VOLUME 21/10 – 2011 • €6
The world of European manufacturing
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SHOCKWAVES HIT EUROPE’S ENERGY AGENDA
What lies beneath Britain could be sitting on trillions of cubic feet of gas – but not everyone is happy about it.
iny tremors in Lancashire – hardly anyone notices’. As news goes it’s right up there with Clive Cockburn’s famous suggestion, when he was a sub-editor on the Times, for the most boring headline ever – ‘Small earthquake in Chile. Not many dead’. Alas both headlines are apocryphal but the earth tremors on the Lancashire coast earlier this year were real enough, even if they were detectable only by seismograph. Whether they were of any significance depended entirely on whether you were of the Green persuasion. If you were, then here was clear evidence that the current efforts to extract shale gas in the region were putting Mother Earth at fearful risk. Cuadrilla, the company carrying out the exploratory drilling, suspended work and now a report has confirmed that there was very probably a link between the tremors and the fracking techniques being used at its well. ‘Quod erat demonstrandum’ pronounced the Greens – some of them just said ‘told you so’ – and urged the government to forget about all this dodgy technology and get on with spending more than £100 billion of our money on renewable resources, in particular on the thousands of wind turbines that will be required to meet the UK’s target of 15 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2020. Cuadrilla said that the tremors were due to an unusual combination of geological factors which would be unlikely to occur again and that they hoped to resume drilling soon. Indeed, as movings of the earth go, these were pretty insignificant – barely a twitch. One was magnitude 2.3 on the Richter scale and the other 1.4. There are some 1,300,000 events of this magnitude around the world each year and most are recordable but not felt. You have to get above 6.0 on the scale for things to start falling down around your ears and the difference between magnitude numbers is huge because the scale is a logarithmic progression – a magnitude 5.0 has a shaking amplitude ten times larger than a 4.0 and so
on. Anything above 7.0 is seriously bad news – the quake that hit Lisbon in 1755 was probably above 8.5 and the San Francisco event in 1906 was magnitude 7.9. So it is to be hoped that Cuadrilla will be able to get on with its exploration because reports suggest that the shale gas field beneath Lancashire could be huge – there may be up to 200 trillion cubic feet of gas down there. That would make the field the biggest single reserve in the world, with a basin five to ten times thicker than the famous Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania, which is thought to contain enough gas to meet total US needs for the next 25 years. Of course the amount of gas in a field and the amount that can be economically extracted are two different things but it is likely that this one field alone has the potential to completely transform the UK’s energy situation. Replacing coal fired stations with gas plants might cost around £10 billion to achieve the same reduction in carbon dioxide emissions as the £100 billion programme for offshore wind. And gas generation delivers round-the-clock power and can swiftly respond to fluctuations in demand. Wind farms, of course, tend to produce too much power (which can’t be stored) when it’s windy and none at all when it isn’t.
Fracking hazards Hold on, say the Greens, shale gas extraction carries all kinds of environmental hazards – the chemicals used in the fracking (hydraulic fracturing of the shale) can contaminate ground water and the gas itself can leak into aquifers. In fact what typically goes down the well is 94.62 per cent water and 5.24 per cent sand, with tiny quantities of friction reducer (0.05 per cent), antimicrobial (0.05 per cent), hydrochloric acid (0.03 per cent) and scale inhibitor (0.01 per cent) and no evidence has ever been found of groundwater contamination in more than a decade of extraction in the USA. And Cuadrilla points out that its policy is always to
extend the steel casing of the first section of the drilling hole between 500 and 1,000 feet below the bottom of the deepest aquifers in the region. In the Preese Hall 1 well it has set the surface casing shoe at a depth of 2021 feet – about 800 feet deeper than the bottom of the local aquifer. Below this is an intermediate hole section cemented to the cap rock that lies above the hydrocarbon bearing shales to ensure that no gas can escape uphole. The production hole section then penetrates the shale which is found between 7000 and 9000 feet – that’s at least 5800 feet (more than a mile) below the bottom of the aquifer. The company also says that the standards for wellbore design and construction are identical for conventional gas reservoirs and for shale (unconventional) reservoirs. What’s more, the fracking process is not at all unique to shale gas extraction; Germany’s RWE Dea, for example, says it has been using the fracking method for many years in its conventional gas reservoir at Rotliegend and that there has not been a single instance of groundwater pollution. As for the famous flaming water tap in Colorado, it seems that it was methane from coal seams that was to blame, not the much deeper shale gas. So it’ll be full steam ahead, then? No, of course not. Environmentalists, unlike ordinary folk, are appalled by the prospect of huge quantities of cheap gas because it could completely derail their programme of massive investment in renewable energy sources and there are enough of them in the UK’s uneasy coalition government to make things very difficult for the industry. And then, of course, the Greens are horrified by anything that deflects us all from our moral duty to consume less energy. They want high prices, the higher the better, so that we have no choice but to forsake our consumerist ways and adapt to low energy living – ideally by eating berries and roots, living in a yurt and getting about on wooden bicycles. And making sacrifices to Aeolus. n Industry Europe 3
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James Srodes A winter of discontent
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Industry Europe 5
Executive Editor of The Scotsman
Euro crisis: why a bail-out will just not do it There is now an opportunity for structural reform in the eurozone, above all in the labour market. It might be the last.
or anyone in business today, the eurozone crisis has been like living with a permanent pneumatic drill. It is running at full volume when you get into the office, still drilling away by the time you leave – and waiting for you at home when you switch on the TV news. For many months the constant series of euro summits, G20 summits, emergency packages, disagreements and failures, ever rising sovereign bond yields and most recently the replacements of governments in Greece and Italy, have dominated television news and the front pages of newspapers. Futurology has ranged from a prolonged era of uncertainty through sovereign default and a massive banking crisis to the break-up of the euro itself. That Nicholas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel have even admitted this as a possibility (the idea of secession from the eurozone till now being a total no-no) has been widely seen as the crossing of a Rubicon for the failed euro currency project. Indeed, a break-up, while deeply traumatic in its initial stages, is now being considered as potentially less painful in the medium term than staying on the current ‘preservation of unity at all costs’ policy route. All has come to hinge on a deeply reluctant European Central Bank agreeing to flood the euro area with monetary easing through massive purchases of problem sovereign debt. The worry medium term would then be the inflationary consequences of such a policy. The result is that households have become as apprehensive and depressed as businesses. This crisis has been acting like a corrosive acid on confidence, with huge uncertainty the killer ingredient. How do we start to see beyond this? Strange as it may seem, many UK and continental European companies have been doing rather better than the Armageddon headlines suggest. And – so far at least – 6 Industry Europe
global stock markets have declined to stage the apocalyptic plunge that often seems to be wished upon them by economic commentary. Share markets are down – but there has not been the sustained collapse that we would expect to accompany the complex financial and political crises that have descended across the single currency area. Companies are still exporting to Asia Pacific. Infrastructure projects are moving up the agenda. And there are continuing advances in consumer electronics.
The gap between trends in the eurozone and the rest of the world is now a gulf. In addition, many firms are currently sporting strong balance sheets, the result of regimes of cash conservation put in place since the onset of the financial crisis in late 2007. And the deep uncertainties, not just about the availability of bank finance and the health and strength of the banking system but the weakness of domestic demand, has encouraged companies to hold back from spending and to become even greater cash hoarders. Confidence to invest has been shot through. Result: growing cash piles while business waits for some visibility through the euro fog,
From gap to gulf For the moment, the omens are not good. Latest data suggest that economic momentum across the eurozone area is rapidly fading. Industrial output is reckoned to have fallen by 2.7 per cent in September. In October the composite purchasing managers index (PMI) fell from 49.1 to 46.5, the lowest since June 2009. It has plummeted from a high of 58.2 in February and has given rise to widespread fears that eurozone GDP in
the fourth quarter may show a contraction. The gap between trends in the eurozone and the rest of the world is now a gulf. PMI data for global manufacturing rose from 50.1 in September to 50.5 in October while the euro area PMI has fallen from 50.4 to 47.1. Even if Europe’s export-orientated economies avoid recession, the continuing rolling thunder from the sovereign debt crisis make any immediate recovery in business and consumer confidence unlikely. What would add materially to the downward pressure would be a further tightening of credit conditions. And it is this that, on some estimates, could turn a mild recession into something much more unpleasant. However, there are now tentative but encouraging signs with the eurozone’s two most debt-laden countries under new leadership. This is rather sneeringly referred to by the political elite as ‘government by technocrats’ (as if the absence of credible political leadership was not sufficiently glaring and that the debt crisis was somehow not the result of years of ducked reform and tough decisions by the political elites). Deficit reduction and structural reform may now be tackled in earnest. Much, however, depends on a consensus around such painful reform being maintained for a long period. But at least the first steps have been taken that may provide a breathing space. The immediate concern of governments across the eurozone will be the rise in unemployment as the slowdown continues and the need, not just to provide some form of demand stimulus but to ease the regulatory barriers to labour hiring. Bail-out money from China or the IMF is no substitute for such reform. Thus, through crisis, comes a long-delayed opportunity to tackle one of the great structural blockages to improving productivity and competitiveness. And if this is not grasped, the future for the eurozone n will be bleak indeed.
Veteran commentator on Washington & Wall Street
A winter of discontent Americans are losing faith in the ability of either party to sort things out.
hat comes to mind when one surveys the current posturing by both Republican and Democrat politicians in Washington is the old Punch cartoon of the 19th century where a Bishop giving tea to a young curate observes, “I’m afraid you’ve got a bad egg, Mr Jones.” And the obsequious young churchman hastily replies, “Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent.” Of course the effort to find the good parts of an inedible egg is a fool’s errand but that has not stopped the strained attempts here in Washington to placate an increasingly radicalised electorate. The official line is that as bad as the American economy may be things are not as bad as they could have been and, in any event, are not nearly as bad as they are in Europe. Now with just 11 months remaining before both the Republican-held Congress and President Barack Obama are up for re-election, both sides have stepped up their attempts to convince Americans that part of the economic egg is actually getting better. There are several reasons why the public appears to be far from reassured. One cause of the disaffection is the disconnect between the average citizen and the images of both parties. Most opinion polls show that voters in general approve of the Republican message of lower taxes, deeper government spending cuts and less onerous regulatory
burdens on business. It is just that the Republican candidates for president being offered the people are generally considered to range between outright kooks and questionable mediocrities. And while Mr Obama is personally well-liked by most people, those same people are disenchanted with the liberal policies he advocates, which they blame for slowing the pace of recovery. Another source of discontent is the evidence that the trillion dollars or so that the Bush and Obama administrations pumped into various stimulus efforts may have prevented a genuine economic collapse, but there does not seem to be much more that either the President can propose and the Congress enact that will provide the next stage of economic lift. The much-advertised super committee of House and Senate budget negotiators effectively failed to agree on a credible mix of enhanced revenues and programme spending reductions needed to cut into the federal government’s explosive debt burden in any meaningful way. Worse, recent data show that 42 of the 50 state governments are running major budget deficits this year totaling $103 billion. Still worse, major cities across America are being forced into court-protected bankruptcy proceedings. So whatever new jobs might be being produced in the private economy, the loss of hundreds of thousands of government jobs will more than offset any future gains.
To make the public mood worse, there are increasing odds that economic prospects will not be much improved as America heads into the 2012 election cycle, and indeed, may turn worse. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisc has just predicted the chances of an upcoming slide into recession as “one in three by the end of the summer of 2011, rising to even odds of one in two toward the first half of 2012.” Pointing to the uncertainties of the financial structure of the eurozone, the aftereffects of the Japanese earthquake of last March, and a rising commodities price bubble, the San Francisco Fed economists predict, “Growth in the G-7 countries is expected to remain below 1 per cent for the rest of the year while the odds of a contraction are 50:50.”
Housing crisis Back in the United States the big drag on economic recovery remains the huge overhang of housing which is depressing not only the construction industry but also those manufacturers of home appliances, furniture and other consumer durables. By most estimates fully ten million American houses have been foreclosed upon and seized by banks. With housing prices off by more than one third from their previous highs, there has been a 75 per cent shrinkage of new housing construction.
But excess supply is not the only facet of the housing problem. Demand patterns have contracted sharply as well. Part of that is due to the estimate that as many as 11 million additional houses are ‘under water’; that is, their amount of the mortgage debt being carried is far greater than the reduced value of the house itself. This has had the effect of trapping millions of Americans in houses they can ill afford to pay for but cannot afford to abandon and seek cheaper housing elsewhere. So in the past year the percentage of ‘very poor’ Americans tracked by the US Census Bureau rose in three hundred of the 360 major cities. More than 2.6 million Americans fell below the government’s standard income levels for poverty. That is the largest increase since Washington began keeping data in 1959. Not surprisingly the more vulnerable citizens feel the current economic paralysis most keenly. The poverty rate for children has risen 22 per cent in just the latest 12 months. One out of every six older Americans now lives below the government’s poverty income line. The number of Americans now receiving government food purchase assistance has increased 74 per cent since 2007, the census enumerators report. All of this is a hard egg to swallow. Increasingly, American voters are pushing back from the table. But where will they go n next November? Industry Europe 7
SHOCKWAVES ROCK EUROPE’S ENERGY AGENDA Europe’s energy agenda is in disarray as the threat of a second recession and the fallout from Japan’s Fukushima disaster threaten to stall new investments and derail the EU’s low-carbon agenda. Paul Whitehead* writes. 8 Industry Europe
Fortum’s Loviisa nuclear plant, Finland
EPR Flamanville, France
he earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan on March 11 may not have been felt in Europe, but it sent shockwaves through the European energy sector. A year ago the nuclear industry was optimistic that Europe was heading for a second nuclear age, with a new generation of reactors seen as the best bet for providing cheap, homegrown low-carbon electricity. But the radioactive leaks and meltdown at several reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant north of Tokyo following the earthquake changed all that. In the wake of public outcry, nuclear power found itself out in the cold. The European Union vowed that “stress tests” needed to be carried out at each of the EU’s 143 nuclear reactors to see whether they could withstand an earthquake. That was not enough to reassure the public in countries like Germany, Italy and Switzerland. On March 27, the German Greens notched up their biggest electoral success to date, having campaigned on an anti nuclear ticket to become the second largest party in the southern German state of Baden Wuerttemberg. The writing was on the wall for Germany’s nuclear generators who’d been cheered by the governing coalition’s plans to extend reactor lives. Instead, Angela Merkel’s government announced that the country’s seven oldest reactors – which had been taken offline for safety checks after Fukushima – would not restart. And an eighth at Brunsbuettel that had been plagued by technical problems would also shut down permanently. The country’s remaining reactors would all be phased out by 2022. The anti-nuclear mood caught on in other countries. Italy was seeking to overturn a 1987 referendum that had ruled out nuclear. But a referendum in June gave a resounding
“no” when 90 per cent of the electorate voted against the Berlusconi government’s plans for new reactors. And in neighbouring Switzerland, the government decided in May to abandon plans to replace the country’s four existing reactors. These are all to close by 2034. Belgium is the latest country poised to ditch the nuclear option. As marathon negotiations over a new coalition government draw to a close, it looks likely that the new government will commit to closing down the country’s seven reactors between 2015 and 2025. And even in France, Europe’s biggest nuclear power producer with nuclear accounting for 76 per cent of all power in 2009, there is serious talk of drastically scaling back nuclear in favour of other technologies. What is going to plug the gap left not just by existing nuclear plants, but those new ones that had been planned in countries like Italy?
Germany is counting on increased renewable energy and serious investments in infrastructure to stabilize the power grid when renewables like wind power and solar deliver unpredictable loads. But renewable energy is still dominated by developing technologies that need state support to reach maturity. And with Europe hovering on the brink of a second recession and cash-strapped governments from Athens to Lisbon and from Rome to Dublin all struggling to pay off their burgeoning public debts, funding for renewables has taken a hit. Portugal, Spain, Germany and the UK, to name a few, have all taken steps in recent months to cut funding for renewable energy. On November 10, the European Commission warned in its autumn economic forecast for 2011-13 that economic recovery in the 27-member bloc was at a standstill and
And just as hopes for a nuclear revival have been dashed, the prospects for coal look equally bleak. Coal-fired power generation is still the workhorse of the European energy sector, accounting for 26 per cent of European Union power generation in 2009, according to the latest figures from European coal industry association Euracoal – (see chart). In some countries, like Poland for example, the share is almost 90 per cent. But Europe’s current fleet of coal-fired plants is ageing and many plants face closure as they do not meet tighter EU rules on emissions of pollutants like sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide. Meanwhile the rising cost of coal imports – as Europe competes with increasingly coal-hungry China – plus the relatively higher costs of carbon emissions abatement, makes coal less competitive. And this is aggravated by the recent growth of unpredictable, intermittent renewables like wind power. Coal-fired power generation is typically far less flexible than gas-fired generation, so coal-fired power plants can’t be turned off and on as easily. At times of high wind output in countries like Germany, coal-fired generators have faced the dilemma of costly shutdowns
Schwarze Pumpe Carbon capture and storage in Germany. Source: Alstom.
Brunsbuettel nuclear power plant in Germany – one of eight closures. Source: Vattenfall.
Enel’s plans for CCS at Porto Tolle faced stiff environmental opposition. Source: Greenpeace.
Recession riles renewables
ongoing turmoil in the eurozone threatened the wider EU with a second recession. Meanwhile lower industrial output during the downturn means lower carbon emissions and that has seen the price of EU emissions permits tumble – the market isn’t getting a signal to invest in low carbon technologies. And plans by the European Union to auction off additional EU carbon permits to raise money for innovative renewables and other low-carbon technologies will bring in less revenue than had been hoped – flooding the market with more carbon permits can only depress prices further.
Old King Coal
Industry Europe 9
or selling their power at a loss because market prices are low, and have on occasion gone negative – meaning that coal generators have to pay the grid to take their surplus power. Coal-fired power had hoped for a new lease of life in a low-carbon era thanks to advances in carbon capture and storage (CCS). A pilot CCS project has been running on a 30 MW unit at Vattenfall’s Schwarze Pumpe coal-fired power plant in Germany, and the European Commission awarded €1.05 billion ($1.56 billion) for seven CCS projects in Germany, Italy the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK in 2009. But progress has been slow and two of the projects have already been shelved. Enel’s plan to convert its Porto Tolle oilfired plant in northern Italy to coal with CCS was put on hold after the country’s highest administrative court, overturned government approval for the project in May following challenges from environmental and tourism groups including Greenpeace and WWF about its potential environmental impact. Meanwhile in the UK, Iberdrola’s plans for CCS at Scottish Power’s Longannet power plant in Scotland were shelved in October when the UK energy ministry said it would not proceed with government funding. The funding is instead likely to go to another plant operated by rivals Scottish & Southern Energy at Peterhead in Scotland, but that plant uses gas not coal.
Stepping on the gas
cheaper to operate than renewables plants at current prices – and they offer flexibility to back up wind. But this begs the question of where the gas to power them will come from as Europe becomes increasingly dependent on imported gas. The EU is keen to open up new supply routes from Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan in central Asia – and the Azeris and Turks signed a deal in late October that would allow export of Azeri gas to Europe. But Russia’s Gazprom has already built new infrastructure allowing it to bypass transit countries like Ukraine and Belarus. The new Nord Stream pipeline taking gas straight from Russia across the Baltic Sea to Germany began commercial flows on November 7. And Gazprom plans a similar direct link across the Black Sea into southern Europe – South Stream. And Europe may not need additional imports at all if some of the success seen in developing unconventional gas in the United States could be replicated on this side of the Atlantic. Shale gas has transformed the US energy market in just a few years, allowing the US to become self-sufficient in gas and to even think about exports. And the result has been falling gas prices.
Resources estimates there could be up to 200 trillion cubic feet in the Blackpool area. But its plans to develop that resource are controversial after an independent report concluded in October that two earthquakes measuring 2.3 and 1.5 on the Richter scale were likely caused by hydraulic fracturing – the process used by Caudrilla and other shale gas producers to extract shale gas from rocks by pumping in water and chemicals. Concerns over the potential environmental impact of so-called “fracking” have already prompted France to rule out shale gas exploration on its territory and are taking hold in other countries. The outlook for shale gas in Europe is also less promising than in the US because Europe does not boast the same land availability and access to water could be an issue. But with European gas prices more than double the levels seen in the US, US shale producers are eager either to get in on the action in Europe or to lobby their government to allow them to export. The gap left by Europe’s nuclear closures and retirement of ageing coal plants could eventually be filled by US shale gas, brought to Europe in the form of Liquefied Natural Gas. n
Could Europe be on the verge of its own shale gas boom? Certainly, Poland has some promise with estimated shale gas reserves of around 190 trillion cubic feet. And in northwest England, shale gas exploration company Cuadrilla
Indeed gas looks likely to benefit most from the current uncertainties in Europe’s energy market. Gas-fired power plants are cleaner than coal, cheaper to build than nuclear and
*Paul Whitehead is managing editor of the European policy team at leading energy news and pricing specialists Platts.
EU Power Generation Breakdown 2009 Nuclear – 28% Coal – 26% Gas – 23% Renewables (Including Hydro) – 20% Oil – 3%
10 Industry Europe
New developments in the Energy industry
BG Group reaches agreement on long-term LNG sales to India
Group has signed a Heads of Agreement (HoA) with Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) for the long-term supply of up to 2.5 million tonnes per annum of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). The HoA sets out the basis on which BG Group proposes to sell the LNG volumes to GSPC for up to a 20-year period beginning as early as 2014. The LNG volumes will be sourced from the Group’s global supply portfolio.
BG Group chief executive Sir Frank Chapman said: “This is a landmark agreement for BG Group, establishing long-term LNG sales into one of the world’s largest and fastest growing energy markets. We have been in the Indian gas market for more than 15 years and this agreement brings essential new supplies of natural gas to the country. It adds another important new dimension to the Group’s expanding global LNG business.” Visit: www.bg-group.com
RWE Dea installs Breagh platform in the North Sea
WE Dea UK has announced that the Breagh Alpha platform has been successfully installed in the North Sea. The 2000-tonne jacket with eight piles weighing a total of another 2000 tonnes was installed by Heerema Marine Contractor’s heavy lift vessel (HLV) Thialf in 62m of water some 100 km off Teesside. This was then followed by the successful lift and setting of the 1400 tonnes integrated deck topsides. “The installation of the Breagh platform marks another significant milestone for the Breagh field
development following on from the successful installation of the pipelines to shore earlier in the year. This keeps the Breagh project on track for first gas in mid-2012,” said Ralf to Baben, Chief Operating Officer of RWE Dea AG. René Pawel, RWE Dea UK’s managing director, commented: “I am very pleased with the successful and safe installation of the platform. Our focus will now switch to preparations for drilling and completion of the onshore works.” Visit: www.rwe.com
Fortum commissions new capacity at Tobolsk in Russia
ortum has completed the third project of its Russian investment programme at Tobolsk, in Tyumen region, Russia. The new power capacity commissioned at Tobolsk CHP adds approximately 210 megawatts (MW) to the market. The new capacity was taken into commercial operation on 1 October 2011. “Having completed the investment at Tobolsk CHP Fortum has once again confirmed its commitment to the execution of its Russian investment programme which is a key driver for solid earnings in the country. The additional new capacity in Tobolsk supports the petrochemical industry of the area and promotes the development of the region’s economy,” says Tapio Kuula, president and CEO of Fortum. The capacity increase in Tobolsk CHP is the third completed project of Fortum’s investment programme in Russia. In February 2011, Fortum started commercial operation of the new unit at Tyumen CHP-1 with a capacity of 230MW. In June 2011, Fortum commissioned another new unit at Chelyabinsk CHP-3 with a capacity of 226MW. Visit: www.fortum.com
BP makes gas discovery in Egypt’s Nile Delta
P Egypt has announced the Salmon gas discovery in the North El Burg Offshore Concession, Nile Delta. Salmon is the third gas discovery BP has made in the concession following Satis-1 and Satis-3 Oligocene deep gas discoveries. Salmon, drilled by IEOC, the affiliate
of ENI in Egypt, on behalf of concession operator BP, is located 50km to the north of Damietta. The wireline logs and pressure readings confirmed the presence of gas in two shallow Pleistocene intervals. The well was drilled by Scarabeo IV rig in water depths of 87m and reached a total depth of 1600m. Further appraisal work to evaluate the resources is underway.
Hesham Mekawi, president and general manager of BP Egypt stated: “The success of Salmon highlights the potential of the shallow reservoirs within the Nile Delta. It demonstrates the ongoing cooperation with the Ministry of Petroleum to deliver new gas discoveries and incremental supply to meet the future growth of the Egyptian gas business.” Visit: www.bp.com Industry Europe 11
New developments in the Energy industry
Tenesol gets rough on solar installation security T enesol, the global solar provider, has launched its most secure solar support structure to help fight the rising number of solar thefts in the industry – particularly in rural locations and off-grid sites. The company has drawn on its 28 years of experience in the off-grid solar sector to develop the S-TE Sun Guard structure. The structure uses self-destructing bolts, welded U-frames, stainless steel links and concrete settings to ensure its PV systems are among the most secure in the world. The S-TE Sun Guard structure is designed to outlast the PV system it protects and to remain intact for more than 25 years. It can withstand winds of up to 150 km/h and uses stainless steel components to resist corrosion, even in marine environments. The use of concrete and self-destructing bolts (whose thread is thinned after tightening) means panels can only be removed by cutting them out of the structure. The S-TE Sun Guard structure can be linked to a remote monitoring system that warns operators when a panel has been tampered with. In addition, fencing and surveillance equipment powered by the PV system can be used as an added deterrent. Visit: www.tenesol-group.com
AREVA holds its first Supplier Day in Poland
ollowing the success of its Supplier Days already held in the US, the UK and very recently in Czech Republic, AREVA has held its first Supplier Day in Poland as part of its localisation strategy in support of the potential construction of its EPRTM reactor in Poland and Europe. AREVA confirmed that a significant part of the work on the company’s new power station projects will go to Polish suppliers. “Although we will manufacture the main heavy components ourselves, that represents only about 30% of the total nuclear island equipment by value. The
available supply chain market is some 70 per cent of the total,” said Claude Jaouen, AREVA senior executive vice-president, Reactors & Services Business Group. A number of Polish suppliers have already joined AREVA and are involved in key aspects of the EPRTM reactor construction at OL3, such as for example the containment liner design and prefabrication, electrical, I&C and HVAC systems erection, and pre-commissioning or civil works. Visit: www.areva.com
Milestone for new UK nuclear power station
orizon Nuclear Power has completed the purchase of land for a new nuclear power station at Wylfa, on the Isle of Anglesey. Horizon plans to build up to 3.3GW of new nuclear capacity at the site. Kevin McCullough, chief operating officer of RWE npower said: “The land agreement is a key milestone in Horizon’s plans for a new nuclear
GDF SUEZ unveils biomass power station in Belgium
DF SUEZ and its subsidiary Electrabel have unveiled the Rodenhuize 100% biomass power station in Belgium. A €125 million investment has transformed a coalfired unit at the Rodenhuize power station into a 100% biomass unit. The new unit has an output of 180MW
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power station at Wylfa, and we’re pleased that the purchase has now been completed. “New nuclear will have an essential role in the UK’s low carbon future, and RWE npower is committed to playing a part in this through Horizon Nuclear Power.” Visit: www.horizonnuclearpower.com and generates a volume of electricity every year that is equivalent to the annual consumption of 320,000 families. In addition, it will reduce CO2 emissions by 1.2 million tonnes annually. The plant is jointly owned by Electrabel (73%) and Ackermans & van Haaren (27%) In the new unit, coal has been fully replaced by wood pellets that are certified
by an independent body to be of sustainable origin. One-third of the supply of wood pellets for the new Rodenhuize unit is sent by boat to the port of Ghent from the Pacific BioEnergy production facility located in the Canadian province of British Columbia, with whom Electrabel has signed a long-term contract for 225,000 tonnes of biomass per year. Visit: www.gdfsuez.com
RWE Innogy to build wind farm off Welsh coast R WE Innogy has signed agreements on the use of areas at Birkenhead port near Liverpool. RWE Innogy will use these areas as a base port for constructing the offshore wind farm Gwynt y Môr (Welsh for ‘sea wind’). The lease agreements concluded between RWE npower renewables and the Cammell Laird shipyard are to run for a term of three years. The leased port area covers around 14 hectares and includes a nearby quay of 230m on the western bank of the mouth of the River Mersey. It is from here that the foundations for a total of 160 wind turbines of the 3.6MW class will be preassembled, loaded
and shipped to the wind farm site in Liverpool Bay around 18km off the Welsh coast. RWE Innogy will build the Gwynt y Môr wind farm using its own offshore installation vessel called ‘Friedrich Ernestine’. The Gwynt y Môr wind farm is currently one of the largest offshore wind projects in the world. The wind power plant with an installed capacity of 576 megawatts (MW) is scheduled to come on stream in 2014. RWE Innogy has a stake of 60% in the Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm, the municipal utility of Munich and Siemens hold shares of 30% and 10% respectively. Visit: www.rwe.com
SSE receives consent for Ferrybridge multi-fuel project
SE Generation Ltd, the wholly owned generation business of SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy) has received consent from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change to develop an up to 108MW multi-fuel project within its existing Ferrybridge coal power station site. The facility will use a range of sustainable fuel sources, including biomass, waste-derived fuels and waste wood, to generate electricity and heat. SSE’s joint venture with Shanks Plc (3SE) is intended to provide processed waste-derived fuels for use at the facility from nearby Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster councils. The proposal for a multi-fuel plant is not designed to replace the 1000MW of existing coal capacity closing in 2015 (due to the European Large Combustion Plant Directive – LCPD) and SSE has not yet made a decision on the future main use of Ferrybridge Power Station. Visit: www.sse.com/ferrybridge
ENER-G opens new research and development centre in Salford
ustainable manufacturing and engineering group ENER-G has opened its new research and development centre in Salford, UK. ENER-G group chairman Tim Scott opened the new centre, next door to the company’s global headquarters near Media City. He said: “We are investing more than £1 million per year in research and development to ensure that ENER-G continues to be a global leader in clean
technology – producing innovative world class products that reduce cost and carbon.” The opening event was a joint celebration to mark production of the first batch of ENER-G’s new E-MAGINE building energy management control system, developed by the in-house team ENER-G has been working on the E-MAGINE system for two years, clocking up 32,000 man hours. Visit: www.energ.co.uk
Total and Novatek to join forces for development of Yamal LNG
“We will work with Novatek to unlock the Yamal peninsula gas potential using world-class technology and combining the expertise of both companies as we build a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant in the area,” said Yves-Louis Darricarrère, president Total Exploration & Production. “The decision to participate in this LNG project comes as an addition to the acquisition of a significant
otal and Russian gas producer Novatek have signed the final agreements to jointly develop the Yamal LNG project. Total thus becomes the main international partner on this gas liquefaction project with a 20% share. Novatek intends to keep at least a 51% interest in the project.
share of Novatek’s capital and confirms Total’s long-term commitment to Russia.” The Yamal LNG project will develop the South Tambey field located in the arctic area of the Yamal peninsula. The resources of this condensate and gas field will allow production of more than 15 million tons of LNG per year. Visit: www.total.com Industry Europe 13
STORING POWER FROM THE WIND O
ver the coming months energy teams from the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change through to grid operators and utilities from UK, Europe and further afield are visiting a small site adjoining Scottish & Southern Energy’s biomass power plant on Slough trading estate west of London. They are there to see the world’s first pilot plant of a liquid air energy storage system, owned and operated by Highview Power Storage, a UK energy storage developer. This, they believe, could be the answer to the big problem many power grids are facing – what do we do about wrong-time wind energy? Highview Power Storage has developed and built a pilot plant of a novel system which uses liquid air as the storage medium. The 14 Industry Europe
plant is hosted by Scottish & Southern Energy and connected to the grid. It complies with all the regulations and inspections necessary to be allowed to connect to the grid, just like any other commercial generator. The system can be scaled to 100MWs/ GWhs of storage, similar to medium scale pumped hydro. But critically liquid air can easily be stored in the same low pressure tanks as used by the LNG industry – it is hundreds of times more energy dense than water (therefore taking up far less space) – and the process does not need large mountains or lakes. With the dash for green electricity, the deployment of wind farms has outstripped the ability of grids throughout the world to
A UK company has developed a novel, large-scale energy storage system.
integrate this uncontrollable source of energy. It is now agreed that electricity grids need long duration, large-scale energy storage to support the deployment of renewable but intermittent generation; capturing time-shift wrong time energy. In the UK last month wind farm operators were paid nearly £3M to switch their wind farms off – and then traditional generators were paid peak prices to turn their high emission gas and oil generators on at periods of high demand. The problem is that, historically, pumped hydro was the solution for large-scale storage; but as demand rapidly increases the geographic constraints of pumped hydro – and its needs for billions of litres of water – are making it unfeasible in many instances.
