The Stihl Group inaugurated an extension to its Bronschhofen chain production facility in the Swiss Canton of St. Gallen on September 12. The investment totaled approximately 40 million Swiss francs. Adding 55 meters to the length of the existing chain factory has created 10,000 square meters of extra space for production and engineering. In time, this expansion will create 50 new jobs in Bronschhofen.
“Our saw chains ‘Made in Switzerland’ occupy a leading position on the world market and are recognized for their technological excellence,” said Dr. Nikolas Stihl, Stihl’s supervisory and advisory board chairman. “The extension will further strengthen our position.” The first workplaces will be ready by the end of the year.
In his welcoming speech, Joachim Zappe, general manager of the Stihl chain facilities in Switzerland, said, “Such a large-scale building extension cannot be taken for granted in today’s economic environment. In view of the strong Swiss franc, there are very few industrial companies at this time that would invest in a building project involving such high financial resources.” Zappe went on to say, “But over the last year and a half, we have succeeded in further increasing productivity, cutting costs, and, at the same time, guaranteeing our indispensable premium quality. On this basis, I firmly believe in medium and long-term growth of chain production.”
Dr. Bertram Kandziora, Stihl executive board chairman, added, “The extension is a sign of the confidence we have in the successful future of the saw chain business – and that means here in Switzerland.”
Governing councilor Bruno Damann expressed his appreciation. “We are lucky to have companies like Stihl in the canton of St. Gallen, companies that are not influenced by the general trend and set an example of confidence in a somewhat difficult economic climate,” he said.
Wil Mayor Susanne Hartmann thanked Stihl for its investment decision and for its loyalty to the location. “We are pleased and honored by the trust that you have placed in the town of Wil and the municipal council,” she said.
Environmentally friendly energy concept for greater efficiency
In the course of building the extension, approximately 16,500 cubic meters of earth were excavated, 900 tons of reinforcing steel used, 5,500 cubic meters of concrete poured, and 350 tons of structural steelwork erected. At the same time, an environmentally friendly energy concept was implemented. The entire building and many of the production processes will be heated with the aid of a heat recovery system and a heat pump that utilizes the waste heat from air compressors and production machinery. There is no need for an additional boiler or the use of fossil fuels. This energy concept helps save about 1,500-megawatt hours of electricity and up to 400 tons of carbon dioxide annually. Therefore, the extension “also benefits the environment,” said Kandziora.
Stihl saw chain production as a success factor
Stihl is currently the only chain saw manufacturer in the world to develop and produce not only powerheads, but also its own guide bars and saw chain. “That is a decisive success factor and is evidence of our claim to deliver premium quality in all areas,” said Kandziora. The saw chains are exported to 160 countries throughout the world. Due to a constantly growing demand, the Swiss facilities have steadily expanded over the past few years. At the present time, approximately 850 men and women are employed at the Stihl chain production plants in Wil and Bronschhofen.