EnglishChange

23-01-24

New Address: Esztergom Plant in Kirchhoff alley

In memory of Dr. Jochen F. Kirchhoff, MDs in Hungary have been working for some time to change the name of the public area in front of the Esztergom plant from King Matthias road (Mátyás király út) to Kirchhoff Alley (in Hungarian: “fasor”) .

The year 2024 seems to be off to a good start for them, as the local government has officially approved the renaming of the road in front of the Esztergom plant, so from this year onwards KIRCHHOFF Automotive's Hungarian headquarters will be located at Kirchhoff fasor 1.

"There is no doubt that we are immensely proud to rename the road in honor of a man, whom many of us look up to and cherish. The new production hall and the tree-lined street will be inaugurated at the end of May. By that time exactly 92 more trees will have been planted along the street, symbolizing the years of Dr Jochen F. Kirchhoff's life", shared Géza Körtvélyessy and Szilárd Méri, the Managing Directors of the Hungarian plant.

Several departments in the Hungarian team are currently working to ensure that the new address is written everywhere from invoices and communication interfaces to Google Maps.


17-01-24

On the right track

KIRCHHOFF Automotive is taking further steps to achieve its sustainability goals and decarbonize its supply chain: We have agreed with the Swedish company H2Green Steel to supply virtually emission-free steel to the tune of 130 million euros.

Both companies have signed a 7-year contract for this.

"The message from our customers is clear: they want products with a lower carbon footprint. This is in line with our ambition to play a pioneering role in sustainable development in the industry. Sustainability has always played an important role for us. It's great to be working with the new player in the market, H2 Green Steel. The team has really pushed the steel industry to do more and move faster in terms of sustainability," says Michael Rank, Global EVP Procurement.

KIRCHHOFF Automotive is working very ambitiously on the sustainability of the company and its supply chain, where steel is the main product component and accounts for 50% of material purchases.

90% of the CO2 footprint is currently determined by the use of conventionally produced steel and aluminum. Based on orders from international car manufacturers for future vehicle generations, KIRCHHOFF Automotive assumes that the demand for safe and sustainable body components will rise sharply in the coming years.

The agreement that has now been concluded provides for green steel from the H2 Green Steel plant in Boden/Sweden to be supplied to KIRCHHOFF Automotive plants throughout Europe from 2027.

KIRCHHOFF Automotive has already started to determine the location of greenhouse gas emissions in its supply chain (Scope 3) in 2022, both upstream at suppliers and downstream at customers. In addition, the company is pursuing the overarching goal of establishing a high level of sustainability in the supply chains of the automotive industry, which is also reflected in the fact that KIRCHHOFF Automotive is one of the founding members of the "Responsible Supply Chain Initiative RSCI e. V." association.

"Suppliers to the automotive industry must align themselves with the ambitious plans set out by progressive car makers. But we also have a group of companies that are ahead of the others because they follow their own compass. KIRCHHOFF Automotive is one such company. They combine their impressive heritage with a strong focus on the future, where sustainable products are both a competitive advantage and important for the climate and sustainability goals," says Stephan Flapper, Head of Commercial, H2 Green Steel.

H2 Green Steel is committed to complying with Scope 1, 2 and upstream Scope 3 requirements as defined in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. The company has committed to a gross carbon emissions intensity per ton of steel in its customer contracts. The ongoing work to reduce emissions will have an impact on KIRCHHOFF Automotive's material supply chain and its upstream Scope 3 emissions.

The two companies will also collaborate on a circular economy initiative with the aim of returning at least 30% of steel scrap to H2 Green Steel's electric arc furnaces in Boden for recycling.


15-12-23

The winter issue of K>MOBIL is here!

We look back on a year that has not made doing business any easier.

In the current issue of K>MOBIL, you can read here how the KIRCHHOFF Group has met the current challenges and continued to grow in 2023.

