VOLUME 22/2 – 2012 • €6
The world of European manufacturing
GAME CHANGERS IN MOBILE TELECOMS DRIVING THE WORLD - NORD MOTORIDUTTORI UNILIN CREATES QUALITY PRODUCTS FOR THE HOME TRANSATLANTIC SETS A NEW COURSE
The Guilty Men Everyone knows the bankers are to blame. Aren’t they?
Fred the Shred has been stripped of his knighthood. Given the baying for bankers’ blood that sounds across the land, the only surprise is that he has not also had his sword broken, his castles razed, his cattle slain, his wells poisoned and been dispatched on an expiatory pilgrimage to the Holy Land. At least there he might have picked up a few tips on prudent banking. Few people will shed any tears for the public humiliation of the former CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland, a man whose vanity, hubris and indifference to risk is seen as responsible for the ruin of the 300 year-old bank. As the Financial Times declared, it would be a parody if Mr Goodwin could continue to hold an honour for services to banking when RBS under his management had incurred huge losses, had needed an ‘enormous infusion of taxpayers’ money to rescue it’ and had caused significant ‘knockon damage’ to the UK economy. It is true that Mr Goodwin, unlike others who have lost their honours, has not been charged with any criminal offences or even been found specifically culpable by the FSA’s investigation into the RBS collapse, but it seems to be generally agreed that if you need a scapegoat to cast out into the wilderness to atone for the sins of the bankers, he’ll do just fine. After all, everyone agrees it was the folly and greed of the banks that brought us all to our present sorry state; some even see the collapse in output and employment that followed the end of their debt-fuelled party as proof of the bankruptcy of free-market capitalism itself. But hold on there. Are not banks at all times subject to the scrutiny of regulators and auditors? How is it then that in 2006 and 2007 none of these experienced professionals raised any questions about the solvency of RBS or of any of the other major British banks? Fred Goodwin may not have seen the cliff edge fast approaching but neither did anyone else. Once RBS went over the edge, of course, the folly of its operations was instantly plain. Did
not Gordon Brown himself scorn Goodwin’s plea that the only problem was cash flow, pointing out that its problems were “structural and fundamental’ because ‘it owned assets of unimaginable toxicity and had been left with too little capital to cover its losses’? Well, that’s what he said he said, in his 2010 book; maybe at the time he didn’t see it quite so clearly. But it wasn’t only Goodwin who claimed the problem was just cash flow. Most UK bankers thought – and still think – that in late 2008 their banks had good assets and enough capital and that the urgent problem was illiquidity. Brown, the Bank of England, Treasury officials and financial commentators judged – and still judge – that, on the contrary, they were bust; the problem was insolvency. Who is right?
An unusual business Tim Congdon, the UK monetarist analyst, has argued that, on the whole, it was the bankers who were right and the politicians and officials who were – disastrously – wrong. He points out that banks have always been unusual businesses in that their obligation to repay depositors with cash forces them to hold very safe assets. But safe assets offer very low returns so banks gear up their balance sheets and often borrow 15 or 20 times their equity. Over the second half of the 20th century an understanding was therefore established that banks with cash flow problems could borrow cash from central banks. Over the same period lending between banks grew hugely; by 2007 the value of the international inter-bank market was something like £40,000 billion. On 9 August 2007 this interbank market suddenly closed. Banks worldwide found themselves actually or potentially short of cash even if their assets were good and their capital was ample (of course, if their assets were dodgy and their capital stretched, they were in worse trouble). In this crisis, says Congdon, skilful management by central bankers, regulators etc. and responsible commentary were essential; what
we got was low grade and chaotic public management and banker bashing from the commentariat. It is true that, after a lot of muttering from Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, about ‘moral hazard’, UK banks did receive loans from the BoE (which everyone insisted on calling ‘taxpayer bail-outs’ despite the likelihood of them being fully repaid at high rates of interest). But at the same time the authorities demanded not only that banks increased their capital relative to their liabilities (Brown recalls with pride writing ‘Recapitalise NOW’ on a piece of paper with his usual felt-tip pen) but that they also move quickly to higher capital/asset ratios. The only way the banks could meet these demands, says Congdon, was to withdraw credit lines to their customers and to shrink their balance sheets; the consequence was that the quantity of money in the economy stopped growing, causing a drastic deterioration in demand and output – the Great Recession. In short, at a moment when the quantity of money needed urgently to be boosted to stimulate economic activity, the government and the authorities were so keen to be tough on the banks that they ensured the opposite. It’s true that the Bank of England began working on ‘quantitative easing’ (expanding the money supply) in late 2008 but the insistence on bank recapitalisation continued – and continues – to work in the opposite direction, reducing the quantity of money. These two purported remedies cannot therefore both be right, says Congdon. “If QE had been announced in September 2008 instead of bank recapitalisation, the disastrous slide into recession in late 2008 and early 2009 could have been prevented.” It may well be, therefore, that the cause of the Great Recession was, as he says, not the misdeeds of the banking industry but ‘shocking blunders in the official response to the problems that a handful of banks faced’. Maybe Gordon Brown should be stripped n of his felt-tip pen. Industry Europe 3
Editor Peter Mercer
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Administration Anna Chamberlain Amber Dawson Kayleigh Harvey
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1 4 5
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4 Industry Europe
News 14 16 18 19 20
Opinion The Guilty Men Bill Jamieson Searching for life after death James Srodes The state of the Union is strong
Game changers: 4G/LTE; DIY M2M; BYOD The mobile technologies of the future Telecommunications news The latest from the industry
Winning business New orders and contracts Linking up Combining strengths Moving on Relocations and expansions Industry people Appointments Technology spotlight Advances in technology
12 21 22
Nature-inspired innovation How biomimetics is moving technology forward
Focus on France Ian Sparks reports from Paris Focus on Germany Allan Hall reports from Berlin
Agriculture 23 26 30
New dimensions Agrikon Kam The ‘AgroVision company’ Lemken Tilling the soil Peeters Landbouwmachines
Automation & Tooling 34
Profiling performance and precision Homag Group
Automotive 39 44
Home from home Knaus Tabbert It’s what’s inside that matters
International Automotive Components Shaping the future Standard Profil Versatile multi-task technology Vilakone Comfort and safety SUSPA Specialists in cooling technology Nissens
48 52 55 60
Building & Construction 64 70 74 78 83 86
Totally above board Unilin Perfection in wood Kronospan Opening more doors Gilgen Door Systems A window on success Trakya Cam Masters in ceramics Villeroy & Boch Clear advantage ROLLTECH
VOL 22/2 Chemicals
Above: Nord Motoriduttori p114
The chemical solution Perstorp Old business, new chemicals
Consumer Goods 101
Procter & Gamble Keep young and beautiful
Electrical Equipment 110 114
Focused on consumers Godrej & Boyce Nord drives the world Nord Motoriduttori
Food & Drink
Above: Lemken p26 Below: SUSPA p55
120 126 130 134 138
International growth with strong partners Eckes-Granini
Global expansion plans Pavan Group Depending on vending Maas International A taste for success Vandemoortele Group Teatime treats Bisca
Above: Perstorp p91 Below: Eckes-Granini p120
HVAC & Refrigeration 142 145 148
Marine 152 156 160 164 171
Sailing in luxury Delphia Continue to invest in shipping JJ Ugland Deep sea sailing OCEA Setting a new course TransAtlantic Centuries of shipbuilding experience
Metals Below: Unilin p64
The IT cooling specialists Stulz Knowledge is power Kirloskar Displaying greener efficiency Bonnet Neve
174 185 188 192
The appeal of steel Ruukki Expanding in refactories Intocast Valuing quality, the environment and human resources AFV Beltrame An ideal partner for cast iron and bronze Omco Metals
Above: TransAtlantic p164 Below: OVIT p198
Breaking new ground Caterpillar
Also in this issue... 198 202 205 208 213
High wire success OVIT Focused on advanced technology Mediterr Shock Absorber
Optimising pharmaceutical contract outsourcing Siegfried One step ahead Lano The endless recycle Econyl Industry Europe 5
Executive Editor of The Scotsman
Searching for life after death Seldom has a year opened with more dire foreboding as to what could lie ahead for the economies of Europe.
o-one could say we weren’t warned. First came the credit rating downgrades by Standard & Poors – nine out of 17 eurozone countries saw their ratings cut – with France and Austria stripped of their coveted triple A rankings. Among reasons cited were tightening credit conditions, simultaneous de-leveraging by governments and households, weakening economic growth prospects and disagreement over policy approaches to bring about recovery. Then came forecasts from the International Monetary Fund of recession. It warned eurozone GDP would fall 0.5 per cent in 2012. Greece was a no-hope case, having contracted six per cent in 2011, and with no improvement in sight. Growth in France and Germany was likely to be minimal. Spain and Italy were likely to see GDP falls of 1.7 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively. The World Bank agreed, declaring that, largely because of the eurozone debt crisis, “the world economy has entered a dangerous phase.” Economists wrote off the southern eurozone economies as ‘austerity traps’. The outspoken Joseph Stiglitz called them “suicide pacts, akin to medieval blood-letting.” Britain, though mercifully out of the eurozone, has looked on helpless and aghast. More than 47 per cent of UK exports went to the eurozone in 2010. A recession across Europe would not just spell trouble for thousands of UK companies but would dash hopes that the UK could enjoy an export-led recovery. Arguably the greater threat was the chaos that a sovereign default or bank failure would trigger across Europe and the Western economies. UK banks would be immediate casualties and would require further bail-out, dwarfing previous efforts. Thus we entered 2012 deeply apprehensive over what might unfold. Predictions of a Greek default and exit from the single cur6 Industry Europe
rency have been commonplace and finance ministries have drawn up contingency plans for just such an event. All this has had a corrosive effect on business confidence in the UK. Forecasters warned that a recovery may not really set in for another two years, making this the longest recession/recovery cycle for a hundred years.
A recession across Europe would not just spell trouble for thousands of UK companies but would dash hopes that the UK could enjoy an export-led recovery. Back from the brink Yet the opening weeks of the year have brought a step back from the immediate precipice. A key reason for the change is that since late December the European Central Bank has resorted to liquidity support for Europe’s stricken commercial banks on a scale without precedent. Its Longer Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO), a back door form of quantitative easing, takes the form of very cheap three-year loans designed to help the banks meet a colossal mountain of £1.4 trillion of debt refinancing over the next two years. The bulk of this falls due in the first six months of this year. Not only have the banks eagerly grasped the immediate €500 billion (£420 billion) lifeline – many have been frozen out of commercial funding markets for months – but a further massive extension of this support is scheduled to launch in February. In addition to relieving pressure on the banks, this has also helped relieve the funding crisis for stricken eurozone governments. Banks, now flush with cheap funds, have been encouraged to buy government debt, thus earning useful profits while enabling France and Spain to hold successful bond auctions.
Government bond yields still remain high, but they have pulled back from the crisis levels seen at the end of last year. And at the same time bank shares have risen strongly, igniting a broader recovery across equity markets. Crisis over? Unfortunately, this support does not in any way address the underlying problem of the banks’ bad debt pile or even provide more transparency as to the scale of write-off required – an exercise that would almost certainly see many banks declared insolvent. It is this epic unresolved leverage that lies at the heart of the crisis in Western economies and explains the inability of banks to provide the lending that would turn the wheel of recovery. What LTRO does is to buy time. It gives the governments of the eurozone a limited breathing space in which they can embark on desperately needed structural reform of their economies. Austerity alone won’t fix it. Business taxes need to be brought down, public services provided more efficiently and resources shifted to the productive sectors. Above all, productivity and competitiveness need to be substantially improved as the option of devaluation is effectively blocked off. For the moment political Europe can see little further than a Financial Transactions Tax, convergence of corporate tax policies (threatening Ireland’s competitiveness), more energy taxes and European Commission administered regional funds. The heart sinks. But there are small flickers of hope. The German IFO business index, helped by the ECB liquidity injection, rose in January, beating consensus forecasts and staging the biggest jump since data collection began two decades ago. And the Brussels-based Conference Board Leading Economic Indicator for the euro area saw a modest rise in December – the first such increase in ten months. Amid all the uncertainties still dogging the eurozone, here are signs that there n may be indeed be life after death.
Veteran commentator on Washington & Wall Street
“The State of the the Union is strong.” Thus spoke US President Barak Obama when he delivered his third annual State of the Union to a joint session of Congress
ell, up to a point, Mr President. There are some happier indicators that the American economy has not slipped back into recession as it enters 2012. Unemployment has ticked just below the 9 per cent level, where it had been most of last year. Some manufacturing sectors like motor cars have at least regained their footing, if not record sales levels. Wall Street’s share price indicators are robust enough. And as for Mr Obama personally, the ordeal-by-sound-bite that is the Republican primary nominating process seems to be churning out a likely opponent – Mitt Romney – whose principal characteristic is that he could bore the face off a clock. But the shopping list of policy recommendations Mr Obama presented to the American lawmakers was short on specific remedies for going forward toward a truly prosperous future. In fairness, that is in part a reflection of the political gridlock here in Washington where the White House is being held hostage by Republicans in the House of Representatives who see their primary mission to turf the incumbent out. Politics aside, Mr Obama is hampered by the hard truth that there are fundamental shifts going on in the broader economy that make traditional government policy responses ineffective. And since no-one is sure just where those shifts are
headed, it is hard to see what innovative response there can be other than to wait and hope for the best. And that, in essence, is what Mr Obama is doing. Take the point he made in his address that from last July to November the US economy generated 653,000 net new jobs. That is good news but not nearly good enough and the jobless rate will still be above 8 per cent this November when voters go to the polls. More ominous is the fact that real personal disposable income fell in four of those five months. If US retailers were able to notch improved sales during the key Christmas holiday spending orgy, it was because consumers dipped into their savings forcing the overall savings rate down from 5 per cent to 3.5 per cent – back to the bad old days of 2007 – to finance their purchases. Significantly, in those areas of US manufacturing that have regained some signs of life it is increasingly clear that management is choosing to buy more improved technology to further increase the productivity of the workers they have, and not hiring new workers to ramp up production. A recent study by the economists of the San Francisco Federal Reserve bank said this ‘jobless recovery’ breaks the pattern of past recession-recovery cycles. The Fed analysts speculated that the nature of manufacturing in a global marketplace may be
imposing a fundamental change in the way makers hire workers from now on.
Financing debt Another hole in the hull of the Ship of State that Mr Obama did not address is the fact that despite a year-long brawl with Congress over reducing the federal government’s budget deficits, Washington is poised this year to spend $3.6 trillion dollars, up from last year’s record $2.7 trillion. Last year of course was the year America lost its Standard and Poor’s triple-AAA credit rating. The best estimates are that the eleven largest global economies will come to the bond markets to refinance maturing debt issues to the tune of $7.6 trillion – actually that amount will be in excess of $8 trillion once interest charges are added. Japan will tap the markets the most heavily with $3 trillion in offerings but the US will be right behind it asking for $2.8 trillion. Italy is scheduled to offer almost $500 billion in bonds; France is next with $367 billion; and Germany runs third in the European stakes with $285 billion in offerings due to come out. Canada, Brazil, the UK, China, India and Russia round out the field in that order. Last year this was not a problem for the US Treasury. The crisis elsewhere in the world and the comparative stability of the United States was judged solid enough by investors to create
a record demand for American government debt offerings. Overall, US Treasuries had their best performance since 1995. On average the agency received $3.04 in bids for each dollar of the $2.135 trillion in notes and bonds it sold. That’s a record. As late as the 20th December auction of $30 billion of four-week bills the Treasury received a bidto-cover ratio of 9.03 that was an all-time high even though they pay zero per cent interest. But the bond markets are not an inexhaustible fountain and can run, if not dry, at least to a trickle at a moment’s notice. First, the global markets will have to do more than refinance the maturing obligations of the eleven most debt heavy economies. The need for new money will push the total offerings of those leading nations to a $10 trillion high point in the next twelve months. Moreover, most Wall Street analysts forecast that the borrowing costs for just the G-7 bloc will rise as much as 39 per cent over the coming year. For a basket-case like Greece, it may have to pay as much as 175 per cent more for its upcoming needs; but even Italy – the fourth largest economy in Europe – faces having to pay 40 per cent more than it did just last year. All these factors are poised to test Mr Obama’s optimistic outlook for the future. He may well be re-elected to lead the United States come November. n But he may rue the day. n Industry Europe 7
Where would we be without acronyms? These three alone represent game-changing developments. Bob Emmerson reports and throws in the Cloud for good measure.
GAME CHANGERS: 4G/LTE; DIY M2M; BYOD T
he first acronym, which comes from the cellular communications community, could have been created in order to spread confusion. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution: it’s a goal that will deliver high data rates and other communications goodies. LTE networks are being rolled out but they are not 4G, although that is the way they and LTEcompliant devices are being marketed. LTE is really 3.9G and admittedly that isn’t going to grab your attention. Real 4G networks come with LTE Advanced. OK. Does it matter and why is it a game-changing development? It matters because the industry has a history of being economical with the truth and this is the latest example. Did 3G deliver a 2Mbps data rate? Did it deliver CD-quality 8 Industry Europe
sound? No on both counts, which means that I am somewhat skeptical about the promised 4G functionality. But it is a game changer because the new networks are all-IP and they employ a new core that is very efficient. When voice is packetised, which it is on wireline networks, you can do amazing things. Skype calls are either free or cheap and you can do chat, conferencing (including video), messaging, and leave voice mail. The functionality comes from the fact that packetised voice is just another data type to a computer and it can be processed in any way that makes marketing sense. For example, a map display on your shiny new smartphone could flag to the location of colleagues and buddies. Click on the relevant icon and a call is initiated. We
can expect to see zillions of so-called Mashup apps coming to the market. You can do Skype on 3G networks, but call quality will be high-definition on 4G and we can expect devices to be preloaded with this app, so you can set it to be the default service. It’s going to be very hard for operators to compete with Skype and the other OTT (over the top) players. But will subscribers care? No, they won’t.
DIY M2M: a double whammy M2M connects devices, systems and people and turns data based on physical parameters into real-time, actionable information. This communications sector has been amazingly successful, despite the sad state of the econ-
omy in recent years. Solutions are working away in myriad ‘vertical’ industries. A bird’s eye view of an urban environment would typically include healthcare, metering, asset management, payments, location-based services, security, industrial automation and more. They’re ‘vertical’ because they operate in a silo, i.e. they are not an integral part of a company’s mainstream ICT environment. The architecture of the silo model is not an efficient way to communicate and it’s also a barrier to further development. It’s inefficient because the same wheel is reinvented for different applications, even when they are for the same sector. And it’s a barrier because business processes employ a horizontal model, which has a common system architecture that enables component sharing. That scenario is changing rapidly and a key integration enabler is ‘MSM in the Cloud’. There is broad agreement on a new architecture as well as M2M service capabilities. They provide: functions that can be shared by different applications; exposure of functionality via open interfaces; use of core network functionality; and simplified, optimised application development and deployment. This combination will allow M2M applications to migrate from the current vertical silo model and adopt the horizontal model of mainstream comput-
ing. And the relatively new ability to share functional components will allow M2M to become an integral part of the direction in which enterprise ICT environments are moving, i.e. cloud computing. So where does DIY (do it yourself) come in? ICT management needs to manage the corporate environment and silo solutions are, by definition, isolated islands. The developments outlined in the previous paragraph facilitate management, but there is a more ambitious goal, namely the ability to own a rapid application creation and deployment platform.
A tall order but do-able The single, most important development right now is the creation of M2M solutions that are standards-based, open, and cloudcentric. However, in order for these solutions to be accepted as an integral, desirable and robust constituent of an enterprise’s environment more is needed. CTOs and ICT management would obviously want to be able to manage this new constituent and ideally they would welcome a platform that would also enable applications to be created in-house. That said, the process would have to be done by programmers who do not have M2M know-how and experience, and the exercise would be pointless unless it could be done in short time
Figure 1. This schematic visualizes M2M’s transition from a vertical, stand-alone architecture to one that is in line with the horizontal model of an enterprise environment. Note that the common application interface plays a key role in the rapid creation of new applications
Pipe (vertical) Business Application
frames. Do that and development costs are reduced and much shorter ROIs are realised. Those enterprise requirements sound like a very tall order, but they are do-able. Eurotech, for example, has created the requisite software framework, but it is clear that this relatively small company cannot carry this innovative concept forward on its own: nor can it undertake projects that require systems integration skills and resources. What’s needed is a community effort — a new M2M ecosystem that includes heavy hitters like IBM and Intel: companies that operate in the enterprise space and that are respected and trusted. One such community effort is the M2M Industry Working Group at the Eclipse Foundation, which is a not-for-profit, open source Website. IBM and Eurotech are members. The inclusion of IBM’s systems integration resources and experience is significant. Another is the Eclipse Koneki project. Eurotech employs a similar concept to that of figure 1 but takes it to a higher level. This vendor has developed a software framework that comprises the generic components that are employed in most M2M applications. In addition, there are component bundles that address the typical need of specific vertical market applications. This results in a solution that allows IT to customise these apps using Java. The software framework also allows
Figure 2. One security strategy is to adopt a ‘sandbox approach’. This involves storing enterprise data and applications that are encrypted and password protected in one part of the device. The remaining files, e.g. music, videos, and photos are retained and made available to users that are not logged onto the corporate network.
Horizontal (based on common Layer) Business Application #1
Business Application #2
Business Application #3
Common Application Infrastructure
Transport Network (mobile, fixed, Powerline..)
Transport Network 2
Transport Network 1
Local NW Device
Local NW Device
Industry Europe 9
enterprises to add, amend and drop M2M services in line with changing requirements. That was a very short take on a gamechanging development.
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Right now there’s a lot of security noise being generated about BYOD – Bring Your Own Device. IT management doesn’t like smartphones but they can’t stop them coming into the company and being used on the corporate environment. These days employees have the upper hand. It’s ICT democracy in action. But I’m old enough to recall the time when PCs entered our lives and IT didn’t like them one little bit. When dumb terminals accessed IBM mainframe computers IT was in control. They had absolute power.
Where would we be today if that kind of ICT dictatorship had prevailed? The seemingly obvious solution to making BYOD work for the enterprise would be to allow the smartphone to maintain dual personalities—you log in as your non-work persona, and you get all your personal settings; or you log in as your work persona and get an entirely separate interface that’s walled off from the personal side. That work persona is completely managed and controlled by your corporate IT department. Split personalities are enabled by a software security mechanism: a ‘sandbox’. That’s the popular term and it’s visualised in figure 2. In real life sandboxes are wide open, so it’s a somewhat unfortunate term and it only works if the users follow corpo-
rate guidance. There is a wall between the business data and the user’s personal data, but stepping over to the latter side is easy and it can be done without thinking, e.g. by visiting Apple’s tempting Apps Store while using the phone or tablet at work. And as in so many other ICT areas, expert opinions are divided: some back the concept; others see it as an intermediate solution.
