IZB: Three Successful Days for KIRCHHOFF Automotive

The largest trade fair for suppliers took place in Wolfsburg, from October 11 to 13. After a break of four years due to the coronavirus pandemic, 940 international suppliers (more than ever before) were attracted to the IZB. In Volkswagen's hometown, KIRCHHOFF Automotive also presented its latest innovations and solutions for e-mobility.

Our trade fair presence was based on the motto “MAKING.MOBILITY.SAFE.”, because our economical lightweight products ensure that even in the vehicles of the future, people are optimally protected in the event of an accident. The best example: an aluminum underride protection for the VW MEB platform. With this product, we are supplying (for the first time!) a component in series production, which, together with other components, ultimately forms the battery module and protects it.

VW has now become one of our most important customers. We supply many of our core products to VW, including various structural parts (some of them safety-relevant). These items are constructed in a lightweight design using new hot-forming grades.

Johannes Schauf, director of sales VW, was optimistic: "The discussions with our customer testified to mutual trust and common objectives. Our open booth, the way we presented ourselves, and the atmosphere we were able to create was a perfect fit."

To see more about our booth this year.


A Smart Luxury Flagship SUV for Families

KIRCHHOFF Automotive also ensures safety in the new Lixiang L9. The six-seat luxury SUV is a space wonder and offers extremely comfortable space for many occupants. The L9 was officially launched on June 21, 2022.

Compared to its first model Lixiang One, Lixiang L9 offers an all-round improvement in interior space, safety, comfort and entertainment.

Lixiang L9 not only meets the highest safety standards of the C-NCAP (China-New Car Assessment Program) and the C-IASI (China-Insurance Automotive Safety Index), but also sets a higher level of safety standards for the brand: both sides of the 25% small offset crash will achieve the highest rating of G. G (“good”) represents the highest safety level in the C-IASI assessment, compared to A (“acceptable”, M (“marginal”) and P (“poor”).

KIRCHHOFF Automotive has developed all-aluminum front and rear bumpers and cross car beam for Lixiang L9. The all-aluminum bumpers not only help to lighten the body, but also effectively absorb the impact energy in the event of a front or rear collision, protecting every family member in the car as much as possible.

The Lixiang L9 replaces the traditional LCD dashboard and all physical buttons on the panel with two 15.7-inch OLED control touchscreen and a passenger entertainment touchscreen. The choice of an all-aluminum cross car beam involved thermal deformation challenges, which meant a higher level of design and manufacture capabilities for KIRCHHOFF Automotive. By constantly adjusting the position of the holes of the brackets, we were able to meet the tight tolerances required to keep the two screens safer and more secure while achieving lightweight and improved stiffness of the front structure.

The cooperation between KIRCHHOFF Automotive and Lixiang started with the first generation of the One, which has demonstrated excellent performance in the Chinese market over the past two years. This has also provided KIRCHHOFF Automotive China with increasing development experience in light-weighting and crash safety management for electric vehicle bodies. In the future, KIRCHHOFF Automotive will continue to explore the Chinese market and bring lighter and safer products to this market.


The truck of the future drives electrically...

and of course with body elements from KIRCHHOFF Automotive. Around 1400 exhibitors from 42 countries are presenting their innovations for transportation and logistics at the IAA Transportation in Hanover.

KIRCHHOFF Automotive will be there together with ENGINIUS, the new brand for hydrogen trucks from KIRCHHOFF Ecotec. Central topics at the world's largest mobility event are climate protection, alternative drives, digital networking and concepts for the growing delivery traffic in cities. With ENGINIUS, the KIRCHHOFF Group has an absolutely unique selling point at the trade fair. The hydrogen vehicles with fuel cells are currently the only ones with a European type approval. Around 30 waste collection vehicles are already in daily use in many cities in Germany, largely without noise and above all without emissions. The interest in the joint stand of the two largest divisions of the KIRCHHOFF Group is correspondingly high. Lower Saxony's Minister President Stephan Weil and the President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) Hildegard Müller also visited KIRCHHOFF Automotive/ENGINIUS with many accompanying journalists.


Support for Startups in the Circular Economy

Until October 7, 2022, interested startups can apply for the Accelerator Program by Circular Valley. This program supports them in implementing their innovative business ideas and technologies. KIRCHHOFF Automotive is part of an extensive network that assists the startups.

"What Silicon Valley is for digitalization, Circular Valley is for the circular economy. The goal is to develop concepts for emission control and waste avoidance and recycling," explains Christoph Wagener, Vice President, Research and Product Development, at KIRCHHOFF Automotive.

The program itself runs from December 2022 to February 2023. In it, innovative startups from all over the world work together and take part in customized expert workshops and training modules. The focus is also on individual support from numerous coaches, and access to a network of over 100 partners from business and science - including KIRCHHOFF Automotive.

"In today's world, the circular economy with the goal of conserving natural resources is becoming more and more important. The goal for Germany as a high-tech location must be to take a leading position in this. Circular Valley can play a significant role in bringing together the know-how of startups, science and industry to create circular economy technologies," says Prof. Christoph Wagener.

For more information, visit https://circular-valley.org/tender_batch4


Innovative Together

Together with the hydrogen start-up ENGINIUS, KIRCHHOFF Automotive presents safe and sustainable mobility at the IAA Transportation. Both are companies of the KIRCHHOFF Group.

From September 20-25, 2022, KIRCHHOFF Automotive will present crash-relevant products for the commercial vehicle sector, as a co-exhibitor at the ENGINIUS booth. The booth will be at the world's most important platform for the future of the commercial vehicle industry. Our metal structural parts for commercial vehicles are characterized by decades of experience in processing high-strength steel up to 12mm. Using the latest technologies and an optimal mix of materials, we ensure crash-proof chassis and drive components - even for alternatively powered vehicles.

