Continental has announced the official opening of its new Powertrain plant in Wuhu, China. Representing an investment of almost EUR28m (US$31.5m) for land and building, phase I involves a total built area of more than 24,000 sqm (258,334 sq ft), housing 22 production lines. The shop floor is also equipped with a quality analysis room, a spare parts room and a sample room. In the course of the ramp-up, more than 600 new jobs will be created at the location.
“China is the world’s largest automotive market and I am delighted to witness the opening of the new Powertrain facility in Wuhu,” said Andreas Wolf, CEO of Powertrain. “Our new plant in Wuhu is not only a reaction to the growing demand for Powertrain technologies in China, driven by local and global emission targets, but also demonstrates our strong confidence in and commitment to our local customers and business partners.”
“With the fast development of China’s urbanisation, air pollution in China’s key urban areas is a significant issue, and with 1.4bn Chinese people there is a huge demand for clean mobility,” said Enno Tang, president and CEO of Continental China. “The opening of our new facility in Wuhu enhances our capability to meet customer requirements in terms of both combustion and electric technologies. “With its strong production footprint in China, Powertrain is pursuing its ‘local for local’ strategy to better serve the customers in the region. “The extended facility will further enlarge our product portfolio in China,” commented Gregoire Cuny, Head of Powertrain China. “Going forward we will further enhance our local competence in electrification and low-emission drivetrain technologies, helping to build clean mobility for local customers.”
New facility boosts Powertrain production capacity
Starting in July 2019, a variety of drivetrain products, including thermal management components as well as sensors and actuators for internal combustion engines and new energy vehicles, will be produced in the new plant.
One key product is the Coolant Flow Control Valve (CFCV). This new multi-port valve is part of Powertrain’s thermal management system. It serves to flexibly switch heating and cooling circuits so as to route available heat or cold to the right places. Thermal management is increasingly relevant to all vehicle types because it improves efficiency as well as range of an EV. Start of production of a first volume order for an electric vehicle is scheduled to take place in China towards the end of 2019.
Smart factory enables increased productivity
The new facility will feature smart factory solutions. In terms of intelligent logistics, for example, it is planned to use autonomous Automated Guided Vehicles (aAGV) within a smart fleet management system. For the design of the new production lines, the low-cost automation (LCA) concept was adopted, leading to significant cost reduction and quality improvement. Driving towards Industry 4.0, Continental’s future smart factory will be more flexible, connected and robotised, for better yield and faster insight-to-action in the interests of higher quality and agility. Powertrain is also committed to establishing a climate-friendly facility. A variety of energy-saving solutions have been adopted in the areas of infrastructure, production equipment, and the overall facility energy control system.