Toby Peters, one of Highview’s founders and developers of the technology (working with a team from the University of Leeds), says, “Whereas many companies were focusing on fast response but relatively small-scale battery technologies, we started out five years ago to develop a system which could deliver affordable, long duration, large-scale energy storage. We identified this as the big gap in the market and today we are now seeing urgent demand for a large-scale solution which can be deployed where pumped hydro is not viable.”
Doty Scientific, reported by Green Tech Media, “is about equal to the energy in 700 million gallons of gasoline just being thrown away. Curtailed wind energy in the US appears likely to exceed 40 TWh in 2011.” Unlike many new inventions which often then need massive supply chain investment, all the components for large scale plants are from mature supply chains so do not require investment in manufacturing/factories. Says Peters, “utilities are necessarily conservative and slow to adopt new technology until reliability is rigorously proved over many hours of operation. We wanted to try and remove some of the technology challenge so while our process is novel, all the components are mature and from global suppliers. We do not need to prove that the turbines or compressors can run for 20 years or can be scaled to tens or even hundreds of MWs: they are already in operation.” With the pilot plant operational, Highview is now looking to move to deployment of a full-
scale commercial reference plant with appropriate partners. As Highview CEO Gareth Brett, a veteran of the utility sector, says, “We have a strong technology lead in this massive sector of the storage market, but we do not intend to try to become a manufacturer when we have global supply chains already established for the components populated by major firms with whom we can work. “This is utility-scale technology. It can be rolled out more quickly and more successfully by – or in partnership with – companies with less constrained access to capital than a small developer and an established international/in-country marketing network. Our role is around the IP and knowledge about how to design and optimise the system for specific market applications.” Brett has confirmed that the company is having discussions around deploying a first multi-MW plant with potential partners and customers in the UK as well as abroad. n
1. Charge: The system operates by using electrical energy (excess or off-peak) to drive an air liquefier. Similar equipment is widely deployed for the production of bulk liquid LNG, nitrogen, oxygen or argon.
3. Regasification / Power Recovery: When power is required, liquid air is drawn from the tank and pumped to high pressure. Ambient (or above ambient waste*) heat is applied to the liquid air via heat exchangers resulting in a phase change from liquid air to a high pressure gas which is then used to drive a turbine and generator.
2. Storage: The liquid air is stored in an insulated tank at low pressure, which functions as the energy store. Again, such equipment is widely deployed as bulk liquid LNG, nitrogen, oxygen or argon storage, and millions of tonnes of liquefied gases are commercially stored and transported around the world.
Novelty: Cold Recycling: During the power recovery, very cold gas is exhausted, which is then recycled back into the liquefaction process (stage 1) reducing the energy demands for producing liquid air and thereby increasing the overall round-trip efficiency.
* Added value: Harnessing waste heat (optional). The introduction of waste heat (including low grade waste heat i.e. sub 100’C) into the power recovery system (stage 3) increases the amount of power which can be extracted. Waste heat is added through heat exchangers rather than direct into the turbine so easily to integrate and manage. Given working fluid is cryogen (-196°C), can use low grade/very low grade waste heat. The systems convert waste heat to power at approx. 40-50% efficiency. i.e. 4 x typical Organic Rankine Cycleprocesses.
Global problem In Inner Mongolia this winter, wind farm operators will turn their turbines off every night losing 36GWhs of zero-emission electricity every night as supply exceeds real-time demand. While in the US, reports suggest that approximately 25 TWh of wind energy was curtailed (idled) last year to keep the off-peak grid energy price from frequently going negative. “That,” says Dr David Doty, president of
Cryo Energy System involves four core processes
The technology is competitive when compared with other commercially used energy storage technologies in terms of capital cost, efficiency, scalability (multi MWs); It produces no harmful emissions.
Industry Europe 15
New contracts and orders in industry
Saab receives multi-mission radar order from the US
efence and security company Saab has received an order for the GIRAFFE AMB multi-mission radar system and related services from the US Department of State. The order value is MUSD 23.7 (MSEK 155). The program will involve both Saab’s newly acquired subsidiary Saab Sensis located in Syracuse, New York, as well as Saab in Gothenburg, Sweden. The Giraffe AMB is a world leading multi-mission radar system that detects enemy threats from rocket, artillery and mortar attacks while simultaneously conducting Air Surveillance. The system is part of Saab’s continuously evolving radar program and provides unmatched performance for critical targets and proven reliability. Whether as a part of vital point protection or area air defence solutions, the Giraffe AMB has become the radar of choice for armed forces worldwide, including those of Sweden, France, Estonia, UK and Australia amongst others. Visit: www.saabgroup.com
FinnvedenBulten wins two strategic contracts for interior structures
innvedenBulten, division Finnveden Metal Structures, has signed two separate automotive contracts for the delivery of cross car beams. The contracts are worth in the region of €3 million and €4 million a year respectively. “These contracts strengthen our position as a supplier of interior structures for
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Rolls-Royce awarded contract for US Navy T-45 trainer engine support R olls-Royce, the global power systems company, has been awarded a $99.9 million MissionCareâ contract by the US Department of Defense Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River to provide support for the F405 (Adour) engines that power the US Navy’s T-45 training aircraft. This exercises the third year of the contract to provide guaranteed engine availability, which includes support ranging from on-wing through intermediate and depot level maintenance, under the base contract signed in 2008. MissionCare is used within the Rolls-Royce Defence sector to apply commercial Power By The Hour® principles to the unique requirements of the defence industry. Total value of the contract is $476.91 million over the five-year term. Under the terms of the agreement, which is administered by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), Rolls-Royce will provide all maintenance, support, troubleshooting, parts
supply and logistics for both the F405 engine and the aircraft gas turbine starting system. This contract provides comprehensive propulsion services to more than 200 aircraft, operating at four main Naval Air Stations - Kingsville, Texas; Meridian, Mississippi; Pensacola, Florida and Patuxent River, Maryland. Work is expected to be completed In September 2012. Visit: www.rolls-royce.com
Sandvik Mining and Construction signs major project order in Australia
andvik Mining and Construction has signed a major contract with Boral Limited, an international building and construction materials supplier in Australia. The order includes design, supply, installation and commissioning of a new quarry plant for Boral’s Peppertree site which is situated in New South Wales. The contract value is close to 500 MSEK. The project is expected to start during the third quarter of 2011 and end in the third quarter of 2013. Boral’s primary purpose with the project is to provide new production and dispatch capability
for the supply of coarse and fine aggregates. This material will be used in pre-mixed concrete, concrete products and asphalt production in the greater Sydney region. “To be awarded this major order clearly demonstrates the strength of Sandvik Mining and Construction’s equipment in Australia and our ability to provide the best solutions to overcome complicated process problems,” says Thomas Schulz, president of product segment Construction in business area Sandvik Mining and Construction. Visit: www.sandvik.com
the automotive industry, while also further broadening our offering. Both orders are for existing customers, and we are delighted to be given greater confidence for more business together. We look forward to continuing our excellent collaboration,” says Johan Nordgren, vice-president Sales & Engineering. One of the orders relates to die cast cross car beams in magnesium, which will
be made at the Group’s foundry in BielskoBiala, Poland. Production will begin this year and continue for approximately three years. The other order relates to cross car beams in steel, and the components for these will be made at the Group’s sheet metal factory in Bielsko-Biala, Poland, starting in 2013 and continuing for around six years. Visit: www.finnvedenbulten.com
WINNINGBUSINESS KONE partnership with MTR
ONE has been awarded an order to supply 139 elevators and five dumbwaiters to Hong Kong’s Express Rail Link project by the MTR Corporation. Altogether 117 elevators will be installed at the new West Kowloon terminus station. KONE’s elevators will ensure the smooth flow of people and goods in the four-level terminus station where an estimated 99,000 travelers will pass through daily. “We are thrilled that our partnership with MTR has further developed by working together on the new Express Rail Link project. It is the result of close collaboration, mutual trust and shared values on safety, quality, service and environ-
NCC to construct technology centre in Finland
CC Construction Finland has been commissioned by Cargotec to construct a technology centre in Tampere, Finland. The order is valued at approximately SEK 265 million and will be registered in the third quarter of 2012. The total scope of the project is approximately 20,000 square metres of floor space distributed between a five-story office building
and a workshop located adjacent to the office premises. The operation will comprise the development of containers and research into heavy materials handling. Construction of Cargotec’s technology and knowhow centre in Tampere has already commenced and is expected to be completed in December 2012. Visit: www.ncc.se
Saft batteries to power Iridium NEXT LEO satellite constellation
aft has been awarded a multi-million euro contract by Thales Alenia Space, the prime contractor, to supply all the onboard Li-ion batteries for the Iridium NEXT LEO (low-Earth orbit) satellite constellation scheduled to start launching in 2015. “This major contract for the Iridium NEXT project is a significant advance in Saft’s strategy to develop a market-leading position in the very important LEO sector by building on our well established reputation for delivering reliable, high performance leading-edge batteries for GEO and space vehicle customers,” said Philippe Jehanno, general manager, Saft’s Space and Defense Division. Iridium NEXT will maintain the same architecture as Iridium’s current constellation, the world’s largest commercial constellation, with 66 cross-linked LEO satellites covering 100 percent of the globe. However, Iridium NEXT will substantially enhance and extend the Iridium mobile communications services by delivering: higher data speeds; powerful new services and devices; advantages of IP technology; backward compatibility with current handsets, devices and applications. In addition to the 72 operational satellites– including 6 inorbit spare satellites – the Iridium NEXT project also comprises 9 ground spares making a total of 81. Visit: www.saftbatteries.com
€7 million steel structure contract
for Ruukki in Russia
autaruukki has signed a major contract with the Russian company Terwingo to design and deliver the steel frame and roof structures for a special steel wire production plant to be built in the Lipetsk region. The contract is worth around €7 million.
The Russian company Terwingo focuses among other things on nanotechnology projects. The new plant will make special steel wire for use in the solar energy industry (photovoltaic cells) to cut silicon crystals. The new plant is being built in Gryaz, near Lipetsk, around 500km to the southeast of Moscow and will have a production capacity of around 10,000 tonnes a year.
mental awareness, and follows on from the earlier award of the West Island Line project with MTR,” says Noud Veeger, EVP and area director of KONE Asia Pacific. The 26km-long Express Rail Link will be running at high speeds in dedicated underground tunnels which will connect Hong Kong with the 16,000km of mainland China’s high-speed railway network. It will carry an estimated 10,000 passengers per hour when completed in 2015. KONE currently maintains more than 1000 elevators and escalators in the existing MTR network. Visit: www.kone.com
Umbilical contract awarded to Aker Solutions
ker Solutions has been selected to supply a subsea umbilical to Det norske oljeselskap ASA’s Jette field, worth around NOK 60 million. Det norske’s initial order is for 6km of static electro-hydraulic stainless steel umbilical. The umbilical will include electrical and hydraulic functions, in addition to a three inch gas lift line and methanol injection. The subsea umbilical will be used at the Jette field ocated in block 25/7 and 25/8, west of Stavanger in the North Sea at a water depth of approximately 150 metres. Visit: www.akersolutions.com
“The contract is a significant one for us. The new building will have a total area of 46,000m2 and the project is of very great regional importance. Ruukki’s capacity to provide fast total deliveries was a key factor in clinching the deal,” says Jussi Tuisku, general director at Ruukki Rus. Visit: www.ruukki.com Industry Europe 17
TransAtlantic acquires SBSMarine Manbat acquires
ederi AB TransAtlantic has acquired all shares in the British offshore shipping company SBS Marine Ltd from Kistefos AS for a preliminary consideration of approximately SEK 340 million. SBS Marine has a net debt of approximately SEK 480 million. SBS Marine is a British offshore shipping company based in Aberdeen. The company operates a fleet of five modern and one older PSV vessels (Platform Supply Vessel) with a current turnover of
approximately SEK 220 million on an annual basis. The acquisition of SBS Marine is a part of TransAtlantic’s focus on the business area Offshore/ Icebreaking in order to strengthen TransAtlantic’s product offering in the business area. To finance the acquisition and strengthen the company’s financial position in advance of the forthcoming division of the group, TransAtlantic has conducted a rights issue of around SEK 550 million. Visit: www.rabt.se
FLSmidth to acquire Transweigh India Limited
LSmidth has acquired 100% of the shareholding in the Indian company Transweigh India Limited, a company in which FLSmidth has until now been a minority shareholder. Transweigh India Limited is a supplier of gravimetric feeding equipment, mainly to the steel, iron and cement industries. The company also markets and sells FLSmidth Pfister’s leading fuel feeder product range to the growing Indian market. Transweigh also sells a large number of proprietary products such as belt weigh feeders, apron weigh feeders, apron feeders, loss in weight feeders, solid flow meters, bin weighing equipment and feeding electronics. Transweigh operates mainly within India where it is one of the market leaders. Via this acquisition FLSmidth Pfister will strengthen its ability to provide a full scope of feeding equipment at a competitive price to the entire FLSmidth Group and the market in general. Visit: www.flsmidth.com
Battery Power Systems
anbat, the UK’s largest battery distributor, has substantially increased its presence in the industrial battery sector with the acquisition of Battery Power Systems Ltd (BPS) of East Kilbride. BPS is a leading independent that supplies the forklift, floor-care, emergency power and electric vehicle sectors with batteries, chargers and quality service on a national basis. Commenting on the move, Manbat’s managing director Steve Sheppard said: “The acquisition fits well with Manbat’s desire to strengthen its position within the industrial battery sector and generally into markets additional to automotive” Visit: www.manbat.co.uk
Atlas Copco acquires provider of advanced drilling solutions for aerospace
EuroChem to acquire fertiliser assets from BASF
JSC Mineral and Chemical Company EuroChem has announced its intention to acquire 100% of BASF’s fertiliser assets located in Antwerp, Belgium. EuroChem also intends to acquire BASF’s 50% stake in the PEC-Rhin joint venture in Ottmarsheim, France. PEC-Rhin is a joint venture between
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tlas Copco-owned ETS Georges Renault S.A.S., France, has agreed to acquire Seti-Tec S.A.S., a French manufacturer of advanced drilling equipment and solutions for the aerospace industry. Founded in 2005, Seti-Tec is a fast-growing, innovative player in the aerospace industry, with a customer base that includes some of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers. The company is privately owned. It currently employs 14 people and had revenues of €4.4 million in 2010. Seti-Tec is based near Paris, France. “This acquisition will give an additional base for
the growth of our existing sales into the aerospace market,” says Mats Rahmström, business area president of Atlas Copco’s Industrial Technique business area. “It aligns perfectly with our strategy of offering premium solutions to a dedicated, high technology market.” Seti-Tec will become part of the Chicago Pneumatic Tools division within the Industrial Technique business area as a result of the acquisition. The acquisition is expected to be closed during the fourth quarter. Visit: www.atlascopco.com
BASF and France’s GPN, a Total SA subsidiary. The total value of the transaction is estimated to be approximately €700 million. The assets, which have a combined annual production capacity of approximately 2.5 million metric tonnes of fertiliser, include CAN / AN (calcium ammonium nitrate/ ammonium nitrate), Nitrophoska® fertilisers, nitrophosphoric acid, three nitric acid plants
in Antwerp, CAN / AN fertilisers and ammonia and nitric acid facilities at PEC-Rhin. Commenting on the transactions, Dmitry Strezhnev, EuroChem CEO, said “The acquisition of BASF’s fertiliser complex in Antwerp is a major milestone in EuroChem’s growth strategy to enhance its exposure to the European market.” Visit: www.eurochem.ru
LINKINGUP Sony to acquire Ericsson’s share of Sony Ericsson
ricsson and Sony Corporation have announced that Sony will acquire Ericsson’s 50% stake in Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, making the mobile handset business a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony. The transaction gives Sony an opportunity to rapidly integrate smartphones into its broad array of network-connected consumer electronics devices – including tablets, televisions and personal computers – for the benefit of consumers and the growth of its business. The transaction also provides Sony with a broad intellectual property (IP)
cross-licensing agreement covering all products and services of Sony as well as ownership of five essential patent families relating to wireless handset technology. As part of the transaction, Ericsson will receive a cash consideration of €1.05 billion. This means that the synergies for Ericsson in having both a world leading technology and telecoms services portfolio and a handset operation are decreasing. Ericsson and Sony will work to drive and develop the market’s adoption of connectivity across multiple platforms. Visit: www.sony.net
VTI Technologies acquired by Murata Manufacturing
Skanska acquires construction company in Finland
QT III has agreed to sell VTI Technologies to the publicly listed Japanese electronic components company Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd. After the completion of the transaction VTI will become a fully owned subsidiary of Murata Manufacturing. Under EQT III ownership since 2002, VTI has increased its sales by more than 75%, reaching a record high turnover of €75.8 million in 2010. The company has strengthened its position as the global market leader in low-g automotive sensors and as the leading supplier of MEMS sensors for pacemakers. During recent years, VTI has strongly developed new MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) solutions for consumer electronics and built an external supply chain in Asia. Visit: www.vtitechnologies.com
Sika strengthens position in the Spanish market
ika has acquired Comercial de Preresa, SA (Copsa), a company with a strong position in the flooring, repair and reinforcement markets in Spain and Portugal. Copsa is located in Cobeña (Madrid) with annual sales of approximately CHF 17 million and 60 employees.
kanska Finland has signed an agreement for 100% of the shares of the construction company Soraset Yhtiöt Oy. Soraset is a civil construction company working with mainly infrastructure projects. It has about 270 employees and last year the net revenue was approximately €100 million. Soraset is headquartered in Kangasala, in the region of Tampere, but is operating in the whole of Finland. “Soraset has a very good reputation in Finland and will complement Skanska’s civil business in
an excellent way. The acquisition will also make us stronger and more competitive on the major infrastructure projects,” says Juha Hetemäki, business unit president Skanska Finland. “The operations of Soraset have grown and become more versatile during the past ten years. At this moment we consider that the best solution for Soraset is to join a strong global company,” says technical director Petri Uitus, one of the main owners of Soraset. Visit: www.skanska.com
Dassault Systèmes acquires Simulayt
assault Systèmes, a world leader in 3D and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, has announced the acquisition of leading composites simulation and advanced draping simulation technology provider Simulayt Limited. This acquisition reinforces Dassault Systèmes’ longstanding leadership in providing PLM composites solutions for sustainable innovation, addressing a key challenge facing manufacturers in industries ranging from aerospace and automotive to consumer goods and energy –
how to predict and optimise the behaviour of materials, minimising their weight while increasing their performance. For industrials to take full advantage of composites lightweight and performance properties, requires harmonisation of processes, methods, and solutions to support an end-to-end process that spans design, simulation and manufacturing within a single environment, while providing a compelling user experience. Visit: www.3ds.com
Sika AG has through its Spanish subsidiary, Sika, SAU, agreed to acquire 100% of Comercial de Preresa, SA (Copsa), a company with a strong position in the flooring, repair and reinforcement markets in Spain and Portugal. Sika started collaboration with Copsa several years ago, acquiring a 34% stake of the company in 1999.
Copsa is located in Cobeña (Madrid) and was founded in 1994. Over the years the company has proved its innovative power by developing a wide range of construction chemical products, building up a significant position in its markets and a well established brand. Copsa operates three production sites in Spain. Visit: www.sika.com Industry Europe 19
Relocations and expansions across Europe
Audi opens CKD packaging station in Wunstorf
Renault to increase its production capacity in Brazil
enault will produce an additional 100,000 vehicles a year in its Curitiba plant in 2013, creating 1000 new jobs in the process. The plant’s annual capacity (passenger cars and LCVs) will be increased to more than 380,000 units per year. Capital outlay will total 500 million Brazilian reals, or about €200 million. This increase in production capacity will provide Renault with the means to achieve its ambitions in Brazil. Renault aims to claim market share of 8 per cent by 2016, compared with more than 5% today. Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Renault stated: “In 2011, Brazil is set to become Renault’s second-largest market. Brazil is one of the cornerstones of our international growth strategy: more than one-quarter of the growth in volume will come from Brazil. If we are to reach this target, then we must increase our manufacturing capacity, and we have chosen our Curitiba plant to achieve this.” Visit: www.renault.com
UDI AG has opened its new packaging center in Wunstorf near Hanover in northern Germany. This CKD (Completely Knocked Down) packaging centre – one of the most modern of its kind in Germany – was created within just six months, working together with logistics partner Syncreon. It covers an area of 20,000m2, which will now be used to prepare Audi models destined for the Chinese and Indian markets for final assembly in the respective country and to package them ready for shipping. “We can process all CKD vehicle sets destined for China and India quickly and efficiently in Wunstorf,” said Dr Michael Hauf, Head of Audi Brand
Logistics, summarising the centre’s advantages. And the distance from the Chinese and Indian markets will no longer be a problem. “For the time being, the new packaging centre provides us with sufficient capacities for the brand’s course of growth in China and India, and for the increasing number of model variants,” emphasised Hauf. As well as being near the major German ports and the Mittelland Canal, the site in Wunstorf also has good transport links. There are already plans to increase the site area to a total of 40,000m2 in 2012, which will make Wunstorf the group’s largest packaging center. Visit: www.audi.com
Allison Transmission’s Hungary manufacturing operation opens
early 200 customers, OEMs, Hungarian dignitaries and Allison workers celebrated the official opening of the Allison Transmission Hungary Manufacturing Facility in Szentgotth·rd, Hungary. David L. Parish, Allison Transmission Vice President of Operations, said, “For over 10 years we enjoyed sharing a manufacturing facil-
ity in Szentgotth·rd with General Motors Opel Hungary. We developed successful production collaborations during that course of business and professional relationships that will last a lifetime. I want to thank GM Opel for their support and assistance in the construction of our new Allison wholly-owned manufacturing plant.” The Allison 3000, 4000 and Torqmatic® Series fully automatic transmissions produced in Szentgotthárd are widely used in city buses, construction, distribution, pick-up and delivery, fire and emergency, terminal tractor, shuttle, utility, refuse, wheeled military and other applications. Visit: www.allisontransmission.com.
Dunkirk to welcome France’s largest methane terminal
he port of Dunkirk is to host France’s largest methane terminal and so position itself in the worldwide race for liquefied natural gas (LNG) procurement. EDF Energy has announced its decision to invest in the Dunkirk methane terminal, together with Fluxys G (a transmission
infrastructure company operating on the northwestern European natural-gas market) and Total. The Dunkirk-methane-terminal investment represents around €700 million by EDF and from €50 to €70 million by the Port Authority of Dunkirk. The methane terminal, the commissioning of which is
predicted to occur in late 2015, will boast an annual capacity ranging from 6 to 13 cubic gigametres. This capacity could be extended in a second phase to 12 or even 16 gigametres, representing 10 per cent of current French gas consumption. Visit: www.investinnorthernfrance.com
Tibbett Logistics to open second intermodal logistics terminal in Bucharest
intermodal (road-rail) terminal in the west of Bucharest – the heart of the country’s logistics activity. The new terminal is located within Europolis Park Bucharest and will handle Tibbett Logistics’ own block trains between the city and the Port of Constanta, as well as trains with swapbodies, containers, semi-trailers and
tank containers to and from western European countries. Discussions are also advanced concerning the handling of car transporters. The new terminal will be developed in phases over the next 12 to 18 months, with expectations that 14 trains a week will be handled by Q2 2012. Visit: www.tibbettlogistics.com
omania’s largest privately owned contract logistics specialist, Tibbett Logistics – part of the fast-growing UK-based Keswick Enterprises group has further underlined its strong market position by announcing plans to open a second
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INDUSTRYPEOPLE PROFESSOR MATTHIAS DRIESS RECEIVES 2011 WACKER SILICONE AWARD
he Munich-based WACKER Group has presented its 2011 WACKER Silicone Award including €10,000 prize money to Dr Matthias Drieﬂ, Professor of Organometallic and Inorganic Chemistry at the Technische Universität Berlin. According to Dr Rudolf Staudigl, president & CEO of Wacker Chemie AG, Prof. Drieﬂ won the award due to his pioneering work on
low-valent silicon compounds, which – owing to their isolability and reactivity properties – now constitute promising building blocks in organosilicon chemistry and make it possible, for example, to produce catalysts which do not contain precious metals. Along with the Kipping Award, the WACKER Silicone Award is the most prestigious international honour in silicon chemistry.
Orange appoints head of Smart Cities strategic program
range has appointed Nathalie Leboucher to lead the company’s new Smart Cities strategic program, effective since 15 September. The Smart Cities program is one of six strategic programs defined by the executive committee of France Telecom Orange, and is under Orange Business Services sponsorship. “With Nathalie we look forward to accelerating our success in this strategic growth area,” said Vivek Badrinath, CEO, Orange Business Services. îNathalie brings deep expertise in key elements of Smart Cities projects and we are proud and happy to welcome her.” Prior to joining Orange, Leboucher was founder and president of Kapsch TrafficCom France.
600 Group appoints Neil Carrick finance director T
he 600 Group PLC, the diversified engineering group servicing international markets, has announced the appointment of Neil Carrick to the Board as Group finance director with immediate effect. Neil Richard Carrick, aged 50, was previously finance director at Cosalt plc, the Yorkshire based and publicly listed group involved in the marine and offshore sectors with activities in the UK and Europe. Prior to joining Cosalt plc, Neil was group financial controller and company secretary of William Cook Plc the fully listed Steel Casting Manufacturing Group with operations in the UK and USA.
Mitsubishi Electric makes key appointment to support Benelux partners
uud Wildschut has taken up a new appointment with Mitsubishi Electric as business development manager for the Benelux countries. Ruud will provide a vital link between Mitsubishi Electric’s European Factory Automation business and its Benelux partners: Esco, Hiflex, Imtech and Koning & Hartman which act as distribution partners for Mitsubishi Electric factory automation products such as PLCs, Inverters,
MMK announces new appointments at Interkos-IV
nterkos-IV, part of the MMK Group, has announced the appointment of Roman Gan as the company chief executive. Mr Gan was previously an executive at the auto parts manufacturer Benteler Automotive and at the Sollers Naberezhnye Chelny car manufacturing plant.
GOTs, Servos, Robots and LVS in the Benelux countries. Mr Hartmut Pütz, executive president of Mitsubishi Electric’s Factory Automation European Business Group, comments: “Ruud has many years experience in the automation market, including several years as sales director of our long-term partner Koning & Hartman, so he is the perfect person to strengthen the bridge between us and our local partners.” Timur Shoshtaev, the former director and one of the founders of Interkos-IV, was appointed adviser to Interkos-IV chief executive. MMK CEO Boris Dubrovsky said: “This appointment will enable us to more efficiently meet the needs of the large cluster of car manufacturers that has formed in the northwestern region of Russia. Our
shipments to auto manufacturers are on track to reach planned levels, and we have reinforced our management team to ensure the effective sales and marketing of our products.” The first phase of the MMK-Interkos stamped components and forged steel service factory was commissioned in November 2010. Industry Europe 21
Advances in technology across industry
Nanotubes key to microscopic mechanics
IN Perfectly smooth cylinders
future, Mercedes-Benz engines will be even more fuel-efficient, more resistant to wear and markedly lighter. These improvements have been made possible by NANOSLIDE technology, which has been evolved and developed to production standard by MercedesBenz. NANOSLIDE produces a perfectly smooth cylinder barrel, resulting in extremely low piston friction far below previously attainable levels. Mercedes-Benz has received the MATERIALICA Award 2011 in recognition of this achievement. The NANOSLIDE technology developed by Mercedes-Benz employs twin-wire arc-sprayed coating (TWAS) to optimise cylinder surfaces. After melting iron-carbon wires by means of an electric arc, a flow of gas is applied to spray the metal droplets onto the inner walls of the cylinders of the lightweight aluminium crankcase. Extremely fine finishing of the resultant ultra-fine to nano-crystalline iron layer produces an almost perfectly smooth surface with fine pores which reduces friction and wear between pistons and cylinder walls by up to 50 percent in comparison to the barrel technologies available to date and additionally possesses an extremely high level of wear resistance. The resultant benefits are reduced fuel consumption and emissions, plus a markedly lighter engine.
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the latest issue of Elsevier’s Materials Today, researchers from Spain and Belgium reported on the innovative use of carbon nanotubes to create mechanical components for use in a new generation of micro-machines. While the electronics industry has excelled in miniaturising components, reducing the size of mechanical systems has proved much more challenging. One of the difficulties of shrinking mechanical devices is that the conventional techniques used to produce individual components are not useful when it comes to creating intricate shapes on the
microscale. One technique is electrical discharge machining (EDM), which uses a spark of electricity to blast away the unwanted material to create complex shapes. However, this method requires that the target material is electrically conductive, limiting the use of EDM on hard, ceramic materials. But now, by implanting carbon nanotubes in silicon nitride, Manuel Belmonte and colleagues have been able to increase the electrical conductivity of the material by 13 orders of magnitude and used EDM to produce a microgear without compromising the production time or integrity of the apparatus.
FESEM (a) and TEM (b) micrographs of the fracture surface of Si3N4/MWCNTs nanocomposite. The arrows in (b) point to the MWCNTs. Images courtesy of Manuel Belmonte.