ENGINIUS is a subsidiary of the FAUN division of the KIRCHHOFF Group and manufactures hydrogen-powered vehicles. The objective is climate-neutral load transport. Here you can read here an interview with Patrick Hermanspann, CEO of the FAUN Group, on the subject of hydrogen propulsion.


A Successful Apprentice Workshop

This summer, nine apprentices successfully passed their exams at the German locations of KIRCHHOFF Automotive. All of them could be hired in full-time roles. Congratulations!

"The apprenticeship was very diverse. I was able to perform various activities in different departments. I am very happy that we have our own training workshop in Iserlohn. Our trainers have always stood by us," says Eren Gülmez.

Educating and training young people is a high priority at our company worldwide. In Germany, we provide training under the dual system, a combination of school-based instruction and practical training in the company. We also enable students in other countries such as Poland, Portugal, and Mexico to gain practical experience in our companies.


The summer issue of K>MOBIL is here!

Two years of pandemic and now a war in Europe. The KIRCHHOFF Group is faced with essential tasks: seeking economic success and social balance as well as further developing our sustainability management. Please read the latest issue of K>MOBIL.

Here you will learn how we are tackling these challenges and what solutions we have already implemented. We see the main topic of sustainability not only as an obligation for future generations, but also as an opportunity to make the companies of the KIRCHHOFF Group even stronger and more economically successful in competition.

We would also like to refer to these contents:

  • Ideas become ideals - ENGINIUS is the new brand under which FAUN is putting hydrogen-powered trucks on the road.
  • Convincing concept for a highly complex component: KIRCHHOFF Automotive develops new front axle beam
  • The new bit from WITTE Tools is held in place simply by placing it on the bolt head
  • Mobility without limits - KIRCHHOFF Mobility offers individually adapted vehicle conversions for people with limited mobility, also in e-vehicles

The publisher of K>MOBIL, Arndt G. Kirchhoff, and the entire editorial team wish you an enjoyable read and a relaxing summer. Stay healthy!


Our Suppliers of the Year – Virtually Awarded for the First Time!

On June 23, 2022, KIRCHHOFF Automotive honored its best suppliers of the year with the Supplier of the Year award (SOY) via a festive web conference.

There are three categories: capital and tooling, bought in parts, and raw materials. German mechanical engineering company ARKU, Polish company GRUPA KETY, and Korean steel group POSCO won “best supplier” in each category respectively.

"Particularly in these difficult times, we were able to rely fully on the suppliers who received awards today," said Klaus Lawory, vice president of procurement, praising the effective cooperation between companies. Award selection was determined upon outstanding quality and high delivery reliability, as well as a high degree of further development and technological progress.


A Future Model for Better Sustainability: RSCI Wins Award

The VDA and the Responsible Supply Chain Initiative RSCI e. V. have won the German Award for Sustainability Projects in the supply chain category. Our company is one of the 15 founding members of the initiative.

The association's work focuses on reviewing and further developing the sustainability of companies’ supply chains by means of on-site assessments and corresponding tracking. With the program developed specifically for this purpose, the effort, costs, and ultimately the results can be shared, thus avoiding multiple audits. The program promotes supplier development and contributes to the further development and continuous improvement of sustainability.  The aim of the association is to support all players in the automotive sector by establishing a high level of sustainability in supply chains.

"We are delighted that our initiative has been awarded the German Sustainability Award and would especially like to thank all the founding members involved for the good work they have done in setting it up. RSCI will continue to develop, grow, and become an increasingly important tool for corporate due diligence within the automotive industry in the future," said Frank Rehder, RSCI's CEO.

"Companies have a responsibility to the environment and people all over the world. To ensure more environmental protection, occupational safety, and to promote sustainability, RSCI e.V. is of central importance. We are sure that the association will soon be able to look forward to many more members," says VDA Managing Director Andreas Rade.

The "German Award for Sustainability Projects 2022" in the "Supply Chain" category is presented by the news channel ntv, the DUP UNTERNEHMER magazine, and the German Institute for Service Quality.

The picture shows the founding members of RSCI 2021.

Info: Founding members of the association RSCI e.V.:

  • Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW Group)
  • Brose Fahrzeugteile SE & Co. KG
  • Business Network for Corporate Responsibility AISBL
  • Daimler AG
  • Dr. Ing. h.c. Porsche AG
  • Ford-Werke GmbH
  • KIRCHHOFF Automotive GmbH
  • Magna International (Germany) GmbH
  • MAN Truck & Bus SE
  • Robert Bosch GmbH
  • Schaeffler AG
  • Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA) e.V.
  • Volkswagen AG


Awarded Again!

Awarded once again: the KIRCHHOFF Automotive plant in Attendorn (Germany) has been re-certified as a recognized training company, and the plant in Esztergom (Hungary) has been awarded the title of "Reliable Employer 2022/2023"!

In the online recertification with 22 test points, the trainers made the strong training at the Attendorn plant transparent. The trainees were also surveyed. Overall, the plant completed the re-certification with an A grade (over 86%).

"In today's world, it has become much harder to find young people for in-person training in our areas. Here, the Training South Westphalia quality seal is a good way to stand out from other companies; we draw attention to ourselves as a company with excellent training and training standards," says Martin Kleine, technical trainer.

The German-Hungarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DUIHK) has awarded the Esztergom plant (Hungary) the title of "Reliable Employer". This is awarded to companies that provide exemplary care for the working and living conditions of their employees. We have once again proven that our employees are the heart of our company. We are proud of this honor and hope that all our colleagues share our joy!