New production hall inaugurated at Wilo
Wilo is continuing to expand its location at Dortmund-Hörde with the new electronics competence centre for the entire company group. After 15 months of construction activity, the pump manufacturer has now put its new production hall for electronic components into service.
The company invested approximately 5 million marks in the building alone. Another 5.4 million marks were required for the highly modern production machinery. All 110 staff in the Electronic Department within the so-called Competence Center Electronics (CCE) have now been accommodated in the new premises. Not only the production department but also the development and purchasing sections. The new building has created another 43 jobs within the strategically important sector. According to the head of CCE, Dr. Klaus Weiß, demand continues to exist, above all for engineers.
Highly modern production methods
In the production hall, which measures 1,400 square metres, it is planned to produce 600,000 electronic modules per year for the worldwide Wilo-Samson group. Around 80 percent of these components are incorporated directly within pumps made in the Dortmund plant. To ensure both efficiency and high standards of production quality, such modern production techniques are used such as one-piece flow and just-in-time production. Each member of the production staff guides 'his' module, in small assembly units, from the first to the last machine, and therefore carries direct responsibility for the quality of the product. Transport channels and warehousing are reduced to a minimum with this new process, in comparison to conventional conveyor-belt production, and as a result there is an increase in productivity. No more large machines which must always be kept running at capacity, and which dictate the progress of the production process; now the team in the assembly unit can carry out production based on demand, thanks to the new work time model. This philosophy also guarantees flexibility in times of sudden increases in demand, which can occur for instance as a result of special sales campaigns. A short time ago, for example, 10,000 pumps were required at short notice as a result of such a campaign. Weiß is convinced that 'External suppliers would not be able to supply such a large number of electronic components at such short notice." This is another argument in favour of the company creating its own production plant.
High efficiency thanks to electronics
Since the introduction of the first pumps with integral regulators by Wilo GmbH at the end of the 1980s, the importance of this technology has continued to increase. Thanks to the electronic control devices, the pumps used in building engineering applications no longer run continually at full power but they adapt their output automatically according to the user's requirements. This allows for a reduction in electricity consumption of up to 50 percent in comparison to conventional pumps. For large heating systems, electronic pumps have for a long time no longer been prescribed.
Electronic components also play a central role in the new high efficiency pump by Wilo, the Wilo-Stratos, which is suitable for use in both heating and cooling systems. The new EC motor, which virtually doubles the efficiency of the pump in comparison to conventional wet-running systems, owes its existence to the precise electronic control afforded by the use of electronics. A microprocessor continually detects the position of the rotor and provides constant torque by means of an absolutely precise supply of current to the coils. The torque is transmitted to the main running wheel of the pump. "It is the use of electronic modules which enables a pump such as this one to exist with such low energy consumption," says the head of product development Dr. Stephan Greitzke. This development has already celebrated its first fruits of success – the Stratos won the Dortmund Environmental Prize.
"Electronically regulated pumps are set to become the standard in building engineering“, emphasises CCE head Weiß. "Since Wilo has been setting standards in this field since the start, electronics has become one of our central core competencies." This fact led to the company deeming it appropriate to set up the Competence Center Electronics back in 1999. The expertise and the technological lead which the company possesses can only be expanded still further as a result of the new production centre in Dortmund.
Since 1928 Wilo has been developing and manufacturing innovative pumps and pumping systems for technical building services, industry and systems construction. The core product line consists mainly of circulation pumps for HVAC applications, as well as pumps and pumping systems for water supply, rainwater utilization, pressure boosting, and dirt and waste water removal.
Sales and customer service are handled worldwide with great expertise by their own employees. Wilo products can be purchased through local HVAC and plumbing specialists.
The Wilo Group with its 2,772 employees had over 432 mil. EUR in sales in the year 2000, and is among the largest pump manufacturers in the world.
Source: WILO SE