New record voltage for organic solar cells
olecar Solar Ltd, a spinout company from the University of Warwick, has achieved a significant breakthrough in the performance of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells. They have achieved and demonstrated a record voltage for organic photovoltaic cells that means these highly flexible, low cost solar cells can now be devolved for commercial uses in a wide range of consumer electronics. The company’s most recent advance in the development of its organic photovoltaic (OPV) cell technology is the realisation of cells with opencircuit voltages in excess of 4 volts for the first time. Molecular Solar’s research team believe this is a record for an OPV device. Dr Ross Hatton, research director of the company commented: “This is an important advance. We are now very close to having highly flexible organic photovoltaic cells that will be capable of delivering electrical energy at a voltage suitable for recharging lithium ion batteries that are widely used in portable consumer electronics. Remarkably, this high voltage is achieved using a cell with only 4 junctions (sub-cells).” University of Warwick researcher Professor Tim Jones, who is chief technology officer of Molecular Solar, added: “The first generation of
organic photovoltaics will be exceptionally well matched to consumer electronics applications. The advantage of Molecular Solar’s high voltage cells is that a single cell can be used with no requirement to connect multiple cells in series for these applications, saving manufacturing cost.” Visit: www.ventures.warwick.ac.uk
France Ian Sparks reports from Paris on the backlash against nuclear power.
rench energy giant EDF has been fined €1.5 million and seen two of its executives sent to prison for industrial espionage after a company ‘spy’ hacked into the computers of Greenpeace. State-controlled EDF – which runs the French electricity industry and operates eight nuclear power stations in the UK – was found guilty of snooping on the environmental lobby group in a bid to learn more about its anti-nuclear energy campaign in 2006. A court in the Paris suburb of Nanterre heard how EDF hired the economic intelligence company Kargus Consultants to uncover details surrounding Greenpeace’s antinuclear strategy. Amongst other key nuggets of information, bosses at EDF wanted advance warning of Greenpeace’s plans to disrupt the construction of a new nuclear power station in the Normandy town of Flamanville. They engaged Kargus computer hacker Alain Quiros, who managed to steal confidential files from the computer of Greenpeace’s French campaign director Yannick Jadot – who is now a spokesman for France’s Green Party presidential candidate Eva Joly, who is pushing for France to abandon nuclear energy. Quiros was given a six-month jail term in a delayed judgement yesterday and a €4000 fine. Two Kargus executives and two senior EDF officials in charge of company security were also given jail terms and fines. EDF’s security chiefs Pierre-Paul Francois and Pascal Durieux was also jailed. Judge Isabelle Prevost-Desprez said she found it ‘hard to believe’ that both men had been acting alone and without the knowledge of EDF executives, as the company had claimed. She sentenced former policeman Francois to three years in prison and former Navy rear admiral Durieux to one year behind bars. EDF as a company was found guilty of complicity in computer piracy and fined
€1.5 million, plus €500,000 in damages to Greenpeace and €50,000 to Mr Jadot at the trial which ended on 11 November. Mr Jadot said after the hearing: “This is a triple zero for EDF. Nuclear energy is industrially bankrupt, financially bankrupt and clearly morally bankrupt.” A Greenpeace spokesman added: “This sends a strong signal to the nuclear industry in France that it should no longer consider itself to be above the law.” EDF continues to insist that the hacker had been hired without its knowledge and their lawyer Olivier Metzner has said the compnay intends to appeal the verdict and sentences.
Dire consequences Meanwhile, as the court case was ongoing, EDF’s chief executive Henri Proglio was giving a speech in Paris in which he warned of the ‘dire consequences’ for France’s energy needs if the country cuts back on nuclear power. France has 58 reactors producing around 80 per cent of its electricity – and making it the world’s most nuclear-dependent country. But Mr Proglio told the Electricity Union seminar in the French capital that electricity prices could double if France switched to a mixture of gas and renewable energy sources to supply its power needs. Abandoning nuclear power would also send CO2 emissions soaring by 25 per cent and cost more than €400 billion in new power infrastructure, he said. Gas imports would also cost the country a further €12 billion a year. Mr Proglio added: “Today it’s not possible to efficiently replace the nuclear park without having to massively switch to gas or coal.” The disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant earlier this year has triggered a nationwide debate over the use of nuclear
energy in France, and is becoming a key issue in next year’s presidential election. President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling UMP party wants to keep nuclear energy, while Socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande has promised to cut nuclear capacity by up to 50 per cent by 2025. Germany has already announced it will quit nuclear energy altogether by 2022, while Belgium’s political parties last month agreed to abandon nuclear power by 2025, as long as the country has enough energy from other sources to prevent shortages. Mr Proglio said: “France would be heavily penalised by doing the same thing. France would lose one of its major competitive advantages. We need to hope for realistic choices and bet on common sense.” But EDF clearly does have a back-up plan to maintain power supply should the socialists win power next May. The company has teamed up with Irish technology specialist OpenHydro to build and install two giant undersea tidal turbines off the coast of Brittany. The €40 million project will include four 2 megawatt turbines – that are 72 feet high and weigh 850 tonnes each – being installed at a depth of 115 feet off the town of Paimpol-Brehat. Once completed in late 2012, it will be the world’s largest tidal power project and able to provide electricity for up to 4000 homes. A spokesman for EDF said of the project: “We are developing new renewable energy sources working alongside our provision of power from nuclear reactors. Along with solar power and wind turbines, tidal energy is an important energy source that is underutilised at the moment. “And a major benefit of tidal turbine farms versus wind and solar farms is that they operate unseen. From the surface, the turbines are invisible and noiseless and have no effect on n the neighboring communities.” Industry Europe 23
Germany Allan Hall reports from Berlin on Germany’s exit from nuclear power.
took a tsunami and a nuclear meltdown on the other side of the world to seal the fate of Germany’s atomic industry. Chancellor Angela Merkel seized on public disquiet following the Japanese catastrophe in March this year and announced the end of nuclear energy for the continent’s biggest economic power. So what happened? The decision to shutter its nuclear power plants by 2022 has rapidly transformed it from power exporter to importer. Now, instead of producing it, Germany is importing atomic-produced electricity from neighbours like Czech Republic and France. The Czech plant at Temlin for example – a facility that has had its share of nuclear scares, leaks and dangers in the past – is now sending roughly 1.2 gigawatt-hours of electricity across the border every day. Nuclear plants generated nearly a quarter of Germany’s electricity. Experts now predict a shortfall that will see the lights going out in power cuts. Energy producers are scrambling to ensure an adequate supply while consumers fret about the costs – and industry worries about keeping factories open as the economy begins to slow down. Joachim Knebel, chief scientist at Germany’s prestigious Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, said: “It’s easy to say, ‘Let’s just go for renewables’, and I’m quite sure we can some day do without nuclear, but this is too abrupt.” Power producers have also warned that they cannot guarantee that the lights might not go out, especially if harsh winters are on the way. Mr Knebel characterised the government’s shutdown decision as ‘emotional’, and pointed out that, on most days, Germany had survived this experiment only by importing the nuclear-generated electricity. Fears are growing that the German plan will torpedo efforts to rein in man-made 24 Industry Europe
global warming as it might have to resort to burning coal or oil, or become reliant on natural gas supplies from Russia. Laszlo Varro, head of the International Energy Agency’s gas, coal and power markets division, called the plan ‘very, very ambitious’. But he added: “It is not impossible, since Germany is rich and technically sophisticated. But the nuclear moratorium is very bad news in terms of climate policy. We are not far from losing that battle, and losing nuclear makes that unnecessarily difficult.” The government counters that it is prepared to make huge investments in improving energy efficiency in homes and factories, as well as in new clean power sources and transmission lines. Not everyone is happy, though.
The Federal Statistical Office believes the nuclear phaseout is helping to cause the slow growth rate now being experienced in Germany. Juergen Grossmann, chief executive of the German energy giant RWE, which owns two closed reactors in Biblis, about 40 miles south of Frankfurt, said, “Germany, in a very rash decision, decided to experiment on ourselves. There is German angst about nuclear power. But if you phrased the question, ‘Would you want to phase out nuclear energy if it cost massively more and you risk blackouts?’, the answer would be very different. The politics are overruling the technical arguments.” Some 17 per cent German electricity output is now renewable, a figure the govern-
ment estimates will double in 10 years. On days when the offshore wind turbines spin full tilt, Germany produces more electricity from renewable sources than it uses, according to European energy monitors.
Hypocrisy? The Federal Statistical Office believes the nuclear phase-out is helping to cause the slow growth rate now being experienced in Germany. “Electricity has increasingly had to be imported in order to satisfy demand,” it said. “This has noticeably weakened Germany’s economic strength,” said influential magazinme Der Spiegel in a comment on the nuclear phaseout. “In fact, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) even believes the country is headed toward an economic downturn.” OECD chief economist Pier Carlo Padoan said that one of its causes will have been the “uncertain consequences of the nuclear phase-out.” Critics say the phase-out has turned out to be nothing more than a switch-over, with nuclear replacing nuclear. “The only difference is that other countries now bear the risk,” says Konrad Kleinknecht, former climate representative at the German Physical Society (DPG), the world’s largest organisation of physicists. He calls this policy nothing but ‘German hypocrisy’. German energy giants like E.ON and RWE have announced cost-cutting measures and job cuts. One industry observer commented: “The decision to shut down nuclear was knee-jerk that will cost the consumer in terms of jobs in manufacturing and industry. Merkel went for popularity over rationality, but the electorate backed her. When Germany slows down even more next year, we will see where the nation stands on n her energy policies then.”
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A PERFECT FIT Bosal is a world leader in the manufacture of exhausts and components for the automotive industry, as well as of precision steel tubing for industrial applications. Philip Yorke talked to Peter Tucknell, Bosal’s UK managing director about the company’s diverse products and its plans for future expansion.
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osal was established in 1923 in Alkmaar, in the Netherlands, and today has its headquarters in Lummen, Belgium. The company makes silencers for passenger cars as well as diesel exhaust gas ‘after-treatment’ systems for trucks, buses and other industrial applications. Bosal’s diverse portfolio of products also extends to TBI exhaust systems, catalytic converters, tow-bar systems and roofbars and roofracks. Added to this, the company produces wind deflectors, vehicle cabins, irrigation equipment and precision steel tubing. The Bosal Group is a global operator employing around 6000 people in 41 manufacturing plants throughout the world. These are backed up by 12 distribution centres. Bosal’s key customers include all major car manufacturers worldwide, as well as a wide range of leading industrial conglomerates. In addition to the company’s long-standing involvement in the automotive market, Bosal’s TBI exhaust systems for trucks and buses are tailor-made to OE (original equipment) specifications in Belgium and the
United Kingdom. The company’s customer base in this sector ranges from manufacturers of stationary equipment and agricultural machinery, to companies producing off-road and construction machinery. Today the Bosal Group remains a privately owned business, which in 2009 recorded sales of more than €600 million.
Putting customers and quality first Bosal’s on-going commitment to quality and reliability has helped to ensure that it continues to gain market share and extend its customer base. Tucknell said “The after sales market is extremely competitive and there are plenty of companies who have their products out-sourced to undercut market leaders such as ourselves. However, we manufacture our exhaust systems here in the UK and at our other major European plant in Belgium where quality and customer requirements are put before anything else. Our wholesalers and distributors know that when they order from us they will benefit from optimal customer satisfaction. They also know that our prod-
ucts have good ‘fitability’ and that we pay great attention to detail. This is especially important for the huge number of ‘fast-fit centres throughout the UK and Europe, whose reputation is based on providing quick service and quality products and who form a large part of our customer base. “Traditional garages also benefit from our superior quality products and the trouble-free fit that our brands offer. Here in the UK we have the capability to make complete exhaust systems, which are manufactured from our own tubular steel and are all produced in-house. We are the leading OE supplier in Europe and in the UK supply such wellknown automotive brands as Land Rover and Chrysler cars. We also produce tubes for more general applications such as those for furniture and agriculture. In fact, a growth market for us is the supply of tubes for undercover tunnels for out-of-season growing for farmers and nurserymen, as well as providing tubes for irrigation systems in South Africa.” Bosal has a global presence when it comes to the delivery of tubes and tubular products,
Industry Europe 25
with manufacturing plants in Europe and South Africa. These products range from standard round, oval and perforated tubes, to complex profiles that can vary from low carbon steel, in hot rolled and cold reduced steel, to coated, aluminised steel and galvanised products as well as stainless steel ferritic and austenitic steel products. Bosal’s state-of-the-art production facilities are fully computer controlled and process more than 120,000 tonnes of steel per year.
Continuous investment programme More than 50 per cent of all Bosal products produced in the UK and Belgium are manufactured specifically for export markets. In the UK the company has a major production facility extending to over 200,000 square feet (approx 70,000 m2), with a plant of similar configuration in Belgium. Tucknell added, “Our main
European markets include Germany, which is our biggest market, the Benelux, the Spanish peninsula and of course the UK. Our sister plant in Belgium distributes to eastern europe, which we see as a growth market. In particular, the Czech Republic, Russia and Hungary are currently offering us the best opportunities for growth. Our global expansion is managed by the Group board and after a period of consolidation, the company is now investing in new plant in eastern Europe and has just established a joint venture company in China.” The Bosal Group recently decided to expand its plant in central Hungary to meet growing demand from major OEMs there for its innovative automotive products. This major facility has been subsidised by the Hungarian government and entered full production towards the end of 2010, producing tow-bar systems, wind-stops and
lifting-jacks. In China too the company has extended its capability with a joint venture and a 50/50 partnership deal. The new company will be known as Bosal Huaxiang and becomes part of the leading supplier of automotive parts in China, Ningbo Huaxiang Co Ltd, and is based in Shanghai. The primary focus of the new company will be the supply of automotive parts and systems to the major Chinese OEMs; SAIC, FAW, FAW-VW, SVW and SGM located in the Shanghai region. Bosal’s strong performance and increasing global market share in its traditional and emerging markets is based on its indepth experience in the marketplace. This performance is enhanced by a thorough understanding of the unique requirements and operating environments required for the manufacture of a diverse range of tubular n steel products.
Industry Europe 27
IN FRONT HOERBIGER Drive Technology, headquartered in Schongau, Germany, is a part of the Switzerlandbased group HOERBIGER Holding AG. HDT is the world’s biggest independent producer of synchroniser systems with customers across Europe, Asia and the Americas. Victoria Hattersley talks to Franz Soffa, president of HDT Asia Pacific and Michael Haberl, head of Market Segment Asia Pacific and vice-president of HDT Asia Pacific, to find out more about what makes this company unique.
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OERBIGER Drive Technology (HDT) has been developing and manufacturing complete automotive synchroniser systems for many years. As part of the HOERBIGER Group it can count on support from the holding company’s global network across over 50 countries. Today HDT is the global market leader for its sector with three production sites in Germany (in Oberstenfeld close to Stuttgart and two in Schongau close to Munich) and two sites in China (in Taizhou for truck applications and in Changzhou for passenger car applications). The plant in Changzhou is a very recent addition to the fold and is part of HDT’s huge global expansion plans which were put in train by mid / end 2010. These plans involve the complete restructuring of HOERBIGER’s drive technology to give its hugely successful global organisation a more regional focus which came into effective on 1 August 2011. Franz Soffa is President of the new business division HDT Asia Pacific whilst Michael Haberl is vicepresident of the Asia Pacific region.
Mr Haberl explains the reasoning behind the expansion in China and this growing focus on providing regional services: “We have many key customers in China, including major OEMs and tier-one suppliers, who are looking for standardisation on a global basis. This has forced us to go to China so our customers can localise their transmission systems but still use the same suppliers as product specifications can differ between suppliers. We want to be as close to the customer as possible. Also, although it has cooled down a bit by maybe 20 per cent gross rate a year to around 8 per cent, China is still the fastest-growing market and also the local automotive industry is looking for HOERBIGER products.”
Further expansion In addition to this marked focus on China, there are other markets in which HDT sees opportunities for growth. According to Mr Soffa, “China is our hub for all of Asia, so we are looking to serve South Korea from
here. Some South American markets are obviously growing now but the market for transmissions is not ready for our products yet. However, South American development is driven by Europe so companies like GM and Volkswagen. We will keep a close eye on this market as well.” From its Germany facilities, HDT is able to serve the whole of Europe but also its American customers. Mexico, for example, is a particularly fast-growing market for the company where it has won some key customers and has established an assembly facility there recently.
The full package This global success is the result of years of experience during which HDT has honed its expertise in order to create a strong portfolio of high quality, reliable drive systems. The core products which HDT is focusing in future on are synchroniser systems for manual (MT), automated manual (AMT) and dual clutch transmissions (DCT). Industry Europe 29
Finova Finova supplies Hoerbiger with high quality clutch rings, produced by fineblanking and further processes, being applied in various synchronizations all over the world. The relation of finova and Hoerbiger is characterized by a strong and long lasting partnership for many years. Due to the special knowledge of clutch ring manufacturing and synchronisation parts for automotive transmissions, finova has become a key supplier for Hoerbiger by delivering the high quality Hoerbiger requires.
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HOERBIGER Group is active throughout the world as a leading player in the fields of compression technology, automation technology and drive technology. In 2010, its 6.700 employees achieved sales of 950 million Euro. The focal points of its business activities include key components and services for compressors, gas engines and turbomachines, hydraulic systems and piezo technology for vehicles and machine tools, as well as components and systems for shift and clutch operations in vehicle drive trains of all kinds. Through innovations in attractive technological niche markets, the HOERBIGER Group sets standards and delivers cutting-edge solutions for the benefit of its customers.
Indeed, its ability to produce complete synchroniser systems in-house in a combination of machining and sheet metal forming processes could be said to be one of HDT’s strongest selling points; as Mr Haberl explains: “We are the only one in this sector who can really provide the complete system. There are many companie’s who produce various components but we are a total system supplier. We use a unique combination of technologies and friction linings and we also have the service engineering capacities, so customers can come to us for all their needs.”
Focused on innovation HDT’s success can also be attributed to the constant development of new products. A new addition to its range, for example, is its smart key synchroniser system (SKS) which is capable to replace the current conventional synchroniser system. The new system is much more easy to manufacture and less complex, as Mr Haberl points out, makes it more robust. It also offers improved shift quality, reduced noise, more compact and is a highly economic solution. “We have just brought this to the market so we don’t have big serial production for it yet,” he explains. “We do have a lot of interest in it though so within the next
12–14 months we would expect to be running it in bigger volumes.” The company’s advanced engineering department works with an eye to how the industry will evolve in the years to come. One of the major goals in the automotive industry at the moment is to reduce cost while at the same time keeping performance at the same level. HDT currently has a product in development which it calls its ‘best cost synchroniser’, and which it hopes will go some way to answering this need. R&D is also focused on the environmental side of things. Lightweighting and fuel-efficiency is a key issue across the automotive industry today, and HDT has been working
on solutions to accommodate this need. Mr Soffa explains how the company is trying to achieve this: “Apart from improved performance our new synchroniser will also be lighter, which we have achieved with forming technology because it is still not possible for us to replace our steel parts with plastic, carbon fibre or other lightweight materials.” Looking ahead, HDT has no major plans for acquisitions in medium run but instead is looking to grow organically in terms of its drive technology. In this way, Mr Soffa is optimistic that HDT will double its size in 10 years from a turnover of approx. €300 million to more than €500 million. Especially his division – HDT Asia Pacific - will contribute a major portion to n this growth.
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CLEAR VIEW FOR
Xinyi Glass Holdings, founded in Hong Kong in 1988, has a global vision for future growth. Felicity Landon reports on the group’s Automotive Division.
EHICLE sales in China reached 18 million in 2010 and are forecast to reach 27 million in 2013 – and by 2020, sales are expected to hit 40 million. It’s easy to see why Xinyi Glass Automotive Division, part of a large conglomerate operating in China for nearly 25 years, has focused so strongly on its domestic market – but overseas sales are continuing to rise alongside this. “We are lucky to live in this era,” says Shing Kan Lee, president of Xinyi Glass Automotive Division. As well as the massive increases in vehicle sales, he says: “the number of vehicles in use in China
was approaching 80 million at the end of June 2011, and is expected to reach 210 million in 2020. The prospects in China for the automotive glass business, for both OEM and ARG (automotive replacement glass) markets, are certainly alluring.” Xinyi Glass Holdings was founded in 1988. It is involved in the production of float glass, deep processing of automotive glass and construction glass, and also curtain wall design and installation. The Automotive Division has three OEM plants, located in Wuhu, Dongguan and Tianjin; each of them has been equipped with advanced production lines and equipment
imported from the USA, Switzerland, Finland and Japan. “We have aggressive plans to expand the production capacity in the Wuhu OEM plant,” says Shing Kan Lee. Xinyi Glass serves mainly the automotive industry but also the construction and agricultural machinery industries, he says. “But our glass window products are widely used in all kinds of vehicles, also including trains and ships.” The company’s principal market is clearly China, but it has already made some moves overseas.
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“We have exported cabin window glass used for agricultural and construction machinery to Japan for many years,” he says. “And in North America, we have supplied OEM window glass products to school bus plants for many years.”
Customised services Importantly, Xinyi not only supplies a range of more than 30,000 glass products in China, but it also offers a ‘one-stop’ supply service by providing the associated rubber sealing strips and hardware accessories at the same time. The establishment of specialised logistics bases in various regions has enabled the company to supply customised services with ‘zero distance’ to the OEM market.
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The company has been included in the global supplier systems of large international names such as Ford, GE and VW. Shing Kan Lee lists the Division’s core products as laminated windshield and tempered glass, supplied to OEMs for all kinds of vehicles. Xinyi Glass says it is committed to achieving continuous improvement and innovations in production management, product research and development, quality control, timely delivery, after-sales service and customer satisfaction. Its Technology Development Centre, accredited as an Advanced Technology Enterprise in China, has developed numerous new products with international patent rights protection.
Among them, Solar-X is a brand new windshield product developed and patented by Xinyi Glass, which can block and reflect the infrared energy of the solar spectrum. Xinyi describes Solar-X as ‘a product series with excellent solar control performance characteristics and a great innovative breakthrough in glass technology, offering a wide range of significant practical applications’. Clearly, Xinyi is poised for more expansion, both at home and in export markets. “If possible, we prefer acquisition to organic expansion for further growth,” says Shing Kan Lee. “After years of development in China, now we should have a global vision to craft our future growth which covers technological innovations, customers and competitors.” n
PROTECTION PERFECTION German-based plastic forming and coating expert KRD is expanding its production capacity in order to bring its security-focused KASIGLAS® products to a wider audience. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to CFO Armin Meibauer and quality manager Dr Jürgen Schmitz to find out more.
ounded in Germany in 1967 by Gerd Brammer and his wife Elsbeth, plastic forming and coating company KRD Sicherheitstechnik is one of the two companies that together make up the KRD company group. Complemented by the technical abilities of its sister company, KRD Coatings, it focuses on the forming, coating and machining of plastics for a wide variety of applications. KRD’s founder’s daughter Korinna Brammer and her husband Bernhard Bitsch are now proudly continuing to run the company her father established. Mr Brammer is widely considered to be something of a genius when it comes to innovative plastic coatings. His vision to make windows more resistant to impact and force, and so much safer, underpins the continued success of KRD. CFO Armin Meibauer told Industry Europe, “Mr Brammer is now 74 years old and still involved in the day-to-day operation of the business, with his daughter at the helm. It’s a powerful combination that adds a terrific strength to the company, as well as ensuring to keep the expertise of our founder and other long-term employees. Further-
more, even the 14-year-old junior Mark shows up from time to time within our company to make his first experiences.”
Strategic development KRD was originally dedicated to delivering automotive industry solutions for tyres and brakes, with some participation in windows, but this gradually evolved to the present day activity of a complete focus on plastic safety glazing for automotive and other applications. Mr Meibauer continued, “It was in the 1970s that the riots in Germany sparked a necessary interest in the safety of police vehicles, and Mr Brammer was keen to harness this opportunity and bring added safety features to the German automotive industry. It was clear that professions such as the police needed increased safety in their vehicles, as the glass or plastic windows available at that time could easily be shattered, causing problems and injury, or easily be scratched, decreasing the visibility.” This progression into the safety glazing arena highlights KRD’s appreciation of how it can use its professional and technical experience to bring added safety characteristics to various vehicles. The company
manufactures windows for police cars, as well as machinery for the forestry and construction industries, as its core products, and has an increasingly successful plastic sheet business. Here, KRD is able to provide its thick sheets in various sizes up to three by seven metres, with a broad range of coatings and functionality available. Dr Schmitz said, “KRD is the only company in Europe that can offer such a flexible service. Our plastic sheets and especially our laminated plastic safety glazing KASI-SCS®-V (SCS: Safety Compound System; V for German “Verbund”, means laminate) are suited to all manner of security-focused applications. Our ability to coat such large plates in whatever coating the customer requires truly sets us apart from the competition.” Manufacturing all its plastic safety glazing and sheets at its Geesthacht head office and production facility just 30 minutes from Hamburg, KRD distributes its products across the whole of Europe. Buying the raw materials and then adding the specialist thermoforming and coating is how KRD is able to meet its customers’ exact needs at an affordable price.
Partnerships in quality As the producer of exclusive, high quality thermoformed and coating plastic glazing and sheets, KRD works with some of the automotive industry’s most famous brands, including Bugatti, Lamborghini, Audi and Porsche. The company also has a long-term partnership with agricultural machinery company John Deere. Mr Meibauer added, “John Deere is well known for its focus on quality and performance, so the fact that it has chosen to use KASIGLAS® safety glazing for its machines speaks volumes about the performance and reliability of our products. Our KASIGLAS® windows are used particularly in the ‘Harvester’ machine portfolio, which are used for tree cutting on a large scale, so considerable protection is needed for the driver or
operator. Our glazed polycarbonate gives the incredible strength required without any type of metal construction.” With the KASIGLAS® core product of glazed polycarbonate sheets offering considerable weight and safety benefits over glass, the company’s plan for the coming months and years is to highlight these benefits to a wider audience. Its present active market is the whole of Europe, but with its domestic German market representing at least 80 per cent of its sales, Mr Meibauer is aiming to increase its export business, particularly in the UK, France, Scandinavia and throughout the Mediterranean area. In addition to its current home the company will extend their facilities by four new state-
of-the-art production halls in autumn 2012 while adding much-needed extra capacity. Mr Meibauer concluded, “We take it for granted that security is an increasing business as people are focusing on their safety in more and more aspects of their lives. For example, we are working on an innovative product which is a personal helmet with weapon protection built in, and we know that making current products lighter is also important for us.” Dr Schmitz added, “Our active participation in the current ECE43 regulation campaign, aiming to allow more kinds of plastic glazing to obtain official type approvals in automotive applications, highlights our commitment to meeting the most stringent international standards, which will stand us in good stead for our increasing n international expansion.”
Bayer MaterialScience GmbH Bayer MaterialScience GmbH develops, produces and sells Makrolon® polycarbonate sheets, Axpet® and Vivak® polyester sheets, as well as Bayloy® high-quality plastic sheets. Kasiglas is a reliable partner for us when specialized coating and forming is needed for our Makrolon® polycarbonate sheets in security-focused applications such as agricultural machinery, glazed pc-sheets in the automotive industry e.g. roofing or windows as well as security glazing. In addition, Bayer MaterialScience products can also be found in industrial applications such as protective visors, machinery protective covers, lamp covers, and housings. In the construction sector Bayer MaterialScience Applications of Bayer MaterialScience products for the construction sector include e.g. sports stadiums and train stations. Bayer MaterialScience GmbH is a 100% subsidiary of Bayer MaterialScience AG.
HOME FROM HOME Leading European caravan and camper van manufacturer Knaus Tabbert GmbH is excited about the revolution in on-the-road adventures. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Knaus brand this year, the company is still at the forefront of the industry’s trends. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to CEO Giovanni Marcon to find out more.
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naus Tabbert GmbH celebrates 50 years of the Knaus brand in 2011, with the company justifiably proud of maintaining its market-leading position throughout that time. Staying ahead of the industry’s trends for five decades means that Knaus Tabbert knows pretty much all there is to know about the caravan and camper van industry, but it is just as committed to meeting the ever-changing needs of its customers as it is to keeping up its reputation for quality.
CEO Giovanni Marcon told Industry Europe why this half-century milestone is so important to Knaus Tabbert. He said, “We are one of the oldest caravanning brands, so reaching 50 years in the business with this brand is a great achievement that is rarely matched. But it also shows just how integral Knaus Tabbert is to the niche caravan and camper van markets across Europe. We take both of these points and combine them with a passion for innova-
tion and great design so that we continue to create and build products that suit the changing face of self-drive holidays.”
Leading the way There have certainly been considerable industry changes during the last 50 years. When the company started back in 1961, mass holidaymaking was in its infancy, with mobility through affordable cars making Knaus’s first towing caravans particularly
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popular. Today, the company offers seven brands, with its most well-known Knaus, Tabbert and Wilk, and its product portfolio focusing on towing caravans, motorised caravans and camper vans. With 1200 employees based at its four European sites, the company delivers its products to 21 different countries, with this number increasing as new markets are explored. At the end of 2008, Knaus was taken over by the Dutch investor HTP Investments. Mr Marcon explained how the company’s strong European position and understanding of the market puts it at a distinct advantage. He said, “It’s a wonderful coincidence that in our 50th year we have also won the Dutch–German economy award for successful commercial cooperation between the two countries. We have long been at the forefront of the trends and demands of the caravan and camper van industries across Europe and we are dedicated to meeting those needs.” There are more than three million cars sold each year in Germany alone, with just 150,000 caravans and camper vans sold annually across the whole of Europe, so Knaus Tabbert’s appreciation of the specific needs of the industry has been gained through its long history of staying close to its customers, its strong sales and distribution network and the 42 Industry Europe
businesses whose livelihoods depend on the market, such as large campsite owners and important festival organisers.
Close to the customer Mr Marcon continued, “We have a lot of marketing activities in place to ensure we know exactly what our customers want, and indeed what they are likely to want in the coming months and years. We regularly meet with our dealer network and with customers at our HQ, and we use this information to influence our regular new designs and upgrades so that they perfectly correspond to the trends of the time.” With three core types of product – trailed caravans, motor caravans and camper vans (also called van conversions) – Knaus Tabbert maintains its reputation for innovative, sporty, high-quality products by including new features, introducing new models and upgrading existing models on a regular basis. In 2010 alone, 16 new models or upgrades were launched, with 26 expected for 2012. This equates to around two or three new products for each of its seven brands. Mr Marcon added, “We have a 70-strong design team that is constantly working out innovative new ways to bring comfort, style and performance into caravans and campervans. If you asked
10 customers what their ideal feature in a caravan would be, you’d inevitably get 11 different answers, so their job is very important! Caravans are essentially ‘rolling flats’ with kitchens, bathrooms, living space, storage… yet usually in just 12–15m2. So talented, forward-thinking designers are imperative for our business, and we employ the best, alongside technical experts, engineers and prototype builders. That way every inch is beautifully utilised.” Knaus Tabbert’s recent participation at the caravan industry’s most important trade fair in Düsseldorf saw it sell an impressive 800 units in just 10 days, so this fair, along with others across Europe, is also an important ingredient in its continued success, as
it offers great opportunities to meet with customers and partners. As the company looks to further cement its achievements it plans to expand outside of Europe too, with Australia and the USA both key target markets, although it is currently working to resolve the inevitable transportation issues involved in delivering large products to such great distances. Mr Marcon concluded, “While the caravan market is stable, it is not a growing market, so it is important that we keep our eyes and ears open for new opportunities. We are finding that the camper van market is seeing an incredible boom, with the lifestyle aspect of these beautifully-made vehicles giving us a great market share and a n very positive future.”
