Around €150,000 (£131,000) is being invested in STARCO’s tyre and wheel production facility in Crewe as part of a €2.5 million project to strengthen manufacturing capabilities in Europe. The Danish company’s site in the UK will receive new equipment that will automate the polymer wheel and puncture-proof polyurethane tyre production that takes place there. A STARCO representative told Tyrepress.com the installation of this new machinery will lift capacity and will also facilitate the development of new designs that ensure the plant’s continued competitiveness.
The investment in Crewe and at the steel wheel factory Beli Manastir, Croatia follows the divestment of numerous STARCO aftermarket businesses and a growing focus on the original equipment segment. The company’s manufacturing capabilities in Europe are being strengthened to meet demand of current and future OE customers. “A strategic shift like this can obviously create many questions in the market – both about our future and about our financial situation,” comments Richard Todd, chief executive officer at STARCO. “The fact is that our direction is clearer and more aligned than ever, and our financial foundation is stronger than in previous years.
“Our OE focus is fundamental,” Todd continues. “I truly believe we bring the most value to our customers when we use our extensive application knowledge, product development skills, unique manufacturing setup and of course, not forgetting our 55 years of experience.”
The recent realignment towards the original equipment segment has already led to a number of changes at being made STARCO’s factory in Croatia, and even more will occur in 2017. The company intends for production volumes in Beli Manastir to rise by 20 per cent during the course of this year, a level of growth made possible by an initiative started in 2016 to install new equipment and lift productivity through the further application of Lean methodology.
“We are experiencing a stronger demand from the market for our products,” comments Mario Biscan, managing director of the Beli Manastir site. Biscan notes that the plant’s e-coat and paint capacity doubled last year, as did pressed wheel capacity. Capacity to manufacture spun wheels rose by 40 per cent in 2016. The plant manager adds that STARCO will “now start to invest in automation projects throughout the factory in 2017.”
According to Biscan, the current investments at the wheel production plant are complemented by “shop floor” suggestions from employees; he says these led to the implementation of 75 larger initiatives and more than 150 minor ideas for improvement in 2016. “Even though many of the ideas are small, when combined, they are significant and keep us one step ahead – and make us a proud team.”
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