Austrian auto lighting supplier ZKW Group is continuing to expand its production capacity on three continents after recording record sales in 2015 of 728 million euros ($813 million).
The group, based in Wieselburg, Austria, develops and manufactures premium lighting systems at plants in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, China, India, Mexico. It also has a sales and development office in Troy, Mich.
Last year, ZKW completed the addition of two more production facilities, taking the manufacturing area to 13,000 square meters at its plant in Vratimov, Czech Republic. This plant also makes wiring harnesses for the auto industry.
The group has also finished the second and final expansion stages at its China plant in Dalian growing the production space to 35,000 square meters.
In May, ZKW opened a new $70 million headlights plant with a production hall of almost 22,000 square meters at Silao, Mexico. The facility, which is set to create 320 jobs by 2018, is expected to reach its full annual 700,000 headlamps capacity with yearly sales of around $86.5 million into the NAFTA trade area in 2019.
The plant is equipped with the latest technology including hard coating systems for plastic headlights, with a range of injection machines and metallising lines for processing light reflectors.
The site will support ZKW's growth in "premium" headlights for North America, the company said.
ZKW's strategic goal for this year is continued growth and further expansion of regional capacities. “We will continue to focus on developing and manufacturing premium front lighting systems and innovative LED electronic modules for vehicles.
“With the next growth steps we expect to increase sales by around 25 percent to approximately 916 million euros ($1 billion) in the current fiscal year,” said group CEO Oliver Schubert.
His firm is already extending production at its main Austrian site in Wieselburg where it is investing 35 million euros ($39 million) in a new lens production plant to open in September. ZKW completed a new ultra modern coating center which will turn out up to 3 million hard coated diffusion discs a year on the nearby Haag industrial zone.
This autumn, ZKW will start work on expanding its electronics production base at its second Austrian site of Wiener Neustadt.
Overall, the group increased its international workforce from 4,700 to more than 6,000 as a result of the major expansion projects last year.