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Media / Application stories / Atlas Copco’s latest plant sets the benchmark for sustainable design and lean production practices

Atlas Copco’s latest plant sets the benchmark for sustainable design and lean production practices


Wilrijk, Belgium, April 2014. When the Atlas Cocpo project team undertook the task of building a new production plant in Chakan, an industrial area near Pune, India, they also took on the challenge of building a facility that would set the benchmark for sustainable design and state-of-the-art production processes within Atlas Copco.

Compressor production Chakan Plant, India
The Chakan Plant is the new production facility for industrial compressors from 5 to 90 kW and portable compressors from 85 to 1350 cfm. Spread out over 23 acres, the complex is 19 000 m2 and includes an administrative building, assembly workshop, finished goods storage and areas for R&D activities. The overall project development time was 18 months. It was completed without any work-related accidents and achieved more than 1 million hours of accident-free operations.

The factory was built in accordance with Atlas Copco’s globally accepted Sustainable Building Standard and in line with LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) best practices has lately been certified by IGBC (Indian Green Building Council) as a GOLD rated Green Factory Building. Extra attention was given to energy-efficient design and technology to limit environmental impact and to reduce the use of energy and natural resources during the construction phase, as well as future plant operation. The project could get maximum credit points for its rainwater harvesting system. The system ensures that no rainwater will run off site during a monsoon but instead get collected in a natural pool. The collected rainwater will supplement local groundwater during dry periods.

No need for an air conditioning system

Compressor production Chakan Plant, India
The building’s orientation and the design of the walls and roof catch and reflect maximum daylight. As a result, the workshop does not need any additional lighting during the day; however, no direct sunlight enters the workshop to avoid shadows, which could interfere with visibility, and eliminate heat buildup in the work environment. Natural air flow and ventilation stabilize the ambient temperature without the use of an expensive air conditioning system.

The plant’s layout was developed according to Flow manufacturing principles. From Goods Reception to Finished Goods Loading is one single, connected process flow, which focuses on the continuous flow of materials, products and information through the value-creation process. The manufacturing layout and logistics setup were designed to operate according to lean manufacturing principles. Consequently, the number of production lines and the overall assembly length were reduced considerably. Flow and transparency in logistics were created by the introduction of the “supermarket concept.” As in retail, goods in a supermarket have fixed locations and fixed quantities, and their availability is secured over time

Environment of continuous improvement

Information management is a key factor for successful lean manufacturing. Therefore, a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) was developed and implemented to secure on-time, in-full data management throughout the entire process.Core assembly activities like bolting, clamping, and connecting were identified, and individual training standards have been developed to select, train, qualify and certify the line operators before they start assembly operations on the shop floor.

The last but most important step toward lean manufacturing is the development of an environment of continuous improvement. By creating flow and transparency in operations and logistics, it becomes easier to see and identify problems. Each workstation is equipped with a monitoring system that allows the operator to understand his performance and notify supervisors of any problems in his work area. Excellence in lean manufacturing means every individual has the responsibility to take initiative to solve problems within his or her area of operation. The new plant will support Atlas Copco’s ambition for further growth in the Indian market for years to come.

For further information please contact:
  • Michael Gaar, PR Coordinator, Telephone: +32 (0) 3 750 80 88, e-mail:

Atlas Copco is a world-leading provider of sustainable productivity solutions. The Group serves customers with innovative compressors, vacuum solutions and air treatment systems, construction and mining equipment, power tools and assembly systems. Atlas Copco develops products and service focused on productivity, energy efficiency, safety and ergonomics. The company was founded in 1873, is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and has a global reach spanning more than 180 countries. In 2013, Atlas Copco had revenues of BSEK 84 (BEUR 9.7) and more than 40 000 employees.

Atlas Copco’s Compressor Technique business area provides industrial compressors, vacuum solutions, gas and process compressors and expanders, air and gas treatment equipment and air management systems. It has a global service network. Compressor Technique innovates for sustainable productivity in the manufacturing, oil and gas, and process industries. Principal product development and manufacturing units are located in Belgium, Germany, the United States, China, India and Korea.