Ten years ago Brose started producing electronic components in Hallstadt. That was the beginning of a success story. Since then production has increased almost thirty-fold. In view of the growing importance of electronics in automobiles, this positive trend looks likely to continue.
Swetlana Kloster has been on the production staff since the beginning. “Back then, there were only 30 of us and we immediately felt like one big family,” she says, remembering the start in 2001. For six years now, she has been working on an automated production line, where electronic components are assembled and soldered onto printed circuit boards. “The training on new products is not always easy, but that’s exactly what I enjoy. I learn something new every day and that way I remain flexible.”
Electronic components for the VW Sharan, Seat Alhambra and the Ford Galaxy were the first products to be manufactured in Hallstadt in 2001. A total of 270,000 electronic components were produced in the first year.
Brose had been developing electronic components since 1981, therefore the decision to manufacture electronic components in-house was a logical step for the family-owned company at the time, to cover part of their requirements and further expand their expertise. This proved highly successful and in 1986 Brose set a standard with the launch of the first electronic control
unit with an anti-trap feature for electric window regulators worldwide. At the same time, the company set the course for their entry into mechatronics.
“System integration was the objective of the in-house manufacture. Simultaneously, we also brought the manufacturing competence under our roof,” explains Ursula Pfannenmüller, Head of Electronics Production. The rapid growth in the following years shows just how right this decision was: today 8 million electronic components are manufactured. Brose’s portfolio started out with just 3 products for 3 customers. Today they have 60 product variants for 16 customers. “We create about 30,000 assemblies a day from 2 million individual components,” says Ursula Pfannenmüller, illustrating the complexity of the processes.
The extensive product range also reflects the increasing importance of electronics in automobiles. Now Brose develops and produces electronic components for window regulators, door control units, cinching, liftgate control units and cooling fans. Success also presents challenges, though, as shown in the course of last year. Due to the bottlenecks in capacity as a result of the unexpectedly rapid upswing after the 2009 crisis, production had to run 21 shifts per week. In the meantime, the situation has returned to normal.
It is not only the company that can take positive stock of the last ten years. When Swetlana Kloster looks back to the beginning, she, like many of her colleagues, is also a little proud of having contributed a small part to the successful development. “Today we produce 10,000 electronic components per shift. At the beginning it was sometimes just a few hundred.” And even if there are now 180 colleagues in production instead of just 30, one thing has remained the same according to Swetlana: “We’re a team. And it’s the fun of being successful that brings us all together.”