German Headquarters

March 10, 2012 10:44 AM

Where machinery is manufactured as well as exhibited

Don’t think Germany is important to machinery enthusiasts only because it hosts Agritechnica
every other year. Two major machinery companies—Claas and Fendt—are headquartered there.

Harsewinkel is the hub for international farm machinery company Claas. The company makes self-propelled combines for corn, soybeans, rice and small grains; self-propelled forage harvesters; haying equipment and tractors. The family-owned company is led by its second and third generation: Helmut Claas and Cathrina Claas-Mühlhäuser.

Claas has 9,000 employees in 14 factories and production facilities around the world. In Harsewinkel, the company has manufacturing, engineering, marketing and corporate leadership divisions. It welcomes 27,000 visitors a year to the Technopark visitors center, which displays current machinery and features the Claas Museum.

The manufacturing facilities in Harsewinkel produce self-propelled forage harvesters, Xerion machines and combines for Western Europe and threshing modules for other markets.

There are two assembly lines for combines: one for small-frame machines and one for large-frame machines. On average, 18 to 19 Lexion combines are produced per day, and each machine is quality tested for 15 minutes.

One assembly line is dedicated to Jaguar forage harvesters, with 16 machines on the line at a time. It takes 1,280 minutes to complete the assembly, producing seven machines a day. Each machine undergoes 80 minutes of testing.

The company produces 300 to 500 Xerion machines a year. Since they are not marketed in the U.S., some farmers might not know that Claas also makes 12,000 to 14,000 tractors a year, ranging from 60 hp to more than 400 hp.

Fendt looks ahead. In Marktoberdorf, Germany, Fendt tractors are made at a 22-acre manufacturing facility. It takes 14 hours to build a tractor, with 80 tractors built per day. The manufacturing process covers a mixed line of products, including the 200, 300, 400, 700, 800 and 900 Series tractors. There is a five- to six-month lead time for orders.

With each machining step, frame components are measured to verify that they are up to standard. At the end of the assembly line, the final inspection includes a five-minute drive test and five-minute brake test.

Fendt employs 2,500 people at the Marktoberdorf facility and another 900 people at the company’s cab building operation in Asbach-Bäumenhein, Germany.

With a $200 million investment called Fendt Ahead, the company will expand by midyear 2012 to produce up to 100 tractors a day, 20,000 tractors a year and 30,000 Vario transmissions a year.


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