Be pragmatic There is an obvious need to minimise breaches of security but this task goes beyond simply securing the technologies. Solutions have to be pragmatic and relevant to the processes they are going to protect, so there may be tradeoffs. Users have to work with the solution and if usage is too complex or cumbersome it won’t be effective. For example, if corporate policies are too restrictive users may look for ways of circumventing them. This means that C-level management should take a more active role as security shifts from being technology centric to business risk centric. Security decisions should involve business-level discussions and management is in the best position when it comes to determining the risks involved. And the biggest security risk may turn out to be a disgruntled employee.
Conclusions Mobile Network Operators are investing zillions in 4G networks but the ROI is problematic. KPN, the largest Dutch telecom company, is reporting product substitution by its customers. Smart phone subscribers are substituting non-revenue or low revenue product substitutes for the operator’s voice and text messaging services. LTE-enabled devices will accelerate this trend. Meanwhile, M2M is on a gigantic roll. We’re in a sweet spot. Wireless data services are high-speed, affordable and ubiquitous. Now we have powerful handheld computers (smart phones). And there are new mobile applications that integrate with mainstream business processes. And virtualisation — a Cloud-centric technology — can be used to securely isolate apps with different trust levels, quarantine compromised apps and protect sensitive business data. IT is put back in charge of the enterprise environment and as long as they also supply the apps and applets that digital natives expect, then BYOD issues should disappear. Yes, maybe that is an oversimplification, but it shouldn’t be beyond the wit of n man to deliver something similar. 10 Industry Europe
New developments in the Telecommunications industry
Maersk Line and Ericsson bring mobile connectivity to the oceans
he oceans are the last ‘white spot’ for the mobile communication industry to connect. The world’s largest shipping company, Maersk Line, has appointed Ericsson to address this by introducing end-to-end systems integration and deployment of mobile and satellite communication to its entire vessel fleet. The Maersk Line fleet comprises more than 500 container vessels. Over the next two years, Maersk Line will outfit 400 of these vessels with Ericsson antennas and GSM base stations, with upgrades to be made to the remaining vessels soon after. As part of the agreement, Ericsson will provide seven years of global managed services support, including 24/7 network monitoring and onboard maintenance services in a large number of ports across all major regions. For the shipping industry, mobile communication provides the opportunity to employ new and efficient ways of addressing fleet management, managing delivery times, improving interaction with vessels, enabling proactive issue resolution, prompt information sharing with customers and even improving energy efficiency. Visit: www.ericsson.com
Personalised services for Vodafone Egypt subscribers S
ubscribers of Vodafone Egypt, the country’s largest telecom operator, will soon enjoy a host of customised services. The operator is upgrading its subscriber data management system built on the One-NDS platform provided by Nokia Siemens Networks. This will enable Vodafone Egypt to speed up the process of launching new, targeted services.
“With a fast growing emerging market, characterised by increased uptake of smartphones and tablets, subscribers are looking for more, highly personalised services,” said Tony Dolton, chief technical officer, Vodafone Egypt. “Nokia Siemens Networks’ One-NDS platform will enable us to do just that.” Nokia Siemens Networks is upgrading its comprehensive subscriber data management solution,
including the One-NDS platform, and providing its Home Location Register (HLR), and Mobile Number Portability (MNP). The One-NDS platform unifies fragmented data into a single repository and is more efficient than having multiple databases for different front-end applications such as HLR and MNP. Visit: www.vodwfone.com or www.nokiasiemensnetworks.com
TeliaSonera increases its ownership in Kcell
weden’s Teliasonera has signed an agreement with Kazakhtelecom to acquire 49 per cent of the shares in GSM Kazakhstan LLP, operating under the brand Kcell. “This agreement is another step in the execution of our strategy of increasing ownership in core holdings. Through this transaction TeliaSonera increases its ownership in Kcell, a company where we already have
‘JONAH’ links Italy and Israel
ezeq International and Alcatel-Lucent have commercially launched a new and superfast submarine cable link between Israel and Italy. This high-speed optical fibre system, named ‘JONAH’, covers 2300 kilometres across the Mediterranean, and is intended to address the growing demands of the highly dynamic
management and operational control. Kcell is a clear market leader in Kazakhstan, the largest market in Central Asia, and has shown remarkable growth over the years. The fact that part of the company will be sold in an IPO will make it even more attractive,” said Tero Kivisaari, president, TeliaSonera Eurasia. Visit: www.teliasonera.com
Israeli telecom market, which shows one of the highest household broadband and mobile penetration rates in the world. The new link, which leverages AlcatelLucent’s most advanced submarine communications networking technology, is the first high-speed submarine cable system fully owned by an Israeli operator. It can operate at 100 gigabits-
per-second data transmissions to enable data capacity of 7.6 Terabits-per-second (Tbps) between Tel Aviv and Bari, Italy. This ultimate capacity could allow the simultaneous download of 100,000 MP3 files in one minute and the streaming of 15,000 HDTV channels. Visit: www.bezeqint.net or www.alcatel-lucent.com Industry Europe 11
New developments in the Telecommunications industry
Telefönica partners with Feedhenry to support business app strategies Matthew Key, chairman & CEO of Telefönica Digital
elefönica Digital has announced an exclusive partnership with FeedHenry – a leading developer of cloud-based mobile application solutions – to launch a platform that enables businesses of any size to build their own mobile apps. The service will be launched by O2 in the UK during Q1 2012 before being rolled out to other Telefönica markets. The subscription-based platform will enable any enterprise – from SME to multinational corporate – to create apps and deploy them across Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7 and Nokia operating systems as well as the Mobile Web. “This partnership will be welcome news for any organisation that recognises the power of mobile apps and how they can drive increased revenue, boost employee productivity and enhance the overall customer experience,” said Matthew Key, chairman & CEO of Telefönica Digital. “We’ve enjoyed great success launching a similar platform in Ireland earlier this year and already list Aer Lingus, Diageo and PWC among our customers.” Visit: www.telefonica.com
Cable&Wireless Worldwide and Equinix collaborate to deliver cloud-based services for global enterprises C
Nick Lambert, managing director, Wholesale, Mid-Markets and Global Markets, C&W Worldwide
able&Wireless Worldwide, a global provider of mission critical communications, is collaborating with Equinix Inc., a provider of global data centre services, to become a one-stop shop for global enterprises that require best-of-breed data centre services. This collaboration will strengthen C&W Worldwide’s existing cloud capabilities and will be a springboard from which the company will deliver a comprehensive suite of data centre services,
such as co-location, managed hosting and cloud computing services to global customers. “Telcos are natural providers of enterprise-class infrastructure services. Our ambition is to create an ecosystem of best-of-breed solutions from different service providers that can deliver a flexible and risk free cloud computing roadmap for customers,” said Nick Lambert, managing director, Wholesale, Midmarkets and Global Markets, C&W Worldwide. Visit: www.cw.com or www.equinix.com
LIME targets SME businesses with ‘Cloud’ services T
he Caribbean business of Cable & Wireless Communications, LIME, is targeting more business from small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Caribbean by extending its suite of cloud-based services. The LIME Cloud offers customers access to a bank of virtual computer servers which enable them to host
Stevanato Group chooses the Nuvola Italiana (Italian Cloud) platform
elecom Italia and the Stevanato Group at Piombino Dese (Padua), the leading company in producing glass pharmaceutical containers, have signed an agreement enabling the Veneto company to adopt advanced computer solutions that will
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IT infrastructure online. This provides SMEs with a flexible and cost-effective alternative to maintaining servers within their offices. For example, IT teams sometimes want to test new software on a separate server before rolling it out across their company. Previously they would have needed to to purchase, house improve performance and costs, thanks to the Nuvola Italiana (Italian Cloud) platform utilising modern Cloud Computing technologies and the Telecom Italia infrastructures for broadband. In particular, under the agreement the Stevanato Group will adopt a solution involving the outsourcing of their computer systems in the Telecom Italia Data Centers,
and maintain a permanent server for that purpose. Due to the popularity of the LIME Cloud amongst Jamaica SMEs the product will now be sold across 13 Caribbean markets alongside a range of complementary cloudbased services. Visit: www.cwc.com ensuring the management of data recovery and service continuity. The project also provides for the creation of an optical fibre link with very high transmission capacity, and the activation of a high definition video communications platform based on Cloud architecture designed to link the various facilities of the group. Visit: www.telecomitalia.com
France Telecom-Orange enters into partnership with Bouygues Telecom
rance Telecom-Orange and Bouygues Telecom have concluded a partnership agreement to share Fibre to the Home networks (FTTH) deployed by France Telecom-Orange across France. Through this partnership, France Telecom-Orange will provide a service for sharing its optical fibre networks in very densely populated areas with Bouygues Telecom for the horizontal network segment leading to the foot of buildings. In doing so, France Telecom-Orange optimises its deployment costs by sharing the available resources of its optical fibre networks. Within the buildings, Bouygues Telecom will have to build its own networks or subscribe to available cable-sharing offers. In this zone, the partnership potentially covers 1.7 million homes. Visit: www.orange.com
MTS launches first 3G network in Russia in the 900 MHz range
Staples Europe selects BT as its primary European network services provider
Andrei Ushatskiy, vice-president and chief technology officer of MTS
national service provider to distribute its products and services across a wide international network. It is also significantly enhancing Deutsche Telekom’s position as a leading provider of the latest applications for its customers. “Groupon is one of the global leaders in the online and mobile commerce business,” says Heikki Makijarvi, senior
vice-president Business Development at Deutsche Telekom. “Our partnership with Groupon allows us to strengthen our stake in this rapidly expanding and exciting new market segment, while diversifying our portfolio and accelerating our time to market for innovative products and services at the same time.” Visit: www.telekom.com
obile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS), the leading telecommunications provider in Russia and the CIS, has announced the first commercial launch in Russia of the 3G network in the 900 MHz range in Moscow and the Moscow region. This will enable MTS to improve its 3G coverage and offer significantly faster speeds for subscribers. MTS has already introduced more than 500 base stations in the 900 MHz range in the Moscow region and plans to increase this number by the end of 2012. Primarily, the new 3G network will cover southern and south-western Moscow as well as main transportation arteries across the city. Andrei Ushatskiy, vice-president and chief technology officer of MTS, commented, “The launch of 3G base stations in the 900 MHz range complements networks already deployed in the 2100 MHz range. This allows us to increase 3G coverage and provide greater speeds in the areas where this was impossible due to the scarcity of higher-band frequencies.” Visit: www.mtsgsm.com
Deutsche Telekom and Groupon form strategic partnership
eutsche Telekom and Groupon have formed a strategic partnership to deliver Groupon’s hallmark local commerce deals in multiple European countries within the Deutsche Telekom network. The partnership marks the first time Groupon will partner with a multi-
T has announced a four-year networked IT services contract with Staples, the world’s largest office products company serving businesses and consumers in 26 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. The contract provides Staples with a cost-effective, highly resilient network connecting 325 offices and stores across seven European countries into a single, secure wide area network (WAN) environment. Kevin Milliken, senior vice-president and head of Information Technology at Staples, Europe said: “We chose BT as our primary European supplier because of their reliability, flexibility and ability to offer us a high-bandwidth, cost-effective wide area network – regardless of underlying technology or office location.” BT will be providing Staples with an intelligent IP Virtual Private Network (IP VPN) service, running on the global BT IP Connect platform, across the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. Visit: www.btplc.com
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NATURE-INSPIRED INNOVATION How do you keep a building cool in a hot climate using hardly any energy, or develop a high-speed bullet train that makes hardly any sound? It is the purpose of biomimicry, the examination of nature’s systems to solve very human problems, to find answers to these questions. Victoria Hattersley looks at some of these solutions, and at how PLM (product lifecycle management) tools and 3D technologies can be used to aid the design and manufacturing processes.
he principles of biomimetics are increasingly used in almost every manufacturing sector to develop more environmentally friendly solutions, where they can help product designers with lightweighting, cutting energy use or even developing more efficient ways to use renewable energies. At the Dassault Systèmes European Customer Forum held in Paris in November 2011, Janine Benyus, author and president of the US-based Biomimicry 3.8 association, discussed the many ways in which biomimetics are changing our interaction with the world. She explained: “Biomimicry is the process of studying nature to find out what it would do to reduce noise, keep things cool, reduce waste etc. – enabling us all to live together on the planet in a sustainable way.” Taking inspiration from systems which have been tried and tested in nature over millions of years, scientists and technologists are now able to create more ecologically sustainable answers to day-to-day problems. 3D simulation and CAD software programmes, such as those developed by Dassault Systèmes, are just some of the tools which are being used to make these ideas a reality. 14 Industry Europe
Modelling from nature But how exactly can 3D modelling systems help to mimic nature? What can they offer the design team to make their job easier? The programmes offered by Dassault Systèmes alone serve as examples of the huge range of sophisticated tools available to designers now. Its Catia programme allows designers to realise a concept in its entirety using only 3D virtual modelling. What 3D allows a designer to do is test out how a system might appear and what kinds of problems might be encountered in its manufacture. Programmes such as Simulia, meanwhile, give realistic simulations, factoring in every variable, to test how a certain product or concept will perform and react in the real world. Using 3D and PLM software means problems can be eliminated early in the design phase without the need for costly re-modelling later on. It is also a far more sustainable way of designing because it means that when it comes to manufacturing, only the minimum material necessary need be used. Delmia, meanwhile, is a programme which, following on from the design phase, enables manufacturers to work out the best ways to
actually produce using less energy and suppliers, minimising supply logistics and where possible using local manufacturing. This means that not only are its users developing sustainable solutions by mimicking nature’s way of responding to problems, they are also carrying this out in the most environmentally friendly way possible. Say, for example, you were trying to develop a method of making car components lightweight but still strong enough to withstand any stress. Engineers at Adam Opel Gmbh have been designing engine components with the aid of computer simulation techniques such as CAO (computer-aided optimisation) and SKO (soft kill option), developed by Claus Matthek at the Karlsruhe Research Centre in Germany, which can define the material property of each element of the design and show the simulated effects of adding or removing material. Prof. Dr. Lothar Harzheim, biomimetics specialist at Adam Opel, explained the principles behind this: “Both CAO and SKO are based on the idea that nature is the ultimate designer and that, consequently, biological load carriers – such as trees and bones – have been optimised during the evolution process. In a
Janine Benyus, president of Biomimicry 3.8
mechanical sense such biological load carriers are nothing other than engineering components. Furthermore, minimum weight is very important for surival, especially for bones. A general underlying adaptive biological growth rule leades to optimised biological structures which can be simulated. “The SKO method is applied to the inner part of structures which means that materials can be removed and new designs created. The most important SKO enhancement created by Opel is TopShape, which takes manufacturing constraints of cast parts into account and increases the efficiency and optimisation of parts such as brackets and axle components.” As an example of the success of this methodology, an engine mounting developed by the company using the CAO and SKO methods is 25 per cent lighter and the stresses are 60 per cent smaller than a conventional counterpart. In parts where aluminium could be used instead of steel, the weight reduction culd be as much as 60 per cent.
There are countless other examples of systems that have been developed using principles drawn from nature. In the area of renewable energy, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has been studying the behaviour of schooling fish to develop more efficient methods of wind farming. After studying the vortices left behind by fish swimming in a school, researchers at Caltech noticed that some of these rotated
clockwise, and some anti-clockwise. This led them to wonder whether alternating the rotation of vertical-axis turbines – which are relatively new additions to the wind energy sector and take up less space because they have no propellers – would improve efficiency. They also noticed that the vortices in fish schools were arranged in a ‘stair’ pattern as opposed to current wind farms which arrange turbines in rows. They believe that staggering the farms in this way may improve efficiency as much as tenfold. How about high-speed trains which make virtually no noise? The Japanese Shinkansen bullet train, in operation since 2008, was inspired by the example of kingfishers to solve the problem of high-speed trains emitting loud sonic booms when they exit trains tunnels. The design of the kingfisher’s beak allows the bird to dive from the air into the water with minimal energy loss, and the same principle was applied to the front of the train to allow it to exit tunnels almost noiselessly. The problem of how to inhibit bacterial growth in environments where bacteria pose a health risk, such as hospital surfaces, has been addressed by a partnership between FLEXcon, an innovator in adhesive coating and laminating, and Sharklet technologies, a company which has developed technologies to inhibit bacterial survival and growth. They have developed a protective film, using Sharklet’s core technology inspired by the microbe-resistant properties of sharkskin, to be applied to any germ-prone surfaces to reduce the presence of bacteria. This
Using Dassault Systèmes CAD software
Shinkansen bullet train, based on Kingfisher research
Biomimicry in action
product is already in use in many healthcare facilities, research laboratories and other settings at risk from bacteria.
What next? These are just a few examples of the huge variety of nature-inspired innovations currently in use, and there are of course many new projects in the pipeline. CAD technology is now considered to be a crucial part of this, as John Laux, Digital Design Strategist for Biomimicry 3.8, explained: “Everybody is using some kind of 3D CAD-based software in biomimetics these days. It’s just accepted as the norm.” In fact, he says, in the future there may well be software developed by companies such as Dassault specifically for these purposes, rather than fitting the work around the standard programmes. “People use traditional CAD programmes for biomimicry currently, but we’re working with vendors to try and find ways to implement more biomimetic features into the CAD software itself. It will actually be about working with the software to integrate those principles so we are trying to work out how you can do this mechanically.” As has been illustrated above, the principles of biomimetics can, and indeed many would argue should, be integrated into product development for almost any industry sector. “Our goal,” said Janine Benyus, “is moving these kinds of principles into the systems that humans design every day. I would urge manufacturers to invite a biologist to the design table, have them upstream in the n design chain, and see what happens.”
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New contracts and orders in industry
Largest deal ever for Volvo Buses in Colombia V
olvo Bus Latin America has recently sold 688 bus chassis to the capitol of Colombia, Bogotá. It’s the company’s largest deal ever in Colombia. The deal encompasses chassis for conventional buses as well as articulated and biarticulated buses. The new vehicles were sold for the third phase expansion of Transmilenio in Bogotá, the continent’s most efficient and advanced BRT-system. BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) is the acronym for high-capacity bus-based urban transportation systems – a cost efficient alternative to rail-bound transport systems. In total the deal encompasses 688 chassis including 48 articulated and 97 biarticulated vehicles that will operate the trunk lines of Transmilenio. The remaining over 500 chassis will be used for low entry buses, operating conventional lines and feeder lines. These are the first low floor buses to be used in Bogotá enabling access by wheelchairs to public transportation. Visit: www.volvo.com
Balfour Beatty wins £50 million Olympic Park Legacy contract
B Imtech receives €77 million order for waste processing plant in Warsaw
mtech (IM-AE, technical services provider in and outside Europe) has been commissioned by Finalsa SA for the realisation of all technical solutions in one of the most advanced waste processing plants in the world. This plant will be built near Warsaw in Poland and is capable of processing approximately 120,000 tonnes of waste per year – more than 400 tonnes of waste per day. Ecology and energy efficiency are key elements here. The waste processing plant is not only completely self-sufficient in energy, but also produces extra energy, residual fuels and recyclable materials.
AREVA to upgrade the monitoring and control safety systems for 20 EDF reactors
DF has awarded AREVA with a contract worth more than €600 million to upgrade the monitoring and control systems which guarantee the safety of its 1300MW power plants (Paluel, Flamanville, Saint-Alban, Cattenom, Belleville, Nogent sur Seine, Golfech and Penly).
