Project USA
Rheinmetall Automotive

(D – Neckarsulm und USA – Marinette – Wisconsin)

The Port of Hamburg is literally “the gateway to the world”. And it was precisely this gateway that VOLLMERT made use of:

VOLLMERT had been commissioned for the relocation of a production line for passenger car pistons, including all machines and linking systems, from Neckarsulm in southern Germany to the North American plant in Marinette / Wisconsin. In mid-September 2011, the preparation for the very complex customs procedure to the USA began. Less than a month later, we were able to start dismantling in Germany.

Every single component – from the smallest screw to the highly sensitive loader – was professionally packed and stowed in containers at the German site. This resulted in a total of twelve 40-foot high-cube containers that were taken to the Port of Hamburg for shipment. 13 machines had to be relocated. Those were first transported by truck to the free port of Hamburg, where they were professionally packed in foil and crates. In the meantime, the complete customs clearance procedure for exporting the units to the USA was carried out in coordination with our customer’s logistics department. On schedule, all mechanical and electrical dismantling, packing and stowing, as well as the so-called pre-carriage to the port were completed on November 22, 2011. All units, together with a tool container from VOLLMERT for reassembly in the USA, could be loaded onto the “Atlantic Concert” of the shipping company ACL in Hamburg.

In the early morning on November 30, 2011, it was time to cast off. The 400 tons of VOLLMERT machine parts as well as countless Volvo cars, excavators, tractors and almost 1,500 containers sailed down the Elbe towards Baltimore / Maryland in the USA.

On December 18, 2011, we received the news that the ship had arrived safely at its port of destination after stops in Antwerp, Liverpool, Halifax and New York, despite heavy seas. We were then able to begin with the planned carriage to the interim storage facility in Manitowoc. All of the twenty-six containers and sea chests were transported by truck within America from Baltimore via Chicago to Manitowoc to a specially rented interim storage facility, where immediately after arrival the sea chests were placed according to a precise plan.  All containers were unloaded and stored in the required order for the production line. This work was completed on December 30, 2011. Happy New Years!

On Saturday, January 7, 2012, the VOLLMERT reassembly team set off from Hamburg airport: a project manager, mechanic, electrician and an employee of the manufacturer of the interlinking system started their 25-hour trip via Frankfurt to Chicago, then on by plane to Green Bay (last year’s winner of the Super Bowl) and finally a one-hour trip by rental car to their destination. Exhausted and motivated at the same time, the seven-week project “Remounting Line 7 in “USA” could start.

There had been a 4-day “Site Preparation Meeting” with representatives of the American plant, with employees of the internal “Industrial Engineering” department from Germany and representatives of VOLLMERT in the USA last year in December. In this meeting, all localities and procedures were checked in advance to ensure a smooth workflow for the project.

And this preparation now paid off: all trades worked “hand in hand” – deliberately delayed by a few days. After the first machines had been positioned, the local service providers of the American plant were able to start supplying the machines with media, and step by step the production line was reassembled. While the last machines were still being positioned, the first machines were put back into operation and adjusted to the new product in the USA.

Thanks to our excellent project management and cooperation of all parties involved, this great project of VOLLMERT could be completed in February 2012 – one week ahead of schedule.