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How Many Factories Do STAS Have?

How Many Factories Do STAS Have?

STAS have 4 factories (to the best of my knowledge).  Originating in a village called STASgem in Belgium they moved to Waregem in the 1950's.

So the original main factory is Waregem - which was state of the art and still is impressive. This is where they now do their signature Aluminium chassis and tipping trailers.

The second factory is in Tournai - about 30 mins from the main Factory in Waregem. It offered a large area of land and more plentiful labour being close to the high unemployment hotspot on the French border. It started in about 2003 and targeted Walking Floor Trailers freeing up more space in the Waregem factory for just tipping trailers. It is huge and has had a 2022 expansion. Highly organised and highly robotified and deeply Green thinking. It is fly by wire from the offices and design team in Waregem. It is a treat to visit due its scale and ambition. It is logic and clever thinking in a bottle.

The third factory is in Freudenberg, Germany. STAS purchased the Luck factory which was a modern site on the edge of one of the most picture postcard towns you will ever see (google Freudengberg Altstadtkern). I worked with the Luck factory prior to the STAS purchase. It is focused on lightweight steel chassis and steel body trailers and is the go to trailer for German scrap metal. Smaller than Waregem and Tournai it is a bit of a question mark factory. Too small to scale, too useful to lose.

The fourth factory is in Medias, Romania. Expansion east is the logic for all European Scale manufacturers. The factory has been rebuilt in 2022 and 2023 and is therefore now STAS's most advanced factory. It benefits from being new factory, new machines, new methods. Clearly it is seeking to make use of lower factor cost of an all Romanian workforce and lower cost foot print. However it benefits from 100 years of STAS methods and CLEAN management. It powers the expansion into the UK market and will be fully on stream Q2 2023.

I have worked with all 4 factories over 26 years and my favourite is Freudenberg, then Medias then Tournai then Waregem. Throughout the evolution it has been fun to witness the DNA of STAS thinking develop - always quality first and thought leading in a way I do not witness in our industry elsewhere.

Posted by Andrew on 11/01/2023

Back to the day job

Back to the day job - 2023 - to infinity and beyond

I thought I would do a survey on how optimistic the industry felt on work day 1 of 2023 ....... There is an argument that the number of walking floor trailers and tipping trailers entering the market in 2020, 2021, and 2022 was below the trend replacement line. All for known reasons, Brexit, Covid supply chain shocks etc.  Therefore 2023 should be a good uptick year for sales. However price inflation and interest rates changing affordability will dampen this uptick. As Donald Rumsfeld famously hashed - what are the unknown unknowns? Optimism, strikes, and UK viability will work their own factors heavily through Q3 and Q4. The first signs of this will be full order books being peppered by customer cancellations. This could lead to a rout.  However I am a natural optimist and I think it will end up an ok sort of year. God bless.

Posted by Andrew on 03/01/2023

Tilt Test Standards - IRTE Class A - lies damn lies and statistics

Tilt Test Standards - IRTE Class A - lies damn lies and statistics - - lets not go there.......yet again.

As we all know the IRTE Class A tilt test has always been a bit of a debating point.  Lots of potential for 'gaming' the physical test. Do you load it correctly full to the brim or lay steel sheets on the floor? Do you put a production trailer in or a 'special'? Do you test one trailer and lay your claim for testing over your full and plentiful option lists of suspensions and axles. Pretty much all insiders know the answer to that one as we all got messed up by the Lafarge testing round of 2003......air up or air bags deflated anyone? German engineers arguing with their UK sales arm as to what to say and what they should not say. What an unholy mess - one manufacturer even constructed with nearly a third chassis I beam just for the test - amazing.

But interestingly lots of UK manufacturer websites make the claim that their trailers are tilt tested and even splash it all over their home pages?

Interesting claim as many have changed their chassis suppliers, cylinders suppliers, axles manufacturers and body styles and lengths since they last tested......also interesting as the Qinetiq Tilt Test bed closed some years ago..... and unless you let me know otherwise there is no where else in the UK to do the test...... so watch out for large claims with small evidence is all I would go with......lets not go there....as the claims by some that ALL of there trailer range is Class A Tilt Tested might just be a screaming magnificent con... I once stood in the board room of the then UK number 1 manufacturer when the then MD laughed at an email he received from his clearly angry ex Head of Tipping Trailer Product stating that they should withdraw their claim about IRTE Tilt Testing Class A as they had not tested a single trailer at 44 tonne - and that was in 2007 some 7 years after 44 tonne came in. I learned then not to take too much notice websites. (He did not withdraw the claim nor do any range wide testing).

And as usual my disclaimer - I am an idiot who knows nothing and whose view and opinion is worthless and should not be used in a court of lawyer and wishing you all apple pie and warm beer.

 

 

 

Posted by Andrew on 22/12/2022

Planet Story

Merry Christmas - sticks in the throat a bit - it shouldn't. Sorry but you know how it goes when you have seen a few Christmases?

Been a bit of a year- what with 3 Prime Ministers, 1 King, and another World War and Messi - glorious Messi. We have been busy bees at Newton this year. We have had an amazing selling year although that tide is turning into December. So 2023 is a roll of a dice as to whether it is going to be a boom or bust. Certainly Q1 and Q2 is shaping up as a bust but we might see an uptick after the summer?  Meanwhile Newton has been working hard on it's planet net zero adventure.  Lots of hard work working with lots of fantastic people at Cranfield University and our amazing group of suppliers to understand, collect data and make substantial changes to our trailers for 2023. We must get to net zero and Newton needs to do its tiny part in this. So we are working hard to generate a new generation of trailers to reduce eCO2 kgs in the products we sell. At the moment we sound like one hand clapping but in 5 years time everyone will be at it. As you all know I can Bore For England on this topic and if you ever want a good chin wag - then pick up the phone and lets talk carbon and saving the world one trailer at a time.

Love hugs and apple pie this Christmas to you and all you hold dear.

Newton Team

 

Posted by Andrew on 22/12/2022

Plus Ca Change

Plus Ca Change

What a shit show.....I have to check my watch to find out which Prime Minister I am currently meant to be respecting.  Sometimes makes you think that the Corbyn might have been a better choice - now that would have been really rocky.  And in other news.... plenty of trailers coming through now - so it looks like the Covid supply issues are finally working their way through the supply chain. Since the summer holidays the numbers per week have become almost ridiculous - I think we had 32 new trailers last week released by the factories.  So suddenly famine turns to feast and that is putting pressure on administration and haulage. 

We are not seeing much let up in price inflation. What is given with one hand is being taken by the other. Decline in the pound sterling has meant commodities such as steel and aluminium plus the remaining finished components are all either US dollar based or euro based and the purchasing power of a pound has gone south. So whether the trailer is made complete in the UK (say 80% materials and 15% labour and 5% piss it up the wall) or in Europe (85% materials and 13% labour plus 2% piss it up the wall) we are in the famous phrase 'All cooking with the same water'.  That means we are all seeing massive price increases for the product once built. The good thing is that it is supporting strong residuals on part exchange and used trailers.

As this blog has taken about 2 minutes to write there could be another prime minister waiting to be thrown out of Downing Street.

Posted by Andrew on 24/10/2022

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