For over 65 years, JOST’s factory in Neu-Isenburg has been in operation, and much has changed since it first opened its doors in 1952. Vera Terporten, Marketing Communications at JOST, describes how the floors were once cobblestones and everything from the flooring to the machinery has been upgraded over time with state-of-the-art technology.
“There are permanent modernisation processes at JOST, so that we can always provide the highest quality components,” she says. The factory in Neu-Isenburg is also the headquarters of JOST World and is one of the most important production sites for fifth wheels.
The Neu-Isenburg plant is the biggest JOST facility for producing the fifth wheels that it distributes around the world. Here JOST produces a variety of fifth wheels. In fact, fifth wheels and landing legs account for about 64 per cent of JOST total sales. In terms of global market share, JOST distributes parts and systems to the Americas, Brazil, countries in the Asia-Pacific region as well as throughout Europe.
The production of fifth wheels in such a large scale typically calls for a rigorous quality assurance procedure.
“Quality assurance is a top priority for JOST,” Terporten says – adding that after the fifth wheels plates are manufactured, they are prepared for the transition to the KTL anti-corrosion baths. “JOST was one of the first manufacturers in Europe to introduce the KTL anti-corrosion method, or as we refer to it as Cathodic Electrophoretic Enamelling (CEE). Nowadays it’s certainly a must in the commercial vehicle industry.”
The CEE complex at the Neu-Isenburg plant was built in 1998, in line with JOST’s total quality management regimen.
“This equipment represents state-of-the-art technology, ensuring that our products comply with our ever-increasing quality requirements,” Terporten says. “We use this complex to provide fifth wheel couplings, mounting plates, king pins, skids and various die-cast parts with the best corrosion protection that is available in the market.”
To guarantee an exceptional level of quality, JOST modified all of its materials and manufacturing logistics when it installed the CCE complex. The CEE system was tailored for operational efficiency and environmental sustainability while being put into operation in record time. Old production workshops were completely demolished as a result to make room for new buildings to house this technology. Aside from the massive, highly efficient CEE system, this included an up-to-date, computer-controlled high storage facility.
For JOST, these innovations meant more than just a reorganisation. This would also help the equipment specialist lead the way in delivering products that are more durable and longer-lasting.
JOST also considered the environmental impact of the CEE complex by utilising the latest in waste disposal equipment.
“The enamel particles washed off in the last bath are separated from the water using ultrafiltration and are then returned to the enamel bath.” Terporten says. “When drying the enamel, reaction products are made where these are extensively neutralised together with the solvent emissions from the coating plant being burnt off afterwards.”
There are 11 steps involved in the CEE process. To ensure a sealed, flawless CEE coating, there is a pre-treatment phase in various immersion baths, each with their own particular functions, according to Terporten.
The CEE process is computer controlled and takes precisely six minutes. The drying out phase last about 55 minutes.
As a leading global producer and supplier of safety-critical systems for trucks and trailers, JOST has had a strong 2018 financial year in terms of organic sales growth in all regions.
According to preliminary figures, JOST increased organic Group sales by 9.9 per cent in the first half of 2018. With ongoing product developments, and positive signs of further expansion in the future, it is even more critical than ever that the Neu-Isenburg plant continues to innovate and remain as productive as possible.
A brief history lesson
JOST’s company history started with the opening of its Neu-Isenburg plant in Germany in 1962. It was founded as a factory for producing ball bearings and turntables. In 1956, JOST started the production of fifth wheels. Four years later, the equipment specialist expanded its operations to South Africa. The Europe expansion kicked off during the 1970s and the 1980s saw JOST enter the US and Australian markets.
The expansions continued throughout the 1990s as it grew even further into Asia and South America; JOST’s product range was also extended with the introduction of container equipment.
The new millennium saw significant global growth with expansions to eastern Europe, Russia and India. The 2000s also marked the acquisitions of Rockinger and Tridec. The incorporation of JOST Japan occurred in 2011 and JOST acquired Edbro a year later.
From 2013 onwards, JOST embarked on a number of innovative endeavours including the globalisation of the hydraulics and axles product groups as well as the acquisition of Mercedes-Benz’s Trailer Axle Systems in 2014.
In 2017, JOST Werke announced its Initial Public Offering (IPO) and the business has continued to develop its components the world’s road transport industry.
JOST announced in August of 2018 that it had opened three new sites in New Zealand, Turkey and Thailand. Lars Brorsen, Chairman of the Executive Board of JOST Werke was delighted with the network expansion: “By opening three new sites, JOST is resolutely pursuing its globalisation strategy and strengthening its presence in new countries which promises success for our company”.