26.03.2021

Major upgrades to Liebherr Ehingen

Liebherr is making a 'multimillion euro' investment in its mobile crane plant in Ehingen, Germany in order to improve material flows and prepare for future growth. At the same time it is building a new crane repair centre nearby. The investment also include steps to make its internal processes future proof through a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

The company says the 'plant development logistics’ project - WeLog for short - will “ensure that materials are stored and transported efficiently and smartly, while internal procedures will be simplified to ensure that production can continue without interruption in the future. This will also result in further improvements to the quality of mobile and crawler cranes”.
The Liebherr plant already covers 222 acres

The 50 year old Ehingen plant covers 900,000 square metres/222 acres, with more than 3,500 employees building over 2,000 cranes a year. According to the company the facility has a number of complex structures and a main warehouse that is “no longer state of the art and must be replaced as a matter of urgency”.

With construction changes to the main warehouse already underway, the plan is to split it into two with a warehouse dedicated to spare/replacement parts and another dedicated to the standard production lines. This involves the erection of several new buildings, including a truck gate house, a two storey hall area, high bay racking and a warehouse for smaller parts. The foundations for the buildings include 465 auger piles with depths of between 18 and 33 metres. According to the company this will make it possible to generate energy for the new building using geothermics.
Construction on the new warehouse is already well underway

The next buildings to begin will include the new spare parts and shipment warehouse which is due to be completed and fully functional by 2024. In addition to the new buildings, Liebherr is planning significant changes to the road layout within the facility, allowing the construction traffic to move in and out, without causing disruption to ongoing production.
Construction of the new small parts warehouse has also started

Production director Ulrich Heusel said: “Currently around 2,000 mobile and crawler cranes leave our plant in Ehingen every year. That is an extremely high number and represents almost a two fold increase over the last 20 years. Now there is an urgent necessity to adjust our structures and material flows at the plant accordingly. We produce at a high tempo, but we nonetheless have to remain flexible as some of our customers want short term modifications to their cranes – depending on the order content. And we can only guarantee this flexibility, whilst maintaining our high quality and assembly speed, by making these investments.”

Chief financial officer Daniel Pitzer added: “It is very important for us to emphasise that the ‘Plant development logistics’ project will not threaten any jobs, and in fact it is more likely to create additional jobs in the long term. Liebherr uses three colours to ensure greater clarity within the WeLog Project. Red stands for standard production, blue stands for everything related to customer service and spare parts, whilst crane repairs at the new repair centre south Germany in Berg will be shown in green.”

“When you look at everything going on at the plant at the moment in terms of new buildings and processes, we can definitely say that we are making the Ehingen site fit for the future. And the Liebherr family is spending in the high two figure millions for this purpose. This is a clear signal to the whole workforce and the Town of Ehingen.”
Ground works have already started for the new southern German repair centre

Groundwork has also started on the new repair centre for south Germany in the Ehingen suburb of Berg. Christoph Kleiner, managing director sales said: “By outsourcing the repair centre, we will be able to significantly improve the services we offer to our customers, particularly in southern Germany. We are also expecting to be able to take on service orders, which in the past we were unable to accept due to restricted capacities. Furthermore, this will create some of the space we urgently require for the new warehouse building at the main factory site.”

In addition to all the building work, Liebherr says that it is working flat out on the introduction of the new InforLN ERP system. It will initially be introduced in the customer service area by mid 2022 with all Liebherr Ehingen divisions moving over to the new software package. At the same time, InforLN will also be introduced at Liebherr Ehingen subsidiaries in Germany, including Oberhausen and Alt-Bork.

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