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Valeo plans new Czech expansion at car air conditioning plant in Rakovník

By: Richard Higgs, Plastics News Europe

4 January 2019

Global auto sector supplier Valeo Group got the green light from the Czech Republic’s environmental authorities to expand its vehicle thermal systems plant in Rakovník, central Bohemia.
Valeo will now construct a new 3,720m2 production unit, ‘Hall V’, at the Valeo Autoklimatizace plant between February and October 2019. It will install a number of new injection moulding machines to turn out air conditioning and radiator grille systems there.
Valeo already has more than 80,000m2 of production, storage and office space in Rakovník, where it manufactures air-conditioning systems with more than 100 components on 15 assembly lines.
Another part of the Paris, France-based group’s production process in Rakovník is in-house manufacture of plastic parts on more than 30 injection moulding machines. Control panels are produced on another 20 lines, and since 2017, Valeo turns out grille systems with active damper control, comprising up to 60 individual parts.   
By March this year, Valeo also expects to launch production at ‘Hall VI’ – a new plant it began constructing at another Rakovník site in May 2018. With an investment of around €34m, this unit will have an area of more than 11,000m2.
There, the group plans to manufacture 15 million ultrasonic sensors and seven million cameras a year on 25 production lines providing core components for autonomous driving and automated parking.
Elsewhere in the Czech Republic, Valeo is growing in the area of electric powered vehicle component production. It is expanding to accommodate a new unit to manufacture car battery cooling systems at its site at Žebrák in the west of the country.
The company is investing €17m to build a 4,000m2 plant extension there to turn out a range of its flat cooling systems, comprising a series of plates and pipes designed for close contact with a vehicle’s lithium-ion battery pack.
The new dedicated unit, due to be inaugurated in the final quarter of 2019, will manufacture more than 1.2 million battery cooling modules annually.
Valeo also runs production units at Podbořany, in the west of the country, and in the central Czech town of Humpolec along with an R&D centre in the Czech capital Prague. In addition it has an automated driving test track at Milovice. Its national workforce numbers 4,500.
At the end of 2017, Valeo Group recorded annual sales worth €18.6 billion. Globally, it operates 184 manufacturing sites and 55 research centres. Overall, it employs 111,600 around the world.