Brought to you by SSI Schaefer
Marking its 20th Anniversary this year, SSI Schaefer commemorated its first Asia factory’s momentous milestone with a celebration recently (pictured).
Joined by over 500 guests, the celebration was officiated by SSI Schaefer’s Brian Miles, regional managing director, Asia/ MEA/ ANZ, and Xavier Perello Pairada, managing director, South and South-east Asia.
Situated in Simpang Renggam in the southern state of Johor, the factory employed just over 100 people and had an initial build-up area of approximately 21,000 sqm when it was inaugurated in 1998. The decision to set up a manufacturing plant in Malaysia came in view of the booming business growth in the Asia-Pacific region where automation has become increasingly important, representing about 50% of the company’s turnover.
“To remain competitive with the local manufacturers, shipping material manufactured from European manufacturing facilities is not a viable option. The establishment of the facility in Asia was critical as it aids efficiencies, speed to market and lower costs,” explained Miles.
SSI Schaefer has since invested around €8 million (US$9 million) on the Malaysian factory to facilitate its growth and improvement on equipment and machines that helped produce the state-of-the-art products. Today, the factory build-up stands at around 42,000 sqm and employs more than 500 personnel.
Of these, the more significant expansion in recent years includes the addition of a production hall for assembly of case conveyors, extension of additional loading docks to meet increased exports, the addition of a new German-made rolling mill which roll all profiles used in (automated storage and retrieval system) AS/RS or Rack Clad Buildings up to 40m high and machinery for the preparation of special steelwork profiles.
“The extensive investments mean that we are now self-sustainable on the manufacturing side and can cater to the needs of the Asian market without relying on our European plants. Our factory can now produce at a capacity of 60,000 metric tonnes per annum,” added Pairada.
Going forward, with the Asian market’s requirement forecast to continue growing at a tremendous rate, the company foresees that operations will rise at an average of 10-15% in the upcoming years.
“As part of our continuous effort to develop ourselves to suit the market needs, it is therefore in our plans that we will add robotics to the production facility, particularly when it comes to welding, to improve areas of quality and efficiency,” concluded Miles.