2022: Well Mastered Despite Difficult Circumstances
As part of the seniors’ and jubilarians’ ceremonies of KIRCHHOFF Automotive at the German sites, the shareholders J. Wolfgang and Arndt G. Kirchhoff reported retrospectively on the 2022 financial year. In view of the current challenges, they said it had been a difficult year. Nevertheless, they see the company well positioned for the future.
The consequences of Russia's war of aggression on Ukraine, continued bottlenecks in the supply chain, and uncertainties in customer call-offs were a burden. On the positive side, however, he said, was the advancing mobility revolution. "We have continuously developed and optimized safety-relevant lightweight components, especially with regard to changed car bodies and requirements for e-vehicles. This gives us confidence for the future," said CEO J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff.
Many new products and safety structural parts for e-vehicles have been successfully started up on new equipment at KIRCHHOFF Automotive's European and North American plants this year. In North America, two years of detailed research and development work on the use of Gen-3 steel resulted in the first order for a crash-relevant component made of this material. The plants in Shenyang/China and Craiova/Romania are currently undergoing extensive expansion specifically for the startup of new products for electric vehicles.
At the main plant in Iserlohn, more than 9 million euros were invested in new technologies and equipment in 2022 with the aim of producing economical and crash-relevant lightweight components for the vehicles of the future. For an aluminum underride guard, a state-of-the-art welding line based on the one-piece flow principle was put into operation in Iserlohn on an area of around 1,000 m². A second fully automated production line for the manufacture of bumpers for the BMW iX platform started volume production in June.
At the Attendorn site, more than €8 million was invested in new equipment for the electric platforms of customers VW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz as well as for plant expansions and e-charging columns in 2022. A complex production line is used to create the inner wheel arches for the two e-vehicles Audi e-tron and ID. Buzz and, in the future, for the entire VW MEB (modular e-drive system) platform. KIRCHHOFF Automotive manufactures the C-pillar for the Mercedes-Benz GLC on two new standard welding lines. The installation of another welding line for the Ford MEB platform is planned for 2023.
In the prototype shop in Attendorn, the work area was expanded by a quarter to over 3,000 m², a new double-robot spot welding system with turntable was procured, and a laser welding system was upgraded. The shipping area was also extensively expanded: finished parts are now stored on an additional 1,100 m² before being shipped to the customer.
"Thanks to our dedicated employees, who have shown great commitment and flexibility in these times, we were also able to cope very well with this year, given the circumstances," say J. Wolfgang and Arndt G. Kirchhoff.
You can read more about the 2022 financial year review and 2023 outlook in the winter edition of K>MOBIL: https://www.kirchhoff-automotive.com/deEN/media/downloads.