How efficiency, flexibility and competitiveness have been enhanced in Brazil

Highlights: Curitiba investment results since 2017

  • Automation increased from 4% to 23%
  • Production quality improved by 41%
  • CO2 footprint reduced by 11%
  • Direct labor decreased by 24%

In 2020, Electrolux completed a significant investment in its Curitiba plant in Brazil to enhance competitiveness through greater efficiency and flexibility.

The investment in Curitiba is part of a SEK 8bn global re-engineering investment program that is expected to contribute to approximately SEK 3.5bn in annual cost savings with full effect from 2024. The investment program is also vital to drive profitable growth through innovative, high quality products while also reducing the Group’s environmental footprint.

Modularization and new product platform

When redesigning the Curitiba plant, standardized global modular platforms were used. Product modularization is important for driving profitable growth as it speeds up innovation by leveraging global technologies, increases flexibility and allows a sharpened offering with more relevant features at a lower cost with best-in-class quality.

The Curitiba plant investment enabled a new product platform geared towards the growing market segment of two-door refrigerators. These new products also have significant sustainability benefits as they are 45% more energy efficient than local energy standards through new technology and have been upgraded with eco-friendly refrigerants.

Increased automation in production and warehousing

The level of automation in production has been significantly increased, from 4% to 23%. In addition, a new warehouse was built next to the factory with state-of-the-art automated equipment to optimize storage and the handling of inbound and outbound goods. The greater automation has improved the safety incident rate by 11%, reduced direct labor by 24% and decreased raw material stock by 18%.

Greater efficiency

High-speed machines were incorporated into important phases of production – including some that were more than twice as productive as previous equipment, while using less raw materials and energy. For production overall, CO2 has been reduced by 11% and water use by 12% since the transformation of the factory began in 2017.

Efficiency in design and beyond

3D models and Virtual Reality tools were used to improve project accuracy as well as to identify and overcome potentially costly design issues early on. The technique reduced the project length by 38% compared with a conventional 2D project design. Design efficiency was also crucial in optimizing the layout of the warehouse and plant for a better resource flow throughout.

Efficiency enhancements will continue in the future through an ongoing improvement plan and lean concepts to guarantee further process cost reductions.