MWM strengthened further by Caterpillar investments
By the end of 2012, Caterpillar Inc. plans to invest about €20 million in MWM, a company with a strong tradition and a leading supplier of highly efficient, environmentally friendly gas engines. The investments will make a substantial contribution to increasing production quality. The signs of these investments are already visible throughout the site: building structures are being renewed, the crankcase manufacturing unit is being renovated, new production machines are being installed and new test facilities are being constructed. The two recently completed painting systems are a further example of these investments.
€2 million for new painting systems
With an investment volume of about €2 million, this phase of modernization and continuous development of the site has been completed after five months of construction work.
“With our two new painting systems, we have set an important milestone in our program to meet future demand and to increase efficiency,” explains MWM COO Stefan Zimmermann. Compared with previous capabilities, the new technology primarily offers shorter setup times for color changes and more economical workplace design.
Increased flexibility in painting gas engines
It is now possible, for example, to change from one color to another within 6 minutes. This makes it possible to respond to customer requirements even better and faster. The paint supply system is directly installed in the form of pumps and containers on independent moving platforms.
The change in the coating method from the previously used electrostatic spray process to the new Air Combi process produces an improved paint finish and simultaneously shortens processing time and makes the coating process easier to perform. A pump pressure of up to 270 bar is used.
“With this step we are significantly increasing our flexibility at this manufacturing point and are getting equipped to handle increasing market demand. We are also reducing our impact on the environment,” explains Willy Schumacher, Chairman of the MWM Board of Management. This is an important consideration, because environmentally friendly water-based paints are used at MWM.
Increased environmental friendliness
In addition, the plant has its own heat recovery system, which allows it to save about 30% more energy than is possible in conventional plants. In this system the hot air from the plant is returned to a cross-plate heat exchanger, which heats the intake air used in the painting process.
The future of MWM gas engines at the Mannheim site
Caterpillar and MWM are planning in coming years to significantly increase the production of gas engines in Mannheim and to hire additional employees. Additional investments in development, production, and buildings are simultaneously being planned by Caterpillar. Willy Schumacher has a very positive view about the market prospects for complete cogeneration plants from MWM and is convinced that the new investments will more than pay for themselves.
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