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Draxlmaier open its first manufacturing plant in California

By Dave Leggett | 24 October 2017

The Draxlmaier Group has celebrated the opening of its new California manufacturing site in Livermore. The festivities, which took place inside the  facility located at 801 Challenger Street, were attended by numerous political, business and community representatives, including City of Livermore Mayor John Marchand and California State Assemblywoman Catherine Baker.

"California is an exceptionally attractive economic centre," said Barbara Bergmeier, board member and head of operations for the Draxlmaier Group, in her address to the invited guests, which were joined by the more than 230 employees currently working at the plant site. "You can feel the unbelievably inspiring, innovative atmosphere. That makes us particularly proud of establishing our first-ever production site in Livermore on the US West Coast."

The German automotive supplier has invested more than US$24m so far into the 290,000 sq ft facility inside The Oaks Logistics Centre at the outskirts of Livermore. Today, the built-to-suit production hall houses the most technologically-advanced equipment for the manufacture and sequencing of interior components, such as door panels and trim parts for premium automobiles. It also features a logistics centre to coordinate the sequencing of finished products right to the production lines at the customers. Production competences at the facility include injection molding, lamination, sub-assembly and final assembly.

"The plant in Livermore is one of our most modern, most efficient production sites," Bergmeier said. "In this Smart Factory, we consistently implement all the possibilities of automation. We offer our employees an attractive working environment with the highest standards. Apart from that, we are continually investing in the education and training of our employees."

The supplier has been setting up the site from scratch in February to be production-ready this fall; it has already created more than 230 new jobs in the process. With production to ramp up in the next months, it is expected that this number will continue to grow and surpass the initially target of 300 employees the Draxlmaier Group planned to hire by the end of 2018.

"Eight months from start to finish – that's truly incredible," said Marchand. "This is a perfect partnership and it's natural that Draxlmaier chose to come to Livermore because we are an innovation hub with an entrepreneurial ecosystem that has fostered and grown here." To welcome the Draxlmaier Group to the greater Livermore community, the mayor presented a proclamation to the company's management. "The city council of City of Livermore wishes you a long and successful future in Livermore," Marchand said.

"You are in a wonderful valley and a wonderful city," said Baker (R-16th Assembly District) as she presented Bergmeier and plant manager Andrew Bailey with a resolution from the Californian State Assembly. "You are a pioneering company and one that takes great pride in what you do and the people that you work with – and that fits in so well with this valley. I look forward for you to grow and succeed and expand in this area."

The Draxlmaier Group has been present in California since 2014, operating a sequencing centre in Fremont at the time. After acquiring new orders from its Californian customers, the company decided to set up a manufacturing site in the Bay Area to cut down on transportation costs. After a thorough review process of prospective locations, the company selected its present location in Livermore. Today, the site also houses the logistics operations formally located in Fremont.

Bergmeier thanked the state of California, particularly the state agencies CalBIS and Go-Biz, and the City of Livermore's Office of Innovation and Economic Development for their support and cooperation. "We are proud to take part in strengthening the economic centre in California by investing in the new site in Livermore," Bergmeier said. "With this step, we can once again prove our lasting, sustainable commitment in the US."

Added Bailey: "Livermore has been a wonderful place for us. We had a big support system to get us going and we look forward to continuing to grow here in the future."

A Tier I supplier to the international automotive industry, the Draxlmaier Group has been manufacturing complex electrical systems and elegant interiors for premium automakers in the Americas for more than 40 years. The company has nine production sites in the region, including its US headquarters in Duncan, South Carolina, where it has been manufacturing interior systems since 1996. In addition to the manufacturing sites in California and South Carolina, the Draxlmaier Group also maintains a logistics hub in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and an engineering office in Mountain View, California.