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René van der Bruggen, CEO Imtech, says: “Imtech is the market leader in energy efficiency in Germany and Poland. The majority of our orders are characterised by the presence of a component of energy efficiency and or energy management. Waste processing plants are one of the Imtech specialisations.” The city of Warsaw produces about 800,000 tonnes of MSW per year, so Imtech’s new waste processing plant will process 15 per cent of the total amount of waste produced by the nearly 2 million residents of the Polish capital. Visit: www.imtech.eu The work, to be carried out on 20 reactors, is an integral part of EDF’s industrial programme for the continuous improvement of its nuclear installations. The aim is to enhance the performance of the monitoring and control systems, which guarantee nuclear safety. The first tranche of the works will commence in 2015, to coincide with the third 10-yearly reactor inspections. The 1300MW
alfour Beatty, the international infrastructure group, has won a ten-year deal to run services and facilities for the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London. Under the terms of the contract, Balfour Beatty will have overall responsibility for a range of services including estates and facilities management as well as operating the ArcelorMittal Orbit, the stunning new visitor attraction forming a centrepiece of what is earmarked as a great new park for London. More than 200 new jobs are to be created through the deal with most of these filled by people from the local community, where Balfour Beatty’s training and support schemes will secure new long-term career opportunities in East London. The contract value is £50 million over the next ten years, although further scope extensions under discussion between Balfour Beatty WorkPlace and the Olympic Park Legacy Company may see the long-term value of the wider Olympic Park work grow significantly beyond the initial operational phase. The first phase starts with the opening of this summer’s Olympic Games. Visit: www.balfourbeatty.com reactor monitoring and control system was the first in the world to see digital technology used in nuclear power plants. As the principal contractor, AREVA will draw on its extensive expertise and will be working primarily with its partner, ROLLS ROYCE, whose teams are based in Grenoble, to supply the majority of the technology associated with this contract. Visit: www.edf.com
WINNINGBUSINESS Major steel structure contract for Ruukki
uukki has signed a contract worth around €5 million for the total delivery of a new mail terminal to be built in Hallsberg, central Sweden. The new building will total around 30,000 square metres. The order was placed with Ruukki by NCC Construction Sverige AB, the main contractor in the project. Ruukki’s total delivery comprises the steel frame, façades and load-bearing roof structures. Ruukki is also responsible for structural design and installation. Sweden Post plans to make Hallsberg in Central Sweden the hub of mail sorting and to switch from air cargo to railway freight, which is more
environmentally friendly. In this respect, Hallsberg is ideally placed. The building will also serve as a train loading and discharging terminal. Ruukki will begin installation work at the site in January 2012, Installation work is expected to last about six months. The building is scheduled for completion during 2012. The frame will be made at Ruukki’s plant in Peräseinäjoki, the façade panels in Alajärvi and the roof profiles in Vimpeli, Finland. The contract also includes delivery and installation of the hollow core slabs and plinth elements for the building. Visit: www.ruukki.com
Opcon Powerbox – first order in Hungary
pcon has received its first order in Hungary for a steam-driven Opcon Powerbox WST that will produce fuel-free, carbon-free electricity from waste heat after installation at the Russian owned ISD Dunaferr steel plant in Dunaújváros, Hungary. Responsible for the installation is Opcon’s Hungarian partner Elco Group, a renowned engineering company that sells, installs and services turn-key solutions in the field of electricity. The order for one Opcon Powerbox WST is the first in a planned application with installation of five Opcon Powerboxes (3 WST and 2 ORC) at the ISD
Dunaferr steel mill. Initially waste surplus steam will be used for fuel-free electricity production from an Opcon Powerbox WST. Delivery is scheduled for spring 2012. In total, ISD Dunaferr expects there to be room for more than the five Opcon Powerboxes presently being planned for in further applications. Two of the applications that are being studied prefeatures a serial installation of a steam-powered and a water-powered Opcon Powerbox in order to optimise electricity production utilising waste heat from surplus steam as well as flue gases. Visit: www.opcon.se
ÅF AB selects AVEVA as principal engineering design solution A VEVA, a leader in engineering design and information management solutions for the plant, power and process industries, has announced that ÅF AB, one of Sweden’s leading contractor and industry groups, will use AVEVA Plant as its principal design portfolio. ÅF AB has realised major cost and time savings using AVEVA PDMS for 3D design since it was first deployed in 2000. Under the terms of the new agreement, ÅF AB will now roll out AVEVA Plant across all new large and medium sized design projects. Working within a number of sectors, including paper, chemical, energy, petrochemical and
Aker Solutions wins Bøyla subsea contract
ker Solutions has signed a contract with Marathon Oil Norge AS to supply a subsea production system for the operator’s Bøyla project on the Norwegian continental shelf. The contract value is around NOK 210 million. The scope of work includes engineering, procurement, construction and delivery of
pharmaceuticals, ÅF AB provides customers with profitable energy solutions. Projects include new paper machines, biomass power plants, nuclear, thermal and renewables. “We selected AVEVA PDMS not only because we know it will always get the job done, but also because it is the most established design tool on the market being used both by our customers and machine suppliers,” said Per Högberg, CAD Coordinator, ÅF AB. Visit: www.aveva.com
four subsea trees, four over-trawlable subsea structures and control systems. The Bøyla field is located south-west of the Alvheim field and will be tied back to the Alvheim FPSO. The engineering and manufacturing of the subsea trees will be primarily performed at Aker Solutions’ technology centre at Tranby, Norway. The engineering of the over-trawlable structures will be carried out
at Aker Solutions headquarters in Fornebu, Norway. The subsea control systems will be delivered out of Aberdeen, UK. Installation and commissioning will be handled by Aker Solutions’ service base at Aagotnes, Norway. Aker Solutions’ contract party is Aker Subsea AS. The contract has been signed and booked as order intake in Q4 2011. Visit: www.akersolutions.com Industry Europe 17
MB Aerospace Holdings Ltd acquires US-based Gentz Industries
Aerospace Holdings Ltd, one of the UK’s leading aerospace companies, has announced the multi-million pound acquisition of US-based Gentz Industries. The strategic acquisition doubles the size of MBAe’s current operations creating an international brand with total revenues in excess of $80m per annum. The group will focus on the supply chain management, manufacture and repair of highly complex machined and fabricated components for global aerospace and defence original equipment manufacturers. The group, which has operations in Motherwell, Derby and Burnley, completed the sale of its two non-core subsidiaries, MB Faber (in August 2009) and MBAe Oil & Gas (March 2011), as part of its strategy to focus on its key aerospace business. Gentz Industries, based in Detroit, North Michigan, has an outstanding reputation within the global aerospace industry, manufacturing complex, high-precision engine components to an established customer base, comprising some of the leading names in the global aerospace market. The deal will see the merger of Gentz Industries’ 250 strong workforce with MBAe’s three UK sites in Scotland and England, bringing the total number of employees in the group to more than 400. Visit: www.mbaerospace.co.uk
Atlas Copco acquires Chinese compressor business
tlas Copco (China) Investment Co. Ltd has acquired certain assets of Guangzhou Linghein Compressor Co. Ltd. The acquisition supports Atlas Copco’s profitable expansion in China, adding a brand of industrial air compressors with a strong regional presence. Linghein, founded in 2001, is located in the city of Guangzhou in South-East China. The company has a turnover of approximately MCNY 110 (MSEK 100) and 160 employees. The company primarily designs and produces small
and medium-sized oil-injected rotary screw compressors. It has over the years established a solid organisation with sales and service representation in various regions over China and a strong distributor network. The acquired business will become part of Compressor Technique’s Industrial Air division. It will continue to operate under its own brand, in line with the Atlas Copco Group’s well established brand portfolio strategy. Visit: www.atlascopco.com
Sika acquires Axim from Italcementi Group
ika is to acquire the global concrete admixture and cement grinding aid businesses of Italcementi Group, which are on the market under the brand Axim. Axim has approximately 150 employees and through six legal entities operates several production units and sales
Bosch plans acquisition of voltwerk electronics GmbH
he Bosch Group plans to acquire voltwerk electronics GmbH, a Hamburg-based supplier of electronic components and software solutions for the operation of photovoltaic arrays. An agreement to this effect has been signed with Conergy AG. The acquisition is subject to approval by the antitrust authorities.
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organisations in Italy, France, USA, Canada, Morocco and Spain. Axim has a history of over 30 years of experience in the market and offers a broad and innovative range of concrete admixtures, cement grinding aids and specialised chemicals that enhance
the performance of cement and concrete, as well as improving cement production efficiency. “The agreement,” stated Giovanni Ferrario, COO Italcementi Group, “will allow the group to capitalise on the value of this business.” Visit: www.sika.com
In 2010, voltwerk electronics and its roughly 100 associates generated sales of some €68 million. Its product portfolio mainly comprises string and central inverters for photovoltaic arrays. “In acquiring voltwerk electronics, Bosch can enter the inverter market, as well as draw on a broad product portfolio ranging from 3kW string inverters to 1400kW central inverters,” said Dr Volkmar Denner, the Bosch
board of management member responsible for research and advance engineering. Alexander Gorski, Conergy’s director of operations and sales, commented: “We are very pleased to have found an investor and partner that is so highly regarded and strong as Bosch. It will now develop and drive forward the business of voltwerk electronics.” Visit: www.bosch.com
LINKINGUP Linde to acquire Air Products’ Continental-European homecare business
he technology company The Linde Group has signed an agreement for the acquisition of the Continental-European homecare business of the industrial gases company Air Products at an enterprise value of €590 million. This business achieved annual sales of €210 million in 2011. The transaction comprises Air Products’ homecare operations in Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain with around 850 employees. “Healthcare is one of our three strategic growth pillars. It has proven to be a stable business and builds on the mega-trend of changing demographics,” said Professor Dr Wolfgang Reitzle, CEO of Linde AG. “With this transac-
tion we are expanding our competencies and scaling-up our product and service offering, delivering quality care to around 260,000 additional patients.” Homecare is the term applied to medical services relating to the treatment of patients in settings other than hospitals. It comprises respiratory services such as oxygen therapy, sleep therapy, and ventilation services. In the 2010 financial year, Linde achieved global sales of around €280 million in this product area. Linde is the second largest supplier of medical gases and related services in the world. Visit: www.linde.com
Skanska acquires road construction company in Poland
CASSIDIAN and Alenia Aeronautica agree on UAS cooperation
kanska Poland has signed an agreement for 100 per cent of the shares of the construction company PUDiZ with its subsidiary WMPD. PUDiZ Group is specialised in road construction and employs about 450 people. The revenue for 2010 was PLN 160 million, about SEK 350 million. The company is based in Olsztyn, in the north-east of Poland. “We are really pleased with this acquisition that helps Skanska enter a new geographical area of the Polish market. PUDiZ is a financially stable company with a full range of services for road projects that will enable us to strengthen our position as the general contractor for road construction in north-east Poland,” says Krzysztof Andrulewicz, president, Skanska Poland. The acquisition has been approved by the competition authorities. Skanska Poland, one of the largest construction companies in Poland, had sales of SEK 9 billion in 2010. The company has about 7500 employees. Skanska Commercial Development and Skanska Infrastructure Development are also active inPoland. Visit: www.skanska.com
HEXPOL acquires Muller Kunststoffe
EXPOL AB has come to an agreement with the German Rowa Group to acquire Horst Müller Kunststoffe GmbH & Co. KG. Müller Kunststoffe is a leading central European developer and manufacturer of thermoplastic elastomer compounds (TPE Compounding) and has two production units in Lichtenfels, Germany.
“The acquisition constitutes yet another step in our ambition to broaden our product range within our Compounding business area,” says Georg Brunstam, president and CEO of HEXPOL Group. “The market for TPE compounding is undergoing great growth with interesting and increasing customer applications within the field of medical, consumer, general industry and automotive.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Cassidian on behalf of EADS Deutschland GmbH and Alenia Aeronautica SpA to jointly investigate the potential cooperation in the field of Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAV). Alenia and Cassidian are aiming to strengthen their technological know-how in order to establish a leading role in the UAS market. Thanks to this agreement, the two companies will analyse the requirements expressed by each of their respective governments in the UAS sector with the objective to create a strategic partnership and to expand their global UAS market share. Bernhard Gerwert, COO of Cassidian, said: “We look forward to investigating further collaboration with Alenia Aeronautica around a next generation MALE UAS which is of utmost importance for Europe’s military aviation industry.” Visit: www.cassidian.com Müller Kunststoffe perfectly complements our European TPE compounding operations where we already have units in the UK and Sweden.” Müller Kunststoffe is expected to be consolidated during January 2012 after being subject to regulatory approvals and has an estimated annual turnover of approximately €46 million with around 90 employees. Visit: www.hexpol.com Industry Europe 19
Relocations and expansions across Europe
State-of-the-art radar for London Southend Airport
brand new, multi-million pound, dual-channel radar is being installed at London Southend Airport, significantly improving radar coverage for the airport and the South East. The new ATCR-33SE from Selex replaces the existing radar. The new system is the most up-to-date supplied by Selex SI and one of only four of its type currently installed in the UK. The current system is a S511 prototype. It was delivered from Marconi in Chelmsford in 1982 as a trial of the – then new – technology. It will conduct its final survey of London Southend in early 2012. The installation of the new radar marks another key milestone in London Southend Airport’s regeneration under new owners, the Stobart Group. Airport managing director, Alastair Welch, says: “The Marconi primary radar has served the airport extremely well over the last 30 years, and must be among the longest-serving prototypes in aviation history. It also has an unblemished record. But times are changing here at London Southend, and I am very excited by the arrival of the new Selex system and its enhanced surveillance technologies. With the growth planned at the airport, having this new technology at the heart of our operation means we are in safe hands.” Visit: www.southendairport.com
New wave power park for Sweden
ortum and Seabased AB have signed an agreement on the construction of a joint wave power park in Sotenäs, Sweden. After completion, the wave power park will be the world’s largest, full-scale demonstration project of its kind. The total budget for the project is about €25 million. In the first half of 2012, Seabased will start serial production of buoys, generators, substations and converters at a factory to be established in the Lysekil municipality in Sweden. The goal is for marine installation of the first 42 wave power buoys and related equipment during autumn and winter of 2012. Phase-two installations are planned to be take place after a research period of about one year. When completed, the wave power park will consist of 420 buoys, with a total output of about 10 megawatts, installed in a half a square kilometre area. Visit: www.fortum.com
Dow Corning completes construction of European distribution centre
ow Corning, a global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, has completed its 32,000 square meter energy efficient European distribution centre in Feluy, Belgium. The new state-of-the-art facility showcases best
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E.ON launches multi-billion-euro program for energy transformation
the German North Sea, E.ON is building Amrumbank West, a deepwater wind farm that will cost about €1 billion and enter service in 2015. With 80 Siemens turbines, it will have a total capacity of 288 megawatts. Off the UK coast, E.ON is building Humber Gateway wind farm, which will cost about €850 million, have 219 MW of capacity, and also enter service in 2015. In the Baltic Sea off Sweden’s southern coast, E.ON is building Kårehamn wind farm, which will become operational in 2013. Kårehamn will have a capacity of 48 MW. Both Kårehamn and Humber Gateway will use the new Vestas 3 MW V112 turbine. To improve the transport of wind power produced in northern Germany, E.ON is adding new
practices to enhance environmental, health and safety performance and will allow Dow Corning to support future growth in the region, Belgium and Europe. The facility doubles the size of the current warehouse and was constructed in only 15 months. Klaus Hoffmann, regional president – Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), said: “The new European distribution centre uses
transmission lines. One of these is a new high-voltage line between Breklum and Flensburg, which connects the north Frisian coast, home to numerous wind farms, with the ultrahigh-voltage transmission system. It triples the transmission capacity in northern Friesland, from 310 MW to more than 1000 MW. It will also transport the electricity generated by deepwater wind farms like Amrumbank West. Visit: www.eon.com
optimised workflows and will significantly improve Dow Corning’s materials delivery capabilities, quality and customer service performance. It will equip our company for continued sustainable growth in Europe, to even better serve our customers with the innovative products, applications and services on which we have built our reputation.” Visit: www.dowcorning.com
Wolfgang Egger takes charge of Audi Brand Design W
olfgang Egger (48), head of Audi Group Design, has taken charge of Audi Brand Design on an operational level. He takes over this task from Stefan Sielaff, who is to become head of the Volkswagen Design Centre in Potsdam and head of Interior Design for the Volkswagen Group. Wolfgang Egger has been head of Audi Group Design since April 2007. This function comprises overall responsibility for the design of the Audi and Lamborghini brands as well as all products that bear the Audi brand logo. Prior to joining Audi, Egger held a variety of posts including head of Alfa Romeo Centro Stile and head of Lancia Centro Stile.
New member of the senior management of Holcim Ltd
MBA Polymers appoints new CEO
BA Polymers, the world leading Cleantech recycler of high value plastics, has announced the appointment of Nigel Hunton as chief executive officer. Nigel will lead the company into its next phase of development as it builds on current successes and broadens its commitment to a cleaner environment. He succeeds Richard McCombs, who will continue as a member of the board of directors. Nigel joins from Edwards Limited, the market leading global vacuum technology company, where he was most recently chairman. Previously, he was CEO of Edwards during which time he led the sale of the company from Linde to CCMP Capital in 2007 and then successfully restructured the business.
nne van der Weijde, currently CEO of Ambuja Cements Ltd, has been appointed area manager and a member of the senior management of Holcim Ltd. He remains CEO of Ambuja Cements Ltd. Onne van der Weijde is a Dutch citizen. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Accounting from the University of Rotterdam, and an MBA from the University of Bradford. He was CFO at Holcim Indonesia from 2001 to 2005 and in 2005 he was appointed general manager of Holcim India Ltd.
New appointment at OJSC MMK
MK has appointed GE’s Ruslan Pakhomov as strategic development advisor. Mr Ruslan Pakhomov joins MMK from GE, having worked at various divisions within the company, including GE Corporate, GE Oil & Gas and GE Energy. For almost a decade he oversaw strategic development of GE Energy, helping to grow it from a Russia-based sales outpost to a 300-strong operational business unit. Ruslan brings to MMK a wealth of expertise in strategic planning and developing new market sectors.
Moves at McLaren Automotive
cLaren Automotive has confirmed that Mark Harrison, the current head of PR, has been appointed as regional director, Middle East / Africa. This follows Ian Gorsuch’s move from the role and appointment as regional director for Asia Pacific; a newly created position that supports the creation
of McLaren Automotive Asia, a private limited company registered in Singapore to oversee McLaren Automotive’s Asia Pacific operations. Commenting on the development of McLaren Automotive Asia, Gorsuch said: “The first phase of McLaren Automotive’s entry into the Asia Pacific region is nearing completion as our appointed dealers are
opening their showrooms and successfully growing a strong forward order bank. We are now focused on building our Asia team and looking at the China market as the next phase of our growth.” Harrison will be responsible for managing the company’s relationships with its appointed retailers in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. Industry Europe 21
Advances in technology across industry
Pioneering humanoid robot is launched A
ldebaran Robotics, the world leader in humanoid robotics, has released its latest version of the NAO robot ó NAO Next Gen, a fully programmable humanoid robot. The new NAO Next Gen is capable of a higher level of interaction, thanks to increased computing power, improved stability and higher accuracy. One of the NAO Next Gen’s novel and most remarkable features is the fact that it is fitted with a new on-board computer, based on the powerful 1.6GHz Intel® AtomTM processor, which is suitable for multi-tasking calculations. It also has two HD cameras that are attached to a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). This set-up allows the simultaneous reception of two video streams, significantly increasing speed
and performance in face-and-object recognition, even under poor lighting conditions. As well as its innovative features with respect to hardware, NAO Next Gen boasts a new, faster and more reliable vocal-recognition programme called Nuance. This programme is coupled with a new functionality known as ‘word spotting’, which is capable of isolating and recognising a specific word within a sentence or a conversation. “On top of this new version of [the robot’s] hardware, we shall be delivering new software functionalities like smart torque control, a system to prevent limb/body collisions, an improved walking algorithm, and more,” explains Bruno Maisonnier, chairman of Aldebaran Robotics Visit: www.aldebaran-robotics.com
Fewer animal experiments thanks to nanosensors Let the sunshine in
xperiments on animals have been the subject of criticism for decades, but there is no prospect of a move away from them any time soon. The number of tests involving laboratory animals has in fact gone up. Now researchers at the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Modular Solid State Technologies EMFT in Munich have found an alternative: they hope to use novel nanosensors to reduce the number of experiments that are carried out on animals. “We’re basically using a test tube to study the effects of chemicals and their potential risks. What we do is take living cells, which were isolated from human and animal tissue and grown in cell cultures, and expose them to the substance under investigation,” explains Dr Jennifer Schmidt of the EMFT. If a given concentration of the substance is poisonous to the cell, it will die. This change in ‘well-being’ can be rendered visible by the sensor nanoparticles developed by Dr Schmidt and her team. Cells – the tiniest living things – that are healthy store energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). High levels of ATP are indicative of high levels of metabolic activity in cells. If a cell is severely damaged, it becomes less active, storing less energy and consequently producing less ATP. “Our nanosensors allow us to detect adenosine trwiphosphate and determine the state of health of cells. This makes it possible to assess the cell-damaging effects of medical compounds or chemicals,” says Schmidt. The researchers are now refining the technology and coming up with new applications for it – for instance to test the quality of packaged meat and its fitness for consumption. To this end they have developed nanosensors that can determine concentrations of oxygen and toxic amines. Visit: www.fraunhofer.de 22 Industry Europe
ASF and Philips have achieved a practical breakthrough in the development of OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology that allows it to be integrated in car roofs. The OLEDs are transparent when switched off, allowing for a clear view outside the vehicle, but provide light only within the vehicle when switched on. “This combination allows the driver to enjoy a unique open-space feeling while it generates electricity during the day and pleasantly suffuses the interior with warm light at night,” said Dr Felix Görth, head of Organic Light-Emitting Diodes and Organic Photovoltaics at BASF Future Business GmbH. Dr Dietrich Bertram, general manager of OLED Lighting at Philips, added: “This project provides impressive evidence of new possibilities with OLEDs and illustrates the potential of Philips’ Lumiblade OLED technology to help create innovative lighting applications that enhance people’s lives.” Visit: www.basf.com or www.philips.com
France Ian Sparks reports from Paris on the latest spats between the UK and France.
rench president Nicolas Sarkozy has come in for sharp criticism both in France and the UK after claiming that “Britain has no industry left.” The controversial comment – the latest in a series of jibes at the British economy from Paris – sparked widespread anger among newspapers and industry experts in the UK. But the slur was also branded as ‘totally false’ by the French media and prominent economists, who said it made him look increasingly desperate ahead of the French presidential election in May where polls suggest he will be heavily defeated by his socialist rival Francois Hollande. The president made the remark as he met journalists to announce a VAT rise of 1.6 per cent, along with a 0.1 per cent tax on financial transactions, both aimed at raising revenue to prop up France’s ailing economy. It prompted one reporter to remind Mr Sarkozy that Britain had experienced a spike in inflation when it raised its own VAT levels. But the French leader swiftly hit back: “The United Kingdom has no industry any more.” When pressed on the issue by journalists, Mr Sarkozy was then incapable of saying which British industries had declined and also unable to specify whether he was referring to the UK’s manufacturing base or a recent decline of its service industry. British newspapers predictably pounced on the comment as another sign of the demise of the Franco-British ‘entente cordiale’, and urged him to ‘check his facts’ over each country’s industrial output. But even his own revered Le Monde daily newspaper joined the attack on their president for brazenly consigning British industry to the scrapheap with a single off-the-cuff insult. Le Monde wrote: “In fact, this claim is totally false, and Britain is actually more industrialised than France. Industrial decline is more evident in our country. In 2007, industry in Britain accounted for 16.7 per cent of GDP against
14.1 per cent for France. And this statistic did not change in 2011.” Other French newspapers pointed to figures from France’s own statistics and economic studies institute INSEE, which also recently reported that industrial production in Britain is almost 5 per cent higher than it is in France.
Token tax Mr Sarkozy is also being criticised at home and abroad over his plans for a ‘Robin Hood’ tax on financial transactions in order to curb short-term speculation in the banking industry, mainly on foreign exchange deals. The levy will be introduced in August in France regardless of whether other European countries follow suit, Mr Sarkozy has declared. But prime minister David Cameron described the tax – also known as the Tobin Tax after American economist James Tobin – as ‘utter madness’. London mayor Boris Johnson has also said Britain would welcome ‘with open arms’ any French banks that want to relocate to London to escape the new tax. Mr Johnson said: “Bienvenue a Londres! This is the global capital of finance. It’s on your doorstep and if your own president does not want the jobs, the opportunities and the economic growth that you generate, we do.” Angela Knight, chief executive of the British Bankers Association, added: “They are going to tax business that can easily shift elsewhere. But this is all part of the French political process ahead of an election, just like bonuses are part of the political process in the UK.” And in France too, experts have warned the new tax could send French financial institutions fleeing across the channel. Professor Tomasz Michalski, an economist from HEC business school in Paris, told the France24 news channel: “If you tax financial transactions then that activity will simply move elsewhere. Cameron is right about that. The finance industry is a very mobile industry.
“At a time when market conditions are rough this will only make those conditions worse for French companies. A company that wants to list itself on the French stock exchange might consider other places.” And French stockbroker Eric Valatini added: “The tax is completely ineffective and even counter-productive. Within six months investors will have found a way to bypass the tax and will have created investment funds abroad for French companies.
