Stronger KSPG presence in China
New capacity for large-bore pistons in China
The engines in large freight or passenger ships can reach a truly gigantic scale. Engines the size of trucks or houses and delivering an output in excess of 100,000 hp are not uncommon.
They make even large passenger car engines look like toys. But the technology is closely related. In ship’s engines too, pistons form the heart of the engine – it’s just that they are much, much bigger than those found in passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Nevertheless, large-bore pistons for nonautomotive applications have become an important part of KSPG’s product portfolio – and not only for ships but also for locomotives and generators. The production of largebore pistons at KSPG used to take place exclusively at the German headquarters in Neckarsulm and at the Marinette site in Wisconsin in the USA. In 2013, however, KSPG also opened a large-bore piston factory in China.
“With sites in Europe, North America and Asia, we are ideally positioned in the large-bore piston market too,” says Wolfgang Hartmann, head of KS Kolbenschmidt’s Large-Bore Pistons business unit. “Our new Chinese plant in Kunshan in the metropolitan area of Shanghai allows us to tap the important Asian market much more effectively.” The newly founded company KSLP (China) Co. Ltd. will focus on the Asian market and supply customers in China, Japan and Korea with large-bore pistons for ship engines, locomotives and stationary generators. KSPG is therefore taking account of this market segment’s dynamic development in this region: Around 80% of all seagoing vessels are now built in these countries, followed by Vietnam and India. The Asian market for engines for diesel locomotives and generators is also becoming increasingly important.
The new site in China will specialize in the manufacture of pistons for medium-speed diesel and gas engines with diameters of between 160 mm and 350 mm. The product range also includes the accompanying cylinder sleeves. The new plant will not be run as a joint venture but instead as a fully owned subsidiary of KS Kolbenschmidt GmbH. The production site has a production area covering 8,100 square meters and opened in 2013 with a 20-strong workforce. The near-term plan is to increase the number of employees to around 100.
However, KSPG has not only strengthened its position in this specific market segment but also expanded its presence in China generally. In 2013, the number of KSPG sites in China rose to eleven. In addition to the new large-bore pistons product group, KSPG in China also manufactures pistons for passenger cars and commercial vehicles, exhaust gas recirculation valves, throttle flaps, water and oil pumps as well as engine blocks, cylinder heads and aluminum structural components. The Group’s replacement parts business for the Asia-Pacific region is also managed from Shanghai. These developments ensure sufficient capacity for the successful expansion of all KSPG’s activities in Asia.