BorgWarner has set up a dedicated reman facility in a small city in south-west Poland. Adam Hill went to see what attracted the multinational turbocharger giant to Rzeszów.
There are many reasons why companies choose to locate their operations where they do, from ease of trade to simplicity of communications. BorgWarner looked at a variety of places for its dedicated remanufacturing facility before deciding on Rzeszów in south-east Poland.
The impressive, new 5,000 m2 plant has 2,000 m2 devoted to reman. There are a variety of reasons for choosing Rzeszów, explains Ian Buxcey, BorgWarner’s global remanufacturing manager. Apart from Poland’s geographical position - handily located between eastern and western Europe - Rzeszów is a city of nearly 200,000 people. This provides a local, skilled, motivated labour force, and many of BorgWarner’s employees have graduated from the highly-regarded Rzeszów University of Technology. There is also an international airport and excellent road transport infrastructure, which means that getting people and goods in and out is straightforward.
When ReMaTecNews visits the plant, large digital display boards throughout the BorgWarner campus carry the number ‘932’. “That’s the number of days without accidents,” says Buxcey. The UK-based veteran of the reman industry was entrusted by BorgWarner with overseeing the building of the reman facility from scratch and effectively commutes from his home in England’s Midlands. The safety record is something that the company takes very seriously – and of which it is extremely proud.
On a tour of the Rzeszów facility, Tomasz Lukaszek, operations manager, remanufacturing at BorgWarner, explains: “We receive the cores from customers, either IAM [independent aftermarket] or OES [original equipment supplier] and we decide what we can and cannot remanufacture.”
Material flow is carefully handled, from core processing to sorting to disassembly in the early stages. Cleaning is critical, says Lukaszek: “It determines what we do afterwards – should we blast it, polish it, and so on.”
The facility’s wash plant had to be specially constructed. “One turbocharger is 38kg,” explains Buxcey. “Put six or seven of them into a basket and the weight of craning has to be factored in.”
After cleaning comes machining, core assembly and final assembly, before the final step: packaging. The company has had zero warranty returns so far – not bad for an operation which currently produces around 5,000 reman turbochargers per month and produced its first reman turbo in August 2016. BorgWarner also makes two million new turbochargers per year at Rzeszów and plans for that to rise to three million by the start of 2019. This is an impressive output on both scores.
On the BorgWarner site is an extensive range of laboratories and test facilities, conducting research on a range of issues, supporting the business and contributing – among other things – to the reman function’s ability to see how other manufacturers have made their products.
“BorgWarner has a reverse engineering capability, checking the dimensions and material composition of the original part,” says Buxcey. In reman, it is important to know the effect of corrosion after cleaning – and the labs also give the company the chance to do this. “That’s the advantage we have here,” he goes on.
BorgWarner already remanufactures third-party products in Brazil and the US, so could the future see an ‘all-makes’ policy come into force in Poland? Time will tell. “We only remanufacture BorgWarner at Rzeszów at the moment,” Buxcey concludes. “We have enough of our own to keep the growth pattern going, without overcomplicating it with other people’s. We will consider this in the future, but not yet.”