SCHOTTEL opens new rudderpropeller factory

EUR 45 million investment in the future

Aerial view of the new SCHOTTEL plant

In order to strengthen its leading market position, the German manufacturer of marine propulsion systems opened a new Rudderpropeller factory in the summer of 2015.


The factory was built near company headquarters at a total investment volume of EUR 45 million and over a construction period of about 2 years. It includes four production shops (up to 270 m long and 18 m high) and a three-storey building for administration, social and technical purposes – all amounting 23,000 m² of production and office space. The new site accommodates a total of 290 jobs in production and administration, including 20 apprentice positions. The factory has been designed using the latest methods and is so versatile that it can be adapted to changing requirements over the long term. With the new site, SCHOTTEL has increased its production capacity by roughly 30%.


Quality and efficiency

The key aspects for the design of the new production facility were efficiency, product quality and environmental friendliness. Professor Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Jensen, CEO of the SCHOTTEL Group, explains the construction criteria: “We refer to the new factory as the most efficient Rudderpropeller factory in the world because efficiency has been achieved in every conceivable area here. It begins with the connection to the existing traffic system and continues on to well thought-out logistics. This includes a completely roofed incoming goods and shipping area and an intelligent flow of materials based on an optimum overall layout of the factory. Quality assurance is directly next to incoming goods and shipping, and the distances for employees in production and production-related areas are short – despite the large size of the factory. Further efficiency gains and flexibility are, of course, also achieved through the versatility of the new machine tools.” Beyond this, SCHOTTEL places great importance on a work environment that is healthy and motivating. “Optimum working conditions,” notes Jensen, “are provided to employees in terms of ergonomics and the illumination of the workspaces: The combination of daylight and an automatically controlled lighting system also ensures energy efficiency. Modern ventilating and venting with corresponding filtering provides safe and oxygen-rich air. In addition, the ventilation system operates with heat recovery. Even the heat of the compressors is used for the heating of paint booths and drying booths. At the same time, the energy supplied to the water in the test bed is routed through a heat pump and used for heating offices. A photovoltaic system also supplies the plant with environmentally friendly energy.”


High proportion of in-house manufacturing

SCHOTTEL also invested heavily in a new machinery park. Thanks to the mechanical production facility, the company is able to efficiently produce all of the essential parts of the Rudderpropeller in-house. The largest multi-axis turning/milling centre for the machining of structural support tubes (with a diameter of up to 5 metres) and gear box housings (with a machining height of 5 metres) offers a payload of 120 tonnes. As with many other machines, it is possible to equip the machine and to machine workpieces simultaneously.  The cranes for lifting range from 10 to 50 tonnes are also noteworthy. They can also be retrofitted for up to 100 tonnes should this become necessary in the future.

SCHOTTEL has always stood out for its range of manufacture. The new machine tools also increase the amount of manufacturing in-house. “This safeguards our know-how while ensuring availability and consistently high quality,” says Professor Gerhard Jensen. 


Modern plants worldwide

Besides the plant in Dörth, SCHOTTEL has further manufacturing facilities in Wismar (Germany) and Suzhou (China). They are all modern facilities and are regularly updated to the state of the art.

For example, the modernized mechanical manufacturing facility was commissioned in Wismar in July 2015.

At the Suzhou plant, newly expanded production and service capacity is available – including an electric and hydraulic workshop and new CNC long bed lathes with turning lengths for shafts measuring up to 10 metres.


Added to this, the new site of the SCHOTTEL subsidiary HW Elektrotechnik – with around 4,200 square meters of shop and office space – is nearing completion. Here, amongst others, the electrical equipment for the SCHOTTEL marine propulsion systems and controllers will be manufactured in the immediate vicinity of the Dörth plant. Product quality, energy efficiency, a healthy work environment and a forward-looking design were also important guidelines here.


Service capacity expanded at headquarters in Spay

The headquarters of the SCHOTTEL Group will continue to be in Spay/Rhine. The company’s service division will obtain new capacity here: the former production site will be used to accommodate the service warehouse, which was previously split across different sites. There will be a larger repair area with separate mechanical production facilities. A paint shop as well as a test and development shop will also be available. With short lines of communication and efficient logistics, SCHOTTEL will thus be able to respond to customers’ wishes even more quickly in the future.