First publishedin World Highways
G&Z has been benefiting from strong machine orders
Guntert & Zimmerman (G&Z) is experiencing healthy sales for its concrete pavers, with the factory also benefiting from upgrades. Improved manufacturing processes at the G&Z factory in Ripon, California, will help reduce delivery times for customers. This is important given the strong orders that the G&Z plant is handling at present, with the workforce also the highest for many decades. Rolf Guntert is executive vice president, sales and said, “We’re continuing to grow.”
The factory is being reorganised to help increase manufacturing efficiency. A new focus on manufacturing will help boost throughput, reducing lead times on orders and ultimately, helping to ensure that customers receive their machines more quickly. The firm’s vice president in charge of operations, Jan Scholl, has driven the changes in the factory. One important change is the greater use of sub-assemblies during manufacturing, building sections in parallel with the main production line. These sub-assemblies are then brought into the production line to be fitted to the main chassis section. According to the firm, this method allows for more efficient use of personnel and space in the factory. It also better accommodates the many customer options available for each model as these can be incorporated during the sub-assembly process, further reducing manufacturing lead times while also helping to further boost quality. Scholl said, “You can do pretesting or dry fitting.”
Some changes have been made to machines with regard to engine selection due to the Tier 4 Final emissions requirements. The initial MP550 placer for example was powered by an FPT diesel. But Guntert said, “We’re pretty much all Cat now.”
Meeting the Tier 4 Final requirements has required a substantial investment by G&Z and Guntert commented, “It’s been expensive and time consuming.”
The S600 model now features a Tier 4 Final engine option, which did require some changes to the model. Guntert said, “It involved redesigning the wiring harnesses and relocating the hydraulics.”
Increased use of sub-assemblies during manufacturing is boosting production and quality at the plant
However, he added that the company is seeing benefits as it has strong orders from North American customers. “We’re starting to see people replacing their mid-sized pavers. We’re also seeing a lot of urban paving.”
Orders are also healthy for overseas markets and Guntert said, “India’s booming right now,” with G&Z looking to capitalise on the increasing numbers of Indian highways being built from concrete. Guntert added that the markets in other territories such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia are also healthy, while parts of Latin America are witnessing strong improvements.
Machine demand varies depending on the market and Guntert said that the firm is seeing strong orders for S400 models for exports, while US customers are generally ordering the S850s, with DBI units. One of these S850s is for a highway job in Las Vegas while two others are for highway projects in California. Meanwhile, one customer in Australia ordered a large S1500 paver long with a TC1500 texture cure machine. Most of the larger pavers are also being kitted out so that they can use machine control tools also.
New capabilities are being worked on for the existing models and Guntert said that a number of new features will be offered for the S850, S600 and S400. Narrow track line capabilities are now being offered, while the firm has also increased the mobility of its machines for use in compact sites.