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DIVERSITY AND CREATIVITY IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT Pihl is a global civil engineering and construction group based in Denmark and is one of the country’s oldest contracting companies. Philip Yorke looks at its wide spectrum of activities and the strategy behind its success.
ounded in 1887, Pihl is one of the largest civil engineering companies in the world and is engaged in countless major international contracts. The company works on a project-orientated basis with a flexible management structure that involves its many subsidiaries and consortiums. Pihl is currently working in 16 countries worldwide and is involved in major global projects ranging from tunnels, motorways and harbours to railways and municipal buildings. Pihl’s headquarters is located at Kgs.Lyngby, Denmark, and the company currently employs more than 3300 people worldwide.
Firm foundations It was in 1887 when a master builder in Copenhagen, Lauritz Emil Pihl, established his own construction company in the capital that the company began its journey to become one of the world’s leading civil engineering contract companies. During the years that followed, Pihl built up the business to become one of the leading construction companies in Denmark. Its fortunes were enhanced further in the 1940s by Kay Langvad, a master in civil engineering, who purchased 50 per cent of E Pihl & Son AS in 1947. The company then saw significant growth with large civil
engineering projects being undertaken in Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. His pioneering work in the 1950s and 1960s formed the basis for the company’s further internationalisation which was based on his flexible management approach. This is where individual company specialists come together to form an optimal team and where relevant experience is pooled to optimise the success of each project. It is flexibility and a commitment to creativity to achieve the best outcomes that has kept Pihl at the forefront of the global contracting industry. The success of this strategy is further enhanced by its commitment
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to maintaining its respect for traditional, high quality Danish building techniques combined with its ability to develop new methodologies and project management techniques. Pihl offers a wide range of consultancy and contracting services and is happy to assume responsibility for the entire construction process if necessary, from the original design concept through to its final completion.
Diversity at work Pihl is active in Denmark and around the globe on major projects such as the Oresund Tunnel in Denmark and hydro
electric power plants in Iceland. In the Carribean and Africa, the company is building motorways and harbours, while in Asia it is constructing wastewater plants. One of its most important large-scale projects is the recent joint venture between Zublin and Pihl to design and construct a major road and tunnel complex in Copenhagen that will connect the Elsinore motorway with an arterial road close to the Danish capital, Copenhagen. In another significant national contract, Pihl has joined Aarsleff of Denmark in a 50/50 joint venture to fulfil a major renovation programme for Danish Railways that involves
the full refurbishment of the city’s central railway station. The work to be carried out by this well-established consortium involves the renovation of existing station concrete structures, new ventilation systems and railway ramps as well as modern station buildings and improved parking facilities. The budget for the remedial works at the central station is put at over DKK 400 million.
In-depth quality management Pihl considers that quality management is fundamental to the success of any project and works to guarantee that the same high standards are achieved across the board,
irrespective of the size and value of the project. Top quality management at Pihl helps to ensure optimum design, planning and execution of each project. Pihl’s quality management system complies with the requirements of DS/EN ISO 9001 and is structured in such a way as to facilitate adoption of special conditions and the specific demands of its client. The company’s quality management systems are regularly re-evaluated on the basis of newly acquired experience from completed contracts, as well as from internal and external audits. Before the commencement of any contract Pihl carries
out a process of scrutiny to establish an in-depth knowledge of the project and to provide a better basis for determining the best possible execution. At Pihl, on going audits are performed on a regular basis and these focus on maintaining the quality management standards of all Pihl’s current contracts. The company also has extensive in-house planning resources as well as considerable facilities for the provision of services regarding concrete, masonry, carpentry and painting works. Soren Langvad, Pihl’s CEO said, “The driving force behind Pihl is the joy of creating. We take pride in the projects that we
carry out for our public and private customers worldwide and we have a desire for constant development and expansion. Our projects cover many different areas of expertise from large infrastructure works to hydro power plants and building. As a Danish contracting company working on the international marketplace, we face keen competition. Our overseas projects challenge the adaptability of our employees and whether we are working on the construction of a museum in Liverpool or on a water supply project in Sri Lanka, we make an effort to pass on our knowledge and also to improve n our own skills.”
K5 Oil Centre SA K5 Oil Centre SA, a dedicated Oil Base on the island of Bioko in Equatorial Guinea, is strategically located in the Gulf of Guinea, thereby perfectly located to provide quality service to the Oil & Gas industry to the entire West African region. K5 staff is continuously trained; 300 skilled people offer stevedoring and warehouse possibilities on 7 berths and 80 hectares of land. Oil operating companies and
their service & equipment suppliers since 2002 trust K5 to handle their documentation, clearing, storage and stacking. The additional in-house workshop, direct supply of potable water, free zone port status and waste oil recycling service on the spot, make K5 Oil Centre into the strategic centre of efficiency you need.
A GREENER ROOF TILE Family-owned Swedish company Benders Sverige AB is the country’s biggest roof tiles producer. With every aspect of the company positively touched by the family’s passion for responsible achievement, its plan for the future looks exciting. Emma-Jane Batey reports.
ounded in 1960 when Karl-Erik Bender bought his first roof tile machine, Swedish tile manufacturing company Benders Sverige AB is still owned and managed by the Bender family, with son Ove Bender the managing director and Karl-Erik still the chairman of the board. Even though the company has a solid past as a reliable company in the production of good-looking, durable roof tiles, Benders has a policy to ‘seldom look back but to plan for the future’, which has stood it in good stead for the past 50 years. Vice-president Mats Jakobsson may not have the Benders’ name, but he is clear that all members of the company’s workforce are considered family. He told Industry Europe, “It’s a very family-orientated company, and we all feel part of the same team. There is a positive, mutually supportive atmosphere
that encourages us all to do our best, and seeing the founder involved in the day-today operation of the business is inspiring.”
A champion at work Indeed, Karl-Erik Bender’s inspiration as a company leader also comes from the fact that he is a former sporting champion, with his passion for horses and the sport of trotting almost as strong as his passion for providing high quality roof tiles. The 1973 Swedish winner in horse trotting, also known as harness racing, Karl-Erik bought his first horse at about the same time as his first roof tile machine, leading to a unique parallel that has continued ever since. Mr Jakobsson explained, “There are now 150 horses owned by the company, and we have continued to have great success with racing and breeding the horses. They
are roaming here at our head office, which makes for a very tranquil view! Although breeding horses started out as a hobby for Karl-Erik, it has grown to be a key part of our business.” Of course, the most famous part of Benders Sverige AB is its high quality, durable roof tiles, paving stones and stone walls, all of which the company designs and manufactures in a range of styles from traditional to modern. Well-known for the exceptional quality of its products, the sophisticated logistics provision supports the product reputation by making sure products are always delivered on time and in top quality. Mr Jakobsson told Industry Europe how the logistics provision at Benders plays an integral role in the day-to-day operation, and the long-term success of the brand. He said, “We have an environmental focus
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across every aspect of the company, and the logistics is no exception. We were actually the first roof tile company to be awarded with the ISO 1400 environmental accreditation back in 1998, and I believe our primarily train-based logistics was important in gaining it – that and our carefully designed state-of-the-art production facility.”
Ecological commitment Benders is actually working to enhance the environmental responsibility of its logistics even more, with a concerted effort to use trains as much as possible. The current process sees the company with carefully selected third-party logistics partners in each of its active European territories. The company has a number of European manufacturing centres where dedicated trains can take the tiles to the localised trucks, whereby the tiles are then delivered directly to the customers. This allows Benders to be able to deliver to even the remotest areas and islands of Sweden, and even
the gardens of some customers to avoid needing to transport the tiles too far. The ecological focus of Benders will see this logistics provision rely more on trains in the coming months and years, and the logistics subcontractors assigned by the company must also be committed to transporting and delivering the tiles and other products in as sustainable a manner as possible. The company’s core clients are building materials dealers in each of its main countries, primarily Sweden, Norway, Finland and Germany, with exports to the UK, the Netherlands and the Baltic countries too. Benders is always open to new markets and is constantly assessing the market, particularly in terms of construction trends, in order to ascertain where would be a suitable home for a new manufacturing centre and sales office. Mr Jakobsson said, “We expect to include both organic expansion and strategic acquisitions in our future growth strategy; we have bought on average one company every year
for the past 10 years and we will continue. We always keep the workers of the new companies – including the owners whenever possible – to keep the expertise in-house too. There will also be strong growth in the market, with Finland hard hit in 2010, Norway not seeing hardly any impact of the global economic crisis and Sweden enjoying good stability in general. That said, the construction industry in Sweden is currently half of what it should be, with 100,000 new apartments built annually in Sweden in the 1960s but just a third of that at the moment. Growth in Sweden’s construction industry is predicted, and we are well-positioned to play a strong role in that.” n
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WHAT RUSSIAN WOMEN WANT The Moscow-based firm Cheryomushki manufactures high quality women’s underwear for the Russian market. Joseph Altham reports on a business with ambitious plans for expansion.
ll over eastern Europe, the expectations of consumers have risen, and Russia is now an important export market for many European clothing companies and fashion labels. However, high quality garments are produced for the Russian market by Russian manufacturers as well. Cheryomushki was founded in 1939 and specialises in women’s underwear. The company’s range of products runs to over 30 different items, including bras, knickers, corsets and swimsuits. The company’s designers have significantly expanded the collection of bras to include products with the ‘push-up’ effect. Cheryomushki employs around 700 people, and women make up
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90 per cent of the workforce. The company is located in an eight-storey building in Moscow, where the engineers develop new styles and where all stages of production, including the cutting and stitching, are carried out. Cheryomushki has its own shop on the first floor of the building. With an area of 400 m2, this is the largest shop in the whole of Moscow that is dedicated to a single brand of women’s underwear. Cheryomushki’s philosophy is to create garments that satisfy modern tastes, offering lingerie that is not only secure and comfortable but that also retains its elegance, attractiveness and femininity. Cheryomushki
underwear, claims the company, is the kind of present a woman can give herself if she wants to feel like a princess in a fairy story.
Production To achieve this level of elegance and comfort, Cheryomushki must not only develop stylish and attractive designs, but also ensure the highest standards of production quality. Cheryomushki is therefore careful to select the best materials for its garments. Innovative, environmentally friendly materials from leading European manufacturers are widely used in the company’s designs, and all the materials comply with the relevant international standards, making them safe to
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use in women’s underwear. The linen fabrics used often have special features such as embossing, printing or jacquard effects. Cheryomushki has continued to modernise its production and has introduced automated production equipment so as to reduce the proportion of the work that is done manually. Cheryomushki has automated and specially adapted sewing machines, while the cutting is performed on two automated cutting machines from the well-known firm Gerber. Thorough quality control is maintained at every stage of
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production, and the workforce contains highly qualified specialists. Production is computerised, enabling the effective control of the entire chain, from the designer all the way to the point of sale. Besides its main factory, Cheryomushki also has three workshops dedicated to sewing in the towns of Elektrostal, Skhodnya and Medyn. Cheryomushki says that very few suitable suppliers exist within Russia, so it must source the bulk of its raw materials from abroad. It deals with around 70 different suppliers. These include leading interna-
tional companies such as the German firms Chanty and Penn Textile Solutions, the Italian firm Carvico, the Spanish firm Ritex and the French company MG Création.
Distribution For building successful partnerships, both with dealers and with suppliers, one of Cheryomushki’s key advantages is its stable financial position. Although the financial crisis drove some of Cheryomushki’s suppliers out of business. Cheryomushki itself emerged unscathed and managed to avoid
having to stop production because it quickly found satisfactory replacements for those suppliers who had gone bankrupt. It can therefore move forward with confidence as it looks for ways to boost future sales. Cheryomushki’s products are already sold through dealers in every region of Russia. Moscow, where it has around 40 retail outlets, is the area where sales are strongest of all.
Expansion Cheryomushki now aims to expand its sales network by increasing the number of its own sales outlets. The financial circumstances of independent dealers can have an influence on sales, so Cheryomushki believes that it
will develop its sales in a more stable fashion through sales outlets that are under its own control. In particular, it plans to step up its sales presence in Russia’s major industrial cities. Eventually, Cheryomushki hopes to be able to sell its products outside Russia, although this will depend on the details of the customs policy that the Russian government chooses to adopt. If sales can be increased, then the company has the potential to expand its production capacity. Its overall goal is to produce high quality goods with the aid of high-technology production methods at a competitive price. The company aims to increase production volumes and the number of designs in its
range, and is ready to upgrade its production processes on an ongoing basis in order to take advantage of the latest technological innovations. Advertising plays an important role in the company’s strategy, and Cheryomushki says that it will actively use advertising in order to promote new product lines. Cheryomushki sees itself as a living organism that continues to develop. In five years’ time, it expects to have widened its sales network, while retaining its stable financial position and strong, professional management. which is no doubt essential in a company whose mission is to produce the kind of lingerie that can make a woman n feel like a princess.
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LEADING BY LISTENING The owner of some of India’s most recognised brands, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd is steadily increasing its presence worldwide. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to COO Rakesh Sinha to find out how this is being achieved.
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one of the seven core business areas of the multi-billion dollar Godrej Group, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd is the market leader across India’s FMCG companies. Specialising in household products and personal care items, Godrej Consumer Products has branches throughout India and an increasing presence worldwide. The Godrej Group was founded in 1897 by inventor and commercial visionary Ardeshir Godrej who, along with his brother Pirojsha Godrej, created what was to become one of India’s most recognised and valued brands. The seven main companies within the Godrej Group encompass real estate, industrial engineering, domestic appliances, furniture, security, agri-care and Godrej Consumer Goods’ FMCG activities. With an annual turnover that exceeds $3.3 billion, Godrej is a name that is present in practically all Indian households in some way. Even though the group is an integral part of Indian culture, it actually achieves more than 25 per cent of its revenue from
outside the country, thanks to its increasing presence overseas and sales activities in over 60 countries worldwide.
Part of the Godrej family As the COO of Godrej Consumer Products Ltd, Mr Rakesh Sinha told Industry Europe how being part of the group supports its day-to-day operations, as well as its strategic long-term growth plans. He said, “The Godrej name stands for innovation and quality in India, so we are very proud to be part of such a successful group. We have the strength of the group behind us when it comes to investing in the latest technology, which enables us to maintain our market leading position domestically and continue to advance our position on a global scale.” In the 18 months since Industry Europe last spoke to Godrej Consumer Products, the company has enjoyed an impressive growth that has kept it firmly on the Indian FMCG map. With an annual growth at more than double the rate of the industry, the company is justifiably proud. Mr
Sinha continued, “We have seen higher than 20 per cent growth over the past year. We have worked hard to ensure that we deliver to our customers exactly what they want when they want it, so our sales figures clearly show that we have achieved that aim.”
Listen, understand Godrej Consumer Products’ growth rate is largely attributed to the fact that it listens closely to its customers and quickly acts on their changing demands. The company owns some of India’s most valued household and personal care brands, including Good Knight, Cinthol, Expert and Snuggy, and is committed to ensuring that its entire offer stays relevant to its customer base. Mr Sinha explained, “Staying close to our customers and understanding the trends that are influencing their lives is incredibly important to us and we invest a great deal of time, money and resources in this area. We are continually fine-tuning our offer to guarantee that we are providing the right products at the right price.” Industry Europe 57
Godrej Consumer Products gains this information through its constant contact with customers and relevant information. From speaking to customers directly on the shop floor, where Godrej employees ask about how they are getting on with their products and what feedback they have, to talking to general customers in shopping centres and workplaces, the company is happy to listen to any customer’s views. It also invests in syndicated research and data on shopper and consumer habits, both in terms of trend forecasting and real-time data. It then combines all the information to come up with a set of findings that closely reflect the actual mood and demands of its customer base, and puts this to good use in the marketing and R&D departments. Mr Sinha pointed out, “This information consistently influences our product launches, our upcoming product development, the redesigns of our products and packaging, and our advertising campaigns. We want our custom-
ers to know that we appreciate their feedback and that we always aim to offer products that perfectly suit their needs right now.”
Ready to grow With the rising level of young consumers in India having a major impact on the FMCG industry, Godrej Consumer Products is staying one step ahead of the trend but introducing youth-focused products that also meet the mega-trend of consumers of all ages wanting products that offer quality and value. This is seen in various groups demanding products that are either premium quality at a sensible yet higher price, or cheaper price points that still deliver on quality. The coming years will see Godrej Consumer Products expanding its global activities beyond its current markets in Asia, with the plan to focus on countries that have similar psychology and consumer behaviour as the Indian market – namely Latin America and Africa – where it can utilise the wider network of the n Godrej Group for targeted success. Industry Europe 61
SOURCE OF INSPIRATION The EN ElectronicNetwork Group is one of Europe’s leading electronic manufacturing service companies. Philip Yorke talked to Klaus Kroesen, the company’s chairman and Fabrizio Tornetta, sales and marketing manager about its broad spectrum of ‘lean’ contract manufacturing services, its innovative approach and about moving into new market segments.
he EN ElectronicNetwork Group is a privately owned company that was founded in Germany in 1999 and quickly established itself as a major player in the European electronic manufacturing services (EMS) industry. The group specialises in fulfilling integrated product manufacturing and implementing new product development services as well as providing logistics concepts on behalf of its customers. In 2010 the company acquired a manufacturing site in the Czech Republic, which like the other EN sites is providing EM services to multinational companies as well as regional customers. Today the group operates five production sites in Germany and one in the Czech Republic, with advanced
plans to build a brand new, dedicated plant in Romania. This is designed to supplement its current volume production and offer greater added value to its customers. Currently ElectronicNetwork AG employs more than 800 people and in 2010 recorded sales of around €150 million.
‘Holistic’ approach driving sales When it comes to new product development, ElectronicNetwork offers a complete spectrum of services from the creation of the product’s requirement specification to the development of hardware and software. In addition, the company provides layouts tailored to meet the individual approval processes and documentation required. In recent years Electronic-
Network has built-up significant, in-depth experience in a wide range of core competences. These are based on ARM Cortex A8 processors as well as ARM9-based systems including the creation of embedded software such as Linux. The company supports its customers in the design process and cross-checks of all product data, which leads to the virtual ‘preproduction’ of any new product. 3D-analysis is also available through the use of CAD tools, which build the electronics into the enclosures before they are manufactured, in order to prevent errors and save both time and money. Kroesen said, “Our strength lies in our partnerships with our customers and suppliers and we adopt an open company culture
for our mutual advantage. We increase customer benefits through our lean management processes and in-depth expertise, and accompany our customer’s products along the whole product lifecycle from the initial concept to the end of a product’s commercial life. We need to be located as close as possible to our customers, which is why we have invested in a new plant in the Czech
Republic. We are manufacturing PCBA boards and systems there as well as complete products including final assemblying.” Mr Tornetta added, “One of our special competencies is to accompany customers whose products have very long life cycles and use older technology, as happens for example in the railway industry. This is why we are fully certified to ‘IRIS’ – the rail quality
assurance standard. We are also very much involved in the automotive industry where big volumes apply and where traceability and strong technical support is very important, and in this field we are a tier-one and tier-two supplier. We are also very active in the energy and medical equipment sectors, as well as in data processing and telecoms. We like to
have the possibility of a serious professional relationship that involves us at the early stages of a product’s life cycle, so that we can bring innovative and cost-optimised solutions to the table for the benefit of our customers. Our contribution, as a manufacturer and turn-key systems provider is designed to deliver a faster time to market for our clients’ products in the most costeffective manner.”
Quality and quantity In order to meet the increasing challenges facing electronics manufacturers and the evolving market conditions, the company operates a comprehensive management system according to ISO 9001, in addition to a fully integrated management system according to ISO 14001. Further certifications obtained at individual locations throughout Europe include ISO/TS 16949 (automotive) and ISO 13485 (medical). Furthermore, with its network of quality data management and integrated serial number assignment systems, it is possible to guarantee component traceability and the nature of the individual products involved. Kroesen commented, “Recently, EN Electronic Network Hersfeld GmbH successfully passed its re-certification audit for
the automotive and medical sectors and this confirms once more the operating efficiency of our company, characterised by our lean management protocols.” In addition to these important quality standard certifications the company also achieved DIN EN 13980 (ATEX explosion protection directives), as well as the International Railway Industry standard: IRIS, a certification that very few other companies have acquired. Mr Tornetta added, “Without an integrated and software, supported quality and traceability system, we could for example not fulfil the diverse requirements of the railway or automotive industry. Thanks to the introduction of IRIS for operating companies, the longevity and availability of their railway vehicles has increased and life cycle costs can be evaluated and recognised more clearly.” It is also worth noting that ElectronicNetwork provides its customers with independent pre-production project teams which are available at all times for consultation and technical support in order to achieve optimal results for its customers. In addition, the strategic volume purchasing of the group ensures that clients benefit from the most competitive prices, even for prototyping new products.
The company’s internal test equipment and toolmaking facilities are also designed to improve product flow and to help with the implementation of fully automated or partially automated production lines in an efficient and n flexible manner.
A HIGH-TECH ITALIAN
SYSTEMS PROVIDER The Gemmo Group is a leading provider of technological systems such as electric power systems, electronic surveillance systems and integrated electronic management systems.
emmo’s main offices are located in Vicenza, Italy, where it has been operating for over 80 years. From this original single location, the Gemmo Group has expanded, and the company now has branches in Rome, Milan, Naples, Bologna and Buenos Aires. In total, the company has annual sales of over €180 million and more than 2000 employees worldwide. Over the years, Gemmo has accumulated valuable experience in the international marketplace as well as in its home country. 66 Industry Europe
Gemmo not only provides the initial installation of the system to their clients. They can also provide services such as maintenance, training and after-sales assistance. In fact, Mauro Gemmo, the company’s president, insists this is a benefit Gemmo has over the competition. He says, “As a provider of technological systems, our most important feature is definitely our ability to manage fully integrated projects. This basically means that we are able to take care of the needs of our
customers from the first stages of development of each project to the final installation. But we are able to go even further thanks to our facilities management and after-sales assistance services.”
Expansion is the key to growth Mauro Gemmo is the third generation of the Gemmo family to lead the company. Under his leadership, Gemmo has strengthened its position in the Italian market by focusing more on the public infrastructure sector.
The company has also focused on design and engineering services activities. As part of this focus, Gemmo has introduced many environmentally friendly technologies into the systems that they provide. To achieve this expansion into the public infrastructure sector, Gemmo looked to external companies as a target for expansion. In the past decade, they have made some important acquisitions that have allowed them to expand at a faster rate than would have necessarily been possible. Some of the well-
known companies that Gemmo has acquired are as follows: Teknogest, Compagnia Elettrotecnica Italiana and Tekno. Gemmo has also established a cooperation with ENEL, the national electric energy company of Italy.
Success in the home market Although Gemmo has operations outside of Italy, approximately 70 per cent of their sales come from within their home country. The company is proud of its achievements within Italy. Industry Europe 67
Mr. Gemmo commented, “One of the things we are most proud of is that we’ve contributed to building some of the most important public infrastructure in our home country, such as the Malpensa airport and the Mestre hospital.” Gemmo also participates in many industry activities and conferences within the Italian market including the Expo Italia Real Estate or EIRE. EIRE is an international event of the Italian and Mediterranean real estate market. It aims to attract investments to develop the region further.
Investing in innovation Gemmo makes sure that it concentrates on innovation. The company sees this as an area where it must be at the forefront because most of the areas it operates in are dependent on technologically advanced solutions. Two areas that Gemmo is particularly investing in are renewable energies and innovative solutions that will be used in hospitals.
According to Mr. Gemmo, “One of our most important strategies is offering the newest applications for each of the fields we operate in. This obviously means that we have to invest a lot in R&D.” Mr. Gemmo is quick to point out that the company could not achieve all that it has and all that it plans to in the future without its talented staff. Gemmo sees investing in its employee’s skills as critical for the success of the company. This investment will be particularly important since the company plans to grow in the future. Mr. Gemmo said, “Since innovation is so important for us, we can’t afford to have our people fall behind. That is why we’ve made a number of investments in the specialistion of our employees, which is completed through vocational courses and experience n in the field.” www.gemmogroup.it
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STRONG PRODUCT RANGE Quality-focused contract manufacturer PartnerTech is able to offer a wide variety of hi-tech products, services and components in order to successfully meet the demands of its customers worldwide. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to CEO Leif Thorwaldsson to see how this is being achieved.
wedish-based contract manufacturing specialist PartnerTech delivers a broad portfolio of products and services from its carefully established network of international production sites and outsourcing partners. CEO Leif Thorwaldsson told Industry Europe how the company’s promise is continously being met. He said, “We truly are a technology partner to our customers. We can offer all manner of services such as development, sourcing, manufacturing, logistics and worldwide handling. Our technically advanced teams are skilled to deliver complicated products and components for a wide range of applications. In addition, our mechanical appreciation, knowledge of systems integration and metal enclosures and so on gives us a strong yet varied platform from which we can meet the most demanding requests.
Varied products, reliable quality PartnerTech has shaped its offer using six defined market areas, with each area utilising the company’s range of products and services in precise accordance with its own needs. For the IT sector, PartnerTech produces products such as broadband routers and security cameras. For-point-of sale applications, it produces cash handling systems and other technically based tools, and its defence and maritime area makes advanced equipment such as radar, thermal imaging and communications equipment. The fourth market area is what is called ‘medtech’, or medical technology, and is an area where PartnerTech’s advanced capabilities truly shine. It manufactures products 70 Industry Europe
such as x-ray machines for hospitals and DNA analysis equipment. The ‘cleantech’, or clean technology area is centred on vending machines as well as energy-efficient products including LED lighting and energy conservation items – the latter being an important growth area across PartnerTech’s territories. For general industry, the company manufactures a wide range of products such as control systems for industrial vehicles and applications. In each of the six key market areas, PartnerTech incorporates its specialist application knowledge and technical competence so that it enhances the development and manufacturing process for its customers. Mr Thorwaldsson explained, “In addition to the many quality assurance certificates we hold, including ISO 9000 and ISO 14000, the medtech area is also accredited with ISO 13485, which shows that we operate at the highest level. We are continually investing and upgrading our products sites
as well as our technical competence so that our standards are reliably and impressively high at all times.”
Wherever you are With 11 strategically located production sites worldwide, PartnerTech is both technically and geographically able to meet its customers’ needs. Its wide footprint sees it operating three units in Sweden, two in Finland and Poland and one each in the UK, the USA, Norway and China. Each site has a state-of-the-art facility that is perfectly in tune with its local market and the demands of global customers with regional requirements. Mr Thorwaldsson continued, “We tend to have an additional specialism at each plant too so that we can deliver technical contract manufacturing solutions over and above our competitors. We can pool our considerable expertise wherever it is required, so customers know that we can always meet their highest expectations.” For example PartnerTech’s office in Atlanta, Georgia, is a logistics centre in addition to its high-end development and manufacturing capabilities, and this serves the whole of the USA using its sophisticated supply chain knowledge. In China, the company operates three units, with an import/export office in Hong Kong, a dedicated sourcing office and a partner office with the 3CEMS Group which provides a huge volume of electronics products and components. Many of the company’s sites saw investment in 2010, as this represented a strong year following the period of global recession.
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Teknosystem GLOBAL PARTNER for SOURCING and LOGISTICS of FASTENERS and SMALL PARTS
BUFAB is an international group of companies which has systematically developed its role as a total supplier to the industry throughout Europe and other countries in the world. We are able to offer a cost efficient solution to customers by keeping a wide range of Small Parts consisting of fasteners, sheet metals, castings, plastics and rubber parts, cold formed parts and tuned parts. Using Bufab as a supplier gives customers the following advantages: Low price level Reduced supplier base Improved logistic with complete solutions Less administration-leads to decreased cost Decreased transport cost with combined freight and common agreements Lower stock levels reducing capital Local presence providing a local and quality service More and more customers are a taking advantage of Bufab’s line feeding system as for example VMI, which reduces administration and saving, costs for our customers. Automated order processing is improving competitiveness and safeguards delivery. Central warehouse in Sweden is fully automated and operates 24 hours a day. The buffer stock is localized in Gdańsk north of Poland. Well educated staff plays an active role in development and continuous improvement relations and integration with our customers. Our strategy is zero tolerance to faults at every stage of delivery and production process with reliable quality control procedures. In our offer you can find also high strength stainless steel fasteners originally Swedish product known as BUMAX classified by American Fastener Journal in “ The top 10 fastener of the time” as the most strongest and safest fasteners made from stainless steel. Our aim is to reduce the total amount of suppliers and decrease the cost of freight and handling of the goods. Together we can find the best solution to make this possible. ...Try us !
BUFAB SP. Z O.O. POLAND, 80-871 GDAŃSK, ul OKRĄG 1E tel: +48 58 340 25 85, fax: +48 58 340 25 95, e-mail: email@example.com, www.bufab.pl
Starting its cooperation with PartnerTech in 2008, Teknosystem Sp. z o.o., presently managed by Mr. Radoslaw Krawczak, have already established a long business relationship offering the outstanding quality manufacturing services, mostly in a field of cable harnesses for a wide variety of applications. This year nomination for the award The Supplier of The Year 2011, confirms that Teknosystem’s products along with customer service has complied with the client internal standards. Moreover, the product quality, JIT delivery, flexibility, and price competitiveness are the major factors that have kept Teknosystem in suppliers mainstream within 21 years, serving the top European companies.”
In Sweden, for example, there is new surface mount equipment, and the Cambridge plant in the UK has also been recently updated. The Polish production site in Sieradz is the latest to enjoy the benefits of PartnerTech’s continual investment in updating its facilities, and this site is now a streamlined electronics plant. In addition PartnerTech opened its new plant in Myslowice, Poland last year. Mr Thorwaldsson added, “We believe that our new plant is one of the world’s most modern plants for metal manufacturing, with its 12,000m2 of system integration area. The fact that we also employ
some of the best engineers and manufacturing experts to use the site makes it even more impressive.”
Making more Mr Thorwaldsson is positive about the future of PartnerTech, particularly as the global upward trend for outsourcing puts the company into a very strong position for continued growth. Although contract manufacturing is a competitive industry, the fact that PartnerTech has a solid global footprint of manufacturing sites as well as great
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knowledge of a wide variety of commercial segments means that its expected growth is likely to be realised. Mr Thorwaldsson concluded, “We expect to double our size in the USA within the next year and we will increase capacity even further at our production sites in Poland. They are very strategically based with easy access to eastern and western Europe while still having the benefit of being a lower-cost production country, yet keeping PartnerTech’s same high production standards. We also expect to grow considerably in Asia from where we can deliver to local clients and global clients that have activities in China, n Japan and across the region.”
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74 Industry Europe
BUFAB Sp. z o.o. Supplier of the Year 2011
HARNESSING THE FUTURE SKS Connecto is a leading European manufacturer of wire sets and cable harnesses. Philip Yorke talked to Ilpo Makela, the company’s communications director, about its dedicated, high-tech products and expanding range of value-added services.
KS was founded in Finland in 1924 and is a privately owned company that forms a significant part of the Finnish SKS Group. The SKS Group is a multi-faceted conglomerate involved in the machine building industry and offers a broad portfolio of products and services. These range from the manufacture and sale of components and semi-finished products to machine assemblies and complete, ready-to-install machines. SKS Connecto focuses on providing customer-specific cable harnesses and wire sets, as well as assemblies and contract manufacturing services. The company also offers design consultancy and prototype manufacturing in addition to logistics and material-flow management services. The SKS Group is a modern family enterprise with offices in Finland, Russia, the Baltic countries and China. The group has over 700 employees and in 2010 achieved sales of more than €110 million.
