Gorenje Group has also been producing dishwashers in Slovenia since September of 2013, but in late January the company held an event to celebrate the new manufacturing program with a symbolic launch of a five-station sheet metal processing conveyor line.
The company has been making cooking, refrigeration, and laundry appliances in its home country of Slovenia. The new line marks the first time it is manufacturing dishwashers in Slovenia as well.
Gorenje acquired Swedish-based appliance maker Asko in mid-2010 from the now-defunct Italian appliance company Antonio Merloni S.p.A. Asko now serves as a premium brand in the Gorenje appliance line-up.
In 2012, Gorenje began restructuring its manufacturing operations, aiming to boost profitability and improve competitiveness, including moving Asko manufacturing out of Sweden and Finland.
The restructuring program initially transferred freestanding cold appliance production from Velenje to Serbia, Asko cooking appliance manufacturing in Lahti, Finland was moved to Gorenje's existing plant in Mora Moravia in the Czech Republic. Washing machine and dryer production was moved from Vara, Sweden to Gorenje's central production site in Velenje. Vara dishwasher production was moved during the summer of 2013 to Velenje.
Dishwasher production in Velenje includes built-in and free standing dishwashers, as well as semi-professional dishwashers for use in healthcare or beauty establishments. Dishwasher production for 2014 is planned to be 140,000 units. Most of the dishwashers will be Asko-brand appliances and will be exported to markets in Scandinavia, Australia, and the United States.
"The importance of this production program…lies in its role of building up the Asko brand as the Group's global premium brand," said Gorenje President and CEO Franjo Bobinac.
The shifts in manufacturing operations were considered to be the most challenging shifts of this kind in the history of the company, and included changing the production location for 20% of all appliances the company manufactures. Some 300 employees facilitated the transfers; these included employees from production, purchasing, logistics, IT, controlling, finance, maintenance, product management, and others. In addition to the transfer of equipment and business processes, the project included employee training and education.
Some facts about the new production facility:
More than 2,000 tons of dishwasher production equipment was transferred from Sweden to Slovenia, using 130 trucks.
Dishwasher manufacturing requires a high-tech production process that is robotized to a greater extent than production of other appliances. Gorenje uses 18 robots in dishwasher production.
Gorenje produces as many as 316 dishwasher components—such as cable sets, packaging, plastic semi-products—in-house.
The new dishwasher assembly line is 260 meters long. A dishwasher takes 120 minutes to travel this distance through different stages of the production process.
The facility produces one dishwasher every 43 seconds at the Velenje plant.
to Daily News