Our economy continues to suffer from a shortage of raw materials, high energy prices, trade restrictions and sanctions and their impact on inflation. All this against the backdrop of advancing climate change and a growing shortage of skilled workers. Despite these difficult conditions, the KIRCHHOFF Group was able to close the year with a reasonable result. "The trust of our customers and the performance of our employees enabled us to achieve an extraordinary increase in sales performance, so that we expect healthy growth in the coming years as well," says Arndt G. Kirchhoff in the editorial of the current K>MOBIL. The KIRCHHOFF Group was able to expand its activities at many locations and drive forward technological innovations. We report on this and the following main topics in the current winter issue:

  • Editorial: "The world in transition" – looking back to 2023
  • Sustainability – A Core Value
  • 100th H2-powered waste collection vehicle delivered
  • Employer branding: promoting and inspiring young talent
  • Increasing degree of automation
  • FAUN and ZOELLER continue to grow
  • Successful trade fair appearances with new innovative products

The publisher of K>MOBIL, Arndt G. Kirchhoff, and the entire editorial team wish you an enjoyable read, relaxing holidays and a good start to a successful New Year.

In addition to the digital version for download, printed copies will be available from mid-December in the entrance areas and canteens, or at other central locations in our plants.


30-11-23

Clear Commitment to Sustainability and Climate Protection

KIRCHHOFF Automotive and thyssenkrupp Steel Europe (tkSE) have signed a memorandum of understanding to deepen their existing strategic partnership and reduce CO2 emissions.

Both companies have made a clear commitment to sustainability and climate protection. In order to reduce CO2 emissions in the production of metal structural parts from KIRCHHOFF Automotive, they have defined certain parameters for the supply of CO2 -reduced, modern hot-forming steels from the bluemint® Steel product family.

bluemint® Steel is a mass-balanced product with a reduced CO2 footprint. The supply of this steel to KIRCHHOFF Automotive is planned from the second half of 2026.

"By using modern, CO2-reduced steels, we are taking a further step towards more sustainability in our products. The majority of our CO2 footprint is caused by the use of the material we process. By using bluemint® steel from thyssenkrupp Steel, we will further reduce this and thus contribute to climate protection," said CEO J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff at the signing of the memorandum of understanding.

Dr. Heike Denecke-Arnold, Chief Operations Officer, thyssenkrupp Steel, added: "We are delighted to be working with our long-standing customer KIRCHHOFF Automotive to make the steel value chain even more sustainable in the future. By producing and using modern hot-forming steels with reduced CO2 intensity, we are making a contribution to an environmentally friendly future without compromising on product quality."

tkSE has already implemented initial measures to reduce CO2 emissions and offers steel products with a reduced CO2 footprint based on the use of recycled scrap in the blast furnace. With this bluemint®recycled material, around 1.35 tons (64 percent) of CO2 emissions can be saved compared to conventional hot-rolled strip. KIRCHHOFF Automotive can offset the CO2 reduction on a product-specific basis in the Scope 3 category. Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions in the supply chain that are a consequence of the company's activities but originate from independent external sources.

Compared to conventional steels, there are no restrictions in terms of product properties and qualities.

Info: tkSE, based in Duisburg/Germany, is the largest German steel manufacturer. The company's core business areas are steel production and the manufacture of flat products made of quality steel as well as the provision of services in the steel sector.


28-11-23

2023: Reasonable result despite difficult conditions

J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff, Chairman of the Management Board of KIRCHHOFF Automotive, looks back on a year that was once again characterized by many challenges at the seniors and jubilarians’ celebrations of KIRCHHOFF Automotive at the German locations. Nevertheless, he believes that the South Westphalian automotive supplier is well positioned for the future.

The past year has not made doing business any easier. After sales on the automotive market in the first few months of the year gave rise to hopes of an economic recovery, the economy cooled down in the second half of the year. The availability of raw materials, trade restrictions and sanctions, as well as their impact on inflation, determine the framework conditions for the reorganization of supply chains.

While new registrations of electric cars are increasing significantly, those of combustion engines and plug-in hybrids are continuing to decline. This is a positive development for KIRCHHOFF Automotive. This is because the South Westphalian automotive supplier develops and produces safety-relevant metal structural components, especially with regard to changes in car bodies and requirements such as those found in electric vehicles. The company can therefore currently look forward to a good and balanced order situation for new business.

Many new products and safety structural parts for electric vehicles have been successfully launched this year on new systems in the European and North American KIRCHHOFF Automotive plants. The focus was on the development of resource-saving and crash-relevant structural body parts in lightweight construction for combustion engines and electric vehicles.

KIRCHHOFF Automotive continued to invest in technologies and production facilities at its plants worldwide in 2023. New 1800 and 400-ton presses and modern welding systems were installed in the North American plants. One year after the start of production, the latest KIRCHHOFF Automotive plant in Atlanta/USA was officially inaugurated in May. In order to create sufficient capacity for the production of body-in-white parts and dashboard carriers for new customer programs, the plants in Puebla, Mexico, and Querétaro are being extensively expanded. A new construction phase at the Esztergom plant in Hungary was already initiated at the end of 2022 after orders for larger and more complex assemblies were won.