Tais-toi The playground spat over who has the most industry and the argument over the Tobin Tax are only the latest in a recent series of public slanging matches between Britain and France. After David Cameron vetoed a new EU treaty and ‘fiscal pact’ between European nations at the summit in Brussels in October, Mr Sarkozy told him: “You have lost a good opportunity to shut up. We are sick of you criticising us and telling us what to do’ He then told a reporter on the BBC’s Newsnight programme in November: “Perhaps the fact that you come from an island, you can’t understand the subtleties of the European construction.” And days later his finance minister Francois Baroin said publicly that he would ‘rather be French then British’ in the deepening EU debt crisis. Mr Baroin told listeners on Europe 1 radio: “It’s true that the economic situation in Great Britain is very worrying and that we prefer being French rather than British on the economic front at the moment. We don’t want to be given any lessons and we don’t give any.” But despite the catalogue of crossChannel bust-ups, Mr Cameron has insisted he and Mr Sarkozy are still friends, telling British newspapers in January: “I think he is a remarkable man. I am full of admiration for Nicolas, but every now and again he says n something I don’t agree with.” Industry Europe 23
Germany Allan Hall reports from Berlin on the German enthusiasm for discount stores.
ermany is powering ahead with hopes of an export boom continuing in the face of the big A word – austerity – spreading across the globe. The world’s number two exporter expects healthy growth in foreign demand for its goods thanks to booming emerging markets and a nascent US recovery. A January poll for the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) among 3200 firms forecast a four per cent rise in exports this year. “Companies’ expectations for business abroad are cautiously optimistic,” the study said. Several firms said they expected the market to improve in the course of the year despite the looming eurozone debt crisis, with the best prospects in the so-called BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India and China. So much for the foreign landscape. But at home, where food is still among the cheapest in Europe and shoppers among the most frugal, the discount retailer is still king – and this year became enshrined in art. The world knows that Leonardo Da Vinci was captivated by Mona Lisa, Van Gogh by still life, Monet by his wife. Now in Germany it is the discount supermarket which is the inspiration behind a massive modern art exhibition using seven tonnes of sugar, 2000 plastic-wrapped sausages and 10,000 slices of white bread. ‘I Love Aldi’ is the name of the artwork, from the colossal discount store which has made the family which runs it the richest in the country. ‘Exploring Germany’s discount shopping culture’ is the theme of ‘I Love Aldi’ and opened in January at the WilhelmHack museum in Ludwigshafen. Aldi, which along with other German discounter Lidl is now firmly planted in the UK and other European nations, occupies a unique niche in status-obsessed Germany. Glittering Porsches and BMWs can be seen in the car parks of the no-frills stores alongside old bangers as the rich rub shoulders 24 Industry Europe
with the poor to buy everything at the cheapest possible prices. The nickname of these well-heeled, loyal customers is the Aldi-rati. But underwriting the kultur is cold, hard cash. According to the German market research institute Forsa, 95 per cent of blue-collar workers, 88 per cent of white-collar workers, 84 per cent of public servants and 80 per cent of self-employed Germans shop at Aldi.
“The ‘Aldi-isation’, or the search for low cost, has long since become a social phenomenon in Germany which has swept through all social classes and companies. It’s a very German phenomenon, especially for food. The Germans are among those in Europe who spend the least on food and the competition in this market is very stiff.” The last global figures released in the spring of last year show Aldi and Lidl sitting on all-time record global market shares of 3.3 per cent and 2.6 per cent according to the data from Kantar Worldpanel. In Germany Lidl’s market share is around nine per cent, Aldi’s double that. One key to their success, say analysts, is size.
Simple format A typical Aldi store is 1000m2, many times smaller than a large, out-of-town supermarket in the UK. Constructed around four main aisles, all the stores follow the same simple format. Little money is wasted on displays and signs, and shelves are just racks of palettes piled up with boxes of goods.
Shoppers can use only trolleys (baskets can be stolen, costing the company money), and at the checkout they pay for their purchases before reloading them back into the trolley and then heading off to a packing area where they can fill up their carrier bags. This means queues move faster and there is less need for staff. As few as four employees are needed to run a store and all of them, including the manager, are expected to stack shelves. But perhaps the most significant difference is the range of products on sale. While a typical British supermarket might hold 30,000 different products, at Aldi and Lidle there are just a fraction of that number – typically, 850. And while it sells a handful of branded items, most of its shelf-space is for own-brand products. Little wonder that it has burrowed into the hearts of cash-conscious, frugal Germans, and now ascended to the world of art. “The ‘Aldi-isation’, or the search for low cost, has long since become a social phenomenon in Germany which has swept through all social classes and companies,” said museum director Reinhard Spieler.”It’s a very German phenomenon, especially for food. The Germans are among those in Europe who spend the least on food and the competition in this market is very stiff. The exhibition challenges consumerism with objects such as a giant shopping trolley, which could be seen as a celebration of the shopper’s purchasing power or as threatening to squash the consumer.” The exhibition also shows a supermarket trolley buried in sugar, pop-art posters of Aldi adverts and a giant crucifix made out of Aldi plastic shopping bags. The white bread slices have been formed into little houses; an edible housing estate where everything is the same. It just goes to show that while exports fuel the economy, Aldi and Lidl fuel the humans who make it happen. And now it’s feeding the nation’s cultural soul too - not bad for stores n that offer products on fork lift palettes.
Agrikon Kam Ltd in Kiskunmajsa, Hungary, has been the exclusive supplier of drivers’ cabs to the leading combine harvester manufacturer, Claas, since 1976. As part of its new strategic direction the factory has recently identified the need to diversify its product range and is now targeting the construction industry and exploring new market opportunities. Edina Beale reports.
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he previously state-owned agricultural machinery manufacturer Agrikon Kam Ltd first diversified its activities in 1968 in order to start developing and producing drivers’ cabs for lorries. Eight years later the company secured a contract to supply cabs for the internationally recognised Claas group. Since then Claas has remained the most important partner for Agrikon Kam – two thirds of the factory’s production is currently supplied to the German group. Following a successful emergence from the recession, Agrikom Kam has recently reviewed its operations and developed a new strategic plan to accelerate growth. Mr Pál Velkey, managing director of Agrikon Kam Ltd, explains: “We have examined our current position and the future of our company and introduced many changes. In the last two years it has become apparent that we have one fundamental direction – the need to reduce our dependence. “What are these dependences?” continues Mr Velkey. “One is customer dependence. Without losing our valuable long-term partners we are on a mission to acquire new clients by diversifying our products.” In the last three decades Agrikon Kam has solely served the agricultural sector. Production has been run on two lines – cabs and other welded metal components for combine harvesters and a similar product range for tractors. “These two lines are based on two different technologies; however, this volume of dependence is not enough.” Examining the 24 Industry Europe
market for new opportunities to increase their customer base, the construction industry was a natural choice. The construction industry requires various specialised vehicles, with robust, reliable and efficient components, very similar to the requirements for the agricultural industry. The provision of custom-built cabs for excavators and other plant type machinery is now in the sights of Agrikon Kam. With the current economic situation and the concerns relating to the banking sector in particular, an important strategic decision has been made to reduce the company’s reliance on banks. “By the end of 2011 we will clear all our debts. And we believe that we will be able to continue our operations without taking on any more loans, just using our own financial resources,” confirms Mr Velkey. Since its privatisation in 1993, Agrikon Kam has maintained its ownership structure, two-thirds of the company is still owned by Hungarian private investors. Today the company employs 320 staff generating €23 million sales revenues this year. In 2012 management expect to achieve a moderate growth of sales in excess of €25 million.
Large volume production In the cab manufacturing market Agrikon Kam chose to focus on the large volume sector and aims to compete for clients requiring a minimum of 300 cab units per year. The company has the ability to develop bespoke products that meet specific client requirements whilst using world-class tech-
nology. “Our state-of-the-art KTL technology to provide e-coating for large components is very rare in Hungary. The operation of this modern technology requires a considerable amount of human input which gives us an advantage due to lower salaries compared to western Europe. This is our main competitive advantage against our rivals in Europe,” explains Mr Velkey. Agrikon Kam’s resolve to diversify was strengthened by extremely positive initial research and encouraging feedback. In fact, the company’s portfolio has already been extended by a new product, which gives an example of how the expansion programme is taking shape. The development of a new cab for an Austrian construction company, with an initial order for between 4–5000 units highlights the company’s determination to diversify and its ability to meet the demands of the new market. While the French market also continues to grow, unexploited opportunities have been identified in Russia. A new cab has been developed to fit in Terrion tractors for a Russian partner. The Russian market is a significant area for the company, to such an extent that consideration is being given to identifying a manufacturing partner in Russia to help meet the demand. Agrikon Kam currently uses only twothirds of its production capacities. The company’s main objective is to keep up with modern technologies and to regularly update its facilities to improve quality and to
increase efficiency across their operations. “We have made investments to improve our e-coating facilities. We currently provide surface coating but are also considering implementing powder coating technology to increase competitiveness,” says Mr Velkey. “We have spent significant amounts on improving our infrastructure on the site and logistics as well as reducing our energy consumption. Our focus is to reduce the use of material and therefore we are continuously updating our welding machines. “After the recession, the company completely reviewed its internal operations and made significant changes to increase productivity and efficiency. Now our aim is to keep our fixed costs at this level whilst n increasing our turnover.”
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THE ‘AGROVISION COMPANY’ The German Agricultural Society’s Image Barometer 2010 considered Lemken, a company that’s in the sixth and seventh generation of family ownership, to be one of the best agricultural machinery manufacturers. Felicity Landon reports on Lemken’s current investment in China and a series of innovations.
a ceremony held in Qingdao in September 2011 Lemken’s general manager, Dr Franz-Georg von Busse, and Mr Zhao Xingshu, director of the city’s Chinese-German industrial park ‘Eco-City’, signed an investment contract for a 16,500m2 construction site. The ceremony, also attended by the German Ambassador in Peking and Qingdao’s mayor for international relations and export, marked an important moment for Lemken, a company whose history goes back more than 230 years. It is investing in a new plant to assemble agricultural machines for the
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booming Chinese market; construction will start in earnest at the beginning of 2012. Lemken was founded in 1780, as a forge, by Wilhemus Lemken; today, the company is still family owned. Based in Alpen, in the Lower Rhine area of Germany, 50 km north-west of Dusseldorf, Lemken produces about 11,000 machines per year, employs 850 people worldwide, and reported a turnover of €218 million in 2010. Describing itself as the ‘AgroVision company’, it claims a market share of more than 40 per cent for reversible ploughs and cultivators; its renowned plough series Diamant and Opal have been improving productivity in
progressive agriculture for decades, and its Smaragd series is one of the most widely used soil cultivation systems in Europe. In 2005, Lemken took over the field sprayer manufacturers Jacoby and RTS, enabling it to offer an even more comprehensive range of products across the entire area of arable farming.
New ideas Lemken has launched a series of new products and innovations in recent months. Since taking over Jacoby and RTS, it had already successfully developed and intro-
duced the Sirius mounted sprayer range to the market. At Agritechnica 2011, the company presented Vega, the first trailed sprayer designed by Lemken engineers. Vega is a concept study designed to allow customer feedback before being fully developed for the market. It features an eye-catching tank shape, and is available in 5000, 4000 and 3000 litres tank volume versions. Inside, the tank is centrally divided by a baffle, to ensure constant weight distribution even when the tank is part-filled. A large ladder with a broad platform provides easy access to the tank, while the chassis is integrated in the frame, leaving very large ground clearance, to protect tall crops. Many features of the Vega are completely new. It provides fully automatic valve blocks,
arranged in a row similar to that of a hydraulic valve block. All the valves, on the suction and pressure side, are electrically switched, so there is no longer the need to place them physically at the operation centre. After a successful trial period of the Vega sprayer, market introduction is planned for 2013. In shallow stubble cultivation Lemken covers the whole of requirements, with its two compact disc harrow series Heliodor 8 and Rubin 9, working widths up to 12m. In 2011, the company added the Rubin 12, a new range of compact disc harrow models that can work up to 20cm deep, an operational range that was previously restricted to tined cultivators only. The Rubin 12 has 732mm diameter discs that allow the 20cm working depth. A
new symmetrical arrangement of the discs improves the track-keeping of the harrow; by pulling straight behind the tractor, it is easier to match one field pass to the next, particularly important if using GPS steering. The Rubin 12, appropriate for primary and secondary stubble cultivation even in the most heavy soil conditions, enables the intensive mixing of large amounts of organic matter throughout the working depth. Lemkin plans to introduce the new model in 2013, after a thorough trial period. In ploughing, Lemkin’s proven range of semi-mounted ploughs has been further improved with the launch of the Diamant 11 and 12 series. Featuring the 160mm beam of the Diamant 10, the new machines include a number of new features such as the DuraMaxx Industry Europe 27
bodies fitted to the Juwel mounted plough range. DuraMaxx slats and mouldboards are made from high-carbon steel, without drill or punch holes, allowing increased hardening, higher wear resistance and a particularly long service life. Because they are not bolted on, but simply hooked in without any need to tools, they can also be changed quickly. Individual slats are also available in plastic, to ensure that ploughing is always ideal, even on badly clogged soil. The new range will be available from summer 2012.
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Rollers are commonly used in seedbed preparation and stubble cultivation, to control machine depth and reconsolidate cultivated soil. In light soils, however, soil can sometimes build up in front of the roller, leading to increased draft requirement and reduced performance of the roller. At this point, the roller will turn more slowly than the forward speed, and may even stop altogether. Lemken launched its new antislip control to overcome this problem and won a silver medal for the product by DLG
at Agritechnica 2011. With the anti-slip, a sensor monitors the rotational speed of the roller; the difference between this and the machine forward speed is calculated and the necessary adjustment made to the machinery. Among other innovations from Lemken during 2011 were an electronic field spray flow monitor, an automatic coulter pressure control that ensures perfect seed delivery every time, and new six-metre grain and fertiliser versions of the Compact-Solitair.
The machine for the job The Lemken philosophy is based on one key factor – no two soils are identical, and machinery is manufactured individually according to customers’ wishes, for all sorts of conditions, for conventional and minimum tillage, for small, medium or large farms, and for farmers or con-
tractors. Special ‘Lemken steel’ ensures durability and quality. Lemken’s implements can be used in different combinations to suit the prevailing soil or weather conditions. “We would like to offer every customer the appropriate machine – like a tailor-made suit,” says communications manager Marie Ehses.
“With our agricultural machinery, we aim to make an important contribution towards harvest success and the improvement of our customers’ income. Better working results, long service life and convenient operation are the decisive criteria for our R&D work and Lemken excels due to our close relationship with our customers.” n
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TILLING THE SOIL Peeters Landbouwmachines BV manufactures agricultural machinery under the Tulip and Peecon brands. Joseph Altham interviewed Tulip’s export manager, Stijn Tilborghs, together with Peecon’s export manager, Sjors van Deursen, to find out how the company’s machines are helping farmers to produce food more efficiently.
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eeters Landbouwmachines is divided into two halves. Tulip offers machinery for arable farming, such as harrows, seed drills and fertiliser spreaders. Peecon’s machines are designed for use on grassland and are sold mainly to livestock farmers. Peecon’s main products include feed mixers, slurry tanks and slurry injection systems, but it also sells tipping trailers among others to construction firms. The company was established in 1973 in Achtmaal, in the south of the Netherlands. It has kept the factory in Achtmaal, but in 1999 it moved its headquarters and main production site to the nearby town of Etten-Leur. Both Peecon and Tulip are successful exporters. Around 80 per cent of Tulip’s output goes for export, while Peecon’s machines have proved especially popular in Scandinavia and the United States, where some farms have up to 80,000 cows). Peecon and Tulip share a common goal. The aim is to give the farmer high production quality at a reasonable
price. “Farmers want something simple and strong,” Mr Tilborghs believes. “The machines have to be durable because when the farmers need them they can’t afford to lose any time as a result of a fault.”
Harrows Among Tulip’s most important products are its ranges of power and disc harrows. In agriculture, harrowing is carried out after the harvest to break up the stubble in the fields. Harrowing is also used to achieve green fertilisation between two seasons of wheat. Tulip offers power harrows (the Roterra range) and disc harrows that can be pulled behind a tractor. “Farmers have to use power harrows in soils with heavy clay,” said Mr Tilborghs, “but the trend is to replace power harrows with disc harrows in soils that permit it.” Tulip’s Multidisc range of disc harrows is popular with farmers in many European countries, including Germany, France and
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the UK. In 2010, Tulip added a new model to the Multidisc range, the Multidisc XL Vario. The Vario model has a special feature – the retractable tines between the discs that can be folded up or down to suit the type of soil cultivation performed. “With the Multidisc Vario, the tractor driver can choose within two seconds whether to use the tines or not,” said Mr Tilborghs. This feature enables farmers to save fuel, as the tines take more energy to pull. “The farmer often only needs to use the tines on some of his fields. For example, on land where a lot of rain has settled, tines help to crack a layer under the surface so that the rainwater 32 Industry Europe
can go down into the soil. But if there is no water on the soil in the next field, the tines are not needed and the farmer can easily disable them.”
Feed mixers Feed mixers are Peecon’s biggest export, and Mr van Deursen says that the company is finding new markets for them in China and eastern Europe. In dairy farming, the humble feed mixer plays a vital role, promoting the health of the cows and improving milk yields. “When you get a plate of food in front of you, you probably start with the meat before you eat any of the vegetables. Well, cows are just the same about
their food! They need to eat grass and maize in combination, rather than starting with the maize first and ending up with the grass. Maize is what increases the milk yield, but cows have to eat grass constantly. If they eat maize alone, this is bad for their stomachs.” The company’s Biga mixers not only help to provide cows with their total mixed ration (TMR), but are also used to produce biogas. “You can put a combination of grass and slurry together in a mixer to produce gas and heat. The gas can be used to generate electricity, and the heat is used to heat water. Some farmers now provide electricity for their whole village.”
Outlook The innovative Peecon and Tulip machines were on show at the Agritechnica 2011 exhibition in Hanover. Here Peecon unveiled its improved slurry injection system, which it expects to sell well in Germany. As Mr van Deursen explained, in Germany slurry injection is a legal requirement, so slurry injectors are an essential piece of equipment for German farmers. With all the incentives for farmers to improve their yields, Mr van Deursen views the growth prospects for his company as favourable. “It’s very simple. The world’s population is rising, so people will need more food. And as oil and gas supplies are becoming more scarce, people are looking to farmers to provide new sources of energy.” Recent investments, such as in a laser tube cutting machinary and a new powder coating line, mean that the company is well placed to take advantage of these trends. The company has also been obliged to increase its production capacity. “Over the last few years, our production capacity has acted as a limit on our sales,” said Mr Tilborghs. The production area at the factory in Etten-Leur will be enlarged with 9000m2, filled with welding robots and laser cutting machines in order to n meet the demand. Industry Europe 33
PROFILING PERFORMANCE AND PRECISION The Homag Group is a diverse, global engineering company and the world’s leading manufacturer of machines and plant for the woodworking industry. Philip Yorke looks at how the company has strengthened its market position further with the launch of a new generation of highly efficient and energy-saving precision products.
he Homag Group is famous for its range of iconic, branded products and their contribution to increasing the efficiency of the furniture manufacturing industry. The company offers a wide range of machines and solutions to meet the needs of the most demanding furniture makers and their suppliers. Homag is particularly well-known for its sizing and edgebanding, softforming and postforming machinery, as well as for its stationary CNC machines and complete production line solutions. Today the Homag Group consists of 14 subsidiary manufacturing companies, 11 of which are located in Germany with a further one in Spain and others established in Brazil and China. In addition, the company has more than 20 sales and technical service 34 Industry Europe
companies supporting its global operations, as well as a leading global consultancy company: Schuller Business Solutions.
Continuous performance optimisation The significant potential for energy savings in terms of consumption was realised at an early stage by Homag, and its commitment to performance optimisation has resulted in some remarkable new products and some innovative technical achievements. This ongoing drive for enhanced efficiency is exemplified in the new technology package from Homag called ‘ecoPlus’ which is designed to increase productivity and save costs. This new ‘eco’ package encompasses a whole series of innovations, all of which were developed to achieve energy savings of up to 30 per
cent or more whilst at the same time significantly reducing operating costs. These new technologies sum up Homag’s approach to sustainability and make production significantly more efficient and more profitable, whilst at the same time offering greater environmental benefits. In addition, Homag focuses on the most efficient deployment of its machines for production optimisation, efficiency and cost-saving. Examples of this new technology in action can be seen with the latest Brandt Highflex edge banding machine 1880, complemented with ‘ecoPlus’ technology which offers up to a 20 per cent increase in production output with the same energy input. This is in addition to a saving of up to 40 per cent on reduced air consumption due to the use of a dual-circuit compressed air system.
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In another recent example, the Homag processing centre BMG 512 has also achieved significant savings with ecoPlus technology achieving energy savings of up to 8160kWh a year through the standby operation alone and up to 5.7t less carbon emission a year. There are also many other examples of how Homag’s ecoPlus technology has been put to work, from applications in extraction technology to its optimisation software packages.
to produce internal, external, apartment and functional doors in any size and dimension from series as small as batch size one with what was previously an unattainable degree of production flexibility. The company’s owner Aldo Rickenbach said: “Achieving enormous flexibility is only one side of the coin. Doing it economically and to a high standard of quality
is another.” The real challenge of this project for Homag was therefore reconciling these two seemingly contradictory requirements.
Quality installation assured Spalijisten AB is a leading furniture component manufacturer based in southern Sweden and uses an innovative and highly
Doo-to-door success When RIWAG of Switzerland decided to invest in an entirely new door-leaf production plant, it looked no further than the Homag Group for advice and technical support. In fact, the company’s confidence was not misplaced as it decided to commission the Homag Group to supply the complete door leaf plant for them. The result has been that not a single square metre of floor space remains unproductive. Today, the exemplary door-leaf blank manufacturing facility operated by RIWAG Turen AG is an example of everything that a high-tech production plant should be and sets some impressive efficiency milestones along the way. The all-new production facility is located in Arth, central Switzerland, and has been operational now for two years. It enables RIWAG Industry Europe 37
efficient concept recently developed by Homag Engineering. Spalijisten specialises in foil-wrapped furniture components and as part of a major restructuring process was looking for a transverse processing plant that was capable of a highly flexible response to the manufacture of its diverse range of products. At Spalijisten the company’s wrapping process takes place first, followed by the complete processing of all parts in a
single work sequence. This is made possible by a fully automatic control program, which executes an automated central plant process led by a Homag PC22 control system. This state-of-the-art plant combines the crosscutting of strips with edging, sizing and drilling, all under the bottom line. This innovative solution saves two conventional work steps and thereby reduces the investment required whilst increasing efficiency
and productivity. “The new processing line clearly demonstrates the benefits achievable when working with the pooled expertise of the Homag Group. The assurance of experienced specialists, which included Bargstedt, Holzma, Weeke and Homag, for each of the individual work steps, was coordinated by Homag, and demonstrated the value of gaining optimal results by relying on a single source,” said a n Homag Group spokesman.
