first one to double the working space.
The Wackersdorf plant's main customer is BMW, but it also serves Porsche, Plastic Omnium, Opel, Hella and Behr, Faurecia, and Magna Steyr. The plastic parts it produces are for the underbody, wheel arches and liners, engine compartment covers, and air duct systems with controlled shutter systems and windshield cowls.
"Additional parts are now an intake silencer and air filters for BMW, including robot assembly," said Mauss.
Even before the move, Röchling Automotive increased the number of employees in Wackersdorf from 127 to 132. It said that by the end of 2014, it should have 140 employees and in addition, four new apprentice positions will be created.
"We are very pleased about keeping the jobs in Wackersdorf and Röchling's further expansion plans," said Thomas Falter, mayor of Wackersdorf, who attended the opening ceremony.
Röchling said it has also upgraded its machinery, including an injection molding machine with a clamping force of 1,000 tonnes. By the end of this year, another injection molding machine should be put into service, it said. Equipment has also been added for material drying.
Separately, Röchling Engineering Plastics said it has inaugurated its first manufacturing plant for semi-finished thermoplastics in Savli, India.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Manoj Kumar, managing director of Röchling Engineering Plastics (India) Pvt. Ltd. said: "Röchling plans to produce approximately 1,000 tonnes of engineering plastics in India in the year 2014 and future expansions are already planned."
He expects the employee total of 40 to increase to 65 this year.