Product lifecycle management As part of the SKS Group, SKS Connecto offers much more than quality, tailor-made wire sets and harnesses. Industrial machine
builders can benefit from a partnership with a modern customer-orientated company that provides many competitive advantages. SKS supplies automation, electrical and machine-building components, drives, control systems and contract manufacturing, as well as complete machine vision products and services. SKS can therefore manage the entire lifecycle of industrial machinery and equipment. SKS Connecto manufactures complex, custom-designed wire sets and cable harnesses to meet its customers’ specific requirements, as well as offering machine assemblies and contract manufacturing. The company’s expert designers are quick to understand a customer’s individual needs and to provide the most cost-effective response to any challenge. High quality components and a wide range of specialist competences guarantee the optimum outcomes for its customers. Mr Makela said, “We are the subcontractor of choice for many leading machine builders operating both in Finland and beyond. We have recently established a major manufacturing plant in Poland called SKS Connecto Polska and this will serve our Finnish customers
as well as our growing number of customers in Poland and the Baltics. We are also producing customer-specific harnesses for customers coming from Romania and Estonia. “Our products are used in a multitude of industries, from tree-felling machinery and harbour cranes to concrete laying equipment and electrical installations. We specialise in designing and producing highly individual and difficult wire and harness solutions for our diverse range of customers. We work in close partnership with our customers and our designers can offer a unique combination of in-depth experience and practical solutions. We also have a wide
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range of harnesses in stock as an additional service, and our customised harnesses can be made to accommodate very high and very low production runs.”
Expanding value-added services SKS Connecto is one of the largest divisions in the SKS Group and one of the fastest growing. All SKS companies support each other and form part of an integrated design and manufacturing service team. This means that SKS can offer the whole manufacturing and service package from components and harnesses to complete, ready-to-operate machines. In addition to the manufacture of cable harnesses and wire sets, SKS Connecto distributes busbars and busducts as well as assemblies and a full range of design services. Many European manufacturers have established production facilities in Poland, in part because of the country’s proximity to Germany. In order to provide a full range of services, SKS Connecto has also expanded its range of value-added ser-
vices, which include customer training programmes and data processing systems. In addition the company offers full design and prototype services as well as testing and logistics programmes. Mr Makela added, “We are well aware that we have plenty of competitors in Finland and also in Poland and the Baltic states. However, they cannot offer the individual services that we can offer and generally they are looking for clients that require larger production series, which means runs of 1000 pieces or more. Many of our customers order as few as15 pieces at any one time, so we have to move very quickly to make these short runs profitable and to meet our customers’ strict deadlines. As a familyowned, independent business we are able to do this as we are very flexible and able to adapt our production runs to accommodate any new manufacturing challenges. We also benefit from having a very special network of suppliers and sub-contractors and you cannot find this kind of comprehensive network anywhere else in Europe. When we receive
an order we can respond very quickly and can supply the individual products or tailormade components within a matter of days.”
Ensuring a competitive advantage The SKS Group’s goal is to improve the competitiveness and productivity of its customers’ manufacturing operations. The company therefore continuously develops its own competencies in order to be able to meet its customers’ changing needs. SKS listens to its customers and develops the optimum, cost-effective solutions, utilising all the knowledge and competencies available within the group for the customer’s benefit. SKS customers can gain the competitive advantage by outsourcing a development project, an assembly or any other related service to the SKS Group, thereby ensuring a better price/quality ratio. SKS promises industrial machine builders and equipment manufacturers a futureorientated, no-risk partnership designed to provide competitive and cost-effective advantages at all stages of production. n
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Netherlands-based petrochemical and power solutions provider Bronswerk Heat Transfer is continuing its successful strategy to add value to its technically advanced equipment with its total solutions provision. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to the director Jan Wallet and the manager business for development Remco Kruit to find out more.
stablished in the Netherlands in 1940, Bronswerk Heat Transfer has been privately owned since 1988 and continues to supply heat exchange products and solutions to industrial clients, with a notable focus on petrochemicals, power generation, renewables, sustainability and related thermal issues. Able to deliver equipment, engineering and complete systems, the company was originally dedicated to the equipment aspect. The sustainability and renewables issues have also been an important part of the company’s business strategy since the beginning. In fact, long before ‘sustainability’ became a buzzword, Bronswerk was already focused on making products 78 Industry Europe
and delivering solutions which were as energy efficient as possible and needed less material or maintenance, as well as being cheaper to run. These are still aspects which rank very highly in its priority list today. Director Jan Wallet explained how this strategic, logical progression started. He said, “About 15 years ago we realised that, having spent 56 years working hard to develop and manufacture expert heat transfer products, we had gathered a considerable expertise on the subject! Many customers would ask our professional opinion on complete systems and we realised that our potential as a complete systems provider would add value for the customer and be great for business.”
Sharing the wealth of knowledge Mr Wallet pointed out that Bronswerk’s considerable understanding of the intricacies of the problems faced by its industrial clients allows it to respond quickly, effectively and accurately. Today, Bronswerk operates two units, one in the Netherlands and one in the Czech Republic, as well as having a sales office in Moscow. Employing 280 people, the company is dedicated to continual training of its people as well as investment in its facilities. Mr Wallet explained, “Perhaps one of the most challenging and important aspects of our business is making sure we understand exactly what our customers want, well in advance of creating any systems for them.
We pride ourselves on our ability to look behind and beyond the client data sheet so that we really know what the customer needs – today and tomorrow. We can then create a future-focused solution that makes the most of their investment and offers the most value to their operation.” Operating worldwide, Bronswerk is seeing an increasing demand for its products and solutions in the emerging BRIC countries, and is actively seeking selected partners to work alongside them in these regions. Mr Kruit added, “The industries in which we are active can be categorised by there extensive
local regulations and legislations, so strategic partners offer an appealing way in which we deliver our expertise more efficiently. This setup means that we can harness our knowledge and the partner’s local client base. We already have this structure working effectively in both Brazil and India, where we have mutually beneficial partnerships.” Such cooperations allow Bronswerk to maintain its high-end technical knowledge in energy heat transfer systems from low-cost bases, which can considerably reduce costs for its customers but still brings its expertise to these markets. With the company’s
Czech Republic office focusing mainly on its neighbouring Russian market, the company is seeing strong growth in this area.
Ahead of industry trends In terms of changing demands on a technical level, Mr Wallet said, “We are finding that trends in our industry match our strategic development. The demand for total solutions is certainly continuing, so this is perfectly in tune with our decision 15 years ago to go beyond our product and engineering offer and into complete systems for heat transfer applications. The great part
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Witzenmann Benelux the specialist in flexible connections for industrial gasses.
Rhenus Ocean Rhenus Ocean has been managing the packing, handling and shipping of a large number of project shipments to destinations worldwide for Bronswerk Heat Transfer since 2008. We continuously develop and expand our expertise to face the challenges presented by Bronswerk and are proud to have become their main supplier of logistics services worldwide. The Rhenus Group has an annual turnover of €3 billion, making it one of Europe’s leading logistics service providers. Rhenus has over 18,000 employees based at 290 locations worldwide.
is that we have been doing this for a while now, so we’ve had a head start!” A key aspect in Bronswerk’s continuous success in meeting its customers’ total solution demands is the fact that it works hard to keep its employees motivated. With its average employee age of 42, the company trains its sales force to be ‘ambassadors’ of the company and encourages entrepreneurial thinking, as well as providing weekly training and discussion sessions with outside professionals to address issues such as technical and commercial developments.
field. We will also be expanding our office in the Netherlands in the near future in order to maximise our solutions-focused offer.” The next year represents a concerted effort in further development of new products and solutions in order to capitalise on the investments made in 2010. Bronswerk will be bringing new technologies to market as well as building its total service provision, enabling it to continue to meet the demand-
ing requirements of its customers worldwide. Mr Wallet concluded, “With the right partners on board joining our current roster of valued partners, our skilled engineering and sales teams are ready to bring our unique approach to heat transfer complete solutions to customers in both emerging countries and our European heartland. We will continue to share our knowledge with an n ever-widening customer base.”
Investment in people and places Bronswerk’s latest development plans itself involves further investment in its Czech office. Mr Wallet added, “We see our people not as a labour force but rather as knowledge. If we look after our people, we are also protecting our continued success as the expert in our
Jan Wallet, director
Remco Kruit, business development managers
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GRID’ SOLUTIONS Nexans is the global leader in the energy-based cable connector industry. Philip Yorke talked to Geert Pauwels, the company’s general manager for the Benelux region, about its latest compact, high voltage cable connectors for the wind turbine industry and its innovative products for the new ‘smartgrid’ solutions sector.
exans is recognised globally as the leading expert in the cable industry with energy as the basis for its development. The company is a global player in the infrastructure, construction and local area network (LAN) markets as well as being involved in key industrial market sectors. Nexans offers an extensive range of cables and cabling systems that are designed to raise industrial productivity, improve business performance and enhance both reliability and security. With 84 Industry Europe
an industrial presence in over 40 countries and commercial activities worldwide, the Nexans Group employs more than 23,000 people worldwide and in 2010 recorded sales of over €6 billion. Nexans is listed on the Euronext stock exchange as well as on the New York stock exchange.
Diverse products with global reach Nexans serves more than 100 countries worldwide, and historically Europe has been its main market. However, even with
its strong move into the emerging Asian and South American markets, Europe remains very important to the company. The key industries that Nexans serves are the world’s main OEM utility companies, including Siemens, Schneider, ABB, Ormazabal and CG, for whom it produces switchgear and transformers as well as cable solutions. This is in addition to the traditional utility companies it serves, such as EON, EDF RWC and Scottish Power. The company is a tier-one and tier-two
supplier to OEM wind-turbine companies, installers and other renewable players, in both the OEM and infrastructure sectors. In the infrastructure sector, Nexans supplies a wide range of products including medium voltage connectors, surge arrestors, cold and heat-shrink joints, and bushings for transformers and switchgear. In addition, the company also supplies technical training and ‘pre-made Jumpers’ for the renewable infrastructure sector. For the industrial sector it offers a complete portfolio of cables and solutions for markets as diverse as automotive, rolling stock and aerospace, as well as for shipbuilding, nuclear power, oil and gas and petrochemical industries. In building and construction, it supplies cables and net-
work solutions for residences, public buildings and big industrial complexes. Local area networks rely on Nexans for copper and optical fibre cabling systems for new, resource-intensive applications such as data centres, security services and storage area networks. The company also continues to invest heavily in new technology and recently installed fully robotised compact connector production facilities at its plant in France, as well as acquiring the latest CNC machinery for production of its metal contacts in Germany.
Innovation driving sales Innovation continues to be the key driver for the success of the Nexans Group’s global operations. This commitment to
innovation has resulted in major contracts being awarded to the company recently, including a €33 million power infrastructure contract in Italy, a €20 million contract for Statoil’s new oil and gas field in Norway and a €20 million contract in Brazil to supply overhead conductors for the world’s longest power transmission link. Nexans R&D has also developed new connector ranges specifically for use in wind turbines, as Mr Pauwels explains: “We have built the biggest manufacturing plant in Europe for shielded connectors in view of the way that the renewable market is growing. We are active in two separate markets here. The first is the OEM market where we sell our products direct to Enercon and the other big companies, and the Industry Europe 85
Bekina Bekina Compounds has been supplying non-black specialty rubber compounds to Nexans since 1993, complying with Nexans’ high demands for electrical insulation and high permittivity applications. The basis for this successful partnership between Nexans and Bekina Compounds is the extremely modern automated production facility of BEKINA and top-level control equipment, operated by a team of motivated and experienced operators.
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second is the wind infrastructure market. This is where we develop products for connections between offshore and onshore operations for the utilities, and independents. Today there are many new players outside the traditional power utilities and we have a vast array of customers in the wind turbine construction sector. “Currently we are making jumpers, which offer pre-mounted cable solutions that are developed inside our factories and tested and industrially prepared prior to installation, which you cannot do in the field. We are also making much more compact connectors today that are capable of higher voltage levels as the wind turbines increase in size and power, and we offer similar solutions for solar power plants. These sophisticated compact cables have been designed specifically for use in the internal cabling of wind turbine towers and offer
unparalleled durability and reliability. Long life cycles of 30−40 years are standard for these products. In another development, the evolution of ‘smartgrid’ for the renewable sector presents new opportunities for us, along with the trend towards new electrical vehicles. We are focused on preparing solutions for these future challenges at our R&D facilities and global competence centres around the world.”
Turnkey solutions at Nexans Benelux Like the other companies in the Nexans Group, the Benelux company possesses wide, specialist expertise and knowledge of the cable industry and as one of the country’s biggest manufacturers is heavily represented in the industrial market. In addition to cables, components and accessories, the company also offers comprehensive turnkey solutions for its customers.
Currently the Nexans company in Belgium employs over 300 people and has three production plants. Nexan’s site in Charleroi produces medium and high voltage cables from 6 kvV to 500 kV with synthetic insulation (XPLE), and has its own testing laboratory. The Charleroi facility also takes care of the installation of cables and accessories from the Nexans Group. The company’s site in Dour in Belgium manufactures medium and low voltage cables of up to 6kV as well as serial cables, and at Buizingen, also in Belgium, cables for domestic use are produced. These are low voltage cables and PVC mixtures required for the insulation and outer sheathing of cables manufactured onsite. The logistics centre responsible for cutting and shipping all the company’s cables produced for the European market is also n located at Buizingen.
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WE’VE GOT THE POWER
As an important and growing business, AEG Power Solutions is dedicated to bringing its environmentally responsible approach to energy management services to an ever-increasing audience. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to marketing manager Roger Kennis to find out how this is being achieved.
EG Power Solutions provides one of the world’s most comprehensive portfolios of premium power supply and control products. Specialised in the field of energy conversion and power rescued at DC and AC, AEG Power Solutions is well regarded for its energy management services. The original AEG was established in 1887 and the Power Solutions business has been active in the energy management industry for over 60 years. As such, the AEG Power Solutions team of 1500 employees worldwide, includ-
ing more than 250 engineers and project managers, has long had a reputation for setting the industry standard for engineering. AEG Power Solutions has two operating segments, with the renewable energy solutions and the energy efficient solutions teams working closely together to ensure that each client sees an optimum solution for their project. From the introduction of the world’s first single-phase and three-phase thyristor AC converters during the 1960s through the launch of the innovative Thyrobox PI power
supply for polysilicon production lines and the remarkably efficient Protect PV.250 Inverter for solar plants, AEG Power Solutions engineers have consistently brought innovative power solutions to market. Marketing manager Roger Kennis, who is responsible for the industrial market for the energy-efficient solutions segment, told Industry Europe how the two segments operate. He said, “Both segments are dedicated to meet the power needs of various systems within the industry. Our commitment in the
industrial segment is that we ensure power availability for all our customers; we will take over if there is a disrupted mains voltage, and our customers know that they can rely on us. “In the renewable segment we offer futureorientated solutions covering all the power requirements of the photovoltaic industry. We are serving the entire PV value chain and man-
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ufacture energy-efficient and reliable power solutions, for e.g.: polysilicon deposition, silicon melting, silicon crystal growing, wafer coating, PV glass lines and PV inverters. “Thanks to its distinctive expertise, bridging both AC and DC power technologies and spanning the worlds of both conventional and renewable energy, the company
is uniquely positioned to benefit long-term from emerging demand for intelligent microenergy grids. Following the green trend in the world, it is clear that Renewable energy solutions are very much in demand, with our team working hard to find new ways to optimize the systems to meet the continuously changing need. The energy-efficient
solutions team is at the top of its game in finding innovative power solutions as well. Both teams share intelligence and are passionate about delivering reliable power.”
Meeting energy management needs The energy-efficient solutions division is focused on providing energy management services to industries including data centres/ IT, telecoms and industrial, which relates to market segments like oil and gas, urban transportation, power generation, transportation and distribution, thermal solar and water and utilities. Mr Kennis explained, “Our responsibility is to provide energy availability to our customers in the various markets in which we operate. We offer total solutions, where the core is manufactured by AEG PS and we work with third-party manufacturers, for example for such ancillary products as batteries and explosion-proof housings. Our systems are completed with full life cycle servicing, so our customers know they can trust not only our power back-up solutions, but also our extensive service from front end engineering design (FEED) studies to
preventive maintenance and refurbishment. In the early project development stages, the AEG Power Solutions team works with its customers to establish a suitable engineering solution for their needs, with the company aiming to offer a customised answer that utilises its experience from other projects in order to keep costs and timing as low as possible. AEG Power Solutions engages its customers by keeping in regular direct contact and by offering tailored support in each stage of the project. Mr Kennis added that most customers in the industrial segment want a customised solution, and as the company has such a long history in engineering excellence and a vast project experience in providing reliable power solutions, it is often able to transfer at least a portion of a previous solution to new projects. He added, “With each project there are many parties involved from engineering procurement companies to government groups that all needs to be properly supported to create the optimum solution; from engineering procurement companies to government group, everyone needs to
have the same target. We regularly meet important market players and maintain strong relationships as this is what makes it possible to complete projects effectively and efficiently. Having the right team makes all the difference.”
Development with expertise Developing an increasing understanding and appreciation for solar energy is an important focus for the company, and it can utilise the experience of another business unit which is dedicated to renewable energy. The company is well aware that the industrial revolution of 150 years ago is giving way to the energy revolution of today’s rapidly changing world, with the urbanisation of emerging markets a massive potential territory. Mr Kennis added, “We’re developing new solutions all the time, with strong reduced pollution, smart grids and renewable energy all at the forefront of change; it’s part of our appreciation of being active across the energy management supply chain so that we can deliver the best solutions at the right time n and the right price.” Industry Europe 91
INDOOR AIR Swegon is a part of the Latour Group and a European leader in the development and manufacturing of ventilation and climate control systems. Philip Yorke looks at how the company has evolved to become a brand leader and its latest innovative products that are keeping it ahead of the competition.
wegon is based in Sweden and is a global exporter of ventilation systems and indoor climate solutions. It has three factories in Sweden, as well as one in Finland and one in Italy. Furthermore, the company has its own sales offices located at 19 different locations worldwide. In addition to its factories and offices in Europe and Scandinavia, the Swegon Group has offices in the USA and the United Arab Emirates, with exclusive distributors in many more countries worldwide. Today the Swegon Group has more than 1250 employees and a turnover of more than €260 million.
Advancing air-cooling technology Swegon is one of the world’s leading suppliers of energy-efficient systems and solutions for ventilation and climatic control in buildings of all kinds. The company is well known for its supply of compact and complete air handling units, water-borne and airborne climate systems, demand-controlled ventilation and climatisation as well as for its flow control, acoustics and residential ventilation systems. In October 2010 Swegon acquired all the shares in the Italian Blue Box Group, which is located in Cantara di Cona, Italy. This company currently has a turnover of €50 million
and is a leader in the development and manufacture of industrial chillers and heat pumps. The Blue Box Group was founded in 1986 and exports its products to over 30 countries worldwide. This strategic acquisition will complement Swegon’s product range and will furthermore improve the company’s position as a unique supplier of comprehensive solutions and systems in the ventilation and air-conditioning sector. The Blue Box group’s advanced cooling technology will open up new business opportunities for Swegon and help it to meet its ambitious plans for future expansion.
Mats Holmqvist, president of Swegon AB said, “The Blue Box Group stands for innovative product development, dedicated research and development and the delivery of superior quality and service. These characteristics match our core values perfectly and we are very happy to have found a strong asset in the Blue Box Group. The acquisition is an enhancement to Swegon’s business platform and our objective now for Blue Box is to double its turnover by the year 2014.” Swegon plans to gradually introduce Blue Box Group’s products through its existing international sales organisation. Severino Veggian, the founder of the Blue Box Group commented, “Swegon is an internationally known and successful company with a strong brand and market position. With such a strong owner we will be able to focus even more on international growth and expansion.”
Investing in greater energy efficiency Swegon’s product development and production capability is split between different product areas at each of its five factories. All aspects of production are highly automated and the company has consistently invested in new technology to improve the energy efficiency of its products and manufacturing processes. In summer 2011 the company built a new Salvagnini-line in its factory in Kvanum, Sweden. This investment significantly increased Swegon’s production capacity of air handling units. The company’s factory at Tomelilla is also extending its facilities, while at the Kaarina plant in Finland, it is installing a new assembly line. All the company’s work is focused on creating ever more energy-efficient systems that also offer added value to its customers. This means providing more efficient indoor climate management systems, combined with improved operating economy. Swegon’s main challenge is to produce increasingly environmentally friendly, energysaving systems for the benefit of everyone. In addition to its full programme of on-going
research and development, it undertakes full-scale testing of its ventilation systems designed for specific customer projects. As a Swegon customer, it is also possible to carry out individual test programmes to discover which system is best suited to a client’s specific climatic needs.
Expanding global presence Swegon is planning further expansion outside its traditional markets of Europe and recently entered into new, exclusive partnerships with companies in New Zealand, Taiwan and South Africa. The company has plans to extend its global reach even further in the years to come. Ms Gonna Petersen, Swegon’s marketing director commented, “We have ambitious aims and want to become the world’s biggest supplier of energy-efficient and holistic ventilation and air conditioning systems by 2015. The year 2011 has been a milestone for us as we extend our sales network and bring the Blue Box product range into our sales portfolio. In addition, our other main area of focus is the US market where we were first active in 2008 with a major project in Boston and where we are now expanding our sales network significantly.”
New generation ‘Gold’ Swegon has launched its latest ‘Gold family’ series of complete ventilation units with built-in ‘IQnomic’ control systems that now offers low profile (LP) configuration in its latest generation D models. Swegon’s Gold LP product is extremely slim, its rotary heat exchangers offer outstanding performance data and excellent energy efficiency. The Gold LP’s heat recovery wheel is angled, thus presenting more contact surface and thereby increasing heat recovery levels and reducing pressure losses. The latest model’s innovative, ‘super-silence’ function splits airflows, keeping noise levels in sensitive frequency ranges extremely low and allowing the Gold LP to be used freely in even the busiest office environments.
Further ground-breaking technology can be found in all other Swegon products, from its water-borne climate systems and air diffusers, to its chillers, heat pumps and air handling units. In addition, Swegon’s Flow Control Systems achieve the most efficient climate system outcomes available today with its ‘demand controlled’ ventilation and variable n air-flow technology.
TURNING UP THE HEAT
Part of the multinational company, Watts Water Technologies with its headquarters in Boston USA, Watts Industries Italia opened its doors officially in 1993, although Watts’ products had been on the market since the 1920s. From day one Watts Industries Italia proved to be one of the biggest players on the map that makes up Watts Industries Europe, writes Beverley Young. 96 Industry Europe
lose to the Italian city of Monza, on the outskirts of Milan, Watts Industries Italia specialises in heating, air-conditioning and plumbing and all relevant appliances and accessories and has become a national leader in these markets with sales being generated through wholesale distributors and original equipment makers (OEMs). Apart from the factory near Monza Watts Industries Italia also operates another two factories, one in Trento and another close to the city of Ferrara. The Italian company is responsible for the markets of Southern
Europe, North Africa and the Middle East and Watts Industries Italia contributes significantly to the €330 million total turnover of Watts Industries Europe. Also, on a European level, a strong link exists between Watts Industries Italia and Watts Industries Germany owing to the fact that both countries are amongst the biggest producers of brass, an essential material for most Watts products and, not surprisingly, the two most important industrial fairs for this sector take place in Frankfurt and Milan.
Working with Nature The Italian company has launched new heating systems such as quick-connect one-piece fittings, zone control and heat metering which is not only a plus for the consumer but, like most products produced by Watts, is also driven by the company’s energy saving ethos, reflected in their slogan, ‘Technology by Nature’.
“Our company has by tradition always been sensitive towards renewable energy and strongly contributes fulfilling the Kyoto pact of 20 per cent energy saving, 20 per cent C02 reduction and the use of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020,” states the managing director, Mr Umberto Ferretti. “We are also leaders in solar energy and many of the components used in solar pumps units are made in Italy.” Two new products which are specific to the energy-saving sphere are Domocal, which, with its 63 different models, can cover every specification and provides a high-capacity heat exchanger and Domocompact, a pre-assembled temperature control, thermal energy meter which gives independent room control and control of domestic water consumption. Both products enable every households to monitor and save on energy consumption. Watts Italia’s very latest innovation, however, which will enhance the performance and efficiency of air conditioning and heating systems, has only recently been presented to clients at the Fair in Frankfurt. It is a new valve known as Francoil and could be a ground-breaker in energy saving for heating and air conditioning systems of the future.
Achieving excellence In July 2010 the two Watts Industries Italia factories at Monza and Trento were awarded the Oliver Wight Class A Accreditation for Business Excellence following an integrated Business Planning Programme. Oliver Wight’s consultants helped to introduce a new management process which has dramatically improved supplies to customers with an on-time-in-full performance Industry Europe 97
passing from 68–72 per cent to 95 per cent. The project was led and followed by Mr Ferretti himself who states that it has brought the company savings in production of up to €300,000. Watts Spain and Germany, under Mr Ferretti’s guidance, will also be aiming at this Class A Accreditation in 2011. This certificate guarantees the highest level of company operations, enabling the monitoring of every step in the production process. Having weathered the difficult year which was 2009 Mr Ferretti acknowledges that 2010 saw a clear improvement in profits and 2011 sees the company back on track. “We worked hard to reduce costs,” he says, “and have responded positively to changes in the market. The situation is far more stable now.”
Research and Innovation When asked what foundations provided the basis for the company’s success Mr Ferretti underlined a continuous investment in research and development and an ability to renew and innovate production according to the needs of the market. Great 98 Industry Europe
importance is also given to customer service and satisfaction which is followed on a daily basis. He then concluded, however, by saying that the name Watts is itself a mark of approval as its long history and presence in world markets has become associated with a product of high quality and reliability. n
LOOKING TO THE EAST Secop is a leading manufacturer of hermetic compressors for household, light commercial and mobile cooling applications. Joseph Altham spoke to Tommy Hansen, Secop’s vice-president of sales, and Jesper Daugaard, Secop’s marketing director, to find out about a company with a strong footprint in both Europe and Asia.
compressor is a special type of pump which is used in a refrigeration system. Secop supplies compressors to major European manufacturers of domestic fridges and freezers. The company also makes compressors for light commercial applications such as water coolers, display cabinets and supermarket freezers. Together these two segments account for around 90 per cent of the company’s sales. The third area of Secop’s operations is mobile cooling. Here, the company offers compressors for a wide range of purposes, from battery cooling for Telecom to 1000 litre van boxes for food transportation. Secop previously belonged to the Danish company Danfoss Group, when it was known as Danfoss Household Compressors. In 2010, the business got its new name after it was acquired by the Munich-based Industry Europe 99
holding Aurelius AG. “Now that we have become a stand-alone company, we are repositioning our brand,” said Mr Hansen. “Being focused only on compressors enables us to simplify our processes and procedures. We are able to optimise our company to the compressor market.” Even so, Secop still maintains a close relationship with Danfoss, enjoying access to the Danfoss sales network. Altogether the company employs around 2800 people. Its headquarters are located in
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Germany, but production now takes place elsewhere. In Europe, Secop consolidates its production in the main production plant situated in the Slovakian town of Zlate Moravcé. This plant also serves as a logistic hub for the whole European region. Another factory in China is opening up interesting opportunities for the business in this promising market.
New designs Secop continues to invest in developing new products and has recently released a new variable speed compressor, the SLV, for light commercial applications. The SLV series is designed to meet the needs of manufacturers of supermarket freezers and stainless steel freezers. Due to the variable speed function, the SLV series can deliver energy savings of up to 40 per cent compared to fixed speed compressors. “We gathered experience from the supermarkets,” said Mr Hansen. “Three years ago, we introduced the SLV for one customer. We
have now begun to sell the SLV series more widely. As well as achieving a high level of energy reduction, the SLV offers the possibility of a remote monitoring system.” Meanwhile, Secop continues to make advances in mobile cooling and has just brought out a new micro-compressor developed in close cooperation with one of the big German automotive manufacturers. The company’s ingenious BD 1.4F microcompressor, weighing only 2.3 kilograms, is intended for small in-car fridge between 10 and 15 litres in size. Space in a car’s interior is at a premium, and the BD microcompressor is 60 per cent smaller than the previous models. For motor manufacturers seeking to optimise performance, the microcompressor’s low weight is a significant advantage. Due to its low energy consumption, the compressor puts minimal demands on the car battery. “We have integrated full intelligence into the control of the compressor,” stated Mr Daugaard.
Household and medical applications While every limousine needs its own minibar, Secop also produces compressors for situations where the need for refrigeration is critical. These include compressors for medical applications such as vaccine cooling. “We have a mobile range of compressors for the cooling boxes that are needed to transport organs,” said Mr Daugaard. “Here the requirements in relation to reliability are very high. We also sell compressors for the stationary cooling units that are required in hospitals. In areas where there is no stable power, for example, in Africa, the compressor can run directly on solar power.”
In the household segment, an important factor is the growing tendency across Europe for people to spend more of their leisure time in the kitchen. For this reason, keeping the noise made by a fridge to a minimum is now a higher priority. Secop claims that its DLX series of household compressors is 50 per cent quieter than the competition. “We aim to offer products that make as little noise as possible,” said Mr Hansen. “Our focus must not only be on energy efficiency, but on comfort as well.”
China Secop’s factory in China was established in 2008 and employs around 800 people. The factory, located in Tianjin, not only helps
Secop to control its labour costs but also gives the company access to a large and growing market. As Mr Hansen explained, in the light commercial segment the market for Secop’s compressors is already global. In mobile cooling, its main clients are original equipment manufacturers who are now moving more of their production to China. The company’s market in the household segment is still mainly confined to Europe, but it plans to sell more household compressors, including the new DLX line, to China in the future. Secop expects that demand will come partly from its European customers, as they begin to set up factories in China, and partly n from the local Chinese industry.
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DEEP SEA ANCHOR SOLUTIONS Viking Moorings is an international market leader in the provision of mooring solutions for semi-submersible drilling rigs and floating accommodation units. Philip Yorke looks at the company’s fast-growing portfolio of offshore services and its latest global partnership agreements.
iking Moorings was founded 25 years ago and has gained its considerable expertise in the harsh offshore environments of the North Sea. Today Viking Moorings’ specialist offshore services are available internationally with recent operations being conducted as far afield as West Africa, Australia, Asia Pacific and China. Safety and value for money are the top priorities at the company where only the most experienced people and the highest quality equipment are employed. This philosophy has resulted in the company becoming a long-term and trusted advisor to many of the world’s leading drilling contractors and oil and gas exploration and production companies. Viking Moorings provides a range of key assets that play a critical role in the offshore oil and gas industry and offers total mooring solutions
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for specific rig locations and rig moves. The company’s wide range of products and services include design and specification, risk assessment and safety approvals, equipment rental, installation support and repair services. Viking Moorings’ mission is to become the supplier of choice for dedicated, offshore mooring systems and to offer increased efficiency and cost effectiveness for its customers.
