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With Smart L.E.A.F. into the future

With the ground-breaking ceremony in May 2019 and the completion of the filter element factory in summer 2020 as an extension of the Kraichtal site, ARGO-HYTOS has reached a milestone in the digitization of its own value chain.

On April 30th, the construction works for the extension building, the digital filter element factory "Smart L.E.A.F.", were completed successfully and on schedule. After a construction period of eleven months, the installation of the operating equipment could begin in summer 2020, before the official move-in took place in August.

Until then, in addition to the storage technology and various other operating equipment, the hardware for the digitalization of the production processes has been installed and the new processes have been tested. Smart L.E.A.F. stands for lean, digital processes for the production of filter elements.

“The Smart L.E.A.F. filter element factory is an essential component of an overall concept for the further development and digitization of the Kraichtal-Menzingen site, and is the prime example of a digital factory for the entire ARGO-HYTOS Group“, says Dr. Marcus Fischer, COO of the ARGO-HYTOS Group.

These are not yet the only interesting facts about the construction:

  • The building covers an area of approx. 3,850 m² and created approximately 3,940 square meters of net floor space.
  • For the foundation, 591 vibratory tamping columns were erected, as well as 1,775 m drill lengths for the bored piles.
  • A total of 3,500 m³ of earth was moved.
  • 598 m³ of concrete were placed for the hall floor alone.
  • 52 tons of steel construction trusses were used for the supporting structure.
  • 23,560 m of cables & wires were laid in and around the building.

In August 2020, the filter element production was relocated over a period of 11 working days in a total of 3360 working hours, during which almost 40 work stations and 19 machines were moved. After the relocation, production in the new filter element factory has successfully started as scheduled.

Construction Progress - Video

Would you like to discover how our new filter element factory was built?
Click here and follow the entire construction progress from May 2019 to April 2020 in just under 4 minutes.

ARGO-HYTOS completes construction work on the new Smart L.E.A.F. filter element factory on schedule

Following the ground-breaking ceremony for the expansion of ARGO-HYTOS on May 29, 2019, construction work was completed on April 30, 2020. After eleven months of construction work, which is on schedule and on budget, installation of the operating equipment can now begin before the official move-in is scheduled for August 2020.

By then, in addition to the warehouse technology and various other operating equipment, the hardware for digitizing the production processes will also have been installed and the new processes will have been tested. Smart L.E.A.F. stands for lean, digital processes for the production of filter elements.

"We are pleased to announce the milestone of construction completion. Particularly against the background of the tension and current uncertainties associated with the CORONA crisis, this building stands for continuity and positive future prospects, thus conveying confidence and security," says Jörg Stech, Managing Director of ARGO-HYTOS at the Kraichtal site, about today's completion.

Christian Kienzle, CEO of the ARGO-HYTOS Group, adds: "We would have liked to celebrate this event a little more extensively together with our employees, but we look forward to making up for this event at a later date and then making it all the more enjoyable".

"The Smart L.E.A.F. filter element factory is an essential part of an overall concept for the further development and digitalization of the Kraichtal-Menzingen site and the prime example of a digital factory for the entire ARGO-HYTOS Group," says Dr. Marcus Fischer, COO of the ARGO-HYTOS Group.

The project will run until 2022 and includes not only extensive investments in the new plant but also in the existing structures.

ARGO-HYTOS GMBH steps into the future with “Smart L.E.A.F”!

The ground-breaking ceremony for the new filter element plant has taken place in Kraichtal, Germany.

On 29.05.2019 the ARGO-HYTOS GMBH, together with invited guests and its own employees, turned the first sod for the extension in Kraichtal. The ARGO-HYTOS filter element factory "Smart L.E.A.F." will be completed by summer 2020.  

SMART LEAF stands for a smart digital filter element factory built according to lean production methods. The name says it all. The transformation of today's manufacturing into Smart L.E.A.F. is carried out in three stages.

