Hyundai Construction Equipment (HCE) says it is investing €150 million ($170m) in its Ulsan production plant in South Korea, increasing capacity by 50%, in a process that will support Hyundai’s growing presence in the global construction equipment market, while providing a manufacturing base for a new generation of electric- and hydrogen-powered equipment.
The investment, to be delivered over the next four years, will increase production at the plant by 4,800 units a year, bringing annual capacity to 15,000 excavators, wheel loaders and other construction models.
The company will merge the production and assembly functions currently in Factory 1 and Factory 2, into a single facility, simplifying the flow of processes and increasing savings by maximising efficiency. This will reduce the working hours involved in machine production and cut logistics costs throughout the supply chain, the company says. The move will also reflect HCE’s environmental, social and governance factors, using eco-friendly sub-materials when conducting interior and exterior finish work.
HCE said: “The company is increasing its market share in every region of the business, by responding to current market trends in the global construction equipment market and by looking ahead to the customer requirements of tomorrow’s infrastructure and construction projects. The company is also planning to benefit from the recent US launch of the ‘Build Back Better World (B3W)’ initiative for developing countries.”
HCE announced in 2020 that it planned to bring to market a range of excavators powered by hydrogen fuel cells, produced in cooperation with Hyundai Motors, which has its largest automotive plant in Ulsan. The company has already unveiled a range of hydrogen-powered industrial forklifts that are due to launch in 2023, as it continues to develop the low and zero-carbon emissions equipment that will be demanded by the customer of the future.
HCE CEO, Mr Choi Cheol-gon, said: “Strengthening the competitiveness of the Ulsan factory is the first challenge that needs to be addressed to reach the global top five, the goal of the construction equipment division of the Hyundai Heavy Industries group. With this investment, we will further raise our brand competitiveness by producing and delivering construction equipment with increased efficiency.”
In November 2020, HCE completed the construction of a technology innovation centre, investing €57.4 million. The new centre includes 16 laboratories, employing more than 100 researchers. It is involved in research and development projects focused on eco-friendly technologies, high efficiency and noise reduction technologies and a virtual verification system. The site also performs quality research and verification of components and completed equipment.