Bosch Rexroth reiterated its commitment to “local for local” manufacturing this week, as it celebrated the grand opening of its expanded hydraulics facilities in Bethlehem, Pa. Boasting an additional 150,000 square feet, the newest facility brings the number of Bosch Rexroth buildings in the Bethlehem area to seven.
Previously, the space at Broadhead Road only housed the company’s distribution center, but Bosch Rexroth was able to expand into a second building at the location, to move its valve and manifold manufacturing center for mobile and industrial hydraulics into the old logistics center and the logistics to the new building. The move solved a space constraint issue and made room for the company to streamline its manufacturing and assembly cells, improve energy efficiency and other environmental waste, and most importantly, strengthen its “local for local” mission of giving customers faster access to its product lines.
When asked why the expansion was done, Michael R. Boehm, vice president sales, machinery applications and engineering, said it was mostly to ensure that Bosch Rexroth has strong responsiveness in the marketplace and can easily make modifications for customers. “With our local capabilities here, we’re able to do more and more and respond faster to our customers’ needs and provide tailored solutions,” Boehm said.
For example, a number of the valves assembled at the new facility—including directional, manual, pilot-operated and pneumatic valves—were previously manufactured and assembled in Germany. The expansion will also allow the company to bring more valve line assembly to the U.S. from Germany this month, including its pressure cartridge, reducing, logic cartridge, sandwich flow control, and pressure reducing valves.
The distribution facility handles shipments to more than 500 customers. This $2.2 million Brodhead Road expansion adds about 150,000 square feet, giving the company approximately 200,000 square feet over two buildings for the distribution and manufacturing operation.
With the expansion, Bethlehem is now home to seven Bosch Rexroth facilities across two campuses with approximately 450,000 total square feet for manufacturing, distribution, logistics, administration, service and storage—making it the company’s second-largest hydraulics operation in the U.S. behind its Fountain Inn, SC, facility which expanded last year.
In addition to valves and manifolds, the new manufacturing facility produces industrial, mobile and compact controls and provides testing and service support. The new distribution and logistics facility supports customers with functions such as shipping, receiving, logistics, quality control, traffic management and accounting. The company’s overall Bethlehem operations also include production for large hydraulic systems and power units, which are produced in its City Line Road facilities.
Customers served out of the new Bethlehem facility include those in the construction and agricultural mobile equipment industries, machine tools, presses, plastics machinery, die casting, marine and offshore, pulp and paper, specialty and test machinery, as well as its U.S. distributor network.
A big theme throughout the event was Bosch Rexroth’s commitment to its “BeONE” vision and mission, to build a high-performance culture, delight its customers and secure its future. Exemplifying this theme, said Andreas P. Torell, vice president, commercial plant manager, was that after much planning, 90 Bethlehem employees came together over a weekend to completely move the logistics center into the second building, allowing the company to move its valve, manifolds and controls functions into the existing Bosch space. He said it took those 90 people just 59 hours to do all 300 tasks associated with the move. “We have a great workforce,” he said. “That is the best of our operations here, their engagement and commitment.”
With a history in the Bethlehem region dating back to 1967, the company was honored last year with Pennsylvania’s 2013 “Jobs First” Governor’s ImPAct award in recognition of job growth, commitment to sustainable business practices, and for collaborative efforts within the community. In addition, earlier this year Bosch Rexroth was named one of the top places to work in the Lehigh Valley. The company’s overall Bethlehem operations employ approximately 700 people.
Bosch Rexroth Americas President and CEO, Berend Bracht, added that the company’s “local for local” strategy is not only good for customers but employees. “Not only is Bethlehem a convenient location from which to serve our hydraulics customers in North America, but this region has also played a major role in Bosch Rexroth’s history. As our business has grown here over the years, we’ve been able to add good manufacturing jobs for the region’s very capable employee base. Our expansion here is a reflection of our commitment to support sustainable business operations in the Lehigh Valley,” said Bracht.
Manfred Hahn, vice president, general manager, industrial hydraulics, added that its own supply chain and material waste can be greatly reduced with the move. For example, it cuts down on transport between the old logistics center and Bosch Rexroth’s City Line plants. It also means it is easier to run a more environmentally friendly plant, Hahn said.
“We want to run a clean factory and be a good citizen,” Hahn said. “We are continuously reducing our CO2 emissions, with a 20-25% reduction by 2020. We’re also using new test stands and manufacturing equipment that use a lot of Rexroth pumps.”
For example, by replacing its previous stand systems with Sytronix pumps (pictured), the plant will about half of the energy of the previous test stands.
In addition to Bethlehem and Fountain Inn, Bosch Rexroth has facilities for industrial and mobile hydraulic components located in Houston; Lake Zurich, Ill.; Columbus; and Dallas. Other recent programs contributing to its growth besides it massive Fountain Inn, S.C. campus include the opening of its technology and service center in Houston to serve the growing marine and offshore industry in the region; and the expansion of its Charlotte, N.C., linear motion and assembly products facility.
Finally, the continued move towards “local for local” will help expand and improve Bosch Rexroth’s GoTo Focused Delivery Program, which provides industry-best lead times for the delivery of thousands of Rexroth drive, control and motion products. Offering a guaranteed 10-day delivery lead time on thousands of products, the program is now available throughout North America in a single program, with identical product offerings and lead times for customers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
The GoTo Program, which started in the U.S. with just over 1,000 part numbers in April 2009, now offers more than triple the original offering. Nearly 400 new products have been added for the spring 2014 update. Rexroth also continues to shorten lead times within the program; 97 percent of the products in the program ship in fewer than 10 days. Key new additions to the program include a wide selection of internal gear pumps, many directional and proportional valves, and a strong foundation of BODAS mobile electronics for flexible, real-time control of electrohydraulic components. Overall, more than 250 new Hydraulics products have been added to GoTo.
Bosch Rexroth Corp.