SSI Schaefer celebrates 75th Anniversary


SSI Schafer has experienced its strongest growth in South East Asia and Australasia

SSI Schaefer celebrates 75th Anniversary
SSI Schaefer celebrates 75th Anniversary

April 26, 2012

SSI Schafer has experienced its strongest growth in South East Asia and Australasia.

In its first quarter, the materials handling systems supplier has seen order income some 20 percent up on 2012, with a full order book and healthy quote bank.

Regional Managing Director, Brian Miles says the company has secured several significant automation projects and continued increasing penetration in the industrial storage market.

Miles points to the opening of a 5,000 square metre assembly hall at SSI’s Malaysian factory as one of the reasons for this success.

Dedicated to the manufacture of Schaefer’s range of super quiet low energy conveyors, the facility allows SSI to offer its clients European quality systems at competitive Asian prices.

At the same time Schaefer opened its Tech Centre which showcases the company’s wide range of conveying and paperless picking technologies, including high productivity ‘goods-to-person’ pick stations which enable customers to achieve in excess of 1,000 picks per person per hour and fully automated A-Frame picking.

Additionally, working demonstrations of Schaefer’s in-house ‘Orbiter’ for channel storage, mobile racking systems and Logimat vertical lift systems show clients how optimal storage density can be achieved.

Brian Miles explains SSI has decided to continue investing in Malaysia, where the company has a 6.5 hectare site and a labour force of close to 300 of which over 200 have more than five years’ service with the company.

"In the region, we have excellent relationships with our steel suppliers who can provide us with a higher quality than is available in China," Miles says.

"In fact we export uprights to China for projects which require higher frame and bay loadings against the trend of manufacturers using China as their export base.

"To meet a growing demand from our 15 subsidiaries from Australia to South Africa, Dubai and South East Asia, we have just installed a second paint line and increased our warehouse loading area to 5,500 square metres with 10 loading docks."

Schaefer’s Malaysian manufactured pallet racking range known as Interlock 600 was certified as FEM 10.02.02 compliant in 2005, following tests undertaken in Dortmund and Greenwich Universities.

The company's German parent has structural engineers sitting on the Technical Committee of FEM who helped draft the soon- to-be-released Drive in Racking codes.

This product range has now been tested and certified by an independent Australian Structural Engineering company as compliant to AS 4084-2012 introduced in February.

By increasing the critical mass to 30,000mt of production in 2011, the company has been able to achieve real savings in the last 6 months, which has helped Schaefer increase its market share.

Simultaneously the company has installed new production lines, which can now roll five different post profiles in 3 gauges, together with specialist beam profiles used in the design of automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) or Rack Clad warehouses, where the AS/RS system acts as the supporting structure for the warehouse.

"Asia is now a competence centre for the design and manufacture of these systems," Miles says. "The last 2-3 years has seen a resurgence of AS/RS projects in South East Asia.

"It was a natural progression for the company to use the company’s expertise in this market to supply these systems from Malaysia.

"We now have engineers trained in Germany whom Schaefer has certified competent to undertake these designs. It means we can reduce design and manufacturing lead-times, which in turn helps us to pass on savings to our customers and partners."

Miles adds automated solutions require racking systems manufactured to high tolerances. "These can be achieved on SSI’s precision rolling mill which is similar to that used by Schaefer in Germany.

"Obviously steel quality is critical with assured availability from our suppliers."

"The product that Schaefer manufactures in both its Asian factories is interchangeable with the system made by its parent company in Germany, so when designing racks for the extreme loads required for rack clad buildings in seismic zones we can substitute these profiles to complement our own range," Miles explains.

"I’m proud to add that Schaefer’s racking system is sold to the company’s global subsidiaries. We have resisted the practice of re-engineering racking to suit the Asian market, simply to try to win market share with lower cost."

"Schaefer has built its 75 year reputation on providing quality products supported by outstanding service. This is why globally and here in Asia, the company is recognised as No. 1, the market leader."

While Schaefer views the turbulence in the European Financial markets with some caution, the company is confident that given its comprehensive range of products which are all produced within the Schaefer group, the company will continue to expand its market share.

"With our international customers ramping up production, I am confident that the company will consolidate its market share," Miles says.

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