About Murrplastik Systemtechnik GmbH Since its foundation in 1976, Murrplastik Systemtechnik GmbH has been a pioneer for high-tech plastic products. In 1984 the first open cable drag chain was patented in Oppenweiler. In 1993 Murrplastik Systemtechnik introduced the first cable entry systems. The latest development from the Swabian engineers is the first magnetic cable drag chain. For the first time travel distances are
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possible without the upper and lower chains touching, meaning there is no wear and tear. Up to now Murrplastik Systemtechnik GmbH has registered over 100 patents. Its products are sold via branches in France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, USA and China as well as through representatives in Europe, North and South America, Africa, Australia and Asia.
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.
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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
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 Industry Europe 41
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 42 Industry Europe
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.”
IT’S WHAT’S INSIDE
THAT MATTERS Barbara Rossi finds out more about International Automotive Components (IAC), the third-largest automotive components and systems supplier in the world and the only global supplier with an exclusive focus on interiors. Headquartered in Luxembourg, the group employs more than 22,000 people worldwide.
operates 75 manufacturing facilities in 16 countries, has 90 locations in 17 countries and 15 design and technical centres. It serves all the major multinational automotive OEMs and lists General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Fiat, Volvo, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche as its largest customers. IAC, whose products are used on more than 300 platforms, has manufacturing operations organised into three geographical areas – Europe, Asia and North America. IAC believes that this operating structure makes it more responsive to customers’ needs and the changes that take place within the global automotive components industry, as well as within specific regions. In fact, the regional management teams,
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as well as maintaining key customers and supplier contacts in their respective markets, centrally manage aspects of IAC’s operations, while allowing the operating segments to have enough flexibility to promote an entrepreneurial environment. The IAC group was formed in early 2006 by the US financier Wilbur L. Ross, prior to the acquisition of certain European manufacturing facilities of Collins & Aikman Corporation (C&A), an acquisition which was then completed in March 2006. In October 2006, IAC’s European operations acquired all of the assets of the European Interior Systems Division of Lear Corporation. In Europe, IAC has on 6000 employees, five design and technical centres and 29 main facilities in Belgium, the Czech Repub-
lic, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Regional headquarters are in Krefeld (Germany) and engineering facilities and customer centres are located in Germany, Sweden and the UK.
Global expansion IAC expanded its operations in Asia in 2006, when Wilbur L. Ross acquired Mitsubishi Belting Kaschihin (MBK), now called IAC Japan Co. Ltd. This acquisition is of particular significance, as it was the first of a major Japanese automotive interiors company by a western auto supplier. The remainder of IAC Asia operations includes manufacturing and engineering locations in China, India and Japan. In China, IAC has three joint
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venture relationships, referred to as SIAC, Songjiang, and Wuhan. In India, IAC began operations in 2008 with the opening of an engineering centre in Pune. Approximately 14,000 people are employed by IAC in Asia, a continent in which the group has 14 manufacturing facilities and four design and technical centres. As mentioned, IAC is also present in North America, where in December 2006 Wilbur L. Ross announced a further expansion of the IAC Group North American operations with the acquisition of the North American Interior Systems division of Lear, then completed in April 2007. This was followed by the acquisition by IAC of the North American Carpet and Acoustic Division from Collins & Aikman. IAC now employs 15,000 people in North America and has 32 manufacturing facilities in the USA, Canada and Mexico, in addition to six design and technical centres. In the North American segment IAC occupies market leadership positions in door and trim systems; instrument panels and cockpits; flooring and acoustic systems; and headliner and overhead systems. IAC, which counts Chrysler, Honda, Ford,
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Toyota, GM, Hundai, Volkswagen, Nissan, and BMW among its leading North American OEM customers, was ranked 17 on the 2011 Automotive News Top 100 Suppliers to North America list. Furthermore, it was ranked first as North American Automotive Injection Moulder by Plastic News 2011. The range of products manufactured by IAC includes door and trim systems, instrument panels, consoles and cockpits, flooring and acoustic systems, and headliner and overhead systems, as well as complementary exterior components. All the products are designed to improve comfort and convenience, as well as enhancing safety, and balancing cost and weight specifications. Moreover their design is aimed at increasing personalisation and the use of environmentally sustainable materials, all factors which can critically influence consumer purchasing decisions for all classes of vehicles. IAC provides its customers with unparalleled manufacturing reach and ability. The approach is solution-based, innovative and built on stringent best practices and commitment to customers’ success in the global marketplace. IAC can offer broad
manufacturing capabilities and technologies, including compression, injection and blow moulding, as well as various trimming and finishing methods. This portfolio of capabilities and technologies allows the group to be able to provide a wide range of product solutions, across various price points, to meet customer design and cost needs.
New developments Recent developments have included the building of a new state-of-the-art greenfield manufacturing facility in Bals, Romania, for the production of components to support the Ford Motor Company’s production of two new passenger cars at its Romanian plant of Craiova as well as other automotive customers in the region. This project was supported by state aid received from the Romanian government. IAC is also proud of the fact that at the January 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit a handful of vehicles stood out as media and industry favourites, three of which featured complete interior systems supplied by the IAC Group. The first of these is the Range Rover Evoque, which was awarded
the title of North American Truck of the Year, a vehicle for which IAC delivers significant content, including the instrument panel, console, cockpit assembly, overhead system, wheel arch liners and trunk trim. IAC also received positive recognition for the 2013 Fusion model, which Ford presented at the event. Again, IAC provides a number of components to this newly redesigned vehicle, including the instrument panel, centre console, door panels, throw-in mats, hard trim, ducts and package tray. In addition to this, IAC has also significantly contributed to the interior of another vehicle which was successfully unveiled at the Auto Show, Chrysler’s all new Dodge Dart compact car, the first Chrysler Group vehicle built on a Fiat Group architecture. IAC supplies the vehicle with its instrument panel, centre console, door panels, hard trim, overhead system, carpet, throw-in mats, IP ducts, trunk trim and dash and package tray silencers. n
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Standard Profil is a global leader in the manufacture of automotive sealing and weatherproofing systems for the world’s biggest OEMs. Philip Yorke looks at the latest developments of an exceptional company and its takeover by the Indian industrial conglomerate The Rula Group, as well as its recent awardwinning achievements.
SHAPING THE FUTURE S
tandard Profil was founded in 1977 by Rafit Kamhi in Istanbul, Turkey, and quickly won its first contract for producing weather strips for Oyak-Renault, a Turkish joint venture company working in association with Renault of France. The company continued to prosper during the 1980s, and in 1990 made its first exports to Germany and subsequently added General Motors to its customer portfolio, who awarded it the ‘Best Supplier of the Year’ on eight separate occasions. Continuous investment in new technology resulted in a leap in sales to almost €90 million in 2007. By 2010 more than 60 per cent of all Standard Profil’s sales were destined for export markets and in the same year the company recorded sales of over €180 million.
Acquisition accelerating growth Following its continuous, uninterrupted growth throughout the past decade, a private, equityled consortium entered into a binding agreement to sell 100 per cent of the Standard Profil AS company to the Rula Group of India. This transaction was duly signed into law,
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following standard antitrust approvals, which were received in the third quarter of 2011. Standard Profil remains one of Turkey’s greatest business success stories and currently has manufacturing facilities in Turkey, Bulgaria, South Africa and China. The company is also the fastest-growing tier-one supplier of rubber profile and weather strip products in the industry, serving the world’s biggest automotive OEMs. The company acquiring Standard Profil is the Rula Group, which is a major Indian industrial conglomerate with core businesses in infrastructure equipment, automotive ancillaries and tyres. The group has built a strong presence throughout Europe with sales totalling more than €700 million. Commenting on this significant development, Mr Pawan K. Rula, chairman of the Rula Group said, “We are very pleased to have signed a deal to acquire such a rapidly growing company. This acquisition is in line with the Rula Group’s strategy to consolidate in the automotive industry and its plans to emerge as a clear global leader in the automotive ancillary
industry. The addition of a market leader such as Standard Profil to the Rula Group portfolio will accelerate our growth”. Mr Andreas Engel, CEO of Standard Profil responded by saying, “My management team and I are very excited to continue the successful growth of our sealing business under the umbrella of the Rula Group and to expand the services for our customers into new regions.” The transaction was led by the private equity company, Bancroft Private Equity, which specialises in investing in central and eastern Europe and Turkey. Since the launch of its first fund in 1996, Bancroft has invested in 16 leading European companies, with 11 exits including that of Standard Profil.
Rewarding service excellence In 2010 the chairman of the VW board of management, Professor Dr Martin Winterkom said in presenting the prestigious award for ‘Best Supplier of the Year’ to Standard Profil, “There is an ongoing need for innovative, efficient and reliable suppliers to support the achievement of VW’s objective of becoming the leading global
automobile producer by the year 2018.” This award adds to the countless others awarded to Standard Profil since its inception in 1977. The secret of Standard Profil’s success is in part due to its commitment to investing in the latest technology. For one of its main strengths according to one of its top sales managers, Mr Burak Senbak, is the fact that while the company produces goods which more than match the quality of its European counterparts, Standard Profil is able to carry out its work at much greater speed and with more flexibility. Such is the level of the company’s customer service that it can design and produce new products four times quicker than its competitors. Once specifications are received for a new product, the company begins its design process
in order to meet the customer’s individual requirements. A recent example of this was the development of automotive parts for the next passenger car being developed by General Motors in Mexico, where Standard Profil met all the necessary criteria before the contracted due date and within budget.
New Technocentre sets the standards Standard Profil has always placed a high priority on its commitment to innovation and customer service. This culture of best practice resulted in the establishment of one of the world’s most advanced R&D centres in Turkey. The Duzce Technocentre is where all the company’s new products are developed and tested. This state-of-the-art research centre is equipped with the very latest technol-
ogy and staffed by experienced engineers to meet the changing demands of its customers and the industry. At Standard Profil, a long and complex journey of creativity and discovery starts with a blank sheet and a clay model, and ends with the series production of high quality automotive sealing systems. Delivering these advanced systems requires continuous innovation and research as well as the benchmarking of products being tested against those of its competitors. Furthermore, the company’s project management teams play a key role in ensuring effective coordination of both internal and external expertise. Standard Profil believes that excellent, well-funded product development is essential for its future n success and for that of its customers.
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VERSATILE MULTITASK TECHNOLOGY Vilakone is a leading developer and manufacturer of environmental service machines. Philip Yorke talked to Juha Kumlander, the company’s managing director, about the launch of a new range of equipment and the forthcoming EU legislation affecting engine design and performance.
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ilakone Oy’s history can be traced back to 1950 when the company was founded and began by manufacturing a range of implements for farm tractors. However it was in 1983 that Vilakone Oy began the production of its famous Wille brand multi-purpose environmental service machines, at its state-of-the-art production facilities in Loimaa, Finland. Vilakone makes full use of the most advanced, environmentally friendly manufacturing technology. As a part of Wihuri croup, Vilakone is able to guarantee its high-quality engineering standards by producing most of its key components and attachments in-house. For example, the company manufactures all the chassis, cylinders, cabins and loaders themselves, as well as a comprehensive range of machine attachments. Being self-sufficient makes it possible
for the company to offer its customers a complete one-stop-shop service. In addition, this provides customers with a unique design and production opportunity, enabling the company to provide tailormade components for any of its clients’ individual requirements. This is particularly important when considering the needs of different regional work practices and local government legislation in countries outside Scandinavia. In addition, it means that aftersales service is further enhanced because spare parts and technical services are always readily available.
Flexible technology driving sales It is the leading brand throughout Scandinavia and Finland, Sweden and Norway have traditionally been considered the key markets for Vilakone environmental service machines.
Mr Kumlander said, “Since we launched our first Wille brand machine in 1983 we have become the market leaders in environmental service machines specially designed for northern climates. However, since the success of our move into North America and in particular, Canada we have also attracted customers in Russia and other eastern European countries. One of the main reasons why we have been so successful is that we not only make the most advanced and reliable environmental service machines, but we also make a wide range of attachments. These are specially designed to provide users with an almost infinite variety of options, making our equipment extremely versatile and cost effective to operate. All our Wille service machine models can take up to 16 different attachments from sweepers to snow ploughs, to loaders and scrapers.” Industry Europe 53
“After-sales is another very important feature of our services package and as a flexible producer we have the ability to meet the different demands of users in different countries. When comparing our machines with standard loaders, our solutions offer a closer location to the point of work for the driver, better cab ergonomics and excellent visibility, making our equipment more productive and less demanding during a typical 8 hour day work cycle. Furthermore, in the past we designed our equipment for municipal green work and snow removal as well as for leaf clearing etc. and for cleaning and washing the city streets. However, today we make a much more versatile range of machines designed for the growing number of private contractors who 54 Industry Europe
demand optimal cost-effectiveness, diversity, reliability and efficiency”.
New era of efficiency With the well-publicised EU legislation for engine emissions coming into force in 2012, manufacturers of all types of motorised transport and equipment must upgrade their products accordingly. Vilakone has taken this opportunity to not only upgrade its current model range, but to add to it. The company has its own in-house R&D department, and plans to launch new models during the course of the year. Currently the range comprises the Wille 355B, which is a compact but extremely efficient and agile machine with a high capacity loader and offering a much wider range
of applications than conventional machines. Then there is the Wille 455B, which is considered to be a true ‘powerhouse’ and ideal for large volumes and offering a low construction height for use in restricted areas, as well as being extremely agile in operation. The next two models in the range, the Wille 655C & 855C are both large, multi-purpose wheel-loaders with superb output/weight ratios, together with flexible hydraulic systems that make these machines more versatile than any other conventional wheel-loader. In addition, their load-sensing hydraulics and temperature controlled fans improve fuel economy and reduce overall noise levels. The Wille 855C is the top-of-the range model with additional features and increased engine output. n
COMFORT AND SAFETY Whether it’s lifting, lowering, tilting or damping – every day SUSPA makes life more comfortable in households and businesses around the world. Julia Snow spoke to the managing director, Timo Stahl, about the ‘world of damping’.
USPA is an innovative manufacturer of gas springs, hydraulic dampers, vibration dampers, lifting columns, piston rods, crash management systems and safety systems as well as complex drives and actuators. “Safety and convenience, that’s where our products play a major part across a whole range of sectors,” explains Mr Stahl: “We have 60 years of experience, and the company’s success is built on the groundbreaking invention of the first
dampers for washing machines, a technology in which we are still world market leaders today.” Just as these dampers improved the performance of washing machines, today SUSPA products help to enable the safe operation of cars, furniture, medical and leisure equipment, to name just a few. With a current turnover of €160 million, the company employs 1600 staff, 650 of whom work at its headquarters in Altdorf, near Nuremberg, southern Germany.
Growing with customers SUSPA is active in a wide range of applications and sectors worldwide, whenever expertise in damping is required. “Our gas springs are used by large producers in many sectors, and these are mainly global players,” says Mr Stahl. As customers expanded, so did SUSPA, and this led to the opening of production sites in the USA in 1974, in India in 1993 and in China in 2001. Each production site provides goods for the local region
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and markets, and the distribution network spreads across a total of over 30 countries. The company’s turnover comprises 65 per cent of European business, with 20 per cent accounted for by North American and 15 per cent of sales in Asia. “We have two aspects to our sales organisation,” explains Mr Stahl. “All our large customers are serviced via key account management, and for the many smaller customers we have built up regional networks of distribution partners or agents.”
Products for everyday life Their wide range of possible applications is the core strength of SUSPA’s products. Whenever high operational reliability, easy handling and user comfort are called for,
a solution is available. “One of our main strengths is that we are so diversified across a large amount of sectors. Our largest markets are automotive, commercial vehicles and white goods, but the applications are almost endless: from kitchen furniture to medical technology, from campervans to fitness equipment.” The product portfolio serves around 30 sectors with more than 1200 applications including gas springs, hydraulic dampers, vibration dampers, lifting columns, piston rods, crash management systems, automotive adjustment systems, safety systems as well as complex drives and actuators. While the last major building project took place in India in 2007, the company runs a significant ongoing investment programme to continuously boost machinery and capacity.
Product development = sales “Our products require a ‘technical sales’ approach,” says Mr Stahl. “Our engineers and technicians have to advise and to customise solutions, depending on the individual measurements and the required force transfer. Much of our business is generated directly on the back of our reputation as damping specialists in the industry.” SUSPA is the development partner of choice for major producers in the automotive, machine building, furniture, white goods, medical and durable goods industries. “We have 50 R&D engineers, and customers involve us at the early stages of product development so that we can contribute the optimum damping technology alongside their new product.” The company also investigates new technical solutions independently from
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customer requirements, resulting in new smart systems. From concept to design, to building the first prototype, SUSPA supports the complete product development process for customers.
Rapidly growing turnover and capacity “Like many other companies we’ve seen a lot of growth in Asia, with an increase from 5 per cent to 15 per cent of our turnover,” says Mr Stahl. Unlike many other companies, however, SUSPA’s growth in China was exponential: by entering new markets and increasing market share its turnover has increased six-fold over the past three years, from €3 million to €20 million. “The growth over the past years has required significant investment, be it in machines but also in terms of retaining and developing staff. In China we invested heavily in training.” The projections for further growth are around 10–20 per cent, spread evenly across all markets, says Mr Stahl. “Our competitive situation is different in each of our markets, but the cost pressure is high across all of them. A damper represents a very small portion of the total product price, and years ago the producers were relaxed about the price of such a small part. Today even the smallest
cost is scrutinised, and we have to step up to that; in each segment, with all customers, and in every single application. Mr Stahl is confident that there is plenty of market potential left: “Convenience and safety continue to be big themes. Demographics show ageing populations, and the needs of older people for safety and comfort will bring new demand. Kitchens are a good example of an area in which dampened doors and drawers have become standard in the space of a few years. Next the fridge, oven and others will follow – and this simply carries on throughout different countries, n sectors and applications.”
Castrol Industrial’s highperforming partnership Global lubricants specialist, Castrol Industrial, not only provides high performance lubricants and metalworking fluids to its customers, but also works in close partnership with them to ensure they have the right products to meet their specific needs. Castrol Industrial has worked with global manufacturer Suspa for more than 20 years supplying the majority of its metalworking fluids and lubricants for maintenance and fill-for-life applications. As well as providing a wide variety of products to Suspa, Castrol Industrial supplies a weekly laboratory service, to check conditions of the manufacturer‘s cooling fluids. For information on Castrol Industrial’s products and services visit: www.castrol.com/industrial
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COOLING TECHNOLOGY The Danish company Nissens A/S is a major manufacturer and supplier of cooling solutions for the wind turbine industry. The company also manufactures radiators, oil coolers, heat exchangers, charge air coolers and condensers for the automotive sector and produces complete cooling solutions for various industrial applications such as excavators, generator sets and mining and forestry equipment. However, the most significant part of the group’s future growth is expected to derive from the wind industry segment. Joseph Altham reports on the opportunities for the company in renewable energy.
lan Nissen is the CEO of a company that was founded by his great-grandfather, Julius Nissen, in 1921. Nissens began by making car radiators and is now one of Europe’s largest manufacturers and suppliers of engine cooling and climate products. From the 1980s, under Alan Nissen’s direction, the business diversified and began to produce cooling solutions for a broader range of machines. Nissens today has two divisions, one for automotive spare parts and another for wind and special machinery applications, named Nissens Cooling Solutions, which makes customised cooling
solutions for manufacturers of wind turbine generators, busses, earth-moving machines and other on- and off-road machines. The company employs around 800 people and has an annual turnover of app. €120 million. “We started as a local company in Denmark, but over the last decades we have developed into a global company with production plants in Denmark, Slovakia and China,” stated Mr Nissen. “We decided to build our factory in Slovakia in 2003, and it was ready by 2005, and it has actually been expanded several times since then. We need a factory in China because our biggest customers are expanding into China and want us to serve them in the region from the region.”
Offshore wind Denmark is famous for its pioneering role in the renewable energy industry. Nissens Cooling Solutions moved into wind power as long ago as 1988 and produces cooling systems for wind turbine generators. As a wind turbine generates electricity it also produces heat. A wind turbine therefore needs a cooling system to cool the generator, along with the gearbox, converter, transformer and hydraulics. Customers include the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturers like Vestas Wind Systems and Siemens Wind Power. Cooling systems from Nissens can be found in nearly all offshore wind farms like Horns Rev, off the coast of Denmark, and the Thanet Offshore Wind
Farm, which is located off the Kent coast. Nissens had by the end of 2010 delivered coolers for almost 3000MW out of a total installed global capacity of around 3300MW.
Customised cooling modules and complete cooling systems Nissens offers customised cooling modules and indirect complete cooling systems for on- and off-road applications. “Most of our on- and off-road customers buy a complete cooling module including steel parts, fans, motors, etc, and we see an increasing interest for our indirect cooling systems combined with our water-cooled charge air cooler, named WCAC,” said Thomas Juul Eilersen, the company’s vice-president for sales and projects. The indirect cooling system consists of a low and a high temperature radiator which cools part of the machine indirectly through e.g. a water-cooled charge air cooler (WCAC) and aluminium heat exchangers. The indirect cooling system has several benefits such as reduced complexity in the front-end cooling module, optimised dimensioning through sharing of a pooled cooling capacity, faster response from the charge air cooler and up to five per cent lower fuel consumption. Nissens also offers complete cooling systems including pump stations, heat exchangers, hoses, valves, etc that cover all the cooling requirements of a modern wind turbine. “We aim to provide both integrated cooling
systems and individual cooling components,” said Anders Allesø, research and development manager at Nissens. A wind turbine may look simple from the outside, but the technology inside the nacelle (the housing at the top) is complex and has to function in demanding conditions. It is often difficult to reach an offshore wind turbine to carry out maintenance work, so the cooling systems from Nissens must be extremely reliable and are designed to have a lifetime of at least 20 years. Nissens sees a trend towards passive cooling in the wind industry where the coolers are mounted on top of the nacelle without any forced ventilation. Passive cooling takes advantage of the speed of the wind and thereby decreases the power consumption from the fan to zero. Intelligent and smart cooling is about looking at the total cost of ownership, i.e. all the end users costs including operation and maintenance cost. With passive cooling and the correct control of the cooling system’s pumps and valves Nissens ensures the optimum cooling set-up for their customers. During the last couple of years, Nissens has launched a new aluminium plate heat exchanger, a water-cooled aluminium charge air cooler (WCAC) and a new water pump station concept. In early 2012, Nissens will bring out the new AluXStream radiator which is an improved cooling system that employs a special design of aluminum
WCAC - Water-Cooled Charge Air Cooler
Water-oil heat exchanger Water-oil heat exchanger
cooler, rather than the traditional ‘plate and bar’ type. The AluXStream enables a significant reduction in weight.