Conscious of its ecological responsibility, KIRCHHOFF Automotive is using low-carbon steel for the first time. To this end, the automotive supplier is cooperating with leading steel manufacturers such as ArcelorMittal, SSAB and, more recently, ThyssenKrupp, to work together on the development of low-carbon steel for cars and trucks. "We are already seeing the first signs of success," confirms J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff.

Almost six million euros were invested in new technologies and equipment at the KIRCHHOFF Automotive main plant in Iserlohn in 2023. Welding capacities have been further expanded for newly launched products. For example, the first semi-automatic machine, an automated robot system for projection welding of fasteners, went into series production in spring. In addition, the automation and digital control of highly complex production processes was further advanced. Many new product launches for current, predominantly e-vehicle models from major car manufacturers were successfully implemented this year.

At the Attendorn plant, over eight million euros were invested in new systems for the electric platforms of major car manufacturers and for plant expansions in 2023. Four new welding systems - two semi-automatic and two fully automatic - were put into operation for the production of new, highly sophisticated products.

"Despite the persistently difficult conditions, we were able to close the year with a reasonable result," says J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff. In 2023, KIRCHHOFF Automotive will achieve a turnover of 1,800 million euros with around 8,000 employees. "The trust of our customers and the performance of our employees enabled us to achieve an extraordinary increase in sales performance, so that we expect healthy growth in the coming years as well," says J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff.

You can read more about the 2023 financial year review and 2024 outlook in the winter edition of K>MOBIL.


15-11-23

Appreciated and Awarded

Our plant in Mielec, Poland has received the Award of Appreciation from our customer Hyundai CZ.

Changki Lee, President and CEO of Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech, thanked the entire KIRCHHOFF Automotive project and launch team for their excellent support during the start of production for the new Hyundai Kona Sx2e model.


10-11-23

Ten years together, a winning future

On October 30, our plant in Shenyang/China celebrated its 10th anniversary. Almost 100 guests attended the celebrations in the new factory hall no. 4, including high-ranking representatives of our customers, authorities and suppliers.

In the morning, before the guests arrived, CEO J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff held a speech for the employees and thanked them.

In their speeches, the invited guest speakers emphasized the sincere appreciation, fair cooperation, rapid development and continuous innovation. "For the chassis and body parts business, we need such a strong and professional partner. In this regard, we believe that KIRCHHOFF Automotive is an excellent partner who will continue BMW's core competencies in the market and grow with us. Ten years ago, our cooperation began with crash management components for the 5 Series, which were then used in other derivatives. The 10th anniversary celebration reflects the successes of the past years for BMW / BBA and KIRCHHOFF Automotive," said Ingo Kraus, Vice President Purchasing, QMP Powertrain, High Voltage Battery, Driving Dynamics of BMW China.

The highlight of the event was all the speakers on stage placing their right hand on a tool as if to countdown, until fireworks were set off at the end of the countdown and the words of the motto "Ten Years Together, A Winning Future" appeared on the big screen.

Timeline:

  • 07/2006: Foundation of KIRCHHOFF Automotive Suzhou in China
  • 01/2013: Foundation of KIRCHHOFF Automotive Shenyang Plant
  • 06/2014: Start of Serial Production of first CCB project for GM
  • 03/2016: Completion of second shop floor in Shenyang
  • 04/2016: First IATF16949 certificate for Shenyang
  • 02/2017: Introduction of CNC technology in Shenyang
  • 05/2017: Start of Serial Production of the first Front End project for BMW
  • 02/2021: number of employees in Shenyang reaches 100
  • 09/2021 Introduction of 1600 ton press in Shenyang
  • 10/2021: Completion of third shop floor in Shenyang
  • 03/2023: number of employees in Shenyang reaches 200
  • 05/2023: start of serial production of first chassis project for BMW
  • 08/2023: completion of fourth shop floor in Shenyang

16-10-23

Our 3rd Sustainability Report is Available!

Despite crises, we further strengthened our commitment to sustainability in 2022. This includes, for example, focusing on CO2 emissions reduction, both in our own business and in our supply, strengthening our social responsibility with further initiatives in health and safety, volunteering, and culture events.

