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Engineering excellence

Engineering excellence

01/05/2012 | Channel: Manufacturing, Automotive

As it steps up production of exhaust systems that comply with Euro 6 reguilations, Swenox has managed to grow, even during challenging times

A complete technology partner for exhaust after-treatment systems to the manufacturers of heavy trucks and buses, Swedish-based Swenox AB benefits from its long, distinguished history of producing exhaust systems for first the car industry and more recently the heavy and medium truck and bus markets.

The origins of Swenox date back to a car assembly plant established on the Nyköping site in 1948. SAAB bought the company in 1960 and turned it into a factory for car components, including exhaust systems. The UK-based Hexadex Group, which has interests in both the OEM and aftermarket sectors of the truck and bus market, acquired the business in 2001. Swenox has a head office and production facilities located in Nyköping, near Stockholm, and a technical centre in Gothenburg.

As European legislation on exhaust emissions continues to become more stringent, Swenox has developed advanced exhaust after-treatment solutions to meet the requirements of truck and bus manufacturers. The EU has already placed limits on pollutant emissions from light road vehicles and soon all vehicles equipped with a diesel engine will be required to substantially reduce their emissions of nitrogen oxides as soon as the Euro 6 standard comes into force.

For example, emissions from cars and other vehicles intended to be used for transport will be capped at 80 mg/km (an additional reduction of more than 50 per cent compared to the Euro 5 standard). Combined emissions of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides from diesel vehicles will also be reduced. These will be capped at 170 mg/km for cars and other vehicles intended to be used for transport.

“What the company continues to concentrate its efforts on is producing specific exhaust systems that comply with Euro 6 regulations,” explains Christer Carlson, customer services director of Swenox. “This has remained the case even during the course of time that saw the company enter into a joint venture agreement that has seen the transfer of a majority interest in the business to the Eberspaecher group. This agreement gives the new owner a 76 per cent share of the company, with the remaining 24 per cent being retained by Hexadex, which has promised to remain actively involved in the strategy and leadership of Swenox.

“In the time since the company last featured within European Supply Chain Management magazine it has grown quite substantially as a result of the growing demand to meet these Euro 6 regulations and now Swenox is an employer of some 800 people, more than twice as many as it hand at this time two years ago. In preparation for its anticipated growth, 2009 saw the company move into a new 25,000 square metre facility here in Arnö, Nyköping, a facility that has now been extended by a further 10,000 square metres.”

As well as growing in its home market, the 2011 acquisition of the business by the Eberspaecher group has meant that Swenox now has access to a global network of contacts as well as having the financial stability necessary to invest heavily in future developments with its field of expertise: “One of the main reasons behind Swenox’s acceptance of Eberspaecher’s takeover is simply that it already holds the majority of European Euro 6 contracts with the leading original equipment manufacturers,” Christer continues. “In many ways this agreement between the two company’s has been hugely beneficial for both parties.

“Eberspaecher specialises in a number of areas, from passenger vehicle heaters and exhausts to heavy duty exhausts and it is in this latter sector that Swenox has built itself a reputation for quality performance. What Swenox is doing in Sweden today shows just how well matched the two companies are and how easy it will for the two to work together on future products and projects.”

With low volume production of Euro 6 exhausts underway, the company has been using the time over recent months to invest in the means and equipment needed to have high volume production underway by 2013, as stated in the most up-to-date European Union rulings: “What Swenox is committed to doing is investing substantial capital in new production machinery,” Christer says. “It cannot be understated that these products that comply with Euro 6 regulations are highly complex systems. They are heavy pieces of equipment that require a great deal of automation to carry out welding procedures in a controlled way. It is because of this, and the company’s commitment to producing only the highest quality goods, that it is bringing in new machinery and robotic equipment to carry out tasks.”

Central to Swenox’ success is its R&D activities and projects that it manages from Gothenburg Technical Centre (GTC), which specialises in the design and technologies needed for advanced exhaust and emissions control systems. At its facilities Swenox utilises the latest engineering software, custom-designed test rigs and advanced test equipment to undertake research, design, development and testing work – generally related to the next generation of exhaust systems required to meet legislative requirements in Europe, Japan and the US. The organisation has considerable experience in managing complete exhaust engineering projects for large OEMs.

“Going forward the ultimate goal of Swenox is to be responsible for a facility that can boast an extremely high volume of exhaust products coming in and leaving it on a daily basis,” Christer states. “As business levels reach a point where they start to stabilise the company will look to begin focusing a lot more on its production capabilities and in making sure that it has perfected its manufacturing techniques to make the whole process more effective.

“What shouldn’t be overlooked is that it has genuinely been rather difficult for Swenox to have grow as rapidly and successfully as it has over the last several years. Nevertheless it is a true testament to itself and its employees that is has managed to come this far and it looks to continue along this path for the foreseeable future.”

Swenox AB
Employees 800
Products Exhaust systems