Markets Nissens exports over 90 per cent of its output. Within Europe, the company’s main markets include Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. “Our cooling systems tend to be highly customised,” stated Thomas Juul Eilersen. “Customers will involve us during the design of a new product and ask us to develop a prototype of the cooling
system. Nissens Cooling Solutions focuses on a special segment of the market. Typically we develop coolers for the kind of machine of which no more than 5000 units will be produced every year. That means that we are continuously working with customers on developing new and innovative cooling solutions.” Nissens’ factory in China is a new development. The result of some €10 million of investment, the factory at Tianjin will be capable of developing cooling systems for the company’s customers in China and will begin production in 2012. In renewable energy, the market in
China is growing fast, as Mr Nissen explained. Nissens sells to the majority of leading wind turbine manufacturers and is seeing increasing interest from the large Chinese OEMs in the wind industry segment, like DEC and Goldwind. “We are a major supplier of cooling systems for the wind power industry and expect a lot from the Chinese market. In wind power, China has become the biggest market for new capacity,” said Mr Nissen. Meanwhile, Nissens is weighing up the business case for a fourth factory in the United States, where the wind energy sector is also growing fast. n
Pumps and valves for efficient use in wind energy As a world market leader KSB serves the market with pumps and valves for various applications including wind energy. With more than 15,000 KSB employees, over 160 service centers and 30 production sites around the world, we draw all our strengths in safe, efficient and sustainable solutions. Regarding wind energy KSB delivers pumps and valves for wind turbines, offshore substations, coastal grid connections and jack-up vessels for cooling circuits, seawater intake, fire-fighting, pressure boosting, cleaning and auxiliary systems. Etaseco
is a canned motor pump for cooling systems working leakage free, without pressure losses and providing long service intervals. The light weighted and space saving design is well proven in applications with similar tough requirements. More than 25.000 pumps are running successfully in the train industry without failure facing temperatures up to -40°C.
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Belgian board manufacturer Unilin offers an increasingly large range of panels, shelving and laminates solutions to its customers worldwide. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to Mr Lode de Boe, president of the panels division, to find out more.
stablished initially as a flax board manufacturer in 1960 by Belgian farmers keen to utilise the high levels of flax available locally, Unilin’s long-standing innovative philosophy was clear from the beginning. With the flax industry’s core textile business at that time steadily decreasing, the farmers’ appreciation that careful diversification using available skills and resources has allowed the company to achieve continuous growth. Throughout the next five decades, Unilin sought out growth opportunities in the board industry, with its natural development in the 1970s seeing the introduction of chipboard. Roof panels were added to the portfolio following the acquisition of a core client which was then joined by a further acquisition in the late 1980s of the company’s main chipboard customer.
Part of a family Today, Unilin is part of the American Mohawk Industries, Inc. group, which is listed on the New York stock exchange. The company is divided into three main divisions, each of which can draw on the experience and technical excellence of the others in order to enhance its range of products. Unilin Flooring is dedicated to laminate flooring, engineered wood flooring and solid wood flooring from its plants in Belgium, Russia, the USA and Malaysia. Unilin Insulation offers roof insulation from its plants in Belgium, the Netherlands and France. The Unilin Panels division provides flax fibre boards, chipboards, melamine faced boards and finished boards from its five plants – of which four are in Belgium and one in France. Mr Lode de Boe told Industry Europe how the steady diversification of the company has
played an important role in its continued success: “Unilin has stayed healthy throughout the years by keeping focused on innovation and design across our divisions, and this has meant that our name is synonymous with quality solutions. By strategically acquiring complementary businesses and services, such as a particle board manufacturer in the 1960s, and continually investing in R&D, training and consumer analysis, we are able to be very confident about the future. We are a nimble company that values fresh thinking, and our new products and customerfocused solutions illustrate that perfectly.” The panels division at Unilin creates a broad range of panels for different applications. Proudly ‘design, innovation and quality orientated’, Unilin works with the often traditional aspects of the panel and flooring sectors
GOVI Founded in 1910, GOVI is an independent dedicated emulsions-manufacturer, with production-sites in Belgium, Italy, Serbia and Russia. Wood-panel manufacturers are confronted with a highly competitive environment, hence the industry is permanently looking for improved cost/ performance ratio’s. With 20% of its personnel concentrated on R&D, GOVI has been able to find adequate technical solutions, enhancing quality and performance of its clients’ products. UNILIN’s experience underlines GOVI is a reliable partner, able to deliver what it commits for. Understanding the needs and its impacts on the technical and economic results is a mutual exercise leading to success.
whilst creating new products. One such example is its Quick-Step range of flooring panels with a patented ‘Uniclic’ profile, which makes them quick and easy to install, remove and replace. Mr de Boe continued, “Quick-Step is a real feather in our cap, and it’s become a worldwide standard. Quick-Step allows us to offer the right laminate flooring for every interior, with laminate, wood planks and tiles in wide or small sizes and traditional and modern styles. It’s been a huge success and continues to be a very important aspect of our portfolio.”
Integrated services Initially called Unilin Décor and Unilin Boards, Unilin Panels integrated both services in order to offer customers a complete panels solution. The one-stop-shop concept has also proven to be very successful in terms of its distribution channels, with the melamine faced boards, MDF boards, chipboards and laminates all now available in a range of options from one single contact. Mr de Boe added, “Customers worldwide can quickly and easily speak with one of our sales team for their whole order, and gain
expert advice in the process. The products then usually arrive in one delivery, making the process reliable and efficient.” In order to stay one step ahead of the changing trends in the industries it serves, Unilin listens very closely to the needs of its customers. With the current cross-industry trend of added-value products clearly evident in the panel and boards industries, Unilin is well aware of the need for differentiation and continued R&D efforts. One such product that addresses this trend is the new Ecoskill board, with its lightweight, easy-to-paint-and-manipu-
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late, and ergonomic characteristics. Unilin has also recently introduced a whole new design group in its melamine faced boards, which is added to its decorative panels offer. With its core geographical markets around 700km and primarily Europe from each of its plants for panel products, Unilin is expecting future growth to come from both the areas surrounding its existing plants and the busi-
ness potential from newly opened plants. Committed to continuing its high level of service, Unilin will only consider opening new plants or acquiring complementary plants where it can guarantee that a high quality of service can be maintained. Mr de Boe concluded, “With flax, chipboard, MDF and melamine faced boards now used in so many industries, from DIY and
furniture to home appliances, our business has terrific potential for continued growth. We will always stay true to the innovative philosophy of our founders and we will develop accordingly, with new products including a revolutionary range of ‘click furniture’ in the furniture world and a new laminate flooring plant in Russia allowing us to exploit exciting n new markets.” Industry Europe 69
PERFECTION IN WOOD
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As the world’s leading manufacturer of wood-based panels, Kronospan is both a pioneer and a reliable partner. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to managing director of Kronoflooring Lampertswalde Markus Oberbauer to find out how this is being achieved.
stablished in Austria in 1897, Kronospan started out as a family-run company. Whilst the ownership structure has evolved over the past more than 110 years, Kronospan remains committed to delivering the type of quality products and service that its founders created, allowing it to deliver its flooring products worldwide quickly, effectively and affordably. Kronospan has also remained true to constant investment in innovation which, over more than a century, has resulted in many forward-thinking products and techniques which have often become industry standard. Managing director Markus Oberbauer told Industry
Europe, “As we have invested so much for so long, we have steadily and consistently grown above and beyond the market, allowing us to create an integrated operation with every last detail perfected over time. We have pioneered many of our industry’s key advances and will continue to do so through product development and our passion for innovation.”
Globally acting, locally responsible Today, Kronospan manufactures its woodbased panels in 29 sites across 25 countries worldwide and employs more than 11,000 people. Generating an annual turnover in excess of €3 billion, Kronospan is now see-
ing emerging markets representing 55 per cent of this figure. Mr Oberbauer continued, “We also have a history of utilising new market opportunities, so this is something we are very experienced in. We are used to catering for a changing world, both in terms of geographical developments in world markets and design trends in flooring.” Kronospan specialises in manufacturing wood-based panels and is the global leader in many categories within the industry, including the production of particleboard, medium density fibreboard, laminate flooring, resins for wood-based panels and oriented strand board. The company also produces a number
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of speciality and decorative paper and other associated products such as melamine-faced panels, worktops, wall panels, window sills and lacquered high density fibreboard. Mr Oberbauer explained how this product portfolio has developed over time. He said, “Our products are used in everything from flooring and furniture to timber-framed houses, with wide applications across the flooring, furniture and refurbishment industries. We’re proud to say that we are perfectionists in everything we do, which has meant that we satisfy our customers’ needs at affordable prices, react quickly to market and technology changes and provide a service-orientated portfolio of products in the wood-panel sector and related added value products.”
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Adding flooring to the mix Kronospan’s added-value products are also supported by the variety of flooring options designed and manufactured by Kronoflooring GmbH Lampertswalde, a dedicated flooring company under the Kronospan umbrella. Widely represented in DIY stores, the specialist flooring trade as well as in specialist store segments with a wide range of wood-based material products for floors, walls and ceilings worldwide, Kronoflooring is the world’s leading producer of high quality laminate floorings and panels which are primarily wood-based. A recently launched innovation from Kronoflooring is its Mystyle concept, which is an independent brand within the company that is dedicated to luxury wood flooring. Mr Ober-
bauer explained, “Mystyle is a way of life which we call ‘passion and living’. It’s for people that want high-quality comfort flooring in an exclusive style, without forgoing the appeal and charm of natural wood. We believe Mystyle represents a perfect synergy between the resilience and abrasion-resistance of laminate flooring and the allure and warmth of natural wood. Mystyle is a blend of laminate and real wood flooring.” Kronoflooring will continue its innovation-led strategy with new presentations in Hannover at the Radisson Blue hotel during Domotex 2012. For the new products they wanted to create a special atmosphere. Therefore they chose an exclusive location where they plan to highlight a number of fresh concepts:
• Discover the new stunning Vintage collections. • Feels real – rustic additions to the Super Natural family. • Reminisce the time-worn designs in the Castello Classic range. • Customise your interior space with “Mix & Match Flooring”. They will also be delivering updates to their well-known Krono Original Floor range.
All about reliable quality A key aspect of the Kronospan group’s ongoing success is its commitment to maintaining the highest standards across the operation, in many cases going over and
above the requirements of the industry to create its own industry-leading standards. With regular and consistent quality control throughout every stage of the design, development and delivery process, Kronospan customers are able to rely totally on the products and services. Mr Oberbauer added, “At each point in the process chain we are testing and retesting, with our independent testers confirming that we exceed quality regulations. We hold a vast number of compliance certificates for our materials, our processes and our products. We also have the CE mark certification, which is a Europe-wide label that signifies compliance with the relevant health n and safety requirements.” Industry Europe 73
OPENING MORE DOORS With its innovative drive systems, Gilgen Door Systems is in a position to offer optimal, customised solutions for a wide range of doors and other systems. Abigail Saltmarsh reports.
rom its headquarters in Switzerland, Gilgen Door Systems is focused on a range of ever more innovative solutions for door, gate and wall systems. From energy-saving to all glass solutions, new products are being developed on a daily basis, according to a company spokesman. “With its innovative drive systems and turnkey installations, Gilgen Door Systems is in a position to offer optimal, customised solutions for pedestrian and industrial doors, doors for vehicles and railways as well as in the field of flexible wall elements and safety installations,” he said. And he added: “Other than offering finished products and the assorted high-quality profiles, we facilitate the tasks of the architects and distribution partners by providing convenient CAD-planning tools.”
NRLA for 200 tunnel door drive systems and by 2007 had been awarded a contract for half-height PSD retrofit for the Métro in Paris. “As early as 1993, Gilgen Door Systems had defined its quality system according to ISO standard 9001, which has been successfully implemented. Today, the development, production and administrative departments are located at the Swiss headquarters at Schwarzenburg,” said the company spokesman. “Day after day, more than 600 staff members are contributing to the company’s success, some of them providing an around-theclock service. The tight network of after-sales organisations with their own branch offices throughout Switzerland and a worldwide network of sales and service partners ensure the closeness to the customers.”
An efficient operation
It has been since 1961 that Gilgen Door Systems, an affiliate of the Nabtesco Group, has specialised in innovative drive technology and turnkey solutions for automatic door, gate and wall systems. The company was initially founded as a one-man business and in 1969 opened its first branch office in Switzerland. By 2003, it had won a contract with rail link
The company serves customers in public transport (railway stations, airports, tourist facilities), health and care (hospitals, clinics, care homes), hotels and restaurants and administration and offices. It also sells to banks and insurance companies, shops and other retail outlets, general industry and the food, chemical and pharmaceutical sectors.
New products are continually being developed for all sectors, according to the spokesman. Recently these have included new environmentally friendly and all-glass products. “The Gilgen PSW profile system, for example, allows you to heat-insulate and draughtproof doors in a particularly efficient way, especially when doors are closed at night, letting you save precious energy and natural resources,” he said. “The entire system has been tested and certified for U-value rating, air permeability, resistance to driving rain, wind-load stress and secure automatic door systems. Automatic opening and closing were not enough for us − we had to have automatic insulation too.”
Energy saving The system is based on the well-tried Wicstyle 65 designed by Wicona. As this combination excels through low U-values, its main advantage is an improved overall energy balance of the building. The resulting energy savings not only lower the operating costs, but also reduce the carbon dioxide emissions. The automatic sliding door with thermal insulation is in compliance with the presently applicable EnEV specifications. Therefore, it represents a significant contribution towards
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compliance with the ever-tightening directives of the energy saving regulations. The automatic single-winged or bi-parting door installations can be combined with a fanlight, a fix-point guide shoe or with a continuous bottom guide rail. They can also be easily integrated into self-supporting façade frame constructions. The tried-and-tested overall system answers the safety requirements of DIN standard 18650 and offers a maximum
degree of user protection. The sensors have been integrated into the profiles; as an option, the door can be equipped with a multi-point locking system for an enhanced burglar-protection effect.
All-glass Another new solution from Gilgen is the SLX-M with PSF (profile system Full Glass). This all-glass version of the automatic sliding door is ideal for creating sophisticated
design entrances where no thermal insulation is required. Thanks to the clamping system that has been integrated in the drive case, it is no longer necessary to drill holes into the glass panels. In its redundant execution, the system has been homologated for use in escape and rescue ways. An SLX-M combined with the PSF profile system guarantees an extremely fast and uncomplicated installation.
Looking for growth “Currently, the headquarters and main production facility of Gilgen Door Systems is in Schwarzenburg, Switzerland,” said the spokesman. “But we have subsidiaries in Germany, Austria, UK, France, Italy, Spain and China. Gilgen Door Systems is a member of the Nabtesco Group and is manufacturing its own product range in the Accessibility Innovations Group.” The company’s principal market is central Europe, but it is present worldwide in over 65 countries. New growth is expected to come from South America, as well as from acquisitions elsewhere and organic expansion. “Our aim for the future is to develop the company from a manufacturer to more of a service company,” he explained. “We want to be close to the customer and have a direct approach, as well as through distributors.” n
A WINDOW ON SUCCESS Established by the Şişecam group in 1978, Trakya Cam ranks among the top six flat glass companies in the world and is in the top four in Europe in terms of its production capacity. It currently produces a variety of glass products for use in the building, automotive, solar energy and home appliances sectors. Trakya Cam’s chairman, Teoman Yenigun, talked to Industry Europe about the company’s current positioning and its operations.
he Şişecam Group, whose own establishment dates back to 1935, is known to have pioneered the production of flat glass, tempered glass, automotive glass, mirror and insulation glass from 1967 to 1976 in Turkey. When Şişecam set up Trakya Cam, it became the first company to deploy float technology among any east European, Balkan, Middle Eastern and North African countries and had its first fully operational float glass line in 1981. Today it operates seven float glass lines and is among the top glass suppliers in the world. Mainly the automotive glass and home appliance glass products are designed
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for the specific needs of clients. This means that the company must establish very close relationships with clients from the inception of projects to the start of serial production. In addition to the domestic market, Trakya’s major markets are the Balkans and central Europe, the Middle East and Russia.
New investments in progress The company is headquartered in Istanbul and currently has plants in three cities in Turkey. It is in the process of constructing a new flat glass plant in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, in order to meet the rapidly increasing demands of the
Turkish market. It also has production facilities abroad, one of which is located in the city of Targovishte in Bulgaria. Additionally, as a result of a joint venture established with Saint-Gobain in 2009, it has a production facility in Ain El Sukhna, Egypt. Mr Yenigun states that further investments in flat glass, mirror, coated glass and automotive glass will also be realised in Russia in partnership with Saint-Gobain. He continues by explaining that Trakya Cam is also investing in another production complex in Bulgaria. He highlights the successful collaboration with Saint-Gobain and says, “We believe that our
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partnership with Saint-Gobain has been a successful collaboration. We believe that strategic cooperation and ventures in collaboration with other companies will play a key role in Trakya Cam’s future.” The company aims to expand and penetrate the markets they are involved in, mainly with its value added products.
An environmentalist future According to Mr Yenigun, energy conservation and environmental protection have become the focal points of every nation, considering the robust growth of energy demand and the increasing CO2 emissions going into the atmosphere. Because of this fact, he says, products that consider the need for energy efficiency and renewable energy production have become the driving force for growth in the flat glass industry. As a result Trakya Cam is paying special attention to diversifying its products that will have a great importance within the context of sustainability. “Trakya Cam puts emphasis on research that focused on products in the renewable energy area and multifunctional glass systems which decrease energy consumption and are environmentally friendly”, Mr Yenigun says. Within this framework, Şişecam and Trakya Cam conducted research projects and
developed new multi-functional products for architectural applications and managed to achieve successful production trials for some of these products. Mr Yenigun expects that coated glasses for use in various climates within a wide range of performance will have a major growth in the construction sector. He adds that in the renewable energy area, various glass products for solar energy systems, including low-iron glass and glass with anti-reflective coatings have vast growth potential. He also draws attention to the incentives in the European automotive industry which are mostly provided for environmentally friendly technologies. He says that some applications have rapidly gained importance, such as reducing CO2 emissions as well as reducing the weight of vehicles, lowering the energy usage required for cooling, saving fuel and using lead-free materials for this purpose. He states that in line with this objective, in 2010 and 2011, Şişecam and Trakya Cam have carried out various research and development projects in the field of automotive glasses. As part of this project an original heat-reflecting car wind shield was developed and its initial trial productions were completed successfully.
Proactive approach against the financial crisis When the global financial turmoil hit the sectors where flat glass is used, Trakya Cam decided to pursue a proactive policy to adapt to the new circumstances. It intensified its regional operations to have wide access to the Turkish market and to raise the number of its customers and thus penetrated extensively into all market segments through product diversification. Regarding the strategies pursued in the export markets, Mr Yenigun states: “The serious turbulence in European and Russian flat glass markets was largely compensated by market share gains and increased sales in markets in the Middle East, Central Europe, the Balkans and North Africa, in line with our company’s market development activities.” Mr Yenigun also outlines the fact that the company’s 2010 figures presented an uptrend in flat glass demand which had contracted in 2008 and 2009 due to the financial crisis. He points out that the recovery of the economy and specifically of the glass sector has been ongoing for some time and has been reflected in Trakya Cam’s operations, with the company experiencing a 17 per cent increase in sales n revenue during 2010.
MASTERS IN CERAMICS Leading Hungarian ceramic producer, Villeroy and Boch Hungary Kft is currently working at full capacity and manufactures 1.2 million sanitaryware products a year. The company’s traditional Hungarian brand, Alföldi has enabled the factory to acquire a 50 per cent market share in Hungary, whilst its premium brands including Villeroy & Boch and Gustavsberg are mainly exported to meet the European demand. Edina Beale reports.
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ungary’s largest ceramic producer, Villeroy & Boch Hungary Kft was established by the Hungarian state in 1965. The local pottery tradition in Hódmezővásárhely, south-east Hungary, and the newly built state-of-the art factory was a perfect combination to begin manufacturing sanitary-ware products. Later on, the company extended its activities and became engaged in pot making and tile producing as well. The factory rapidly developed and soon acquired a strong market position with 12, 000 employees throughout the country. By the 1980s the firm had doubled its capacity and increased its exports of sanitaryware products to 25–30 per cent. In 1991, at the time of the social changes in Hungary, the company was
privatised and split into three different units. The potmaking division was taken over by a French firm whilst the division manufacturing refractory materials was bought by a Swiss firm. The Alföldi Porcelain Factory that had already concentrated on sanitaryware products and ceramic tile manufacturing fitted well into the profile of the prestigious German ceramics manufacturing group, Villeroy & Boch.
Rapid growth Following the takeover, the company’s sanitaryware production, which includes bathroom sinks, WCs, urinals, bidets and washbasins, developed fast. “At the time of the privatisation in 1992, we produced nearly 700000 sanitaryware ceramic products, and
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15 years later our production exceeded 1.5 million units,” says Mr Gábor Hideg, managing director of Villery & Boch Hungary Kft. Villeroy & Boch operates five production plans in Europe, and unlike its other subsidiaries in the western European countries, the Hungarian capacities have been continuously increased and investments have been made constantly. Mr Hideg explained the reasons behind this: “The ratio of human workforce required to make sanitaryware products is extremely high, it is around 30–40 per cent. Wages in Hungary are still lower compared to countries including Germany, France and Sweden which provides an instant advantage for us. There is a condition of course, that we have to meet and provide the same quality
standards, but our factory can achieve that which is why we can sustain our growth.” In 2004 a strategic decision was made and Villeroy & Boch Kft was required to gradually take over the European production of the Villeroy & Boch products, instead of focusing on the production of their own Alföldi brand. “Today we manufacture 1.2 million units a year. Half of our production capacity is utilized to manufacture Villeroy & Boch products, a further 30 per cent is used to make Gustavsberg products, and only 20 per cent of our capacities are utilised to continue making Alföldi products. Our main responsibility now is to serve the markets of our parent company by manufacturing their products and distributing them centrally as well as directly.”
