Bosch invests in production of wind turbine gearboxes

13 July 2007

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Bosch is to establish a new manufacturing facility for large wind turbine gear units in Nuremberg for its subsidiary Bosch Rexroth. In addition, the production of components for gasoline direct injection is to be further strengthened.

For these two projects, Bosch intends to invest a total of EUR280million in its Dieselstrasse and Zweibrückener Strasse plants by 2013. This will create some 360 new jobs, which are to be filled internally. In addition, plant management, works councils, and the IG Metall union in Nuremberg have agreed on a comprehensive package of measures to improve competitiveness and cut costs. Part of this agreement provides for safe jobs for the location's more than 2500 associates until the end of 2013. Commenting on this agreement, Klaus-Jürgen Stenzel, plant manager in Nuremberg, said: "In a joint effort, we have managed to find an acceptable solution for the Nuremberg location that provides everyone involved with good prospects for the future."

Up to 2013, Bosch Rexroth will invest some EUR180million solely in establishing a new manufacturing facility for large wind turbine gear units. The first large wind turbine gear units are expected to be delivered to customers from Nuremberg as early as the start of 2009, thereby supplementing the existing manufacturing operation in Witten, also in Germany. The gears and control systems manufactured by Bosch Rexroth are the core components of wind turbines.

Increasing demand for wind power

In 2006 the output of the wind turbines installed worldwide in the course of one year was the equivalent of more than ten 1400MW nuclear power stations. This figure will more than triple in the coming ten years. An average 1.5MW wind turbine can cover the electricity requirements of 1000 four-person households.

At its plant in Nuremberg's Dieselstrasse, which employs a workforce of nearly 300, Bosch Rexroth already manufactures external gear units. The serve to generate hydraulic pressure in mobile applications such as tractors, fork-lift trucks, and construction machinery.

Apart from this investment in wind power, Bosch will invest some EUR100million in infrastructure, plant, and equipment for gasoline direct injection and current products. The aim here is to bundle the production operations of the Gasoline Systems division at the Zweibrückener Strasse plant. In the area of automotive technology, Bosch mainly manufactures products for gasoline systems in Nuremberg, with a workforce of more than 2200. The main products are throttle devices, high-pressure pumps, and fuel rails for gasoline direct injection, as well as components for the control of automatic transmissions. In addition, in the Bosch Group's international manufacturing network, Nuremberg is the lead plant for co-ordinating the manufacture of components and modules for gasoline injection.

The promise to invest in the Nuremberg locations was given in return for agreements on comprehensive measures to improve competitiveness. These measures were necessary because of increasing price pressure for certain components produced by Gasoline Systems, and well as for some of the external gear units manufactured by Bosch Rexroth AG. The cost-cutting programme that has been passed includes a waiver of certain salary components and the use of associates' own time for training programs. In addition, plant management and works councils agreed on further flexible working, with up to 21 shifts per week.

Ekkehard Kristfeld, Bosch Rexroth AG plant manager in Nuremberg, says: "The package that has been agreed is intended to secure employment at the Nuremberg location over the long term, and to create a better balance in employment levels at the two plants. Skilled workers, the necessary infrastructure, and new investments offer good prospects for expansion of the growth areas of wind power and gasoline direct injection."

Redundancies have been ruled out until the end of 2013. Moreover, it has been agreed that vocational training will be extended from its present level of roughly 50 apprentices per intake year to 60. In total, Bosch presently trains 130 young people in Nuremberg, qualifying them for industrial and commercial careers.

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