  1. Digitization of processes and technologies
  2. Physical digitization of manufacturing facilities
  3. Full integration of the entire value chain

Statements of the management:

  • Jörg Stech, Managing Director at ARGO-HYTOS GMBH: "ARGO-HYTOS GMBH has a long history in Kraichtal and we are pleased to be able to strengthen Germany as a production location. We really appreciate what we have here and thank all the parties who have made the expansion possible for us. We are particularly proud that with Smart L.E.A.F. we digitize the entire value chain and open up new exciting fields of activity for our employees. With this step, we assert our claim to innovation not only in our products, but also in our processes.”
  • Dr. Marcus Fischer, COO of the ARGO-HYTOS Group: "Our production workshops set the pace for our company and I am delighted that we are expanding the orchestra here and now. The location in Germany stands for high competence in innovation and production technology.”

  • Christian H. Kienzle, CEO of the ARGO-HYTOS Group: "ARGO-HYTOS GMBH is pursuing ambitious growth targets and I am sure that we will achieve these goals, among other things, by strengthening the Kraichtal site. Being anchored in Germany is important not only because of our long association with Kraichtal, but also because of our employees, who help us every day with their work and their know-how.” 

This investment allows ARGO-HYTOS GMBH to increase its capacity for production, assembly and logistics by approx. 50% and to affirm its commitment to Germany as a manufacturing and development location. The current plant employs around 500 people and generates a turnover of 100 million euros.

  • From left to right: Benjamin Faulhaber ARGO-HYTOS Project Manager Smart L.E.A.F., Jörg Stech Managing Director ARGO-HYTOS GMBH, Christian H. Kienzle CEO ARGO-HYTOS Group, Ulrich Hintermayer Mayor of Kraichtal, Martin Schilling Branch Manager GOLDBECK Südwest GmbH
  • Ground-breaking ceremony ARGO-HYTOS GMBH


ARGO-HYTOS invests in new filter element plant in Kraichtal

In recent years, the ARGO-HYTOS Group has invested heavily in the internationalization of the company. The main reason to add a new building is the ambition to follow our customers into all the markets that are important to them and to support them there locally, in their traditional business areas, in the same comprehensive manner they have been accustomed to by our parent companies in Europe for decades. In accordance with our motto "Follow Our Customers,” additional plants and sales companies in many parts of the world were created over the past ten years. New companies in China, India, Brazil, Russia, Turkey and Poland were added.

The European market remains very promising for the ARGO-HYTOS Group, as well. During the time when the market for mobile hydraulics applications saw a sideways trend and there was no significant growth, market share was gained through relevant new products, smart applications and consistent marketing strategies. Having thus secured a strong position, it was possible to enjoy above-average benefits from the increase in demand starting in 2017. The resurgence of our core markets – construction and agricultural machinery, as well as general mechanical engineering – contributed to double-digit growth rates.

Strong international and European growth, excellent business development and a positive outlook are the main reasons for the necessary expansion of the parent company ARGO-HYTOS GMBH in Kraichtal, Germany. The capacities for production, assembly and logistics will be increased by about 40%. A new filter element plant will be part of the new facility. In line with the digitization strategy, this plant is designed and operated using the latest technologies for data exchange within the value chain "Smart Production". The internally developed and networked Industry 4.0 process plants and machines already in use today will be able to fully exploit their potential with the new building. The aim is to take the current status of the plant as a benchmark for the efficient production of filter elements and systems in Europe to the next level.

In addition to the commitment of the company to the manufacturing and development location in Germany, the support of and smooth cooperation with the municipality Kraichtal must also be emphasized. The construction of a bypass and local relief road will significantly improve the transport infrastructure, thus relieving local residents of noise and traffic. The construction phases of the two major projects will be coordinated. Construction of the road began in May of this year. Once it is completed later this year, construction of the new building at ARGO-HYTOS will start. Completion is expected in the 4th quarter of 2019.

The cornerstones for the positive development of the company are a future- and - above all - customer-oriented approach, sustainable and long-term goal-oriented investments in the ARGO-HYTOS Group, as well as the outstanding, creative and motivated workforce.

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