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Schaeffler has revealed its set to develop its production hub in Vietnam into a digital pilot plant for its global production system.

“The digital networking of production facilities along the entire value chain is one of the most important goals of Industry 4.0. This project is in line with our global initiatives to digitally map the entire product lifecycle by implementing new technologies at an early stage in our own operations,” explained Klaus Mueller, chief operating officer at Schaeffler Asia Pacific.

The project supports the Government of Vietnam’s thrust to digitally transform industries as part of the next wave of socio-economic development in the country. 

As part of the digital pilot plant project, Schaeffler has been working with Vietnam’s biggest software development company, FPT, to develop a holistic digitalisation concept integrated by continuous data management solutions. 

A cross-functional team is working on developing and setting up the right infrastructure, equipment and software solutions to make digitalisation a major enabler for Schaeffler’s production excellence. This will be achieved by enabling optimum efficiencies based on data-driven decision making and high flexibility through real-time data utilisation.

This announcement comes as the firm celebrates its first anniversary of the plants opening at Bien Hoa City in Dong Nai province of Vietnam on May 9, 2020. 

The plant was set up with an initial investment of €45 million euros. It is the latest addition to the growing regional production footprint of Schaeffler in the Asia Pacific, and it serves as a global production hub for a range of industrial products.

Since the start of production in 2019, the company has scaled up operations at the plant to add two new product lines – the Radial Insert Ball Bearings (RIBB) ISO range and Schaeffler’s flagship product Needle Ball Bearings (NRB). 

Three more product lines will be added to Vietnam’s product portfolio by end of 2020 – Deep Groove Ball Bearing (DGBB), Mast Roller Bearing (HMR) and an extended range of Tapered Roller Bearings (TRB). 

The range and product line extensions are intended to serve regional and global customers for a wide range of industrial applications.

The first-anniversary milestone has come at a time when businesses around the world are trying to manage the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As a crucial part of the global production footprint of Schaeffler, the Vietnam plant adopted a precautionary stance and implemented several crisis management measures and business continuity plans at the start of the coronavirus outbreak in January 2020. 

This allowed the plant to continue operations despite the partial lockdown measures implemented by the Government of Vietnam.

The measures implemented at the plant were also appreciated by the Health Ministry of Dong Nai province and Schaeffler provided a dossier to the government authorities to serve as a benchmark for other companies in the region.

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