CLAAS is once again investing in its factory in the Russian city of Krasnodar, which went into operation in 2005. The reason for this is the expansion of production capacity resulting from the positive increase in local sales figures for TUCANO combine harvesters in recent years.
Demand for locally produced Claas agricultural machinery has been rising steadily in Russia for years. This is why CLAAS is now investing in the Krasnodar production site again. “The trust Russian farmers and important export markets have in our locally produced machines has grown year on year. Word is getting around that CLAAS operates with the same high level of quality in Krasnodar as in Harsewinkel and other CLAAS factories,” says Dr Ralf Bendisch, General Director of the CLAAS factory in Krasnodar. “Made by CLAAS is a promise of quality, which we also fully deliver in Krasnodar. That is why we look to the future with confidence and are putting all the necessary technical prerequisites in place to supply the Russian market with high-quality agricultural machinery not only today, but also tomorrow. Our focus on the needs of Russian farmers is and remains the priority for our factory.”
Production undergoes a 5,000 m2 expansion
The current expansion measures involve the metalworking shop being increased from the current 11,000 m2 to 16,000 m2, a 700 m extension of the conveyor system in the paint shop and the installation of an additional powder coating booth. An additional logistics hall with a capacity of 1,100 storage spaces will also be set up. “One of the purposes of the modernisation is to bring the manufacturing processes into line with the changes that have been incorporated into the TUCANO model series over the past few years and which we are about to implement with the introduction of future combine harvester series. For example, 25 to 30 improvements of varying levels of complexity are integrated into the machine design every month. This means that CLAAS engineers are continuously adapting the machines to the requirements of the Russian agricultural enterprises and implementing changes that are based on practical experience with our combine harvesters in Russia and abroad,” explains Dr Ralf Bendisch. “We are also adjusting production capacity to the increased demand and our medium-term sales expectations.”
The expansion measures began in May 2020. In total, CLAAS is investing around EUR 12.6 million in the expansion and the purchase of additional production machines. Total production area will be 53,000 m2. In addition, the number of employees is being increased substantially – there will be more than 700 employees by the end of 2021. Total investment in the Russian production site since the first foundation stone was laid therefore amounts to almost EUR 150 million.
Quadrupling production within five years
First going into operation in 2005 and then expanded in 2015 for EUR 120 million, today Krasnodar remains one of the most modern production sites for combine harvesters and agricultural machinery across the globe and has already received several awards. In addition to producing TUCANO combine harvesters, AXION and XERION large tractors are also assembled here for the Russian and Kazakh markets. More than 1,000 TUCANOs now leave the ultra-modern factory every year, which are entirely manufactured here, from the steel blank to shell construction and painting to the ready-to-deliver machine. This translates into a quadrupling of production figures within just five years, with exports to Kazakhstan as the most important market and parts of Europe also showing strong growth. Components such as the cab, the straw chopper or the tyres are manufactured in-house or externally by Russian suppliers. In future, the new TRION straw walker and hybrid combine harvesters will also roll off the production line in Krasnodar, the production of which will start in Harsewinkel at the end of 2021.
Since the signing of a Special Investment Contract (SPIC) in June 2016, the TUCANO manufactured in Krasnodar has been considered a “Russian product” and therefore eligible for subsidies in Russia since then. Krasnodar and Harsewinkel recently celebrated the production of the 25,000th TUCANO combine harvester together.
Employee satisfaction and training to German standards
The CLAAS Krasnodar production site is considered one of the best employers in the region and in the whole of Russia. In 2020, the factory was ranked 22nd out of 147 participating companies with 251 to 1,000 employees in the Top 100 Employers in Russia. In the “loyalty” category, CLAAS Krasnodar was even ranked 43rd out of 501 companies of all sizes.
One reason for success is the dual study programme offered by CLAAS in Krasnodar. This two-year programme includes studies in mechanical engineering at the Krasnodar Vocational Training School and practical work experience at CLAAS Krasnodar. The qualification corresponds to the German IHK (Chamber of Industry and Commerce) standard for industrial mechanics.