Increasing service capabilities In order to extend its service capabilities in the western and central Mediterranean and Middle East regions, Viking Moorings UK operations based in Aberdeen, Scotland, has signed an exclusive international agency agreement with Mainticare Limited of Malta, one of the largest marine and oil field services contractors in Malta.
Under the terms of the new agreement, signed at the end of 2010, Mainticare will offer Viking Moorings’ extensive portfolio of mooring equipment throughout the region, as well as providing management, warehousing and logistics services. The new agreement will ensure that operators with offshore exploration activities in Italy, Croatia, Libya, Algeria and Tunisia will have access to the very latest mooring solutions from Viking with a full portfolio of mooring equipment readily available at short notice. This is in addition to onsite services, such as mobile chain inspection units (MCIUs), wire rope inspection and other vital, high-value services. Mainticare will also provide mooring solutions to the Gulf States of Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In the western and central Mediterranean, as well as the eastern Mediterranean, there
is a significant increase in offshore oil and gas exploration with a number of new energy companies established in the region. At the end of 2009, 16 offshore drilling rigs were working in the waters of both the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Duncan Cuthill, Viking Moorings. UK country manager said, “Viking Moorings has always prided itself on taking a global but local approach in our activities, offering an operational presence throughout the world with the ability to provide a fully resourced, responsive local service, with reduced transportation costs and a pool of highly skilled local support personnel. “Our partnership with Mainticare is in recognition of this as well as the increase in offshore oil and gas expenditure throughout the Mediterranean. We look forward to working with Mainticare and utilising the Industry Europe 103
clear synergies which exist to extend our service provision and provide a total mooring solution to our Mediterranean and Middle Eastern customers.” In response, Mainticare’s business development director said, “We are delighted to be partnering with an industrial leader such as Viking Moorings and bringing the latest mooring solutions to industry operators. With exploration activity continuing to grow, and operators faced with pressures to increase efficiencies and reduce costs, our association with Viking Moorings will ensure that we are very well placed to embrace the challenges the future brings. We also look forward to providing a local presence in Aberdeen to service both new and existing customers active in the Mediterranean and elsewhere.”
Deep sea advantage In another move to boost its state-of-the-art portfolio of advanced anchor systems, Viking Moorings has signed a two-year agreement with Deep Sea Anchors (DSA) of Norway. This will add the company’s advanced Torpedo Anchors, to its extensive portfolio of modern anchors. The announcement was made at the recent Deep Water Zone exhibition in Aberdeen in September 2011. DSA’s Torpedo Anchors offer precise and secure positioning as well as simplified installation in deep-water environments. The Deep Penetrating Anchor (DPA™), also known as the Torpedo Anchor, is a dynamically installed anchor which is released freely from a predetermined height over the seabed using gravity as the installation force.
The anchor penetrates well below the mud-line and sets into stiff clay sediments thus providing a secure and cost-effective solution irrespective of water depths and allowing for both taut leg and catenary mooring installations. Other benefits include simplified installation, precise positioning and the elimination of the need for hydraulic and electrical lines which are often used for traditional anchor installations. Viking Moorings’ chief executive, Wolfgang Wandi, said, “Viking is all about providing greater innovation and choice and the optimal solution for our customers. Viking Moorings’ knowledge and presence in many countries and regions where our DPAs can be applied with success and to the great benefit of clients was a major reason for n entering into this agreement.” Industry Europe 105
A WAVE OF LUXURY
Renowned British boatbuilder Sunseeker International is enjoying a positive period of growth and development, with a new sales office and innovative product launches at the Southampton Boat Show. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to international sales director Sean Robertson to find out more.
unseeker International has steadily grown from a small shipyard in the 1970s to the 2500-strong boatbuilder it is today, selling its distinctive boats and yachts in 61 countries on five continents. Even though it employs all the resources of its modern shipyard and state-of-the-art technical centre, the company has always prided itself on listening closely to the needs and desires of its customers and building its high-quality boats accordingly.
Founded in Poole, Dorset, where its main operation remains, this British boatbuilder is also proud of its roots, even though it has developed into a global operation. International sales director Sean Robertson told Industry Europe, “We have been able to maintain our impressive upward trajectory by focusing on constant innovation in design, performance, technology and luxury across our range of beautiful boats. We know that Sunseeker has
evolved into an iconic brand, with owning a Sunseeker being an ultimate lifestyle statement, so in order to guarantee that we retain this well-deserved reputation, we make sure that we stay at the top of our game.” Sunseeker achieves this aim via a number of avenues, with all aspects of the business subject to continuous reassessment and development. Mr Robertson continued, “At Sunseeker, only the best will do – both for us
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Sevenstar Since 1999 Sevenstar has organized the transport of yachts and motorboats on a worldwide basis mainly by using the vessels of the Spliethoff group. It started with just a couple of small yachts back in 1999 and has developed into being the main yacht transport company in the world. Sevenstar can arrange transport of your yacht anywhere in the world on-board a secure carrier, providing cradles and specialised transport insurance for you. Headquartered in Holland, with offices in strategic locations around the world Sevenstar staff understands the unique requirements of boat owners. Our group has direct access to around 100 of its own ships, offering you a virtually unlimited choice of transportation options. We offer you these specialised boat transport services throughout the year to and from popular port cities in Europe, West- and East Coast USA, Oceania, Asia and the Caribbean. In addition, we can arrange special individual transport to any worldwide destination of your choice such as the islands in the Indian Ocean. In October 2011 we opened a new office based in Southampton that can now offer our clients services on regular liner carriers throughout the world extending our global reach and service offerings so we can now provide the best of both world for both Charter and liner sailings.
Beauty and power go hand-in-hand when Sunseeker meets Garmin Garmin has raised the bar. We offer an integrated system featuring a superb range of products, such as VHF, AIS, chartplotters, radar, instruments, infrared cameras, weather receivers, fishfinders and autopilots, which not only look great but deliver every function you would expect from a first-class manufacturer. Sunseeker yachts represent the finest platforms on which to demonstrate the most advanced marine navigation and communications technology from Garmin. The GPSMAP 7000 series brings to a peak all the Garmin functionality you’d expect from a navigator which integrates chartplotters with sonar, radar, instruments and more. Featuring G Motion technology for an ultra-responsive touchscreen interface, the 7000 series is the ultimate in networked navigation systems. Powerful, dependable and stylish, the Garmin–Sunseeker combination is unbeatable.
as a business and for our customers. Take for instance the craftsmanship of our boats, where each boat is handbuilt by a team of dedicated and highly experienced craftsman, with traditional boatbuilders working alongside design and engineering experts that can push the latest technologies to their maximum capabilities. It’s a potent mix, and one which enables us to offer our distinctive boats to a global audience.”
Expanding presence That global audience has recently been given a strong boost with the company’s latest sales office opened in Southampton, on the UK’s south coast. The office is located at Swanwick Marina, a popular UK boating destination that also plays host to many high-end international boats, with the resident Sunseeker team bringing their knowledge of boat sales, brokerage, charter and service to new and existing customers across the south coast. Sunseeker’s activities in the south of England also include its recent presence at the globally respected Southampton Boat Show, held16th–25th September. The company hosted an impressive stand that not only exhibited it craftsmanship across a range of craft, but also introduced an important new model to the Sunseeker portfolio. Mr Robertson said, “We had a total of 18 Sun-
seeker motoryachts on display at this year’s Southampton Boat Show, both on and off the water, which is our largest display to date at such an event. It was the perfect opportunity for us to launch our stylish and versatile Manhattan 53 performance motoryacht as it marks the latest addition to our most luxurious range to date.”
New and improved The new generation to the highly successful Manhattan 52, the new Manhattan 53, offers a range of upgraded interior and exterior features, all designed and created following, feedback from customers and utilising the skills of the best yacht designers. Mr Robertson explained, “The Sunseeker designers have taken great care to create a similarly optimised blend of interior layout, exterior social areas and overall proportions to make the Manhattan 53 an even greater success. The exterior styling is unmistakably Sunseeker and, thanks to the very latest design software, the interior feels spacious while making the very most of every available inch. There’s also a brand-new hull design that has been developed to provide increased beam lower accommodation, and the boat has an overall feeling of sporty luxury coupled with safe and predictable handling.” The Sunseeker participation at the Southampton Boat Show also included the
upgraded Predator 60, with its added option of glass sliding cockpit door and carbon fibre styling hop top package, and the Predator 130 was proudly on display with the impressive achievement as the largest and most expensive motoryacht at the show. In addition to design and performance, Sunseeker also takes the environmental footprint of its boats seriously, a focus which has recently been rewarded with the prestigious RINA Green Plus Certification at the Green Yacht Plus Awards 2011. Granted only to those companies that the established classification society RINA determine as ‘going one step further with investing in environmental excellence’, the Green Plus Certification is the result of Sunseeker going through a set of tests across eight different pollution sources such as engines and environment control procedures. As Sunseeker looks to its coming years in business, the company intends to continue its history of success with continued innovation and development across its range of highquality boats and yachts. The new Poole sales office is set to make the most of its strategically placed location at the heart of the UK yachting industry, and the company’s skilled team of designers, engineers and technicians will be maintaining its market-leading position with more head-turning designs that exceed n even the most luxurious expectations.
WHERE FILTRATION COUNTS
Bekaert (www.bekaert.com) is a global technological and market leader in advanced solutions based on metal transformation and coatings, and the world’s largest independent manufacturer of drawn steel wire products. Joseph Altham spoke to Sebastien Heymans, Bekaert’s global product market manager for filtration, to find out about some of the industries where filtration plays a vital role.
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ekaert (Euronext Brussels: BEKB) is a global company with headquarters in Belgium, employing 28,000 people worldwide. Serving customers in 120 countries, Bekaert pursues sustainable profitable growth in all its activities and generated €4.5 billion combined sales in 2010. Bekaert works with many different industries and produces wires for every purpose from tyre cord to champagne corks. Bekaert began its life in 1880 as a manufacturer of barbed wire, and to this day it still makes barbed wire for agricultural purposes. However, over time it found more and more applications for wire across different industry sectors and gradually built up a global business. If metal wires remain Bekaert’s core competence, the uses it has found for wire are almost endless, and filtration is only one of many fields where the company is active. “Bekaert got into filtration by making finer and finer wires,” Mr Heymans explained. “Eventually the company moved into making fibres and developed the sintered stainless steel fibre media that are
used in filtration. Bekaert’s filtration business can be divided into the design and production of sintered metal fibre filtration media and of stainless steel filter elements and systems.”
Textiles and plastics Bekaert’s filtration media and systems serve an important purpose in the industries requiring polymers. “Polymer is our biggest and oldest sector. Some polymers are very sensitive in terms of the creation of gels. Gels are polymer particulates that are made during the polymerisation reaction but that have cross-linked chains and so a different viscosity.” In the resin production (or polymerisation lines) several steps of filtration are required from filtration of the raw material to final melt polymer filtration after finisher for final dirt filtration and gel removal. In the textile industry, more specifically in the manufacture of synthetic fibres, filtration is needed to remove particles of dirt and retain gels. “When you spin and draw fine
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fibres, you cannot afford dirt or gel particles, which would create a break in the yarn.” Bekaert is also a leading supplier of filtration elements and systems for the plastic film industry, where filtration is required to produce synthetic films. Here gels are unwanted because they create a fish-eye effect which has a negative impact on product quality, especially in the increasing market of optical film for flat screens or photovoltaic industry.” Bekaert supplies most of the specialist manufacturers of PET (mainly BOPET (biaxially
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oriented polyethylene terephthalate) film as well as of PP (including CPP (Cast polypropylene film) and BOPP (biaxially oriented polypropylene) for the packaging industry. Improvements in filtration generate significant environmental benefits. “Standards of filtration are improving, and the environment is a driver in our product development. For example, if you want to reduce the weight of polyester in plastic bottles, there are filtration requirements you have to meet in order to get there.”
Petrochemicals and automotive In the petrochemical industry, Bekaert’s filtration elements and systems are used to cleanse process gases and for emission control. Hot gas filtration makes it possible to purify process gases by removing dust particles and contaminants from a gas stream even where the process occurs at a high temperature. Mr Heymans explains: “Hot gas filtration may be required within the petrochemical process when you want to retain the catalyst for reuse. Hot gas filtration is also needed at
the end of a process, before the gas can be released into the atmosphere. Here, removing the dust particles is necessary in order to reduce the environmental impact. Previously, if you wanted to do that, the gas had to be cooled down first, but filtering at high temperatures allows you to recover energy. We design and sell complete solutions for these processes. The application range is fairly wide and includes refineries, cement industry, metallurgical process furnaces, gasification process, nuclear and many others. We use very fine stainless steel alloys that are specific to the application, which helps us to design solutions for the different gases.” In the motor industry, makers of diesel trucks use Bekaert’s diesel particulate filtration technology in exhaust systems. “We produce
the filtration media and a systems integrator delivers the final solution. The particulate filter captures the black soot from the exhaust. In this way the environmental impact is reduced.”
The BRICs Bekaert as a whole is firmly established in the emerging economies, which it entered at an early stage. Like the rest of the business, the filtration unit has made the BRICs a priority. “In Brazil, we opened a sales office for filtration two years ago in São Paolo. Business is expanding in Russia, and in India we started a production plant in 2007. In China, we have had a factory since 2005 at Suzhou.” Mr Heymans says that Bekaert’s filtration systems are proving particularly successful
in the BRICs for textile and packaging applications. “In China there has been a fantastic growth in polyester products. Whereas 10 years ago China accounted for 20 per cent of the world’s polyester production, China produces around 70 per cent of the world’s polyester today.” Being established in the BRICs is important to Bekaert so that it can work closely with its customers. The company even has a research and development centre in China at Jiangyin. “We want to be partners with our customers and we move with our markets. In research and development, we have a strong team of engineers who understand n what our customers want to achieve.” www.bekaert.com
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SUSTAINABLE GROWTH The Feralpi Group is a major player in the Italian iron and steel industry. Isabella Manfredi, the company’s communications director, discusses its developments over the past few years, stressing the importance of factors such as production process optimisation, energy saving, emission reductions and product innovation. Barbara Rossi reports.
he growth achieved by the Feralpi Group over the past 10 years has developed along three paths: the first is in terms of size; the second is in terms of quality; and the third is linked to the everincreasing closeness between the iron and steel manufacturing activity and sustainable development standards. Iron and steel manufacturing experienced a golden period between 2004 and the end of 2008. During those years the iron and steel industry changed radically, owing to aggregation and acquisition processes resulting in the creation of real giants. The Feralpi Group’s main production output consists of rebar, wire rod and electro-welded mesh. In addition to these it also manufactures cold roll reinforced steel, lattice girders and spacer bars. Over the past few years it has grown a lot owing to its efforts to manufacture large
volumes suitable for several markets. For this reason, over the years it has established plants in Germany such as ESF (Elbe-Stahlwerke Feralpi GmbH) and EDF (Elbe-Drahtwerke Feralpi GmbH), in the Czech Republic and in Romania where it has added to the already existing Lonato del Garda and Acciaierie di Calvisano facilities. In Italy the group also owns other companies such as Dieffe, which carries out cold processing, and Nuova Defim, which specialises in the manufacture of electrowelded mesh for construction, industrial fences and professional, industrial and civil railings.
Technological innovation and sustainability Technological development and the maximisation of production efficiency are two musts for an iron and steel company – particularly in a country which doesn’t offer effective
support to increase the competitiveness of its industrial players. For this reason, Feralpi has made large investments in technologies in order to optimise its production processes and to reduce raw material consumption to a minimum. Energy is one of the main costs for the company as so much is used in the production of iron and steel, which is why so much time and resources have been spent on this issue. The Feralpi Group has been evaluating its environmental activities for years and periodically produces a sustainability balance sheet to measure its achievements in this area, as well as to help it map out a path for future advancements. At the beginning of 2011 the group opened a new foundry furnace and photovoltaic system at the Lonato del Garda site, which will aid its mission to reduce produc-
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QUINZANI S.P.A is a trading and service company which, since 1987, has been operating in the field of distribution of transmission equipment and technical products for industry. The goal of creating a structure capable of being a “global distributor” of technology, quality and services for target users, has prompted us to take the decisions which we consider to be the only possible options to fully be entitled to be and remain on the market of the second millennium, and therefore: We only sell brands of companies which are leaders in their field, which are synonymous with quality and technological innovation and which agree to be our partners and not simply suppliers. We offer a range of over 20,000 products, continuously updated and always available. We manage the logistics service using the most advanced technologies, thus allowing us to ensure precision, punctuality and speed in dealing with customers and partners. We supply, in collaboration with our partners, a pre and after sales service for both the OEM and the maintenance and distribution markets. We run refresher and training courses on new technologies, for the optimisation of their use.
tion costs and improve process innovation. These facilities allow for energy savings and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
The right skills The iron and steel industry is increasingly reliant on highly skilled human resources and the current training available is not always suitable to the needs of the Feralpi group. It has tried to rectify this problem by setting up a professional apprenticeship programme to bring together school and working environments and to solve turnover issues within its departments. This project has been realised thanks to the active contribution of various business partners, creating three two-year courses in which several high school graduates with a technical/industrial specialisation have participated. Encouraging results have been achieved, demonstrating that the iron and steel sector is still appealing to new generations as long as it affords them the opportunity to grow and develop. Feralpi is also involved in the Comenius Regio project, which connects two different EU regions for two years and allows them to take part in a common project with the aim of achieving objectives which are usable within the EU – such as comparative studies, and training courses for teachers and for apprentices. The objectives also include the distribution of the results of the
study and the creation of a bilingual (Italian– German) iron and steel industry glossary. In this instance the two regions involved are Lombardy, Italy, and Saxony, Germany, where the Feralpi Group is currently present. Through the Comenius Regio project the partners wish to complete a comparative study and offer a training path which will lead to European-level qualifications, respectively carried out by the Riesa-based Elbe Stahlwerke Feralpi and the Lonatobased Feralpi Siderurgica. For many years Feralpi has been active in CSR (corporate social responsibility) in social, environmental and economic terms.
These three aspects are certainly different in terms of approach and method, but they meld into a single policy which is integrated in each of the group companies.
Raw material supply In terms of the iron and steel sector as a whole, one of the key factors to affect competitiveness is the availability of raw materials. In this context raw materials can mean a variety of elements, ranging from minerals to scrap, including human resources and energy. For Feralpi, the challenge is that Italy is a country which is basically lacking in raw materials, and the steel industry pays a high price
for this lack of energy, minerals and scrap iron. The price-increasing tendencies of the latter are an issue affecting the whole world, owing to the fact that this sector operates as an oligopoly composed of three mining companies which manage it at a global level, while the energy problem is specific to Italy owing to its lack of energy policies which has seen bills skyrocketing. The lack of infrastructural projects to push the economy often means that Italian companies find themselves alone in facing the challenge of recuperating competitive margins in the face of rising energy n bills and lack of raw materials. www.feralpigroup.com
ON A ROLL The world’s leading roll manufacturer Åkers takes a truly global approach to ensuring that it delivers high quality products to its customers wherever they are in the world, with its latest innovation, Invicta, continuing the promise. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to global sales director Geert van der Linden and marketing manager Lorna Payne to find out more. Lorna Payne
ne of Sweden’s oldest companies, Åkers can trace its roots back to 1580. Its modern history essentially began in 1985 when its concerted focus on global expansion saw the considerable development of its multinational presence, including the launch of a number of new products and complementary services. Today, the Åkers Group employs almost 2000 people worldwide, generating an annual turnover, of on average, €320 million from its 10 factories in six countries across three continents. Global sales director Geert van der Linden told Industry Europe how the company’s wide-reaching facilities allow it to meet its promise of exceeding customer expectations wherever they are in the world. Mr van der Linden explained, “We certainly take a global approach to each of our product sectors so that the type of customers that value our high quality rolls can enjoy the same promise across the world. Our target market is global, as we want to work with any mill that is interested in improved performance and environmental awareness.”
Manufacturing 70,000 tonnes of cast rolls each year, 29,000 tonnes of forged rolls and 45,000 tonnes of bars and ingots, Åkers Rolls is strategically divided into four key divisions, with Cast Rolls America, Cast Rolls Europe and Asia, Forged Rolls and Speciality Rolls all sharing the capabilities of the company’s headquarters in Åkers Styckebruk, Sweden.
Leading the way As a pioneer in the rolling industry, Åkers invests heavily in research and development. According to Mr van der Linden, “We are always looking to bring new innovations to our product portfolio so research and development is paramount to our continued success.” It is thanks to the R&D team that Åkers has recently launched its most innovative product to date. Invicta represents the cold rolling industry’s biggest breakthrough for many years and, in what is a relatively conservative industry, highlights how committed Åkers is to bringing fresh ideas and solutions to market. A new line of rolls for cold rolling mills, Invicta is a forged high-speed steel work
roll. Ms Payne commented, “Åkers Invicta is a brand new forged HSS roll for cold rolling mills, with vastly superior performance to all other rolls available on the market. This roll brings significant added value to our customers and to Åkers.”
A greener roll The environmental advantages of Invicta centre round the fact that it does not require the standard chrome plating associated with traditional rolls, with this toxic hexavalent chrome product causing issues when released into the environment in an uncontrolled manner. Invicta’s performance benefits are highlighted by its ability to last up to five times longer than a standard roll, which represents a considerable cost saving in terms of both replacement and maintenance as they need to be changed less frequently so the uptime is much greater. Ms Payne pointed out, “Rolls are like customised tools. Our customers need to know that the rolls they use are efficient, effective and totally reliable. Åkers certainly
Geert Van Der Linden, global sales director 120 Industry Europe
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Long-standing cooperation with CERATIZIT Akers has been relying on the tools and inserts from CERATIZIT for many years. CERATIZIT not only offers a wide range of heavy duty tools made of carbide, ceramics and CBN cutting materials, but also possesses decade-long experience in this field. The aim of the carbide expert when cooperating with customers is the optimization of the manufacturing process, the joint development of individual customer specific solutions and innovative products. One example is the HX parting and grooving program which Akers has been in use for years. During tests with this year‘s further development of the program, Akers has been able to achieve a considerably higher productivity in the processing of their rolls. When dealing with tool and OEM equipment the carbide specialist is also seen as a competent partner when seeking efficient solutions. CERATIZIT considers itself a full-range supplier who covers all the fields of the entire value chain: from the processing of the raw material, to a multiplicity of cutting materials and finally to coating. The global placement of the CERATIZIT Group guarantees all Akers plants competent service on-site and the availability of the complete product portfolio.
offers that across our product portfolio, and with Invicta we are even more able to deliver on our promise. We like to show how the total cost of ownership of Invicta is a positive investment for our customers when they evaluate the cost savings potential in the roll shop as well as in the mill. We are not the cheapest, but we are certainly the best at what we do and our rolls offer fantastic value for money.” Many of Åkers’ customers have a broad global presence, with the majority most active
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in the steel industry such as Tata Steel, the company’s appreciation of promoting Invicta on a global scale makes perfect sense. The product launch took place at a Formula 1 racetrack to illustrate its advantages as a ‘highspeed’ steel roll, with Tata Steel also sharing centre stage with a presentation. Even though Mr van der Linden acknowledges that the majority of companies connected to the steel industry had a tough time during the global recession, he is aware that its traditional markets are returning to form as
well as seeing strong potential in many emerging markets. He concluded, “Our future will be cooperating with steel companies and mills that want to improve environmental behaviour while guaranteeing strong performance, and we expect this to be particularly positive in Latin America, Russia and India. We have a strong intention to grow with our existing portfolio, our latest Invicta brand and our future developments that may include products outside cold mill rolls and could perhaps n revolutionise back-up rolls.”
Whether cutting, welding, marking or forming – there is almost no application in any manufacturing sector that is not suitable for laser technology. Julia Snow reports on what makes TRUMPF lasers ‘the power of choice’ worldwide.
RUMPF is a world leader in industrial lasers and laser system technology, offering CO2 lasers, solid-state lasers, marking lasers and complete laser systems. The laser technology and electronics business division achieved sales of €387.4 million last, representing around 25 per cent of the TRUMPF Group’s total turnover. It has 1902 employees working across three locations: TRUMPF Laser- und Systemtechnik GmbH in Ditzingen, Germany, TRUMPF Laser GmbH + Co. KG in Schramberg, Germany and the TRUMPF Laser Marking Systems AG in Grüsch, Switzerland, supporting customers in the automotive, electronics and precision engineering, mechanical engineering, tool and mold making and medical industries.
Nine decades of history The TRUMPF Group is a high-tech company offering innovative solutions in sheet metal processing, laser-based production processes, electronic applications and in hospital equipment. TRUMPF’s core business is machine tools for flexible sheet metal processing for punching and forming, laser processing and bending. The company was
founded in 1923 as a mechanical workshop, and since then has developed through new ideas, continuity and consistent internationalization into one of the world’s leading companies in production and medical technology: Last year the group had 8000 employees and achieved sales of €1.34 billion, taking into account the remaining two divisions, which are Machine Tools/Power Tools and Medical Technology. With about 60 subsidiaries and branch offices, the
Group is represented in almost every European country, in North and South America as well as in Asia. Production locations can be found in Germany, Austria, China, Czech Republic, France, the UK, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Switzerland and the USA.
Leading edge in lasers TRUMPF has played a decisive role in the broad industrial application of the laser, ever since 1978, when the chairman of
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the board returned from an informationgathering trip in the USA with a special piece of luggage: a 1 kW CO2 laser. Only one year later TRUMPF manufactured the first combination punching-laser machine, the TRUMATIC 180 L, using a laser purchased in the USA. In 1981 already saw the delivered the 1000th TRUMATIC 300, and after building the first 1 kW CO2 laser inhouse, the folded high performance CO2 laser was presented in 1989 – which is still today’s best-selling multikilowatt laser. TRUMPF’s activities in the solid-state laser sector started in 1992, with its participation in the firm of Haas Laser GmbH in Schramberg (today 100-percent owned by
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the TRUMPF Group), a company that built their first solid-state laser in1971. At the LASER World of PHOTONICS 2011 TRUMPF announced a major contract with Volkswagen AG for over 50 TruLaser Cell 8030 laser cutting machines – as well as exceeding its targets for new contacts by a high margin. Later in the year, at the EMO in Hannover, the company highlighted the important role that lasers have to play in many areas of life, including mobility, the conservation of natural resources and health – by displaying a compelling mix of innovations. In the mobility sector TRUMPF has developed laser-welded cell connectors specifically for electric vehicles. Laser tech-
nology can also be deployed in the manufacture of bipolar plates for fuel-cell stacks and the cutting of high-strength materials used to reduce component weight. The company also demonstrated the use of the laser-deposit welding technique to apply a protective coating to a deepdrawing tool which is used to manufacture B-columns for the body of a Volkswagen. Afterwards the mold can be cast in materials more commonly used in injection molding, and cooling channels can be incorporated. This reduces the cycle time per component, and prolongs the life of the mold – leading to reduced raw material consumption and energy/carbon footprint minimisation.
II-VI Incorporated From amber-colored lenses that focus intense laser light, to high power electrical and microwave components, II-VI Incorporated and its divisions and subsidiaries utilize expertise in synthetic crystal materials growth, optics fabrication, electronics component manufacture, and more to create high-tech products for a wide range of applications and industries. Founded in 1971, II-VI Incorporated is headquartered in Saxonburg, PA, and maintains manufacturing facilities, distributors, and agents worldwide. As II-VI Incorporated continues to grow, II-VI Infrared focuses on the company’s original, industry-leading products: infrared and CO2 laser optics and materials. And thanks to decades of innovation in ZnSe materials processing, thin-film coating, precision diamond-turning, and finished optics fabrication, II-VI Infrared is the world leader in CO2 laser optics, delivering an unbeatable combination of innovation, quality, and experience. II-VI Infrared also delivers the largest vertically integrated CO2 laser optics manufacturing process -- from raw materials to finished coated products -- in the world.
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The same technology allows customers to repair, rather than replace, safety-critical complex components like costly titanium turbine blades. Again, raw materials are preserved and manufacturing costs are saved. In the medical sector the TRUMPF TruSystem 7500 operating table system demonstrates the precision achieved by laser processes: due to the limited melt pool and the low heat input, the risk of distortion is reduced and the weld seams are exceptionally robust, and all laser processing systems are compliant with the strict hygiene regulations of the health sector. In endoscopic instruments, lasers can be used to cut contours and simultaneously weld guide tubes, to weld on intakes or for 3D contour cuts. In pacemakers, the laser connects electronic components using spot welding, welds together the two halves of the housing with a gastight seal without any pores, and permanently marks the titanium housing.
Award winning products In September 2011, TRUMPF was the first foreign company to take home the Japanese “Machine Industry Design Award” for the TruLaser 5030 fibre. Presented by the Japanese Ministry of Economics, this prize recognises major impacts on the design principles of machinery. The most innovative feature is the use of a TruDisk solid-state laser – processing material up to four times faster and with 50 percent less energy. This is the second prize that the TruLaser 5030 fibre has earned within a short period of time, following on from the renowned “Red dot design award” in Germany for the “smooth and ergonomic design with transitions free of frames”. It certainly has been an active year for the company, with many opportunities to demonstrate the advantages of making TRUMPF the ‘power of choice’ in a whole n range of applications. Industry Europe 131
STRENGTHENING PRESENCE Erasteel is a subsidiary of the ERAMET Group of France and a global leader in the production of ultraclean, high-performance high speed and tool steels. Philip Yorke talked to Pierre Blanchard, Erasteel Kloster AB’s managing director, about its advanced, high-speed steels and recent investments designed to strengthen its presence in key markets.
rasteel is part of the ERAMET Group, which is a rapidly growing French mining and metallurgical conglomerate that employs over 14,000 people in 20 countries worldwide, and holds front-ranking positions in each of its activities. The group is listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange and in 2010 recorded sales of around €3.6 billion. Erasteel together with Aubert & Duval makes up the Alloys division of the company.
Erasteel is the world’s leading producer of high-speed steels, while Aubert & Duval is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of high-performance speciality alloys and closed-die forgings for the aerospace and energy industries. Erasteel is also the world number one in the manufacture of gas atomised powder metallurgy (PM) steels and high-speed steels. The company employs over 1000 people
and has an international sales presence, with eight manufacturing sites located in Europe, America and Asia.