The latest sustainability report is another step for our company in recognizing ESG aspects and our impact on the environment, people, and business ethics. We are measuring our sustainability performance with increasing maturity and thus we are able to better manage the topics that are significant to us and to our stakeholders”, says Anna Szklarz, Global Director CSR & Sustainability

The Sustainability Report provides a comprehensive overview of KIRCHHOFF Automotive's strategy, goals and performance in terms of governance, business ethics, environmental and social sustainability. In this third edition of our sustainability report, you will find many examples, figures, and graphs showing that we have continued to expand our activities on our way to sustainability.

You can download the current KIRCHHOFF Automotive Sustainability Report here.


06-09-23

"Now I feel safer when I'm in the car"

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has visited the KIRCHHOFF Automotive booth at the IAA Mobility. CEO J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff presented him the innovative instrument panel carrier in a shell design and a crash management system with high deformation capacity.

"The mission of KIRCHHOFF Automotive is to make cars safer," CEO J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff explained to the German chancellor. Together with the German Transport Minister Volker Wissing and VDA President Hildegard Müller, he visited the trade show booth of the medium-sized company, which has been producing since the early days of the automotive industry. The delegation was informed in detail about two of the safety components developed by the company.

One of the components is an aluminum crash management system that dissipates kinetic energy through deformation. KIRCHHOFF Automotive developed the profile together with Hammerer Aluminium Industries (HAI). What makes it special are the connection points to the side member. "In the event of a crash, the system holds without a weld seam failing," explained J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff. Therefore, he said this product is a special element for vehicle safety.

Another innovation that the chancellor took a closer look at is an instrument panel beam in shell design. "Most instrument panel beams have a tubular centerpiece, which is very cost-intensive," J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff explained. In addition to cost savings, KIRCHHOFF Automotive's product has the advantage of allowing for functional integration. For example, cables or ventilation guides can be incorporated.

"Those are the two things we are demonstrating here. Otherwise, there are many things here for vehicle safety," J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff concluded. In response, the chancellor affirmed, "Thank you very much. Now I feel safer when I'm in the car.


01-09-23

This is what we present at the IAA MOBILITY

It all starts in a few days: IAA MOBILITY in Munich kicks off on September 4 with the Press and Media Day. Our team is ready: Under the mission MAKING.MOBILITY.SAFE. we present body solutions that make tomorrow's mobility safe.

Innovative lightweight safety structural components ensure that people are optimally protected in the event of an accident. Our experts provide detailed insights into advanced solutions for safe mobility.

E-vehicle safety: crash management systems with large deformation capacity.

Our development goals include precisely matching load paths and components for optimal load application, ensuring continuous energy absorption over long intrusion paths without complete failure, and developing design concepts that are both material- and fabrication-appropriate. Here we offer two solutions: one made of aluminum and one made of steel.

The cost-optimized solution: steel crash management system

With this concept, we can ensure a very high level of passive safety in the future and significantly increase protection against corrosion. Pre-galvanized steels were used for this purpose, whose process-safe processing poses a challenge in particular to the joining technology. In addition to a MAG welding process optimized for galvanized materials, a fully laser-welded concept was realized for the first time. The steel crash management system (CMS) enables continuous energy absorption over long intrusion paths without complete failure.

The lightweight solution: aluminum crash management system

Lightweight solutions are becoming increasingly important, especially for e-vehicles. The crash management system (CMS) we have developed in close cooperation with Hammerer Aluminium Industries (HAI) made of aluminum withstands the strong intrusions that occur in a collision and combines and high structural integrity with lightweight construction. The deformability of this crash management system without significant failure is visible in a simulated crash setup at our booth.

Functional and safe: steel instrument panel beam in open-shell design

With the newly developed instrument panel beam in open shell design, we are expanding our extensive manufacturing portfolio for this product group and creating new design options. Under the right conditions, the new design can be a means of reducing costs. Characteristics of the innovation include a high level of functional integration via the open half-shell, high flexibility in confined spaces and the reduction of weld seams and individual parts.

We will present these new developments and more at our IAA MOBILITY trade fair booth. Here we expect visits from high-ranking representatives of our customers. Our team is particularly looking forward to a visit from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who will find out about our innovations as part of his opening tour on September 5.

During the IAA MOBILITY, we will report regularly on our social media channels. Follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram to find our latest news!