A name to be proud of Standing out with its long traditions and well-known image, Villeroy & Boch has always been a leader in the premium category of the European ceramics. The company is a pioneering designer in the bathroom sector and has launched many
innovative products with high-tech solutions over the years whilst also achieving strong presence in the kitchen and tableware sector. In addition to Europe, Villeroy set up production capacities in Mexico as well as in Thailand to concentrate on opportunities in the developing countries and established more than 40 sales subsidiaries worldwide. The group has acquired a significant market share in Germany. Other important markets include France, the Benelux states, Austria and Scandinavia, where Villeroy also operates a production plant. In relation to plans for the future, Mr Hideg said, “Our strategic objective is to adjust our product mix so that Villeroy & Boch will receive the maximum benefit from our cost advantage. Our aim is to manufacture more valueadded products including the designer products requiring more complex production processes whilst meeting the required quality standards so that Villeroy and Boch can fully take advantage of our lower costs of production compared to its other manu-
facturing units in Europe. In addition, we are determined to maintain our 50 per cent market share in Hungary and would like to increase our sales of the premium Villeroy and Boch products in the coming years.” Over the past decade the Hungarian production plant in Hódmezővásárhely has become a key player within the global operation of the German ceramic manufacturing group. Today every fourth Villeroy & Boch product is manufactured in Hungary; in fact, if examining the European production capacity, every third product is produced in Hungary. The company employs 950 people, who work mainly in production and its annual turnover amounts to €55-60 million. This blend of design, innovation and quality combined with a skilled and cost-effective workforce has placed Villeroy and Boch Hungary Kft in an enviable position. Whilst many manufacturers are struggling to maintain existing requirements and having to reduce staff numbers Villeroy and Boch Hungary Kft are managing to face the future from a position n of wellmaintained strength. Industry Europe 85
Mercedes Museum Stuttgart – Quality meets Quality
CLEAR ADVANTAGE ROLLTECH A/S is a global leader in the design and manufacture of spacers for the insulating glass industry. Philip Yorke talked to Johnny Holm, the company’s sales director, about its latest products and the strategy behind its remarkable growth, as well as its plans for further global expansion.
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OLLTECH was founded in Denmark in 1986 by three entrepreneurs with the object of producing high-quality aluminium and galvanised steel spacers for the insulated glass industry. Initially the company marketed its products in Scandinavia and Germany; however, with a clear focus on expansion it developed the world’s first ‘warm-edge’ spacer in 1991, named ‘CHROMATECH’. This was followed in 1999 by CHROMATECH V, Europe’s first thin SST spacer designed for prefilling, which was subsequently rebranded as CHROMATECH plus after a design change. In 2001 ROLLTECH was acquired by Alu-Pro of Italy from ERBSLÖH AG in Ger-
many. The expansion into new geographical markets was accelerated by the company’s partnership with Alu-Pro and FENZI also known by the marketing brand GLASS ALLIANCE. Today GLASS ALLIANCE is truly a global operator with manufacturing facilities throughout the world and continues to represent the most advanced technology in the insulating glass market.
Cutting-edge technology ROLLTECH manufactures probably the widest range of warm edge spacers in the world and offers the most advanced insulation technology in the glass insulating industry.
The company’s high quality warm edge spacer bars are based on stainless steel forms and provide significant advantages for glass insulation customers and end users. This is due to stainless steel having the lowest thermal expansion and the highest stability of any warm edge spacer on the market. It is also 100 per cent gas-tight, which means that no moisture or gas can penetrate. The company’s latest technological achievement is its cutting-edge ‘CHROMATECH Ultra warm edge spacer, which provides an extremely stable and flexible 7mm spacer bar, with very high stability characteristics and excellent bending qualities. This combination
offers the advantage of very low Psi values and is suitable for working with almost all known bending machines. In addition, its plastic top has the advantage that it can be bent precisely in cold working conditions and does not bend back again through temperature change. In combination with its stainless steel back, it ensures consistent, excellent corners and precise, straight sides on window frames of all dimensions. Mr Holm said, “Although we are located in Denmark and have our major production facilities here, as part of the Glass Alliance Group we have access to production sites in Poland, Belgium, Italy, Russia, China and
Canada. This is important when considering the success of our latest warm bar spacer, the CHROMATECH Ultra. We expect this product to help us to achieve a doubling of our turnover within the next few years and we plan to begin production of these advanced, warm edge spacers in other strategic locations worldwide as demand increases. In Italy production of CHROMATECH Ultra started in 2011. Mr Holm added, “We have also been investing heavily in the development and industrialisation of the CHROMATECH Ultra, which today is one of the fastest-growing products on the market. In addition, in 2011
Hoher Kasten – Swiss Alps – Stunning View – CHROMATECH in the Frame
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we decided to invest in dedicated production lines for our plastic extrusion components, to give us full control of the entire manufacturing process. Optimising quality, service and delivery is a priority for us at all times and, along with our unique, cutting-edge products, this clearly differentiates us from our competitors.”
Quality and quantity ROLLTECH celebrated 25 years of service to the insulating glass industry in 2011 and has during that time produced more than one bilIndustry Europe 89
Buildings from Netherlands with ROLLTECH spacer
lion metres of high-quality spacers, with more than 90 per cent of its products going to export markets. The company’s spacer bar products are used extensively for the isolating of double-glazed windows covering all forms of building activity, from small domestic windows to the big glass fronts of tower blocks and open-plan offices. In addition to its range of standardised and customised spacer bars, ROLLTECH produces a selection of warm edge spacer bars that offer unrivalled energy efficiency and eco-friendly properties. Installing ROLLTECH products significantly reduces the CO2 footprint of today’s and tomorrow’s buildings worldwide. Products like CHROMATECH, CHROMATECH plus and CHROMATECH Ultra set the standards for efficiency and energy-saving wherever they are employed. Furthermore, they provide the end user with lower energy costs, reduced CO2 emissions and improvements in indoor climates by significantly reducing or eliminating the risk of interior condensation.
Innovation across the board Developing innovative, world-beating products is one aspect of ROLLTECH’s culture of continuous improvement; however, this also extends to its other business practices. When it comes to sustainability and the environment it is just as creative, and attaches great importance to the environmental issues that arise both inside and outside the company. Because of this com90 Industry Europe
mitment, ROLLTECH’s process technology does not generate any harmful waste and all eco-friendly waste products are melted down and recycled as a matter of course. Mr Holm commented, “Our consideration for the environment always forms an integral part of our decision-making process, especially when it comes to manufacturing. For example, the lubricant that we use in
our production processes is alcohol based, which we filter through active coal and reuse so that nothing at all escapes into the atmosphere. In addition, 50 per cent of our bought-in raw materials are made of recycled material and our spacers can also be 100 per cent recycled. In fact, our stainless steel bars are also eco-friendly in their own n way, as they last indefinitely.”
THE CHEMICAL SOLUTION Well-established Swedish company Perstorp is one the world’s leading suppliers of chemical products. With plans for strategic expansion in high-growth areas, Perstorp’s second century looks likely to be just as successful as the first. Following an interview with head of business group and deputy CEO, Mats Persson, Emma-Jane Batey reports for Industry Europe.
stablished in 1881 in the southern Swedish village from which it takes its name, specialist chemical supplier Perstorp has grown to become a USD2.5bn company with more than 2200 employees. Privately held until 2001, Perstorp is currently owned by one of Europe’s largest private equity companies, PAI Partners. Perstorp has manufacturing units in 11 countries worldwide, particularly present in Asia, Europe and North America, with its very active plans for continued expansion focusing on the increasingly important Chinese market. As one of the world’s leading suppliers of chemical products for a wide range of industries and applications, Perstorp is especially active in the field of coatings. With its ‘130 years of winning formulas’ a well-known marketing slogan in the global chemicals market, Perstorp is justifiably proud of the competitive advantage its lengthy history offers. Head of business group Speciality Intermediates and deputy CEO, Mats Persson, explained, “We are in a leading position wherever in the world we are active, which we have achieved by focusing on the local market in each territory and responding to the precise needs of each market. So although we are not the biggest chemical company globally, we lead
wherever we are, in the first, second or third market position in every region we’re in. As we steadily and strategically increase our global presence, we are more and more aware of the advantage of our 130-year history, not just in terms of marketing but because it means that we have come across so many situations throughout our history that we are always able to find a suitable solution.”
Plenty of advantages This focus on delivering solutions to the chemical production industry also helps set Perstorp apart from the competition. The company works to produce special building blocks for the chemical industry by working closely with its customers as a solutions provider and development partner. With around 80 per cent of its research and development linked to chemical solutions that are environmentally friendly and sustainable, Mr Persson’s assertion that much of its activity is driven by a passion for sustainability, both within Perstorp and by its customers, is certainly backed up. Perstorp’s product portfolio is broad but can be divided into four core platforms, with each working with the other as needed to deliver complete solutions. The first platform is Perstorp’s polyalcohol activities, in which it is the
global leader. This important area includes the company’s core industry sector of coatings, with its main customers using its chemicals for various technical solutions. The second Perstorp platform is its caprolactones activities, with the company holding the leading position in each territory in which it is active. Perstorp is in the final stage of building a new unit alongside its existing unit which will double its caprolactones production. Mr Persson added, “We see a great future in caprolactones and we are investing a great deal in this new facility. It’s a great chemical that has a vast range of applications, from various adhesives to strengthening the soles of high-heeled shoes. It’s so versatile.” The third platform in which Perstorp is active is its ‘oxo business’ where it also enjoys a strong presence. The ‘oxo business’ is connected to key raw material suppliers within Sweden’s petrochemical industry, and the company is predicting this to be an important growth market in the coming years. The fourth and final platform is Perstorp’s isocyanate range of plastic polymers, which includes its Tolonate and Scuranate brands. The company operates this provision mainly from its location in France, where it is also the global leader in this field. Industry Europe 91
Meeting the global demand The increasingly global reach of Perstorp is perfectly in tune with the general megatrend of customers wanting global suppliers. Mr Persson said, “Each of our four platforms listens closely to the changing needs of our customers, and we all communicate closely to ensure that we benefit from feedback and expertise. We are finding that as many of our customers are increasingly active worldwide, so too do they want to deal with global suppliers, suppliers that understand how their business is both the same and yet different in different countries. We excel
Norwegian Technical Porcelain AS manufactures electro ceramic components for a wide range of industries worldwide. Our total product capacity is approximately 3,000 tons of porcelain per year. NTP has supplied Perstorp for several decades a special ceramic ring, used as distillation medium in their formalin process. This prestigious reference has to a wide extent contributed to our own export growth in recent years. We are a leading supplier with a significant and still increasing export volume.
Norsk Teknisk Porselen as. Trosvikstranda 46-48 P.O. box 188. NO. 1601 Fredrikstad.
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Tel : +47 69 38 30 00 Fax : +47 69 38 30 30 Email : email@example.com www.ntp-as.no
in this field, and are a committed solutions provider to customers worldwide.” With 50 per cent of Perstorp’s current business activity focused on the coatings industry and extensive investment in R&D, the company’s future is clearly well-positioned to respond to the most modern of megatrends. It has recently launched a nearly 100 per cent green pentaerythritol product, VoxtarTM, which has a carbon footprint that is 70 per cent less than comparable products. The company also aims to expand its activities in China with the long-term aim to
give strong attention to the exciting opportunities across Asia. The high-growth region has an increasing demand for chemical products, and Perstorp is working to deliver sustainable solutions. It is also open to considering suitable acquisitions to continue its expansion in the region. Perstorp will continue to be driven by the increasingly strict regulations for reducing environmental impact for coating systems in particular, and is looking forward to meeting the challenges of this fast-growing, n dynamic sector.
OLD BUSINESS, NEW CHEMICALS Family-owned chemical distribution company HugoHaeffner Gruppe is committed to adding value to the supply chain for the benefit of its customers. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to the managing director, Derk Proff, to find out how this is being achieved.
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ounded in 1903 in Asperg, Germany, the chemical distribution company HugoHaeffner Gruppe remains a privately operated, family-owed company today. With no need to work with banks for investment funding, or please shareholders with pressurised sales targets, the company has been able to establish a solid business, with a loyal workforce and a steady development programme. But this steady, long-term approach has not stopped a dedicated commitment to progression and impressive results, as the managing director, Derk Proff, told Industry Europe. He explained, “Our business has continued to succeed for more than
100 years because we have always been focused on meeting the changing needs of our customers, and maintaining the pursuit of adding value to our service.”
Active across segments HugoHaeffner Gruppe is active in five main segments; water treatment and metal surface treatment, paint and ink additives, food additives, detergent and household products additives and lubricant additives. It has a wide range of customers and products in each of these sectors, all of which are geographically focused on northern continental Europe as their main market.
A key aspect of the HugoHaeffner Gruppe differentiation is its three point-product and service development programme, each of which works together to ensure the needs of clients are met while supporting the commercial aims of the business. Mr Proff said, “We are much more than a typical chemical distribution company, particularly as we’ve focused on stepping away from having a commodity-driven product portfolio to more specialities, even though we are still able to service this area for our existing clients with an excellent approach. Today, about 40 per cent of the Hugo Haeffner Group’s turnover results from speciality chemicals sales. Our
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three main advantages are the fact that we can develop our own products, we buy patents in order to deliver unique products and we offer a single point of sales contact. Each of these areas is carefully supported so they continue to add value across our service.”
Continual advancement In terms of developing its own products, HugoHaeffner Gruppe adds value by buying in bulk from many of the major chemical producers
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across Europe and then implementing a series of beneficial processes, such as drumming and blending to create product variations and using its own extensive warehousing facilities and tank farms to guarantee just-in-time delivery. The delivery itself is then carried out using the company’s own distribution fleet, ensuring a full supply chain service. One such product that HugoHaeffner has developed in order to add value is a boron free flame retardant material made of silver-based salts, which are non toxic,
and works perfectly for cellulose insulation. It adheres to all the strictest REACH demands and has the patent pending; HugoHaeffner expects it to be well received by its customers. The buying of patents adds considerable value to the continuation of the long-term success of HugoHaeffner, especially as the company works in close conjunction with the technical department at the nearby Hamburg University. Mr Proff explained, “Buying the licences for existing patents allows us
to develop, produce and then market an advanced version of the product, safe in the knowledge that it is unique to us for the duration of the patent – often around 20 years. This gives us a considerable commercial advantage in that we are then the only chemical distribution company to offer that particular product, which, if we have done our job properly, will be a welcome addition to the portfolio of our customers!” A patent recently acquired by HugoHaeffner, with the plan to continue to develop further, is a special biological disinfectant product for the food and beverage industry. Especially suited to the needs of the huge German brewery industry, with which the company has a strong affiliation, the product will be specifically produced and marketed by HugoHaeffner.
It is this single sales force that includes technical experts, which helps HugoHaeffner stand out from the competition, as its client-facing teams are not simply focused on making quick sales. As HugoHaeffner looks toward the next century in its business story, it aims to continue to service its main customer base in northern Continental Europe and plans to expand its technical capabilities in southern Germany with the opening of a new distribution centre in 2013, following an investment of about €15
million. The centre will be equipped to adhere to the very tightest European food standards legislation, with a second centre planned for 2017 in northern Germany. Mr Proff concluded, “We do not plan to expand geographically, but we will be expanding our product portfolio and adding more value to our chemical distribution service. We will be adding new patents and new products as we see growth in enlarging our speciality products portfolio. We are also open to potential acquisitions of companies that fit into our growth plans.” n
Sales with expertise The marketing aspect is important as the company’s unique approach involves skilled technical experts dealing with the customers’ requirements, with the sales aspect then handled by regional sales teams. Food scientists are working on the brewery disinfectant product’s marketing activities, with construction industry experts working on the flame retardant product. Industry Europe 99
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Based in Cincinnati, and with operations in 80 countries worldwide, Procter & Gamble is the largest consumer packaged goods company in the world. Widely known in Europe for household and healthcare brands like Fairy Liquid and Crest, the company is also a dominant player in the market for beauty products. Joseph Altham reports on Procter & Gamble’s sustainability initiatives and its relationship with the world of European fashion and design.
KEEP YOUNG AND P
rocter & Gamble is a truly global corporation. The company employs 127,000 people around the world and achieved sales in 2010 of $78.9 billion. In western Europe, a region that represents 21 per cent of overall turnover, the average supermarket is likely to contain dozens of Procter & Gamble products. The company makes its biggest impact on people’s lives through its 23 so-called ‘billion-dollar brands’, each of which generates more than $1 billion in annual sales. By offering a more convenient and effective solution, these brands make a difference to many areas of everyday life, from doing the laundry (Ariel) to changing the baby’s nappies (Pampers). Eighty thousand suppliers serve Procter & Gamble, and all of them have a part to play in helping the company realise its objectives. Industry Europe 101
Similarly to Proctor and Gamble, CSi strives for long
The Italian company Pompe Cucchi has been active in the pumping,
lasting and fruitful professional relationships, with both customers and suppliers. The long-term rela-
dosing and fluid transfer sectors for more than 40 years. We supply a wide range of customers in many industry sectors, including thermohydraulics, chemicals, food & drink, paper, tooling,
tionship with P&G which started in 1988 is a good
marine, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and cosmetics – the list
example of this. Each time P&G launches a new
project, CSi is heavily involved from a consultancy
The products manufactured at our plant are divided into two
prospective. Major installations have been executed
main areas: metering pumps and transfer pumps. Special materials
both in Europe and beyond over the years, including
are available as Hastelloy C, Titanium also magnetic coupled. In
case and pallet transport, robot and layer palletising.
addition to this, we also distribute ITT Jabsco industrial pumps,
In coming together, both companies have achieved significant successes, which in turn have created great mutual respect. The recent project is another one in which to be proud of. In Amiens, France, a pallet transport
GRACO pneumatic diaphragm pumps and Grun-Pumpen drum pumps. All our pumps can become metering pumps through the use of engine drives, inverters or servo controls of both the electric and pneumatic types. Our cutting-edge products are designed in our technical office which is equipped with the latest CAD software. The manufacture of our mechanical parts is carried out on the latest generation,
system was installed with a maximum capacity of
high-tech numerically controlled workstations. Furthermore, we
770 pallets per hour. The complexity of the system
have recently installed a new robotised machining centre with
consisted of merging three pallet flows into one. At the end of the flow, it is divided into one stream to the warehouse and one for shipment. Again, good cooperation from both companies resulted in a positive outcome.
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25 pallets that can work for 24 hours a day without the need for an operator. Every pump we make is tested by means of a hydraulic circuit which is able to simulate various application conditions. A 3D software is available for pumps maintenance and technical educational also in virtual reality.
Pompe Cucchi is proud to be a long-term supplier of Procter & Gamble.
This is why Procter & Gamble organises a Supplier of the Year award to recognise the achievements of its very best suppliers. The company also presents Excellence Awards to external business partners whose performance it rates as consistently high. Procter & Gamble is the global market leader in hair care, thanks to trusted brands of shampoo like Pantene and Head & Shoulders, and has a 20 per cent share of the retail hair care market. Altogether the beauty segment represents 24 per cent of overall
sales. The acquisition of Gillette in 2005 was an important milestone for Procter & Gamble, and products in the grooming category, such as razors, epilators and shaving foam, make up a further 9 per cent of overall sales.
Conservation through innovation In total, Procter & Gamble serves around 4.2 billion of the world’s consumers, so a tiny improvement to any one of these billiondollar brands can have a measurable effect on the lives of millions of people. Innovation
also plays a vital role in realising Procter & Gamble’s ambitious objectives on sustainability. Procter & Gamble helps to preserve the environment by designing products that enable consumers to consume less energy. For example, Ariel washing powder and liquid can achieve excellent results on clothes at temperatures of only 30 degrees Celsius, thereby helping households to reduce their carbon footprint. Procter & Gamble is also on a drive to use packaging that is more environmentally friendly. In 2011, the com-
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pany introduced new bottles for Pantene shampoo and conditioner. The main raw material for these bottles is a plastic derived from sugarcane. Sugarcane is a renewable resource and sugarcane-based plastic takes 70 per cent less fossil fuel to produce than traditional petroleum-based plastic. In Western Europe, Procter & Gamble has recently started to use the new bottles for its Pro-V Nature Fusion collection.
Fashion with passion In skincare, Procter & Gamble is a powerful presence through its Olay range of anti-aging
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skincare products. With a 10 per cent share of the global market, Olay is the world’s number one facial skincare brand. In the 1990s, Procter & Gamble moved into fragrances, acquiring the Old Spice brand in 1990 and Max Factor the following year. Procter & Gamble now makes fragrances for prestigious fashion houses like Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, whose Light Blue fragrance claims to capture “the timeless sensuality of the Mediterranean”. For those with a more northern European sense of style, Procter & Gamble also produces fragrances like Boss Bottled and Boss Intense for the German label Hugo Boss.
Smoothly does it Germany is of special importance to Procter & Gamble because of the company’s German subsidiary, Braun, which celebrated its 90th birthday in 2011. The Braun technical centre at Kronberg is also Procter & Gamble’s Global Centre of Excellence for Devices and cooperates on product development with Gillette. Braun’s small electrical appliances have long been famous for successfully combining superior engineering with elegant design. After the world-famous designer, Dieter Rams, joined Braun in 1955, Braun’s products began to acquire their distinctively minimalist appear-
ance. “The strength of pure”, Braun’s design philosophy, owes something to the modernist aesthetic of the Bauhaus movement, whose aim was to put beauty and simplicity within the reach of ordinary people. Following integration with Procter & Gamble in 2005, Braun has continued to win prizes for design. In 2009, it won the Red Dot award for its bodycruZer B35 bodygroomer. Fitted with Gillette Fusion blades, the bodycruZer’s slim shape and ergonomic touch points make it easy to
handle in the shower. With this product, and its successor, the cruZer body, Braun caters to the needs of the increasing number of men who shave their bodies as well as their faces. Braun’s “Hairy” survey, based on the views of 3500 women in seven different countries, found that the majority of single women see men without chest hair as more attractive. This may not be the most sophisticated argument in favour of German engineering, but it is a compelling n one nonetheless. Industry Europe 109
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FOCUSED ON CONSUMERS One of the largest privately held diversified industrial corporations in India, Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co. Ltd has 15 business divisions producing consumer, office and industrial products and services – the flagship division being Godrej Appliances. Felicity Landon reports.
ITH customers in every corner of India, and a range of business activities that encompasses everything from locks and security systems to refrigerators that play music, Godrej & Boyce isn’t easily pigeonholed. The firm has a history going back to 1897, when a young man named Ardeshir Godrej gave up law and turned to lock-making. He went on to make safes and security equipment, and then created a real stir by making toilet soap from vegetable oil. Today, Godrej & Boyce employs 10,800 people and runs a network of company-owned Godrej Interio retail stores, 2200 wholesale dealers, and more than 18,000 retail outlets. Its divisions include appliances, AV solutions, construction, electricals and electronics, furniture (Interio), motors, locks, material handling, precision engineering, precision systems, process equipment, security solutions, storage solutions, tooling and vending.
Of these, Godrej Appliances is the flagship division, producing refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners and microwave ovens. The company’s core philosophy is ‘Designed by Curiosity’ and ‘Brighter Living for Consumers’, and new products are designed by closely understanding Indian consumer preferences and aspirational values.