Pioneering powder metallurgy Erasteel pioneered and developed a specific gas atomisation process and continues to refine its production and expand its number of industrial applications. The company has more than 40 years’ experience in the production of
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ultra-clean PM (powder metal) steels by gas atomisation at its key production site in Sweden. The DvalinTM and DurinTM units are both located in Söderfors and together form the world’s largest gas atomisers. The key benefits of Erasteel’s PM high performance steels and alloys are their isotropic properties and fine microstructure that achieves an unparalleled, even distribution of carbide particles in the matrix phase. This is in sharp contrast to ingot-cast steels and alloys where carbide stringers are formed during the manufacturing process. Other key product benefits include greater hardness and wear resistance, due to the higher carbideforming elements, as well as increased toughness due to the material being free from carbide segregation. It is thanks to these special properties that Erasteel ASP® grades are widely used and are the materials of choice for many high-performance applications, such as tooling for metal, plastics, wood and paper processing, in addition to their use in heavyduty mechanical components. Pierre Blanchard said. “Our high-speed steels offer optimum performance and are used extensively for the manufacture of cutting tools, for tooling for gears and other demanding automotive components. In addition they are also used extensively for the household Industry Europe 137
OK-Q8 AB OK-Q8 AB was formed on 1 January 1999 and is one of the largest petroleum companies in Sweden. OKQ8 has 800 stations and 2,500 employees spread across the country. OKQ8 is a Swedish limited liability company with two owners, OK Economic Association and Kuwait Petroleum International. OKQ8 owns a factory of lubricants and carchemical products, Petrolia AB. The marketing position is
OKQ8 - your natural partner in energy issues
both strong and profitable. OKQ8 has a wide range of fuel products and alternative and environmentally friendly fuels, for your business. All our products are top quality and meet all of the Swedish environmental requirements. We deliver all over Sweden and also offer technical advice, service and tank cleaning.
market, for example for sanitary fittings and taps, for knives, band saws as well as for tooling for plastic injection moulding. Our gas atomised powder process results in ultra-clean steels and demand is continuing to grow for these advanced, high-performance steels. “In fact, demand is growing in all our key geographical markets. Over 40 per cent of our sales are generated in Europe with a further 40 per cent going to Asia. The remaining 20 per cent are destined for the American market. However, China is now our fastest-growing market where we have established new manufacturing and storage facilities in Tianjin.” Mr Blanchard added, “We are at the forefront of technology concerning metallurgy, forging, rolling, drawing and heat treatment processes. Furthermore, our unique skills and competence in the production of gas atomised powder steels has opened up new markets for us, in particular for our stainless steel products and special nickel alloys. We are now targeting a new range of applications in the aerospace and nuclear energy sectors and have recently invested in an entirely new atomisation plant in Sweden that will more than double our manufactur-
ing capacity in high-performance PM steels. The opening ceremony for this state-ofthe-art plant was held at the beginning of October 2011. The new facility represents an investment of around €20 million and the new ‘atomisation tower’ will be by far the biggest single capacity unit for high-speed steels in the world. We are proud of the fact that all the research and development for the manufacture of our advanced, atomised gas process products has been initiated and conducted here in Sweden at Söderfors.”
new storage and manufacturing facilities in Mumbai, India, as well as in Tianjin in China. While the company continues to invest in its industry’s future, it has not lost site of the importance of sustainable development. As a key member of the ERAMET Group, Erasteel strongly values environmental, societal and economical matters. In 2002 the ERAMET Group established an environmental charter as part of its
global pursuit of sustainable development. This has enabled the company to build on its successful relationships with investors and employees as well as its clients. Erasteel is clearly committed to preserving the environment and encouraging safety as n well as innovation. To learn more about Erasteel, visit: www.erasteel.com
Expanding global presence Erasteel continues to invest in its manufacturing facilities across the world with special focus on China and North America. Recently the company strengthened its presence in North America with the acquisition of a steel service centre in Illinois. This facility complements the company’s sales and its drawing facility located in New Jersey. In the USA, Erasteel distributes cold drawn coil and bars and ground, high-speed steel bars, whereas in China, conversion services are provided in the main hot and cold transformation and shaping activities for special grades. Furthermore, the company has invested in Industry Europe 139
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A Spanish cooperative, specialising in moulded steel parts casting and the production of industrial valves, is going from strength to strength. Abigail Saltmarsh reports.
AMPO the successes are coming thick and fast. Along with the launch of new products and new certifications for product performance are new contracts and projects. Established in 1964, and part of the MCC cooperative group of companies, AMPO is an internationally renowned foundry, which has gained a reputation for its use of stainless steel materials and high alloys. It also produces industrial valves under the well-known Poyam brand, and supplies a complete range of castings to a wide scope of industries, ranging from the gas, chemical and petrochemical to the hydraulics, heat treatment and naval.
At the foundry Located in the Basque town of Idiazabal, AMPO is made up of its Engineering, Foundry and Valves divisions. The foundry
works together with the research and development team to create new developments and designs. “This is a key factor in enabling AMPO to control the whole process, from start to finish,” said a spokesman. “Cast materials are produced under strict quality controls at the AMPO foundry. Ongoing control is the key to our quality and success, starting with castings from one of the world’s leading valve foundries, through to a product finished and tested to any specification, all within our own facilities.”
Modern facilities At the foundry, there is a 5000kg arc furnace, a 5000kg AOD converter furnace and eight induction furnaces with a capacity of 1000 to 3000kg. To be in a position to offer its customers the widest possible range of castings and the best solutions, AMPO has
four production lines, each of which uses the most advanced technologies so that it can satisfy all customer requirements. These include alphaset, shell moulding, replicas and centrifugal castings. “With our modern machining facility we are in a position to supply customers with fully machined castings, thus adding value to the product and shortening final customer delivery times,” he added. AMPO also has a plant in Houston (USA), where its subsidiary BIC manufactures conduction systems for liquid and gas products.
Innovation and design At AMPO Engineering there is a focus on process analysis, design and improvement. Work groups are formed in close cooperation with the customer for the purpose of Industry Europe 141
troubleshooting processes using the tools and means available at AMPO. In addition to in-house resources, close ties with specialist research centres ensure that analyses are always to the customer’s satisfaction. The combination of the knowhow of plant personnel and of AMPO Engineering leads to truly satisfactory results in process innovative design, development of new solutions and engineering support to piping and instrumentation diagrams. To make easier the components’ installation and to improve process reliability, AMPO Engineering builds subprocesses, mini plants and spools prepared for being installed directly at site. In close cooperation with the customer, plant process is analysed, innovation is introduced and the module is constructed, checked and tested. It is sent ready for installation, avoiding cleaning processes, commissioning tests and failure possibilities.
Advanced technologies AMPO Valves focuses on internal weld overlay processes. It looks for cost-saving alternatives for solid rare material requirements. “Our advanced technologies and high productivity allow AMPO Valves to produce the entire range of weld overlays on any kind of base materials in the shortest turn around 142 Industry Europe
times using rare materials,” he said. “High quality surface coatings of Stellite 6, Ultimet, Nikel, Inconel 625, Incoloy 825, Colmoloy, Cupronikel, and other hardfacing alloys, are assured by the use of state-of-the-art technology such as controlled preheating, automatic plasma arc hard facing equipment and a controlled cooling process.” For special applications and processes, different coatings and hardenings are applied in sealing and contact areas for anti-corrosion, wear resistance, high temperature resistance, anti-coking and metal dusting resistance etc. These special treatments, such as plasma nitridings, mechanical plating and PVD coatings, are designed specifically for each project in a close cooperation between the technological services and associated research centres.
level of risk reduction. In simple terms, SIL is a measurement of performance required for a safety instrumented function (SIF).” Having these valves certified for up to SIL 3 safety instrumented functions provide process manufacturers with great flexibility in the selection of final elements for their IEC 61511 safety compliance efforts.
A future in co-operation AMPO is – and always has been – a cooperative. This means that employees, who have been with the company for more than three years automatically become shareholders. They have a say in discussions about earnings and profits, which are apportioned according to democratically agreed
parameters. Employees also work flexitime, ensuring that objectives are met. The management find that, as a result of this system, workers are much more involved, better informed and committed to the success of the business. Motivational levels are also high, and the company as a whole benefits. With so many developments and the company continuing to look for new markets, AMPO is optimistic about the future. Its aims are to be present in all areas of the world and to increase its valve production significantly. “We want to offer our customers the best possible levels of service. We want to continue to invest in our people and technology and to maintain the very unique way we run n AMPO,” he said.
New certification In one recent development, the company has announced that its ball valves have received SIL 3 certification under the IEC 61508 international safety standard. “Up to this point, the prior use methodology has been required to demonstrate the valves are ‘proven in use’ for safety applications,” he said. “In addition to this, SIL 3 is defined as a relative level of risk-reduction provided by a safety function, or to specify a target Industry Europe 143
A LOGGER’S BEST FRIEND 144 Industry Europe
Ponsse Oyj, based in Vieremä in Finland, is the parent company of the Ponsse Group, a global specialist in cut-to-length (CTL) forestry machinery, mainly harvesters, used for cutting wood in forests, and forwarders – means of taking the wood to the roads. Other products include cranes and loaders and a range of auxiliary solutions used in the forestry industry, among them harvester heads. Piotr Sadowski reports.
onsse’s main market is Scandinavia (with Sweden being the world’s largest CTL market), which generates around 50 per cent of the annual turnover. “Here we focus on primary sales of machinery, as well as second-hand sales, in addition to offering a full range of post-sales services,” explains Juho Nummela, CEO of Ponsse Oyj. “The rest of the turnover is divided equally across our other markets, the rest of Europe, Russia and South and North America. We are also looking at expanding into other geographical areas, certainly China which has vast eucalyptus plantations and where eight of our machines are already operating. China also uses a lot of wood pulp so the opportunities for growth there are certainly strong, as they are for further expansion in South America and Russia.”
Strong group activities The parent entity in Vieremä was established in 1970 by forest machinery entrepreneur Einari Vidgrén and since then the company has been a pioneer in delivering CTL timber harvesting solutions. Ponsse Oyj (shares quoted on the NASDAQ OMX Nordic List) specialises in all areas of production, assembly, welding and maintenance of CTL machinery, as well as sales of the solutions. The operations of the mother unit are further strengthened by the other companies in the Group: Ponsse AB in Sweden; Ponsse AS in Norway; Ponssé SAS in France; Ponsse UK Ltd in Great Britain; Ponsse North America, Inc. in the USA; Ponsse Latin America Ltda in Brazil; OOO Ponsse in Russia; Ponsse Asia Pacific Ltd, Hong Kong; Ponsse China Ltd
in China; Ponsse Uruguay SA, Uruguay; and Epec Oy in Sejnäjoki in Finland. Ponsse is investing heavily in production and has managed to cope well with the global economic downturn precisely thanks to delivering unique solutions in CTL forestry technology. “We have really been focusing on delivering tailor-made solutions depending on the market served,” says Mr Nummela. “For example, since 2005 we have been producing specific machinery for South America, including harvester heads for eucalyptus trees for Brazil and Uruguay, but also for China. We also specialise in delivering bioenergy products for the Northern hemisphere which make the harvesting of small pieces of wood flexible and efficient. As such, wood for energy can be harvested simultaneously with indus-
The benefits of Nissens’ indirect cooling system Considering Nissens indirect cooling system for your next cooling solution will provide you with a number of benefits. Depending on the load profile for the installation or on the operating conditions, coolers are not always operating with 100% load at the same time, and they may thus borrow cooling capacity from each other. This sharing of cooling capacity will in most cases lead to a smaller cooling system, or a system where the fan can be operated at a lower RPM with reduced cost and noise parameters not to be ignored. Besides the reduced cost and noise benefits, the indirect cooling system also offers a more service-friendly installation and faster engine response. As a result, our indirect cooling system may well be the cooling solution you are looking for to make your customized state-of-the-art installation.
Based on 90 years of innovation experience, Nissens is Delivering the Difference; not only in quality and design, but also by offering innovative solutions, which provide you and your customers with a variety of benefits. Do not hesitate to contact Nissens at email@example.com. We will be pleased to investigate the benefits you may gain by implementing an advanced cooling solution from Nissens. Nissens A/S Ormhøjgårdvej 9 8700 Horsens, Denmark +45 7626 2626 firstname.lastname@example.org www.nissens.com
trial wood, cut separately, or the harvesting equipment can be harnessed solely for the harvesting of industrial wood.”
New solutions Around 2008 the company witnessed a peak in manufacturing, delivering around 1000 machines per year and hiring a lot of new people which today means that Ponsse has significant space for more production. “In 2009 we were faced with the economic crisis, but we decided to turn it into an opportunity by taking eight-wheel CTL solutions to the market,” says Ponsse’s CEO. “In fact they proved to be some of the bestselling machines in the market. Nowadays we are also focusing a lot on quality issues’ and our overriding strategy is to ensure that we are capable of delivering quick, but high quality, systematic ways for developing new products, tailored to customers’ needs. Thanks to this approach Ponsse enjoys a
reputation of being a business fully able to rapidly bring new products to the market.” A very good example of ensuring the clients get the best solutions possible are Ponsse’s information systems – optimum software solutions for the entire wood procurement chain. Ponsse designs and manufactures all of the control and measuring systems needed for the wood procurement chain, from stump to plant. OPTI information system products cover wood procurement management systems, forest machinery information systems and transport equipment systems. In order to promote productive wood harvesting, Ponsse is also investing in the development of effective training technology. “In addition to delivering robust information systems we also focus on constantly strengthening the provision of service and spare parts,” adds Mr Nummela. “We provide services to customers through our subsidiary companies or, wherever necessary, through appointed
local providers and dealers. Thanks to providing complete chain solutions we today enjoy a client base which ranges from medium-sized companies, entities established in the forestry industry, to very big companies, for example in South America or Russia.”
Further growth The development of new solutions tailored to the needs of particular forestry markets is part of Ponsse’s expansion strategy, which focuses on organic growth. It is investing in increasing its production capacity, strengthening all areas of operations, including investment in its service side. “We will continue to ‘stick to our guns’, that is to provide the best solutions to customers,” concludes Mr Nummela. “Ponsse will grow steadily. We will be looking at our profitability and cash flow, which all have to be managed carefully. The key is not to overdo it, but to retain the n complete harmony of our business.”
A HANDLE ON
Linde Material Handling is a leader in its industry. Abigail Saltmarsh finds out more about its most recent products and its plans to increase its global footprint.
inde Material Handling already ranks among the world’s foremost makers of lift trucks and warehouse trucks but the drive to remain ahead will see no let-up. Dr Ralf Dingeldein, vice-president of new trucks, and Detlef Sieverdingbeck, head of corporate communications, say that there is still huge potential for growth within the industry and that Linde Material Handling is in a prime position to make the most of that. “We are number two in the world but we consider ourselves to be the leaders in innovation and technology,” said Dr Dingeldein. “In the last few years we have increased our global footprint and through the continued introduction of new products, as well as tailor-made solutions, we are ready to see even more success in emerging markets, such as China, Asia and South America.”
Increasing capacity Headquartered in Aschaffenburg, Germany, Linde Material Handling is also a major manufacturer of hydrostatic drives, produced mainly for use in construction, farming and
forest machinery as well as in the Linde range of lift trucks. It has sites in Aschaffenburg, Aschaffenburg-Nilkheim, Weilbach and Kahl, in Germany, as well as in Cenon-sur-Vienne, France, and Merthyr Tydfil, United Kingdom. Lift trucks specifically designed for the US market are produced at Linde Lift Truck Corporation in Summerville, USA, and the company has a plant in Xiamen, China. “We are the largest non-Chinese manufacturer of forklift trucks in China. We see strong market development in Asia as a whole and so have invested heavily there to increase our capacity,” said Mr Sieverdingbeck. “Places such as Russia and South America will also be important to us. We have recently acquired a dealership in Russia (Liftec), which has been exclusively responsible for sales and support for Linde products in Russia to date. But Europe remains our stronghold and we have increased our capacity here as well.”
A leading innovator Continuing the development of innovative products also remains at the heart of Linde
Material Handling. Recent launches include the new heavy truck series Linde H100 to H180, which has lifting capacities from 10 to 18 tonnes, as well as improved service access. The new series also has an additional model variant (H100 with 10 tonnes of lifting capacity and a load centre of 1200 mm), a larger integrated CAN-based operator display (including load weight, fuel consumption, fuel tank level and operating status) and roller-mounted forks and universal fork carriers as well as optional step-lighting. This year has also seen the launch of a new E series at Linde. The company began to produce E-forklifts at the beginning of the 1970s, and since then, its range has expanded considerably.
Award-winning The new Linde E20–E50 series continues to set the benchmark. Indeed, the panel from the MM Maschinenmarkt magazine, which is published by Vogel Business Verlag in Würzburg, Germany, awarded the company the MM Logistik award in the
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category of industrial trucks/technology on the first evening of CeMAT 2011. Dr Dingeldein said: “The new electric forklift truck series features over a dozen technical innovations that aim to lower energy consumption and increase productivity and the safety and comfort of the driver. Our customers are also able to choose between 19 different standard models available in short, long, tall and flat designs, and will receive a truck ideally suited to their application.”
Improving performance The technical innovations featured in the electric forklift trucks include the first standard traction control system for forklift trucks, the ability to adjust the power individually via three different operating modes and a parking brake that applies automatically so that the truck is able to stop safely on ramps. There is also a newly developed armrest with
incremental adjustment (both horizontal and vertical), a comfortable seat with optional air suspension, a front axle and mast that are uncoupled through spring oscillation on the drive axle suspension and a remaining travel time indicator in minutes, as well as active ventilation during battery charging. “We are very focused on sustainability and being environmentally friendly – it is part of our very DNA,” he said. “This is a key part of our overall aim, to improve performance for our customers. This means giving them products that are versatile, robust and userfriendly – and have high levels of performance and lower levels of fuel consumption.”
Continued success Demand for these types of machines is only likely to continue to grow, he went on. Sales are strong to customers across all industries, from automotive and construction to general industry. The expansion of the logistics industry is also benefitting Linde. “I do think we will see a substantial consolidation of our industry,” said Dr Dingeldein. “What is also interesting to see is that new players are emerging, which I think highlights the general attractiveness of the industry as well.” And Mr Sieverdingbeck added: “Our strategy is for international growth and to build on what we have achieved in recent years. We
want to increase our global footprint, continue to launch innovative new products and to expand customer services, fleet management services, as well as in the area of leasing new and used vehicles. Dr Dingeldein added: “We want to remain a leader and to be the most successful brand n in our market.”
PLACE YOUR BETS
The Finnish Slot Machine Association RAY has the exclusive right to operate slot machines and casino games in Finland. All the proceeds are used to support Finnish health and social welfare organisations. Joseph Altham spoke to Martti Kivenheimo, marketing director at RAY, to find out about the new online gaming site that the association has opened for Finland’s gamblers.
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or decades, gambling in Finland has been strictly regulated. RAY (Rahaautomaattiyhdistys) was founded in 1938. Its monopoly over slot machines throughout the country was granted by the Finnish state. Today the company controls the distribution of slot machines in Finland’s shops, service stations, restaurants, cafés and other places where the slots are placed. RAY collects the revenue from the slot machines and pays a fixed percentage of it to those owners who have installed slot machines on their premises. After RAY has paid all its overheads, the money left over is used for charitable purposes. Every year, money from RAY reaches around 800 Finnish charities. In 2010, RAY paid out a total of €367.5 million to worthy causes. Of this, €99.3 million was given to the Finnish State Treasury to be used for the rehabilitation of war veterans and for the care of disabled war veterans in nursing homes. Other beneficiaries included charities like the Finnish Association for Mental Health.
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Activities There is much more to RAY than just a grantawarding public body. Before any profits can be spent, RAY’s staff have to work to generate the revenue. Its headquarters are in Espoo, near Helsinki, and it employs 1600 people. The scope of the organisation covers the whole of the country, so many of the employees work outside the head office. These include the sales personnel who supply slot machines all over Finland. It also operates 70 gaming arcades of its own, and even runs a casino, the Casino Helsinki. Mr Kivenheimo explained: “The casino in Helsinki, which generates about 4 per cent of our annual revenue, is the only legal casino in the whole of Finland.” Slot machines often have to be replaced to meet changing tastes. “Our slot machines have an average working lifetime of six years before they are replaced. We buy between 2000 and 3000 new slots every year. We have stopped making our own machines, and instead we use subcon-
tractors, but most of the games on the slots are our own designs.” RAY closely monitors its machines to gauge their popularity with the players. “We collect data from the machines in all the different outlets, so we know which machines are underperforming and we can take them away. We also know which machines are most likely to succeed.”
Online gaming The internet is changing the way people do business. RAY is no exception, and has now established its presence online. After receiving its online gaming licence from the Finnish government, it has successfully launched its new online gaming service in November 2010. The site offers Finnish gamblers the chance to play over 150 different games, including moviebased games like X-Men and the Pink Panther. In addition, it offers an online poker service. “Online gaming is our biggest recent investment,” said Mr Kivenheimo. “The site already has over 125,000 registered customers.”
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Suzo Happ Group SUZO HAPP GROUP – THE WORLD’S LARGEST GAMING COMPONENT SUPPLIER What began as a family-owned enterprise in 1955 in Rotterdam has grown to become the world’s largest component supplier to the gaming industry. Such an achievement for the Suzo Happ Group has its foundation in understanding the industry requirements and transforming these to best-in-class product solutions. Expert R&D departments with a large manufacturing unit enables Suzo Happ to provide a whole range of solutions. These include industry-leading solutions for gaming machine promotions (toppers), coin payout solutions (hoppers), push buttons and reels, flip cards and handle mechanisms. Furthermore, Suzo Happ partners with leading component suppliers, often as exclusive distributor, to offer 100% of the industry’s component needs. Suzo Happ thus offers solutions from leading companies such as MEI (banknote readers and coin validators), FutureLogic (printers) and ASSA (locking systems). Suzo Happ has subsidiaries around the world. The Suzo Happ European and African headquarters are based near Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The company is active in a whole range of markets – including gaming, vending, retail, transport and industrial. The Suzo Happ team can be contacted via email under email@example.com or via telephone via +31-186 64 33 33.
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Some of the online games available, like Tuplapotti and Tähti, are RAY classics and are already familiar to consumers from the slot machines. “We create our own games and we buy them in as well,” Mr Kivenheimo explained. “Out of our ten most popular online games, around half are our own.” RAY has some 50 in-house specialists whose job is to create new games. Other online games are purchased from the international online gaming software company Playtech. “We work closely with Playtech, our business partner for internet services.” RAY now plans to offer customers a responsible gaming tool, Playscan, which will analyse their gaming habits and identify potential prob-
lems or excesses. “If there has been a sudden change in someone’s gaming behaviour, we will be able to send him a warning. We bought the software from a Swedish company. We are already gathering the data and soon we will be launching the service.”
Growth RAY’s website is only available to Finnish citizens, but there are many alternative gaming websites for the Finns to choose from. By moving into the world of online gaming, RAY has therefore entered a competitive arena in which, unlike the arrangements for slot machines, it does not have the monopoly. Nevertheless, online gaming is a lucrative
Mr Kivenheimo believes that true customer orientation is the key factor in future success for RAY
business, and RAY is determined to capture a greater share of this market so it can raise more money for charity. “Online gaming is a tough sector and we know we have to be very good to succeed. But the internet is a good field to achieve further growth as the market is developing very strongly. By ensuring that we always have new games to offer, we are confident that we will be able to grow. We believe we have one important advantage, which is that we know the customers in Finland better than anybody else. We have a clear understanding of what they want, so we can ensure that our offering is adapted to meet n their demands.”
RAY has its slot machines on over 9000 different premises around Finland
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THINKING OF THE FUTURE
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As the second largest group in the European paper tissue industry, Sofidel has established a reputation as the sector’s most ecologically aware company. In 2008, it became the first company not only in Italy, but within the entire paper tissue sector, to become a member of WWF’s international Climate Savers programme. Ross Davies reports.
eadquartered in Porcari, Tuscany, Sofidel was founded in 1966 during the years of Italy’s post-war economic boom. Initially serving its home market, the group began to diversify during the 1980s which saw the beginning of a number of acquisitions abroad in tandem with expansion in production—most notably, the launch of the flagship brand Regina in 1987. Today it has 27 production sites and a portfolio which includes 22 subsidiary companies.
Its workforce of 4563 employees is distributed across Europe with production sites located in Italy, Spain, Sweden, the UK, France, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Poland, Romania, Greece and Turkey. In recent years Sofidel has concentrated on expanding its coverage in the developing markets of eastern and central Europe. Sofidel’s most notable recent investments include the acquisition of Sofidel Papir in 2010, in a move to homogenise sales in the
Balkans region, and also the completion of the purchase of Comceh SA in 2011. Having previously acquired 30 per cent shares in 2010, it obtained the remaining 70 per cent in January. As one of the largest Romanian companies in the paper sector, Comceh is also ideally positioned close to the Bulgarian border, opening a gateway to the southeastern European markets. The company also has its sights set on western Europe as highlighted by the acqui-
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sition of Leicester-based LPC Group which is also active in Belgium and France. LPC’s considerable production capacity – approximately 190,000 tonnes – has contributed significantly to Sofidel establishing itself as one of the fastest-expanding operators within the paper tissue industry. For over 20 years, Sofidel’s flagship brand has been Regina. Present in most European markets, it offers a wide range of formats including toilet paper, kitchen paper, paper napkins and handkerchiefs, and facial tissues. The company’s extensive research has allowed it to focus on high-quality products, especially concerning softness and length. One of the group’s most notable brands in eastern Europe is Soft & Easy, also represented by a vast range of products consisting of toilet paper, kitchen towels, handkerchiefs and facial tissues; particularly prevalent in Poland, it is also popular in Russia, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
Climate Savers Whilst maintaining a clear and continuous investment policy, Sofidel has also led the way in terms of its ethos based on ecological transparency, accountability and sustainability. ISO-14001 certified, for a number of years, the group has identified climate change, protection of the forests and the saving of water and energy resources as paramount concerns. In addition to all Sofidel products bearing major international marks of ecological quality such as Nordic Swan (a mark of sustainability in Scandinavian countries) and Der Blau Engel (a German indicator of paper products made from recycled paper), in 2008 Sofidel became a member of the WWF Climate Savers programme. In joining the programme, which encourages companies to voluntarily reduce CO2 emissions using innovative strategies and technologies, Sofidel has pledged to reduce emissions by 11 per cent by 2012 and hope-
fully by 26 per cent by 2020. Having been a member for close to three years, Sofidel also participated in Earth Hour at the end of March, a global WWF-promoted event in which millions of participants across every continent will join together and acknowledge the importance of sustaining the environment. The event has already been endorsed by a host of keynote names including Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In fact, 2011 has been another eventful year for Sofidel all round. The group was present at some of its industry’s most important exhibitions including Europropre Paris 2011 at the beginning of April, and PLMA 2011, held in May in Amsterdam. Sofidel’s stance on environmental accountability was further highlighted at these exhibitions as the group continues to promote its belief that sustainability not only results in a cleaner environment, but a healthier n business too. Industry Europe 165
EASTWARD EXPANSION KHD Humboldt Wedag GmbH, the global key player for cement plant technology, equipment and services, has just secured an exciting strategic partnership in the important Chinese market. Julia Snow finds out more from managing director Ralf Slomski.
a technology leader with over 150 years of industry experience KHD is renowned for its process engineering and project management competencies as well as its energy-efficient products for the cement grinding and pyroprocessing sections of cement plants.
Today the holding company KHD Humboldt Wedag International AG has over 750 employees worldwide, and area offices for Asia Pacific, North and South America, India, China and CIS/Russia. Ralf Slomski, responsible for KHD’s EMEA operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa, is based in the Cologne headquarters.
Global development based on innovations The company was founded in 1856 as a manufacturer of mining machinery. A key date was the first delivered cement kiln in 1906, but KHD’s best known breakthrough was the invention of the first preheater kiln
in 1953, a revolution in terms of energy efficiency which is still industry standard. The same year saw the start of the international expansion with market entry in Australia, followed by in India in 1964, the USA in 1974 and South Africa in 1977. Major developments followed in 1993 after German reunification, when KHD merged with Dessaubased ZAB, a major player in Russian. The company has been listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange since April 2010.
Quality manufacturing worldwide KHD offers core equipment for more than half of an entire cement plant, from preheaters, calciners, coolers and kilns to grinding systems and roller presses. The company stopped centralised production in Germany back in 2009, explains Mr Slomski: “We improved our competitiveness by outsourc-
ing all manufacturing. We invested heavily in our quality management staff and now certify our own selected manufacturers, which are as close as possible to the projects. We still provide manufacturing, engineering and supervision services, and together with independent surveyors we ensure that our German quality standards are met or exceeded at every production site.” KHD also offers process design, equipment manufacturing, spare parts and the full range of plant services. Although new construction accounts for the majority of sales, there are also upgrades and service contracts for existing facilities.
ing to a strategic partnership that opens up the Chinese market, which accounts for 50 per cent of global cement capacity. “We will provide our process technology exclusively to AVIC for cement projects, while they are our exclusive supplier for civil construction works. We combine the best of east and west, by bringing proven technology from Germany together with the competitive price of construction from China,” says Mr Slomski. KHD has already established a procurement centre in China, because “Chinese partners can source more cost effectively from within their own country than any ‘foreign’ company could, so this gives us very competitive rates.”
East meets west
Closer to customers
In February 2011 KHD announced a bold strategic move: The Chinese group AVIC acquired 20 per cent of its shares, lead-
KHD holds numerous patents and is known as a front runner for creativity and innovation. The R&D department in Cologne focuses on
energy efficiency, alternative fuels and materials. “We never take our eye off the ball, both in detailed improvements and in big jumps. The fact that we have developed a new roller press technology which saves up to 50 per cent of energy in the grinding process shows that there is still room for improvements. “Being the technology leader is good, but there’s more to the winning ‘overall package’. We see the new strategic concept of establishing local customer service centres as a key to our future success.” KHD has over 500 plants and 5000 units of machinery installed worldwide, and is dedicated to improving customer services by shortening response times and distances. “We’re working for all major global cement producers, and we’ve had big orders in the last 12 months. My office for example covers dozens of countries, also through offices in
Saudi Arabia and South Africa. In Turkey, where we have our biggest worldwide market share with 70 per cent in units, 40 per cent of production and over 60 plants, there was no direct local representation. Due to demand for ongoing support, we are now establishing a Turkey office. All new branch offices will cover all processes from tendering and sales to execution and after sales, supported with tools, strategies and manpower from our Global Headquarters in Cologne.”
New business In addition to service improvements, the mining industry offers growth potential, says Mr Slomski: “Eighty per cent of our contracts are in the stable cement industry, with global growth rates of +3 per cent and slightly higher in emerging markets. We therefore see more significant growth potential in mining, where we’re gaining market share with our newly established HPGR roller press technology. This technology is
key to the mining industry, it’s a revolution in efficiency and easy to maintain and repair.” The company is also looking forward to completing successful projects with AVIC in the years ahead, says Mr Slomski: “The market tendency shows a clear demand for EPC turnkey projects, handled by one competent partner. We are in a perfect starting position for this, based on the strength of our new partnership that combines our technology n with competitive civil construction.”
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SHAPING THE FUTURE
OF RAIL TECHNOLOGY
Bombardier Transportation is the global leader in the design and manufacture of rail vehicles. Philip Yorke talked to Kurt Lievens, the managing director of the Bombardier plant in Matranovak, about their innovative, energy-efficient products and latest advanced mechatronic solutions.
ombardier is a truly global transportation company and unique in that it is the only company in the world that operates in two distinctly different industry-leading businesses: Aerospace and Rail Transportation. Bombardier operates 69 manufacturing and engineering sites in 23 countries and employs more than 65,000 people worldwide. The company manufactures the widest range of world-class products in its two chosen disciplines, avionics and rail transportation. This includes the design and manufacture of commercial and business jets and the manufacture of rail transportation equipment as well as systems and services. The Bombardier Group is headquartered in Montreal, Canada, and its shares are traded on the Toronto stock exchange. In the fiscal year ended 31 January 2011, the company posted revenues of over €17.7 billion.
