Demand-driven production

With manufacturing capacity on three continents, Gränges has created a platform that meets complex customer demands and enables continued global expansion. The strong demand for Gränges’ products has resulted in investments to add further production capacity.

Thanks to nearly fifty years of experience and specialized competence in production of materials for brazed heat exchangers, Gränges has become a world leader in rolled aluminium for the heat exchanger industry. Continual efforts to improve efficiency and productivity at all production sites contribute to lower environmental impact and improved profitability for both Gränges and its customers.

Steps towards a global footprint

Gränges has a total production capacity of about 420 ktonnes, split across five production sites on three continents.

The production facility in Finspång has a capacity of 100 ktonnes. The plant has produced aluminium products since 1922, and aluminium products for brazed heat exchangers since 1972. The production plant in Shanghai was established in 1996. Since then Gränges has focused on expanding capacity to keep pace with market growth, and capacity at the site now stands at 120 ktonnes. In the US, Gränges has three production sites with a combined production capacity of 200 ktonnes. This will reach 260 ktonnes by the end of 2019 when ongoing expansion investments have been completed. Through the joint operation company Getek, Gränges has secured skills and material supply for the next generation of materials for heat exchangers.

All Gränges’ facilities are ISO-certified for quality standards. In Sweden and China the facilities also are ISO-certified for the environmental standard.

Knowledge sharing for even better practice

Close cooperation between the production plants in China, Sweden and the US drives growth and improvement work – at all sites. Initiatives to learn from each other include regular environment, health and safety meetings where representatives from all plants set up action plans and common activities. Internal environmental and safety cross inspections are carried out twice a year, with teams from production facilities cross-inspecting each other. The purpose is to improve safety and promote best practice across the organization.

Demand-driven capacity expansion

In the US, Gränges works actively to establish new capacity to meet growing domestic demand for foil, automotive heat exchanger materials and HVAC applications. The facility in Newport produced aluminium foil for consumer applications until 2015 and has subsequently been idled with limited business in surface treatment. However, a domestically underserved light gauge foil market in the US together with trade legislation has made this an attractive market once again. The investment to upgrade existing rolling mills and equipment will add 20 ktonnes in new capacity by 2019. The expansion of the Huntingdon plant’s aluminium rolling operation, a project that was initiated in 2017, will add 40 ktonnes in new capacity by 2019. Additionally, a project to expand capacity and improve efficiency in the Finspång facility has been initiated and is expected to be completed in 2021.

Continuous improvements with lean

Improvements in Gränges’ internal efficiency have made important contributions to the increase in the Group’s profit over recent years. To improve efficiency and reduce costs, Gränges focuses on operational improvements. Gränges applies its own concept for lean manufacturing – The Gränges Production System (GPS). The system is implemented in all production sites and includes internal benchmarking, collaboration, shared best practices and dialogue through steering groups. Positive effects from GPS include simple production flows, direct connection between production steps, and well-defined and waste-free processes. Production lead times are kept as short as possible and are balanced against the need for processes to be cost efficient, which also enables Gränges to offer a more flexible customer service. Efficient metal management contributes to lower costs through continuous improvement of the sorting operations, slab outsourcing optimization and use of new categories of recycled aluminium.

Digitalization – next step towards operational excellence

At the Shanghai production site, Gränges works on a project to maximize productivity and quality by using machine intelligence and increasing the level of digitalization. This includes an integrated system with in-plant logistic automation, quality customization and standardization. Sensors allow for even higher precision and will be applied to maintenance and process control systems, and data integration will support process optimization across the full line. In addition, more accurate process control can lead to improved energy utilization, thereby reducing the negative environmental impact from operations. Knowledge sharing is in place with the other production sites.

 

Gränges’ production facilities

Location Est. Annual capacity (ktonnes) End markets Production set-up
Finspång, Sweden 1922 100 Automotive DC casting, hot rolling, cold rolling, finishing
Shanghai, China 1996 120 Automotive, HVAC DC casting, hot rolling, cold rolling, finishing
Huntingdon, United States 1967 and 2000 160 HVAC, food containers, transformers, other Continuous casting, cold rolling, finishing
Salisbury, United States 1965 40 HVAC, other Continuous casting, cold rolling, finishing
Newport, United States 1951 n/a HVAC, food containers Surface treatment, finishing