Chiron Group celebrated the official opening of its new Precision Factory with a large number of guests from industry and politics. The building was constructed specially for the assembly of new machine series which combine productivity and precision in an unprecedented way. Optimized assembly and logistics processes in the plant will also ensure shorter delivery times.
With a maximum annual production capacity of 400 machining centers, the nearly 150,000-sq.-ft. Chiron Precision Factory in Neuhausen, Germany, is currently the most modern machine factory in Europe. Costing more than $38 million and completed in just 15 months, the greenfield building is the largest single investment in almost 100 years of Chiron's corporate history.
According to Dr. Markus Flik, chairman of the board of management of Chiron, "The combination of productivity and maximum precision is what makes our new machine series so unique – and unique machines need a unique factory."
From left to right: Dr. Markus Flik, chairman of the board of management of Chiron; Toni Driesch and Stephan Hoberg, representatives of Holding Hoberg & Driesch; Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, Baden-Württemberg Minister for Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing Construction; and Michael Beck, mayor of Tuttlingen.
Chiron Precision Factory sets standards for the digital age
In planning and equipping the new factory, IT experts and production planners sought to maximize digitalization of the machine production process in order to achieve high productivity and traceable assembly quality. The plant layout is designed for optimal material flow with logistics spine for all flows of people and materials; centralized final assemblies, technical offices and logistics areas; and central order picking for machines and systems.
The plant operation was also designed to be paperless. “The digital assembly folders and logistics bookings are important milestones on the road to a paperless factory,” a company spokesman said. A pick-by-light system helps the order picker to access stored parts quickly and securely.
For testing and quality assurance purposes and as a reference point, the delivery state of the machines is documented through what the company refers to as a digital fingerprint, which contains all data related to each machine.
Also, the Chiron Precision Factory makes an important contribution towards climate protection: waste heat produced by the machines during test runs is used to heat the factory. In fact, the plant environment is controlled through a Smart factory cockpit for managing air conditioning, lighting and camera systems.
The new central logistics department at the Neuhausen plant combines the Chiron Precision Factory with the existing assembly halls to form an integrated Chiron campus. The large and future-oriented project was successfully completed without delays or budget overruns, the company reported.
Path to the future
"Here at Chiron, we are counteracting the currently difficult market environment through state-of-the-art machines and higher productivity," summarized Flik. "Over the last few years we have purposefully invested in further training of our skilled workforce and we are now well-equipped to produce our new series in Neuhausen.
"We built the Chiron Precision Factory specially for our new machining centers, the 16 and 25 series, currently available on the market. New machine designs will follow. The highly modern factory will satisfy the special requirements relating to precise assembly of these highly accurate machine tools.
“With our 16 series machining centers, Chiron's customers today produce such complex components as battery cases for electric vehicles, aluminum and structural components for the automotive and aerospace industries, and implants for the medical technology industry. The new series are proving popular on the market and represent our path to the future."
Honored guests also shared key observations about Chiron’s major initiative.
"With the opening of the new Precision Factory, Chiron demonstrates it is actively meeting the challenges of the 21st century. That's because this factory combines the very best what our machine tool industry in Baden-Württemberg has to offer: machines which combine maximum productivity with the highest possible precision and therefore set standards for the digital age," said Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, member of the Baden-Württemberg State Parliament and Baden-Württemberg Minister for Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing Construction, in her speech during the official opening ceremony.
And from the mayor of Chiron’s headquarters city, "I am delighted that one of the most modern machine tool factories in Germany has been built by our company. In times when there is a great deal of talk about the impending economic downturn, this factory is an important signal for our town and the entire region," emphasized Michael Beck, mayor of Tuttlingen.
Related Glossary Terms
Cone-shaped pins that support a workpiece by one or two ends during machining. The centers fit into holes drilled in the workpiece ends. Centers that turn with the workpiece are called “live” centers; those that do not are called “dead” centers.
- quality assurance ( quality control)
quality assurance ( quality control)
Terms denoting a formal program for monitoring product quality. The denotations are the same, but QC typically connotes a more traditional postmachining inspection system, while QA implies a more comprehensive approach, with emphasis on “total quality,” broad quality principles, statistical process control and other statistical methods.