Delivering unique mechatronic solutions Bombardier Transportation is a major contributor to the Bombardier Group with 59 production and engineering sites in 23 countries and
more than 40 service centres located at its customers’ premises worldwide. The company employs more than 40,000 people and covers the full spectrum of rail solutions ranging from complete trains to subsystems, maintenance services and system integration and signalling. To date it has manufactured more than 100,000 rail cars and locomotives worldwide which include automated people movers, monorails, light rail vehicles, advanced rapid transit vehicles, commuter trains and highspeed trains and locomotives. In addition, the company has a complete portfolio of propulsion controls for applications ranging from trolley buses to freight locomotives and the most comprehensive of bogies covering the entire range of rail vehicles: the BOMBARDIER™ and FLEXX™ bogie families. Mr Lievens said, “At our manufacturing facility in Matranovak in Hungary, we produce over 80 per cent of all the bogie frames designed for Bombardier trains. Bombardier Transportation has always pioneered advanced rail systems and our commitment to R&D has produced some
remarkable technological firsts. Our BOMBARDIER FLEXX Tronic WAKO™ is a good example. This innovative mechatronic solution was designed to compensate the natural roll movement of a rail car body and is integrated into the train’s existing secondary suspension. This unique system allows for a speed increase in curves of 15 per cent which in turn means shorter journey times without the need for significant investment in infrastructure. “Another good example of our innovative technologies is Primove City. This technology provides contactless power transmission for trams. This means that no catenary is needed. Today Bombardier has taken this technology one step further and applied it to cars and commercial vehicles as well. Bombardier continues to shape the future of rail technology and improve comfort for passengers and energy efficiency. As always, safety, efficiency and flexibility are the guiding principles throughout all of Bombardiers product development programmes.” Industry Europe 175
Investing in energy efficiency Continuous investment in facilities and technology keeps Bombardier one step ahead of its competitors. In the last few years significant investments have been made in the Matranovak site in Hungary, which is located 130km from Budapest. This site specialises in manufacturing frames and primary parts for FLEXX bogies. The investments include the installation of a welding robot and new welding machines as well as advanced, welding fume exhaust systems in the main production hall. In addition, the company invested
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heavily in an entirely new production hall with the installation of the latest energyefficient machinery. Thanks to these investments, Bombardier’s Matranovak site has reached an annual capacity of more than 2,500 bogie frames per year and continuously improved its manufacturing processes, as well as the working environment of its employees. All the bogie frames produced in Matranovak are delivered to the Bombardier sites in Siegen, Germany and to Crespin in France for the final assembly of bogies for rail vehicles destined for world markets. Some of these
will return to Hungary once they are installed under the TRAXX locomotives ordered by the Hungarian Railways (MAV).
Revolutionary energysaving technologies In 2008 Bombardier introduced its revolutionary ECO4™ energy-saving technologies, which are designed to be readily customised to suit any rail vehicle fleet. These eco-active technologies have advanced sustainable mobility in many different ways. This includes the optimisation of the use of energy, decreasing energy waste,
minimising CO2 emissions and increasing economic value by improving total train performance. By implementing these solutions, operators can achieve an overall energy saving of up to 50 per cent. Bombardier’s modular suite of ECO4 technologies include its EnerGplan simulation tool, MITRAC™ energy saver, CLEAN Diesel Power Pack, FLEXX Tronic technology
and EcoEfficient Optimised Environmental Performance, among many others. This energy-saving technology represents one of Bombardiers’ major sustainability initiatives. Mr Lievens added, “Bombardier Transportation offers one of the most comprehensive rail vehicle portfolios in the world. Our strategy is one of continuous development and we are dedicated to providing the most effective, eco-
friendly and cost-efficient rail solutions. Today we are delivering rail vehicles and optimal rail vehicle systems to new markets such as the Middle East where we have received contracts from Saudi Arabia and more recently in South America. We are very proud to have received a substantial contract from Sao Paulo, where we will build a monorail system to provide n improved public transport in the city.”
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BETTER BY DESIGN Fibox is a global leader in the design and manufacture of modular plastic enclosures. Philip Yorke talked to Esa Siljander, the company’s CEO about its latest innovative products and its strategy for growth.
ibox was founded in the 1960’s and was originally part of the Finish Fiskars Group. Today it is a privately owned company based in Helsinki, Finland, and operational in over 15 countries with dedicated local partners worldwide. Since leaving the Fiskars Group in 1991, the company has significantly expanded its manufacturing capability and has added many sales and marketing service centres. Currently there are six major manufacturing sites: three in Finland and one each in Germany, Korea and the USA. In addition, Fibox has more than 10 service centres in Europe as well as many others in the USA China and Korea. Fibox modular plastic enclosures were the first polycarbonate (PC) enclosures to be introduced in the world and opened up a new era in power distribution panel building.
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Today Fibox offers the widest range of high quality enclosures available for the packaging and protection of electrical and electronic components and systems, and these can be provided as standardised configurations or they can be tailor-made to suit a customer’s specific requirements.
Multi-range approach The comprehensive Fibox range of thermoplastic enclosures features over 1000 different standard products made of polycarbonate, ABS, polyester, fibre glass and aluminium. In all, the company produces over 20 different enclosure ranges and adopts a multi-range approach that is unique to the industry. Fibox is also the industry leader in developing new products and technologies for moulding thermoplastic enclosures and operates two complementary business units: Fibox Enclosure Systems and Fibox Contract Manufacturing. Mr Siljander said, “Our products are designed to meet an infinite range of infrastructure applications for electrical control panels, devices and components covering all
market segments. The renewable energy sector is a growing market for us and we also see a major opportunity for us in China where we expect to be number one in the next five to ten years. There is a lot of competition out there but we remain the industry leaders in relation to product development and innovation. When it comes to the competition, another differentiator is that our customers have the security of being able to trust our products 100%. Furthermore, no one else can match the scope or quality of our product range and our multi-range approach. We see our future growth coming from our continuous expansion into new market sectors and our ongoing investment in innovative new products.”
Innovation creating added-value Fibox believes that moulding technology is an essential part of product development, and a recent example of this is the Fibox MNX enclosure, which is the first to utilise direct injection of the enclosure gasket material during the body moulding process. This process not only ensures precision moulding of the
gasket, but also guarantees superior enclosure protection ratings, particularly for use in hazardous environments. The company is the only manufacturer applying this advanced technology, which was developed in-house by Fibox. Another example is the company’s emphasis on multiple-slide technology for mould construction which provides its OEM customers with cost-effective alternatives for modifying standard enclosures to meet their specific needs. In addition, Fibox has recently introduced a new range of fibre termination enclosures, which are designed to meet the fibre management, fibre storing and fibre splicing needs of FTTP/H (fibre-tothe-premises/home) networks. This special fibre optic range supports both customers’ premises and network access points and thanks to the small size and snap-lock cover design, offers significant savings on installation costs. Fibox’s FDE fibre management enclosures are designed for multi-dwelling units and for use in small to medium-size enterprise businesses.
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However, the company says that just as important as technical leadership is its commitment to understanding the needs of its customers. All Fibox products are therefore designed in close cooperation with its customers and in addition, the company utilises input from its global customer base to produce new, innovative enclosure ranges. This close cooperation also promotes the development of useful accessories and on-going product improvements. Mr Siljander added, “Our main goal is to keep adding value for our customers in order to make their life easier and their businesses more competitive. Working in close partnership with our customers, we offer a range of product design services and for our large-volume OEM customers, we
engineer and produce the customised injection moulds and can provide ‘ramp-up’ for their high volume production runs.” Fibox prides itself in offering long-term customer partnerships with full support during their product’s lifecycle, as well as running and resourcing product development in design, rapid prototyping, tooling and manufacturing. This enables their customers to focus on core business areas and significantly reduces the time it takes to get a product to market.
Cost-effective customisation All Fibox enclosures can be customised to meet the precise requirements of a customer’s individual application needs by employing the modern machinery that is
available at all major Fibox customer service centres. For any customer requiring modification of a Fibox standard enclosure, the company offers design tools for the engineer and technical assistance, as well as CAD drawing files of standard enclosures, which are specially developed for use with all major computer design programes. Fibox has a large network of local customisation service centres which are equipped with the latest CNC machinery specifically designed for plastic machining purposes. This dedicated customer service effectively takes the Fibox factory closer to the customer’s location, which in turn means an improved and faster service with n lower costs.
Telko Oy Fibox demands high quality performance from its raw material suppliers as well. One of the company’s long term partners in raw material aquisitions is Telko Oy, a Finnish distributor for chemicals and plastics raw materials. Telko’s extensive customer service covers not only the regular supply of raw materials from local warehouses but also technical support and the development of production processes. Telko’s unique geographical coverage provides considerable synergy in global acquisitions. At the moment Telko is providing services to Fibox not only in Finland, the home market for both companies, but also for example in China.
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SUPPORTING SCIENCE Global provider of chemical synthesis, engineering and PAT tools Mettler Toledo, is continuing to meet the challenges of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries with its latest product – the OptiMax workstation. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to the head of marketing communications, Mr Urs Groth, to find out more.
ormed in 1989 following the merger of the Swiss Mettler company and Toledo Scale from Columbus, Ohio, manufacturer of precision weighing and measuring instruments, Mettler Toledo has its major operations in both Zurich and Columbus, with a global network of sales and operational offices employing 11,000 people. The company posted a net income of $351 million in 2010 and the publicly listed company is one of the largest manufacturers of carat and gold balances, laboratory balances and industrial weighing balances worldwide. Mettler Toledo is committed to staying at the forefront of the scientific instruments industry and so invests heavily in product
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development, gaining much of the information it needs to inspire new products from attending industry events and customer symposiums. The head of marketing communications Mr Urs Groth told Industry Europe why continuous development is at the heart of the operation. He said, “The chemical and pharmaceutical industries in particular have been facing a number of challenges: competitive pressure in R&D, as well as financial and environmental issues are all key drivers for our R&D department to focus on when developing new products. We know that our customers need instruments that support their activities and speed up their process development, bringing products to market
in a faster, more reliable manner. Customers want easy-to-use instruments that are totally reliable, so our dedication to creating more robust, accurate equipment is at our core.”
Understanding challenges The latest Mettler Toledo investigation into the type of process challenges its customers were facing, specifically in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, garnered a great
deal of information on a need for a more reliable yet simple chemical synthesis workstation. Following a detailed communication to clearly understand the ‘burning issues’, the Mettler Toledo R&D team started to create an additional workstation to complement the already-popular EasyMax. Launched in 2008, the EasyMax workstation is a small, simple and accurately operating synthesis workstation which delivered unparal-
leled improvements in R&D productivity. It was well-received across the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, with many companies choosing to replace whole laboratories with the space-effective model. Following the great success of the EasyMax, Mettler Toledo’s R&D team worked to create its ‘big brother’, the OptiMax, addressing some of the further advanced needs of laboratories and adding flexibility and additional capabilities.
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Mr Groth explained, “The launch of the OptiMax synthesis workstation in May 2011 marked the end of a period of intense R&D and the beginning of an exciting time for our sales and marketing department. Even before the launch we knew there was a great deal of interest from a number of chemical and pharmaceutical companies as it was developed with their cooperation from the start. Throughout the development process they were our sparring partners to make sure that any possible issues were ironed out in advance of production. We are very proud of the OptiMax and it is already being well-received across our active markets.”
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Accurate and reliable The OptiMax workstation is the latest in Mettler Toledo’s broad portfolio of scales and analytical instruments and has been created to address its customers’ need to eliminate development bottlenecks, improve productivity in chemical laboratories and guarantee reliable data. With its purpose to deliver accurate and reproducible information about the process under investigation, OptiMax reduces process variability, which is a major issue for many in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Mr Groth is clear that the OptiMax supports the day-to-day activities of Mettler
Toledo’s customers as it is an easy-to-use synthesis workstation that simply fits into their existing operations. Core values of the OptiMax are that it keeps reaction conditions perfectly constant and records experimental data so that experiments and R&D processes are traceable, even when the machine is running unattended. This makes it very easy for the data to be shared worldwide in real time, so customers can exchange information with colleagues in other offices as soon as the tests are conducted, making it a flexible and functional tool. Mr Groth pointed out that the benefits
Urs Groth, head of marketing communications
to the chemists using the personal synthesis workstation are primarily ‘accuracy, reproducibility, unattended operation and traceability’, with the clear and simple touchscreen easy for training so that the scientists can concentrate on chemistry rather than instrumentation. Mettler Toledo is promoting the OptiMax via its website as well as eBusiness activities, with its global sales team regularly meeting with customers and potential customers. The company also operates a number of ‘info days’ where interested parties are welcome to attend open days at a number of the company’s sites to learn more about the system. Already strong in Europe and the USA, the company is keen to increase its activities in Asia, where it sees a strong potential for its personal synthesis workstations in chemical n development laboratories.
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CLEAN DESIGN Swiss market leader in bathroom fixtures, Similor SA is proud of its design-led, high-quality products. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to managing director Klaus Schneider to find out more.
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ith its roots reaching back to 1854, Similor SA was founded in Geneva in 1917 and has evolved to become a complete supplier for bathrooms together with its sister company Keramik Laufen SA, with its varied portfolio including bathroom ceramics and taps, bathroom furniture and accessories and bathtubs and showers. Since 2003, the three renowned Swiss brands of Similor Kugler, Arwa and Sanimatic have been working together under one roof under today’s name Similor SA, alongside Keramik Laufen SA – since 2007 all under the ownership of the Spanish Roca Group.
Alltogether the brands are able to deliver taps with activities in the three market segments of kitchens, bathrooms and the public sector. Managing director Klaus Schneider told Industry Europe how the total solution concept is valuable to the company and its customers. He said, “Last year we moved our core production facilities from Geneva and Zurich to Laufen in the Swiss canton of Baselland. This move allowed us to concentrate all our activities in one place, which is a natural development for our complementary portfolio of bathroom products. It was the last step in the process of making Laufen
the Swiss hub for professional bathrooms, and solidifies our market leading position in this field. With our ‘total bathroom concept’ we can offer our customers a one-stop bathroom solution, perfectly tailored to each customer’s exact requirements, by pooling the skills and resources we have gained over many years.”
Invest in facilities The move of Similor’s production to Laufen involved some investment in its facilities, further boosting its position as the key location for high-quality bathrooms in Switzerland.
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A completely new factory was built for the production of fittings to ensure that the highest quality of product standards is maintained. A forum building was also constructed to act as an exhibition space for Keramik Laufen and Similor’s products and capabilities, with the architect-designed space used for business development purposes. Mr Schneider explained, “We wanted to build a space that would highlight the beauty and performance of our bathroom and kitchen products, so the forum building is ideal for introducing architects, designers, planners, clients and other interested parties to Keramik Laufen and Similor. Our brands are so well designed and carefully produced that the best way for people to appreciate them is to have a chance to interact with and test them, so the forum is a great way for potential clients to envisage our products in their projects.” Keramik Laufen and Similor have also created a joint training centre, where employees, partners and customers can receive training on Laufen and Similor products in conditions that mirror real-world environments. Mr Schneider added that this level of investment highlights that the Roca Group firmly believes in Switzerland as the base for
Keramik Laufen and Similor’s headquarters and production facilities, particularly as it offers excellent access to the rest of Europe.
Understanding trends As one of the leading suppliers of products for bathrooms and kitchens, Similor is committed to staying one step ahead of the trends which affect its markets. Careful industry analysis and keeping close contact with its customers allows the company to appreciate which products and performance customers are looking for, now and in the coming years. Mr Schneider explained why this is valuable. He said, “The trend towards transforming bathrooms into personal spas continues, with people looking to have some time to pamper themselves in a restful environment. Organic shapes and slender, soft lines – both in the fittings and the ceramics – are becoming more and more popular.” Similor is also leading the way in responding to the growing trend for integrated interior design concepts, where the continuity of the design of the coordinated ceramics, fittings and bathroom furniture all play a part. The ecological responsibility of bathroom products is also important to Similor and its
customers, especially with regards to water and energy usage. As one of the pioneers of creating bathroom products that address this demand, Similor created its Ecototal cartridge back in 1997, and it is still going strong today. Mr Schneider said, “The Ecototal control cartridge is at the heart of the taps created by Similor. The clever ecoinitiative works with the hot water flow to reduce water usage and energy consumption by up to a third, while still delivering a reliable performance. It has been awarded the highly respected ‘Energy’ certificate by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy.” Over the coming years, Similor aims to expand its export activities under its Laufen brand in particular. It is concentrating on international marketing by attending relevant exhibitions and trade fairs such as the ISH in Frankfurt and, by partnering with various respected international designers, plans to introduce more products that covers all customers’ requirements regarding colour, shape and budget. Similor will continue its successful total bathroom concept as it understands that customers want a reliable, quality-focused, design-led one-stop-shop n for all their bathroom requirements.
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A GLOBAL OPERATION Merivaara is a Finnish-based producer of hospital equipment such as operating tables, medical lights and delivery beds. Indeed, as its CEO Mr Vesa Vihavainen says, the company is involved in anything that “aids physical patient flow in the hospital and makes the life of the doctor or medical worker easier.” Victoria Hattersley reports.
erivaara has been active for more than 100 years but its current focus on hospital equipment is something that has evolved over the years as it realised the benefits to be derived from operating in this particular sector. As recently appointed CEO Vesa Vihavainen explains: “Throughout our history this company has made many different kinds of products, such as baby beds for example. But step by step it has developed towards healthcare and hospitals and this is where we intend to stay.”
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The company has distributors throughout the world today. Its main client base is public and private hospitals, with public hospitals taking the larger share. It also serves some clinics and health centres in certain markets.
Tables, beds and lights But what exactly does Merivaara offer these core groups of customers? Basically, its products fall into three main categories – operating tables, hospital beds and medical lights – but within these groups
there are several specific uses. Its operating tables come in three ranges: Promerix is a heavy-duty electro-hydraulic operating table for a wide range of complex surgical procedures; Practico is a mobile, electricall-powered operating table for a variety of procedures and also suitable for day surgery; and Rapido is a lightweight and easy-to-use operating trolley for busy day surgery units. These beds also come with a number of useful accessories such as arm rests, restraint straps or shoulder supports, for example.
The hospital beds offered by the company come in three main models. Carena, Adatto and Futura Plus. Carena is the most ergonomic choice for both patients and healthcare workers with several electronic features making it highly versatile and suitable for emergency rooms, long-stay patients or care homes. Adatto is available with both electronic and hydraulic features but is less versatile, being more suited to long-term and intensive care. Lastly, Futura Plus is a basic patient bed which is suitable for various care environments.
Mr Vihavainen discusses the popularity of these beds and tables: “The Carena beds are historically the biggest driver of sales and continue to be so. The Promerix operating table is a newer product for more specialist and high-level applications.” In the area of medical lights, the company has been producing halogen lights under the Merilux trademark for many years, designed for multiple healthcare functions. However, Mr Vihavainen explains that halogen lights are gradually being phased out and one of Merivaara’s aims for the future
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is to gradually increase the market share of LED lights for surgical procedures. “The traditional halogen lights are disappearing step by step, and we are now also offering LED lights as a replacement.”
Global sales Merivaara’s headquarters and main production site are based in Lahti, Finland, but it also has full subsidiaries in Stockholm, Sweden and Oslo, Norway, as well as two representative offices serving the Russian market (in Moscow and St Petersburg). However, Merivaara is an increasingly global, not just a European, supplier and
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works with distributors in all the markets in which it is present throughout the world today. Mr Vihavainen elaborates on the company’s global presence: “We try to find one or two main distributors who can import and distribute our products in each market – as is common for many companies of our size. “Aside from the domestic market, our biggest local export markets are Sweden, Norway and Russia but we are growing in Latin America and Asia. We are also looking at the possibilities in Italy and North Africa. At the moment, though, we are still concentrating most of our efforts on Europe. For example,
we have recently signed one big deal in Finland, one in Russia and one in Africa – but as yet it is too soon to give any specific details.”
Plans for growth Over the past year Merivaara has been investing in people, with new product development, communication and marketing managers in order to take its expansion plans to the next level. Mr Vihavainen himself was hired as CEO in August 2011, and is keen to highlight how this growth will come about. “Following our investment in new management we want to bring our new
products to new markets. In terms of future product development, although I can’t say anything specific I would hint that the material science sector is looking interesting. We are also looking to invest in new manufacturing methods. “We also want to continue adding value for customers, for example by improving delivery times and our after-sales services such as maintenance or repairs. This will be important as the financial crisis has led to a tightening of budgets, meaning that people will be looking to fix or update existing equipment rather than buying in more.” In terms of financial targets, Merivaara is confident that it can achieve double-digit growth in the next few years through bringing its new products to growing markets such as South America, Asia and North Africa. As Mr Vihavainen concludes, “We are 110 years old this year so we are not a ‘one-day butterfly’. We put a lot of emphasis on strong product development and improving the ergonomics of our products to help make the job of the doctor or medical worker easier. This will help us to n meet our growth ambitions.” Industry Europe 193
ADDING VALUE TO
INDUSTRIAL GASES Messer Benelux is part of the leading European industrial gases specialist, Messer of Germany. Philip Yorke talked to Jan Desmeth, the company’s managing director for the Benelux region, about its unique value-added services and major investment in a CO2 recovery plant in Belgium.
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he Messer brand name has been synonymous with expertise and quality in the production of industrial gases for more than 100 years. The Messer Group manufactures and supplies oxygen, nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and helium as well as a range of exotic and specialised industrial gases. The company’s gases are used in a wide variety of applications that involve an equally wide range of industries, such as the steel and metal industries, chemicals, food and pharmaceuticals as well as automotive and electronics. Messer employs over 5200 people and has a portfolio of more than 130 different gases. In 2010 the company recorded sales of almost €1 billion. The Messer Group is active in over 30 countries in Europe and Asia as well as in Peru, and has more than 60 operating companies worldwide. The group has one of the most diverse product portfolios on the market: in addition to standard industrial gases it produces shielding gases for welding and speciality gases, as well as medical gases and many different combinations of gas mixtures. The company’s state-of-theart research and competence centres are
used to develop new applied technologies for the use of gases in almost every sector of industry. The company is particularly proud of its record on sustainability and environmental protection.
Value-added services and traceability Messer Benelux is the brand leader in the Benelux region and continues to see consistent growth. This is due to more than just high quality products and reliable delivery services. Mr Desmeth said, “It is a very competitive industry and we differentiate ourselves very clearly by our dedicated range of services and by working closely with our customers to help them to optimise their business potential. For example, most of our customers have problems with cylinder management where the value of the cylinder exceeds the value of the contents. That’s why we have developed an affordable cylinder rental system with an easy return system for the cylinder itself.” Desmeth added, “Furthermore we have developed a unique traceability system that means, for example, that if a construction site manager loses a cylinder they can trace it, no matter who returns it, and deduct it from their stock. Others suppliers have a
bar code system but not one that caters for lost cylinders, which can be expensive both in terms of time and money. We are serving over 10,000 customers in the Benelux region and we make a big effort to provide the best possible customer service and employ the best trained and most dedicated operatives. “We also have a big team of scientists and engineers in the Benelux region specialising in the application of gases for speciality markets such as the food industry where the requirement is for fresh fish and meat products. These products can be frozen more quickly and efficiently with liquid nitrogen rather than with traditional freezers which only reach -30oC as opposed to liquid nitrogen which can reach -100oC and in a fraction of the time. In addition, we have over 40 dedicated dealer networks that look after our smaller customers and these are all based within 30 kilometres of our customers’ businesses.”
Developing Europe’s largest CO2 recovery plant Early 2010, Messer Benelux commissioned a state-of-the-art CO2 liquefaction plant with an annual capacity of 150,000 tonnes
Spectron Gas Control Systems Spectron Gas Control Systems is the specialist for gas supply systems. For over 60 years the company has been producing manifolds for a wide range of gases. The regulators meet the highest standards for safety, gas-sealing and purity and are matched to the appropriate application and gas characteristics. The product portfolio includes pressure regulators and supply systems for technical, medical and also specialty gases as well as fully automatic controlled touch screen cabinets for the semiconductor or photovoltaic industry. Spectron also includes alarm and control systems for gas applications, as well as gas purification systems to improve or secure the purity of the gases. The company is well positioned globally and always close to its customers with a further production location in Great Britain and the world-wide network of sales partners.
Motrac Handling and Cleaning Headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium, Motrac Handling and Cleaning can find the right Linde E-Truck to meet our customers’ exact requirements. Whether they are looking for more battery capacity or additional manoeuvrability, they can configure a Linde truck to meet their needs. Owing to a process of continual innovation, Linde trucks are more powerful, more economical, more ergonomic and safer than any other forklift in the world. This is why we would not offer our clients anything less.
of CO2 to be recovered from industrial waste gases. This significant investment will be located on the site of the British company Ineos Oxide at Zwijndrecht near Antwerp Belgium. This specialised plant will recover around 20 tonnes of CO2 per hour from Ineos’s industrial waste gas and render it useable. Water and impurities are removed from the gas in several steps, before it is liquefied by means of cooling and compressing and then stored in
special tanks. The liquefied gas is then put into tankers, which then transport it to the customer. This means that the CO2, which is normally released directly into the surrounding environment, is now put to good economic use as a ‘green’ gas. Desmeth added, “Our largest CO2 recovery plant is being constructed near Antwerp jointly with Ijsfabriek Strombeek. We have set up a joint venture company called ‘BECO2’ in which we hold a 70 per
cent stake, and this represents an investment of more than €60 million. We will use two thirds of BECO2’s capacity to supply carbonic acid, dry ice and gaseous and liquid carbon dioxide to our customers in the food and beverage sectors as well as for the manufacturing and carbonated water industries. The remaining 30 per cent is utilised by Ijsfabriek Strombeek. The new plant has been fully operational n since May 2010.”
MORE POWER TO THE PEOPLE Honda, the global automotive giant is also a world leader in the manufacture of household and industrial power products. Honda’s European operations are based at Ormes, near Orleans in France, from where they export their products throughout the European markets. Philip Yorke looks at their latest achievements and the company’s next generation of multi-purpose engines.
was to fulfil the wishes of Soichiro Honda, the founder of the Honda organisation that the company moved into the production of power products in 1953. Honda’s mission was to utilise its superior engine technology to help people perform jobs at work and at home more efficiently and to improve their quality of life. The new division was launched with a unique power product engine which became a global success. Today Honda’s power products include tillers,
portable generators, marine outboard engines, water pumps, lawn mowers and four-wheel scooters. All these diverse products incorporate patented Honda technology and achieved European sales of nearly 1.2 million units in 2010. However, it wasn’t until 1993 that Honda Europe Power Equipment (HEPE) became a fully integrated subsidiary of the Honda Motor Group. More recently, Honda Europe Power Equipment SA was reorganised as
Honda France Manufacturing SAS and in 2008 its R&D activities were transferred to Germany with its marketing and sales operations being moved to Honda UK. Today Honda France Manufacturing (HFM) is responsible for the manufacture of petrol and electrical walk-behind lawnmowers, ride-on mowers and power generators as well as hand-held trimmers and tillers. HFM supplies more than 30 countries in the European region as well as Japan for some items.
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New technology driving sales Honda’s continuing commitment to R&D has resulted in the creation of a wide variety of advanced-technology products of exceptional efficiency and value. The company’s R&D operation is the driving force behind its continuing success, and its philosophy is based upon the thoughts of Honda’s founder, Soichiro Honda. Marc Noury, HFM’s production manager commented, “Since the global downturn many customers are focusing on low prices and turning towards cheaper Chinese imports. Our answer to that is to focus on quality, productivity, new technologies and dedicated services that are contributing to Honda’s uniqueness in that market segment. In the future, HFM plans to introduce new models, with related investments, as well as introducing new in-house processes. We are committed to providing the best products for our customers, with speed, affordability and low CO2 emissions.”
Recent Honda power innovations include the iGX440 multi-purpose engine launched earlier this year. Honda’s iGX engine is the first in the world to incorporate ‘STR Governor’ technology and electronic rpm controls that can facilitate constant control of the throttle opening and the engine’s rpm. The latest large GX and iGX engines offer more power and even better fuel economy and emissions performance, as well as quieter operation throughout the range. Recently, Honda also launched a household cogeneration unit, which combines the GE160V, (the world’s smallest gas engine) with Honda’s unique sine-wave inverter technology. This ground-breaking unit is enhanced with a high-efficiency heat exchanger with its own integrated catalyst.
Cutting-edge lawn mowers Annually, HFM’s petrol lawnmowers achieve the highest volume of sales, peaking at more
Kongsberg Power Products Systems
For more than 10 years Metalfirma has collaborated with Honda France Manufacturing in the development of lawnmowers. Metalfirma works on HFM’s plans and all the components manufactured are checked by our quality department control. In fact the quality level of Honda’s products is very high and, over the years, Metalfirma has committed itself to respecting the demands and applications of the customer through constant control of the whole manufacturing process. Metalfirma started its relationship with Honda with only few spare parts but as the years have gone by we have increased our production and now Metalfirma is able to produce a lot of different parts designed by Honda.
Kongsberg Power Products Systems is a global leader in the design and manufacture of vehicle control systems, and provides cable systems to HFM, recently launching a range of cables for the VK8 petrol walk behind mower. Kongsberg takes great pride in its long term relationship with HFM, based on excellence in quality and delivery, value-added initiatives, a global footprint, and outdoor power equipment market leadership that spans more than 40 years. Kongsberg also supplies products to Honda motorcycles in China, and to Honda Automotive. Kongsberg’s global focus on lean manufacturing with quality products meets or exceeds Honda’s high quality expectations.
than 130,000 units per year with trimmers achieving sales of around 50,000 units followed by electrical and ride-on mowers with annual sales of approximately 15,000 units each. Today the demands on lawnmowers are diversifying and they must be safer, cleaner to operate and help in the processing of the grass that’s been cut. Honda’s latest range of garden mowers incorporates Honda’s unique hydraulic, step-less shifting mechanism which allows forward and reverse motion as well as acceleration and deceleration freely controlled with a single lever. In addition to lawnmowers the HST mechanism can be used on a number of other Honda power products. Honda also pioneered the world’s first lawnmower safety mechanism, which is called the ‘Roto-Stop’. This revolutionary device immediately stops the rotation of the machine when the mowing lever is released and is now referred to internationally as the blade, brake and blutch mechanism or ‘BBC’. This was universally acclaimed when it was launched in 1986 and triggered the implementation of regulations for safety brakes on all lawnmowers throughout Europe and the USA.
A brighter, greener future As early as the 1960s, Honda took steps to reduce the air pollution created by its manufacturing processes. By the early 1980s, when it became apparent that the environment was clearly at risk from C02 emissions, Honda embarked on a major global programme to minimise the impact of its manufacturing operations worldwide. A message from Honda’s president and CEO states: “Honda strives to be a company that society wants to exist through leadership in environmental and energy technologies.” Today the company’s ‘green factory initia-
tive’ operates globally and seeks to improve the working environment for everyone, as well as for associates and to enhance cooperation with its local communities. Honda said, “Through these efforts we strive to give local communities the reason to be proud to host our factories.” Among the many new technologies implemented by Honda in its quest to improve sustainability and the environment, is its flexible fuel technology for automobiles, the development of the next-generation of non-silicon thin solar cells and its energy-saving, compact household co-generation energy system. n
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