Kion expanding forktruck factory

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

The Kion group has announced plans to expand its production plant in Reutlingen, Germany.

The group will spend tens of millions of Euros to expand production at the Kion Warehouse Systems (KWS) production facility by 60 percent in response to expected continuing growth in demand for narrow aisle trucks and vertical order pickers, said Rob Smith, CEO of Kion Group.

Rob Smith, CEO Kion Group AG

The plan is to expand the existing production plant by moving a bypass road and expanding the building into a plot of land the company will buy from the town. The expansion will comprise at least 2,600 square meters (28,000 square feet), 2,200 (24,000 sqf) of which are for the expansion of the production hall.

Extensive investments are also planned for the existing facilities and machinery, as well as a general modernization of the processes on site. Once the plans are approved, construction is expected to start in fall 2023, with the expanded production facilities in operation from 2025.

The increase in production capacity will also have an impact on employment. The workforce has already grown from 250 employees in 2010, to over 400 today. Around 130 of these KWS employees currently come from the city of Reutlingen and 280 from the district of Reutlingen. The planned expansion will safeguard the 400 existing jobs and enable the creation of new ones.

“Reutlingen is the biggest and most important site for our global narrow aisle trucks business,” says Volker Bonk, managing director of KWS. “Our heart is here in the city. This expansion will give us even more flexibility and ensure that KWS can maintain an optimal position in the dynamic intralogistics market for years to come.”

The planned expansion will also be carried out in strict compliance with nature conservation regulations. As part of this requirement, the company has to buy other land to provide the necessary forestry and nature conservation compensation. Suitable reforestation areas have already been identified within the urban area of Reutlingen.

Kion Warehouse Systems was founded in 1893 as “Ernst Wagner Apparatebau,” a body shop. Over the following decades, the company developed an extensive portfolio of logistics solutions and, by the 1980s/90s, had become a leading providers in the market for warehouse trucks.

Linde AG took over the company in 1991, and it has been part of the Kion Group since 2006. In 2010, it was renamed as Kion Warehouse Systems. Besides development and production, KWS also offers technical support and service in Reutlingen, as well as sales support for challenging customer solutions.