SAO JOSE DOS PINHAIS, BRAZIL — Rutgers Kunststoff Technik GmbH of Kongen, Germany, is a key VW/Audi subsupplier, molding front-end main supports for Tier 1 supplier Hella-Arteb SA.
The parts are compression molded from glass-mat-reinforced thermoplastic polypropylene.
``It's a local novelty in two senses: It represents the first GMT application in Brazil and is the first front-end module produced in the country,'' said Paulo Ricardo Schulz, general manager at Rutgers Automotive do Brasil Ltda.
Rutgers' 32,000-square-foot Brazilian facility is right in front of the Tier 1 suppliers' park, where Hella-Arteb is based.
That proximity helps to improve product delivery logistics and contributes to maintaining the precise geometry of the parts, which are transported on racks, Schulz said.
Rutgers' building features a 56-foot-high ceiling, to house the main compression molding machinery.
The $5.4 million plant features a Dieffenbacher press with 2,500 tons of clamping force, plus a fully automatic milling line. The two 25-ton tools, used to mold different designs of front-end main supports for the VW Golf and Audi A3 models, were constructed by German firms.
According to Schulz, machinery and tools absorbed roughly half of the total investment.
Schulz said Rutgers is importing GMT from a German supplier, since the company has no GMT suppliers in Brazil.
Rutgers' new facility was conceived to fill VW/Audi's need for front-end main supports, and to serve other automakers in Brazil.
Currently, the plant employs 11 and is in the final phase of approving its parts with the carmaker.
Rutgers in Germany already supplies front-end main supports for the VW Golf. Rutgers Kunststoff Technik is a subsidiary of Rutgers Automotive AG of Essen, Germany.