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Schaeffler’s first "Factory of the Future" is scheduled to start operations in Xiangtan, in China’s Hunan Province, in 2019. According to the company, the production facility will cover a total area of around 315,000 m². The planned architecture is reminiscent of a butterfly: the four production halls are the wings, while the central body houses the administrative units. Schaeffler hopes this will facilitate efficient internal communication between production and administration. Components and systems for engines, transmissions and suspension systems for the automotive industry are to be manufactured in Xiangtan in the future.

Given that the changes brought about by modern manufacturing processes are also necessarily reflected in the production halls themselves, the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI) sees smart buildings as the focal point of digitization. For example, Schaeffler’s plans envisage a standardized supply network that enables quick and easy machine connections, as well as the energy-efficient use of natural daylight.