Mahle Group (Stuttgart, Germany) has opened a purpose-built 3300-sq-m manufacturing plant near Chennai, India that the company says will serve as a competence center for its injection molding in the country. The company currently outsources much of its injection molding in India with only its Gurgaon location overmolding air-filter elements.
Mahle held a ground-breaking ceremony for the new plant in June 2010, with the building completed by December. Installation of production equipment and basic facilities was finalized at the end of January 2011. The factory is located two hours drive from Chennai.
|A Mahle worker stands between the platens of a large press in its Stuttgart plant.|
The facility will start production of air-filter systems, intake modules, and cylinder head covers with integrated oil mist separation in the new plant. Mahle says it has already received "large-scale" orders for these product groups to supply automobile manufacturers in the Chennai area.
Mahle currently has 80 employees in Chennai, with plans to boost that number to 150 in the medium term. The first intake modules and air filters are expected to ship starting in August. Mahle operates six plants in India, primarily producing filter systems, with additional production of pistons and engine components. The facilities are located in Gurgaon, Maralmalainagar, Parwanoo, Pithampur, and Pune, in addition to the new Chennai site.
Heinz K. Junker, Mahle Group's chairman, said the Chennai facility will be held up to the company's other Indian sites as an example for best practices in injection molding. "[Chennai] will play a model role for the other Mahle filter factories in India," Junker said in a release, "as we do no in-house injection molding there so far."
Chennai is the fourth largest city in India and with its preponderance of automobile manufacturing, it is known as the Detroit of Asia. There are 13 major automotive manufacturers located in the region, including Nissan, Renault, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Ford, Daimler, and BMW, in addition to several domestic producers.