By KWANCHAI RUNGFAPAISARN
The new factory in Klaeng occupies 12,000 square meters of land, enabling Grohe to introduce a new manufacturing technology for zinc parts. It offers space for a full-scale production of one-hand mixers and underlines the manufacturing excellence Grohe is known for: all products pass the complete value chain in-house.
The manufacturing processes follows two major material streams with brass or zinc as raw material. It starts from melting the raw material, die casting, CNC machining, polishing and electro-plating to assembly of the complete finished product before shipping to the customers. For a smooth running of this process, the manufacturing steps are designed according to the lean principles and industry 4.0 elements that are already fully implemented.
“Grohe is growing and with the expansion of our sites, such as here in Klaeng, we are continuing to drive this course of international growth forward”, said Grohe CEO, Michael Rauterkus, at the launch of the facility in Klaeng.
“Twenty-two years ago, Grohe Siam started as a small factory. Now it is one of the largest manufacturers of one-hand mixers in the world. Today we are taking our growth to the next level”, added Rauterkus.
When the ramp-up is completed in 2021, the capacity in Klaeng will increase to 12 million parts each year. Today, over six million pieces are produced in Klaeng annually. Eight hundred new jobs will be created over the coming years, raising the number of employees from currently 1,700 to 2,500 by 2021. By then, Grohe would have invested more than US$30 million (approx Bt1.06 billion) in production expansion. Grohe Siam will be the largest plant of Grohe where production was officially celebrated yesterday.
“The plant in Thailand has significantly contributed to the growth of Grohe. We are shipping more than seven million products per year are now ramping up capacity in Thailand further,” he said.
“The grand opening of our zinc die-cast (ZDC) factory in Klaeng, Rayong is milestone for Grohe. It is the first major ZDC operation within Lixil, creating 800 new jobs. Our plant in Klaeng will be a role model in the ZDC fabrication for the whole Grohe plants, being one of the most modern and sustainable factories in South East Asia,” said Rauterkus.
Rauterkus said that the Asia market is the fastest growing market, even more than Europe. People are moving to the cities, having more than one bathroom which are getting bigger and more luxurious. The company has seen the same trend with kitchens. It has also seen growing demand for quality, especially for “Made in Germany” quality in this promising region.
Lixil is growing in Asia – including in Thailand - through a multi-brand portfolio that is unique and unrivalled, including Grohe, American Standard, INAX, Jaxson, and Sato. This portfolio covers all consumer lifestyles, from delivering basic sanitation through innovative and affordable solutions, to premium and luxury solutions. Each brand focuses on one lifestyle, allowing it to become stronger and sharper.
“We (Grohe) aim to lead the industry with the most valued portfolio of intelligent water management solutions. We combine quantifiable social benefit, economic viability, degree of innovation and impressive design.
“Therefore Grohe is the only German brand in the sanitary industry, that has been listed in Fortune’s list,” said Rauterkus.
In the last five years, Grohe invested over US$100 million in its five production sites: Rayong in Thailand, Albergaria, Portugal, and three in Germany (Hemer, Porta Wesfalica, and Lahr) and recently celebrated the expansion of the German production plant in Lahr.