Blum confident in China with new factory in Shanghai's Hongqiao hub
With machines rumbling and mechanical arms working in full swing, hinges of premium quality are delivered on the assembly lines in seconds.
This is the Austrian furniture fittings company Blum's fully automated intelligent factory in the western part of Shanghai's Hongqiao International Open Hub.
The opening of Blum's new factory reflects the Austrian firm's confidence in the Chinese market.
"We strongly believe in the Chinese market and in its long-term development; hence, we made this investment in the Chinese market," said Maarten de Vries, regional director Asia-Pacific of Blum Group.
"We are pretty confident in the future development here as a company in Shanghai could benefit from its geographic location, its state-of-the-art infrastructure, and the mix of production and service industries that gives it a strategic position," he added.
The 58,000-square-meter factory is located in Qingpu Industrial Park. Construction began in November 2019. It was within the core area of the greater Hongqiao as well as the Yangtze River Delta region.
Inside the factory, several hinge assembly lines have already been installed, and there are plans for more.
A hinge has almost 50 pieces, and assembly needs extreme precision.
The traditional way of making hinges involves more than 100 procedures and about 30 minutes of manual labor. On the assembly lines, it is now reduced to one second.
A 35-meter-high wholly automatic bay warehouse is scheduled to open in December, providing Chinese clients with more efficient logistics services.
The plant's design and construction put an emphasis on sustainability, with the use of many advanced technologies such as building automation, rainwater recycling and ground heating.
Blum entered Chinese market in 2002 and has experienced rapid growth as a result of the country's rapid economic development. It now has seven operating locations across the country.
"China furniture market developed fast, and we have been growing with the market in the past 20 years," said Maarten de Vries.
"Now that the economy is recovering, we are quite confident about the future outlook. That is why we started the factory construction at the end of 2019.
"Even though COVID-19 brought some uncertainty, we continued with our construction work as planned," he added.
Blum Furniture Hardware (Shanghai) Co Ltd, the company's China headquarters, is based in Qingpu District.
"When we decided to build this factory in 2019, we got great support from the Qingpu government and Qingpu Industrial Park, especially in land purchase and usage periods," said Maarten de Vries.
"After so many years, Qingpu feels like our home," he said.