Tier 1 supplier Schaeffler has commenced volume production of its turbocharger ball bearings (TCBB) in its Llanelli, South Wales, plant. Due to changing market conditions and an expected increase in demand for TCBB, the German company has invested time and resources to shift production to its Welsh facility.
“The eagerly awaited volume production of turbocharger ball bearings has commenced, which represents a huge step forward for this plant in terms of redefining and repositioning itself for the future,” said plant manager Dr Dave Bate. “It demonstrates the manufacturing performance of this plant and the commitment of its employees in helping to make this transition.”
Schaeffler’s UK plant in Llanelli currently produces mechanical tappets for the automotive industry. The plant, which was established in 1957, employs 250 people. Of the 20,000m² of floor space at the site, around 5,000m² has now been transformed into production space for TCBB.
A variety of new machinery has been added by the supplier to support production, including turning, face grinding machines, bore grinding, honing, washing, as well as state of the art assembly and inspection equipment.
“The production systems, machine tools, fully automated assembly, handling and inspection systems that we’ve introduced here at Llanelli are some of the most advanced production systems you’ll come across in the world,” added Paul Richards, segment leader for TCBB production at Schaeffler. “This huge commitment and investment from Schaeffler, combined with our highly motivated, skilled workforce means we are in a very strong position to serve this fast-growing, global marketplace for lower-friction, more energy efficient, ball bearing guided turbochargers.”