20 successful years at VCST in Reichenbach
21 May, 2021
May 2nd, 2001, VCST takes over Continental’s plant in Reichenbach, Germany. In this plant, Continental assembled brake boosters, a process that was moved when VCST bought the plant. We were able to keep 87 former employees of Continental on board and trained them to machine valve blocks and tandem master cylinders. VCST by that time already had experiences in machining brake components in our HQ in Sint-Truiden and we were therefore a perfect match for Continental to introduce this kind of production in the Reichenbach plant. In this article, we look back on the journey we have been on for the past 20 years.
An auspicious start
20 years ago, the demand for safety features in cars started to increase, mainly due to new legal requirements enforcing this trend. During the first years VCST Reichenbach produced valve blocks to support the ABS function of the brake system, basically the only safety feature at the beginning. However, over the years and after various product generations, more and more features were added. Indeed, today over 30 driver assistant functions for safety as well as comfort that have been added including autonomous emergency braking features.
In 2001 VCST IP invited the first employees to its plant in Sint-Truiden for training. Simultaneously the first machining center, washing equipment and periphery were set up in the Reichenbach plant.
Thanks to the outstanding support of the team from our headquarters during the start-up time, the VCST Reichenbach plant was soon able to produce at the highest quality level. Out of this VCST RB further developed to become the competence center for aluminum machining within the VCST group. Already in 2002, we won our first “supplier of the year” award from our customer Continental. 2005 saw us obtain our first ISO TS 16.949 certification and as of 2018 we have been IATF certified.
Steady progression over the years
Between 2005 and 2006 the Reichenbach plant supported the startup of the valve block production in the VCST MX plant. Unfortunately, this project called Corona was cancelled later on due to the economic crisis in 2009. Subsequently, the idle machines were transferred to the Reichenbach plant.
2007 marked another milestone as we hired our first apprentice in the Reichenbach plant. VCST has continued to focus on self-trained employees and still does so to this day. That way, we keep and increase knowhow throughout the production.
Apart from investing in talented people, we also continued our production equipment ramp up as we reached 35 machining centers in 2010. Due to several product evolutions, the machines have also been adapted frequently over the past years.
A healthy output
In 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2016, we saw our yearly output of valve blocks reach over 5 million while we reached the highest production level of tandem master cylinders (TMC) in 2011 with 1,3 million. Until now, almost 70 million valve blocks of several revisions and 13 million TMC’s have left the plant in Reichenbach. To put that into context: setting all those valve blocks and master cylinders next to each other we could cover a distance of 7.990km. Otherwise said, we could either cover the distance between Reichenbach and Sint-Truiden almost 13 times or almost complete the distance between our Reichenbach plant and our VCST China plant (linear distance).
The pride of a job well done
VCST RB is a well-established company in the Vogtland county. We are not only an important economic success, but over the past 20 years, we have also offered more than 300 employees secure and suitable employments in a family environment with good benefits. That is reflected in a high employee satisfaction and very low fluctuation. Indeed, our employees can be very proud of what they have achieved as in Europe, close to a quarter of all cars are equipped with a valve block made by VCST Reichenbach.
On top of that, in 2020 we reached our best quality result, with 9 incidents and 4ppm throughout the complete difficult year. For that and their dedicated efforts over the past 20 years our ladies and gentlemen deserve a heartfelt thank you!
At the moment we are working in preparation of new challenging projects for the plant. Hopefully soon, negotiations and contracts can be finalized and the success story of this plant will get yet another chapter. VCST Reichenbach has been supporting the growth of the VCST group throughout the last years and is thrilled to continue that way. May the good times roll on!