Cool sounds Hence the launch, earlier this year, of the ‘Edge SX MuziPlay Refrigerator’, which is a refrigerator plus FM radio plus MP3 player. While cooking in the kitchen, consumers can now listen to their favourite FM programme, plug in a pen drive with MP3 songs or even a mobile phone loaded with MP3 songs, or charge their mobile phone, says Mr Kamal Nandi, vice president, sales and marketing. The idea is that women who
spend most of their time in the kitchen can enjoy music while they cook. “Today consumers are quite aware of their options and clear about what product they desire,” says Mr Nandi. “For instance, in the refrigerator category consumers look at features like freshness, storage efficiency and stylish exteriors to match their discerning lifestyles. With the launch of the Edge SX MuziPlay Refrigerator, India’s first musicenabled refrigerator, we have set another milestone in our strong legacy in R&D. We are totally committed to pioneering new technologies to meet the changing needs of the Indian market, staying true to our philosophy, ‘Designed by Curiosity’.” Godrej Appliances’ general manager, North, Mr Abhay Devi, adds: “We have transformed the refrigerator from a ‘passive appliance’ into an ‘active entertainer’ in your kitchen. This launch marks the beginning of a new era Industry Europe 111
in the refrigerator category by Godrej Appliances, setting new benchmarks in the Indian consumer durables industry.” Apart from its unique musicality, the refrigerator offers StayCool Technology – promising a 24-hour cooling retention despite power cuts. That’s important in India, where there are unpredictable power supplies in many parts of the country. “This superior cooling retention reduces the inconvenience of ice melting down and food spoilage during power cuts,” says Mr Devi. The appliance also features a ‘step designed freezer’, ensuring fast ice-making and better use of space, making way for a unique chilling zone; and Silver Ion Freshness Technology in the convection control flaps, to fight germs and ensure longer-lasting freshness of food. Godrej was actually the first Indian company to manufacture refrigerators and has become synonymous with the category. The company pioneered the launch of polyurethane foam, which became the new benchmark for the refrigerator industry.
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Innovative technologies In the past year, Godrej has introduced more than 100 new products across various categories – refrigerators, air conditioners, microwave ovens, washing machines and televisions. Its innovative technologies include Silver Shower Technology in refrigerators, i-Sense and EM5 in air conditioners, Game LCD in televisions, Insta-Cook in microwave ovens and Tilted Drum in washing machines. The firm’s move into the television market has been particularly important in recent times. Television production began with a small-scale pilot project in Andhra Pradesh three years ago, but quickly emerged as a major revenue generator for the company. “We are looking at 10 per cent of our turnover, which is estimated at Rs2,700 crore, from televisions in 2011–12 against 8 per cent in 2010–11, on the back of sequential expansion in different parts of the country,” says Mr Nandi. The company may be a relatively late entrant into this market, but it already has a television manufacturing presence in seven states.
Mr Nandi says north India is the biggest market of traditional CRT television, while the west and south are big markets for LCD and LED technology. While growth in CRT TVs has flattened to 2–5 per cent a year, LCD and LED appliances are increasing at 40–50 per cent a year – albeit on a lower penetration. The company entered into an alliance with a European company in 2008 for contract manufacturing in Uttarakhand; this facility, representing an initial investment of Rs150 crore, is now producing CRT televisions in screen sizes from 15 to 42 inch. However, at present the LCD and LED products are being imported from Turkey, because manufacturing these in India would not be viable, says Mr Nandi. With high inflation rates and interest rates, the Indian consumer durables industry has seen a slowdown in growth in the past few months – but the Godrej philosophy remains one of continuing innovation, as it understands, and meets, the specific needs of its unique consumer market.
The launch in 2010 of its revolutionary Tilt Open Drum Technology for washing machines is a good example of this. The technology is used in the Eon Ergoz washing machine, giving consumers the convenience of a top-loading washing machine with the efficiency of a front loading washing machine; the Tilt Open Drum is positioned at an angle of 15 per cent, so the user does not have to bend while putting in or taking out clothes.
The Eon Ergoz range also offers Ozone Clean Technology, which sterilises clothes without water at the end of the wash rinse spin, killing 99.9 per cent of bacteria and removing traces of odour. An Air Clean programme with Ozone Technology is also incorporated, for one-time wear clothes, shoes, handbags and leather goods, and the range is highly efficient, using 21 per cent less power and 11 per cent less water and
giving 34 per cent better drying compared to other machines in the category. “Being a consumer-focused appliance manufacturer, we want our customers to get full value from the appliance they purchase,” says Mr Nandi. “Besides offering them relevant technology that specifically addresses their needs, we also focus on design and aesthetics to enhance the n customer experience.”
Mr Sergio Felicissimo, internal manager of the sales department of Italy- based Nord Motoriduttori Srl, talks to Industry Europe’s Barbara Rossi about the company.
NORD DRIVES THE WORLD
ORD Motoriduttori Srl belongs to the NORD DRIVESYSTEMS Group, headquartered in Bargteheide, near Hamburg, in Germany. The group, founded in 1965, has 35 subsidiaries in different countries, including all major European nations, Russia, Australia, China, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, Brazil, Mexico, the USA, Canada and India. Counting its network of sales and service partners, its presence extends to about 60 countries worldwide. Globally the group can count on about 2700 employees, its 2010 turnover was €337 million and it has four manufacturing plants in Germany, one in China and one in Italy. Its activity is the manufacturing of geared motors, motors, frequency inverters and gear units, used in different industries to drive a wide range of machinery. Sectors served by the group’s
products include material handling, pumps, construction, lumber, stage technology, textile, beverage, food, chemical, airport and others. NORD Motoriduttori Srl, based in the Bologna area, started its activity in 1987, as a distributing site, but has grown over the years. First it also started operating as an assembly centre, because by carrying out assembly at local level, it could guarantee a faster delivery service. Later its activity extended to manufacturing electric motors. Mr Felicissimo explains “We had the opportunity of manufacturing electric motors, as here in Italy there are motor materials suppliers, making it a favourable area for this purpose. This activity started and has been developing over the years.” Nowadays Nord Motoriduttori Srl is one of the two companies of the group producing electric motors (the other one is in China,
Suzhou). Nord Motoriduttori Srl, with its staff of about 150 people, manufactures 12,500 motors a week supplied partly to the Italian market but mainly to the group’s headquarters in Germany, which then uses them in its geared motors production and distributes them all over the world. Alongside this, Nord Motoriduttori Srl has five gearbox assembly lines, where it assembles geared motors for the Italian market, using the 100 per cent German-made parts (gears, housings and shaft) manufactured by the group. As the Italian branch of NORD DRIVESYSTEMS Group, it also commercialises all the other products from the range, covering the whole Italian territory. At times of particularly high request for gear motors, they are also supplied ready assembled from Germany in order to satisfy customers’ demands.
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Towards the future In terms of new products there is the SK200E line of motor-mounted frequency inverters, manufactured by NORD Electronics in Aurich. This is a 3-in-1 product, comprising a motor, gearbox and inverter. Nord Motoriduttori Srl assembles this line for the Italian market and it is of particular interest because it’s a decentralised frequency
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inverter, which while being robust, reliable and suitable for extensive plants, such as conveyors, is also specially optimised for price-sensitive market segments. Furthermore the products belonging to this line offer scope for further expansion, achievable with the addition of extra cards. Another line of new products is that of industrial gear units used in the heavy indus-
trial sectors, for instance by steel, cement, sugar, rubber and plastic plants. NORD is the only supplier worldwide to offer industrial gears rated 60000Nm and above in the proven UNICASE housing. Furthermore two-stage helical bevel gear units for the conveyor technology and the food and beverage sector, offering high efficiency, have been presented at
the Hannover fair and will be available from the beginning of 2012. These products are defined as washdown, because their shape is particularly hygienic and helps cleaning procedures employed in the industrial sector in general and in the food sector in particular. These products, if used with IE2 motors and NORD inverters, form a unit offering considerable energy savings. The initial cost of the equipment may be higher than that of more traditional models, such as helical worm gear motors, but thanks to increased efficiency, reaching 97–98 per cent levels, these costs can be recouped in a short time. In accordance with current legislation, the theme of increased efficiency and energy savings is considered very important by Nord Motoriduttori Srl, as well as by its group. Nord Motoriduttori Srl has been producing IE2, high efficiency, motors for two years and from the end of 2011 will accompany this production with IE3 motors, offering even further energy efficiency. Mr Felicissimo thinks that products
offering these features should also be appealing from a commercial viewpoint and hopes that the Italian market will increase its request for them, in line with that of northern Europe and USA. In addition to these high efficiency motors, NORD Motoriduttori Srl also produces CSA (Canadian Standard Association) certified motors, as well as UL (Underwriters Laboratories) motors certified for the US market and ATEX 3D ones. All design and R&D is conducted at centralised level in Germany. NORD Motoriduttori Srl is equipped with a state-of-the-art motor test room. The distinguishing feature of Nord Motoriduttori Srl, as well as of the rest of the group, are those of highest quality standards, the latest technologies in mechanics and electronics and extremely fast deliveries. The company can deliver small to medium-sized gear motors in two to three weeks and larger ones in four weeks. There are then special delivery options, which can guarantee even
faster deliveries, cutting waiting time down to as little as 24 hours. Currently, as the demand for electric motors and gearboxes has increased, both in terms of volumes and in terms of larger sizes, Nord Motoriduttori is investing in line automation and in increasing the number of lines, to be able to immediately expand its production to n meet this demand.
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WITH STRONG PARTNERS Eckes-Granini is a European leader in the production of pure, natural fruit juices. Philip Yorke talked to Thomas Hinderer, the company’s chairman about the growing consumer demand for its products, its move into new market segments and plans for further global expansion.
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far as leading fruit juice brands are concerned there are few that come close to the iconic brand status that granini – the international premium brand in the Eckes-Granini portfolio – has achieved since it was established in Germany in 1965. The unique visual appeal of its dimpled bottles is matched only by the outstanding quality of its range of pure fruit juices. A strong and unique brand image and natural juices of extraordinary fruitiness is the key to granini’s success which is supported by its phrase “The best fruit for the best juice”. In its early quest for expansion into new European markets, Austria became the first country outside Germany to offer granini fruit juice products, and by 1973 the first 100-million-litre production level was reached. The Swiss market was the next to take granini in 1978 and this was followed by the launch of granini in Spain in 1986, By the end of the 1980s granini fruit juices were represented in 16 European countries. In 1994 Eckes – at that time a traditional leading family company of spirits and juices mainly in Germany – bought the granini company and integrated it in its fruit beverage operations by founding Eckes-Granini. In the 1990s and early 2000s the international expansion of Eckes-Granini was achieved by the acquisition of leading local brands as SIÓ in Hungary, Joker in France, Marli in Finland
or Brämhults in Sweden. In 2006/2007 the organisation was restructured by following a complete withdrawal from spirit business, focusing now only in fruit beverages. Further expansion was driven by the international premium brand granini, which Eckes-Granini also markets through strategic partnerships. In 2006 granini was successfully launched in Romania as the result of a strategic partnership with one of the Romania’s leading brand suppliers in the beer market: the Carlsrom Beverage Company. Since then, the EckesGranini Group has continued to pursue its strategy of international expansion, with new partnerships established in the Czech Republic and Turkey. In 2010 the Eckes-Granini Group had a turnover of €852 million with volume sales of more than one billion litres. Today it continues to strengthen its position at the top of the league table of fruit juice producers in Europe.
Unrivalled expertise The Eckes-Granini Group’s commitment to offering consumers products of superior quality is based upon its unrivalled expertise in the field of fruit beverage production and processing gained over many years. There is a full awareness in the company that highquality, good tasting products can only be assured by using the very best raw materials. The origin and type of fruits selected also
plays a crucial role in maintaining EckesGranini’s high standards. For example, only fully aromatic fruit from certain growing areas, such as Criollo and Chato in Peru, are used for Granini mango nectar. Other examples include high-quality Williams Christ pears from Italy and pink grapefruits from a single selected producer in South Africa. Hinderer said, “We are a 100 per cent dedicated fruit juice company; our biggest assets are our iconic brands, our commitment to quality and our very loyal customers. We are careful to recognise and respond to consumer trends and needs. We are also focused on building our core business in fruit juices and nectars and expanding into other market segments such as fresh juices, fruit syrups and refreshing fruit beverages for the ‘out-of-home’ sector. Here the hotel and catering industries are becoming more relevant to us as they evolve to meet increasing consumer demands for more natural and purer fruit juice products. This is particularly the case with the growing demand for freshly squeezed, premium fruit juices and high-quality organically produced products.”
Focus on long-term partnerships Building on the success of its partnerships with other leading beverage suppliers in Switzerland and more recently in Romania, Czech Republic and Turkey, the company
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seeks to mirror the success of these partnerships and their potential in other geographic regions. In doing so Eckes-Granini says that it can enhance the strengths of both parties and identify and exploit inherent synergies effectively. Eckes-Granini’s contribution above all must be its expertise acquired over the course of about 80 years which has made it the leading fruit juice experts in Europe and therefore the partner of choice for those interested in growing their businesses. Hinderer added, “We intend to develop partnerships in new geographic regions. The success of our business model is based on our belief in creating value with strong brands and working in the interests of consumers
and understanding their needs. With granini we have a brand with the greatest international potential of all brands in our portfolio and are looking at developing markets where we have partners with a valid interest. We are willing to produce together with partners, to build new production lines and share skills. We are flexible and respectful in meeting local needs and will contribute our brand understanding and strong brand equity. We also offer outstanding know-how in respect of processes, technology and R&D along with an excellent portfolio of products. Our partners contribute mainly through their knowledge of local market environments and their expertise in fruit beverage marketing. In addition, we
can continue to support them with our own well-proven ‘Marketing tool box’.” The Eckes-Granini Group’s current five year plan ‘Strategy 2015’ calls for continued, sustained and profitable growth. One key goal is to accelerate the international growth of granini in current granini countries and leverage the brand potential in new countries. In order to achieve this goal the Group’s Business Development Unit will be looking for new strategic partners both within and beyond the borders of Europe. “Targeted acquisitions of new brands that fit with our portfolio and our corporate culture are also an integral part of our five year n plan,” said Mr Hinderer.
Mr Michele Darderi, marketing manager
GLOBAL EXPANSION PLANS Mr Michele Darderi, marketing manager of the Pavan Group SpA, spoke to Industry Europe about the group’s recent developments and achievements. Barbara Rossi reports.
he Pavan Group headquarters are based in the Padua area of north-eastern Italy. In 2010 the group, founded in 1946, achieved a turnover of €107 million and a net profit of €6 million. The group exports 90 per cent of its production to 120 countries, has five subsidiaries, one technology school and can boast six production brands. Manufacturing of pasta production systems, with its 35 per cent share of the world market, is the core business of the group, but manufacturing of process systems for the production of other items, such as fresh and nest shaped pasta, couscous, pellets and snack 3D, breakfast cereals, flaked and shaped cereals, precooked pasta and flour are also of primary importance. In addition 126 Industry Europe
to this Pavan is also a supplier of turnkey systems for the packaging, transport and stocking of raw materials and final products. 76 per cent of the group turnover derives from food sector machines and systems, 10 per cent from cereal, animal feed and milling machines and systems and 3 per cent from stock systems. Alongside those, there is 10 per cent whose origin is food production and commercialisation. The competitive advantage offered by the Pavan Group is its capacity for offering turnkey systems, which as well as being highly reliable, can be adapted to different raw material processing, reducing waste and assuring very high final product quality standards. These characteristics have a strategic value, especially in those markets
where raw materials often change, depending on base cereals price swings. In this last year Pavan has achieved some milestones in the food industry, such as the biggest dry pasta production lines, reaching outputs of 6000kg an hour, recently installed in the USA.
Outstanding growth Following a growth strategy in line with the group’s recent history, in 2010 Pavan acquired Golfetto Sangati, a long-established Paduabased company and a world leader in milling and animal feed systems. Last year the Padua main site was moved and merged with the Quinto di Treviso plant. Ambitiously aiming at regaining efficiency, this plant has undergone deep restructuring, allowing it to achieve a
turnover of €11 million at the end of 2010 and fulfilling expectations. The acquisition of Golfetto Sangati is important because it completes a vertical integration process, thanks to which the Pavan Group can present itself to its clients as the only partner able to offer comprehensive process and packaging systems for the food sector. Alongside this, there is the important activity of the Pavan R&D centre, a highly specialised group of 30 people, comprising process technologists, analysts and mechanics, who can avail themselves of three pilot lines, as well as four production lines for testing new products and processes. Another facility is a laboratory equipped for chemical, physical-chemical, rheological, nutritional and organoleptic analy-
sis. A deep knowledge of the entire production process and study of the final product are at the root of Pavan’s capacity for achieving best performances in terms of innovation, rationalisation and reliability of production plants. The research objective is always to be able to supply a high-quality reliable product, which at the same time offers the best possible value for money. One of Pavan’s strengths is its extensive commercial presence all over the world, in both mature and emerging markets. Currently there are two different directions towards which the group is heading: emerging economies, increasingly paying attention to the technological content of employed solutions, and the markets which have suffered the most
from the recent recession and which are now showing interesting recovery signs, such as the North American one. After past acquisitions, Pavan is now aiming at optimising group synergies, as these will allow it to increasingly act as one entity, while at the same time maintaining the specific identities of each brand. Mr Darderi points out how, however, he cannot exclude that the group may grow thanks to further acquisitions.
Quality culture In terms of its activities, at present Pavan is focusing on organic growth, paying special attention to organisational systems, to the strengthening of the commercial network and to new product development. As early Industry Europe 127
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as 2007 the Pavan Group was awarded the EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) “Committed to Excellence” certification, in recognition for its company model based on organisational quality culture. However, for Pavan this, instead of representing a finishing line, was a solid starting point for carrying on reshaping all company processes to continue improving quality standards. Demand for base food products is still growing and this, in turn, drives process and packaging systems demand, sectors
in which Pavan is present on the market with high range products able to guarantee best value for money. Pavan emerged from 2010 with an extraordinary result, a turnover increase of 30 per cent and a 45 per cent EBIDTA increase. A realistic objective for 2011 was a further increase, with turnover reaching €125 million. The Pavan Group invests 1 per cent of its turnover in the health and safety of its employees. Thanks to initiatives such as the availability of relaxation areas, a gym with free courses for staff, the organisation of sport and cultural
events aimed at improving the work environment and at favouring cohesion and a sense of belonging, there has been an important increase in psycho-physical wellbeing within the company. Even more important are the safety record results achieved in the past five years. Work accidents have been halved and have all been of a minor nature. The Pavan Group results have also been achieved thanks to the growing professionalism of its staff, aided in 2010 by 850 hours n of training courses. www.pavan.com
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DEPENDING ON VENDING As the world’s largest vending machine operator, Maas International/IVA is committed to staying at the top of its game. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to the global business director / CEO Martijn van den Hazenkamp to learn more about the new products and eco-initiatives that are being introduced.
nitially established in the Netherlands in 1890 as a cigar producer, Maas International has grown consistently to become the world’s leading vending machine operator, as the founder and leading force behind the IVA (international vending alliance) with more than 640,000 machines in operation worldwide. With its global headquarters in Eindhoven in the Netherlands and a particularly strong hold over the European market, Maas has continued to enjoy positive results during the economic downturn, thanks to its excellent
understanding of the markets in which it operates and its commitment to introducing new, customer-focused products and services. Director Martijn van den Hazenkamp told Industry Europe why he believes the company has continued to flourish during difficult financial conditions. He said, “Since we last spoke to Industry Europe in 2010 we have continued to see very strong results across our active markets worldwide. As a group we are always moving forward and we are growing in multiple areas. Our ambitious growth strategy is
a key part of our dominant role in the market, alongside our reliable, high-quality products, our investment in innovation and our ability to offer and deliver sustainable new products.”
Eco concepts The sustainability issue has certainly seen a big boost in the past 12 months, with Maas introducing a whole raft of eco-responsible products to its primarily municipal and commercial customer base. Many of the company’s 640,000 machines can be found in petrol
stations, universities, hospitals, multinational headquarters, public buildings and airports, and so its ecological initiatives have widereaching consequences. Mr van den Hazenkamp explained, “Our focus on sustainability is a very important theme as we appreciate that it’s integral to our future success. Customers are increasingly demanding more environmentally friendly solutions, of course, but we also feel that we can make a positive influence by acting in an ecologically responsible manner before we have to. That’s why we have introduced a number of concepts across our product range and we fully intend to increase this over the coming months and years.” The ecologically responsible concepts introduced by Maas are evident in both its products and the infrastructure which brings the products to market, with the ingredients and equipment used both recently given an
eco-makeover. The Maas vending machines still retain their distinctive black-and-silver sleek design, but the developments have allowed the newest machines to consume far less power, making them a more sustainable and affordable solution for customers. In terms of ingredients, the finished products from the Maas vending machines have also undergone something of a transformation. Mr van den Hazenkamp said, “We make sure that our ingredients are organic and sustainable wherever possible, with the quality of each and every beverage at the top of the agenda. Customers want to be able to rely on their drinks, with a continuous quality, so even though the vending machine beverages cost far less than a high street coffee shop, the quality is certainly comparable. We’ve gained an organic certificate which allows us to source
and buy products direct from the producers, and we can create complete traceability from country of origin to our machines. This is a strong driving force in our market at the moment as it adds value to the customer, and to the farmers as we can really monitor a fair purchase price.”
A better cup The ecological focus extends to the cups too, with Maas taking out all the aluminium from its packaging. Now the whole concept is CO2 neutral across as much of the purchase cycle as possible, with any areas where this is not possible neutralised by buying CO2 certificates. With the company moving away from plastic cups across all of its territories, paper cups are now joined by ‘bio cups’, which Mr van den Hazenkamp explained takes this sustainability focus to a new level. The corn-based totally biodegradable cups are more expensive
than plastic or paper cups, but they offer a considerable ecological benefit to customers that are prepared to take a future-focused journey with Maas. New production facilities also contribute to Maas’s positive achievements, with its recent upgrade of its German factory and investment in a new site in China. The Guangzhou factory is now just a small step from matching the production facilities available to the European and American markets, with plans to continue the state-of-theart site’s development in the coming year.
Maas is currently working on a number of ways to introduce new products and segments to its portfolio, with ‘leisure on the go’ and ‘semi-public environments’ both important. Its proven one-stop-shop concept for various hot beverage solutions is growing increasingly popular in the hotel sector too, where it can offer hot drinks, vending machines for snacks, and minibars for customers who can use their room key to pay. Mr van den Hazenkamp added, “We are seeing a rapid increase in our food and snacks product range, with our sophisti-
cated vending machines able to offer ready meals, bakery products, dairy and fruit – a complete product range. This makes them a great choice for companies who no longer wish to invest in canteens, for example, or for workplaces such as hospitals where people are working various shifts.” Maas plans to continue its upward trajectory in the coming years by supporting its new products, services and facilities with continued investment, alongside potential strategic acquisitions and utilising new geographical opportunities in both Europe and Asia. n
FOR SUCCESS The Vandemoortele Group is setting standards in taste, with its margarines, oils, dressings, bread and pastry products finding their way onto kitchen tables across Europe every day. Julia Snow reports on the company’s own taste for market leadership and growth. 134 Industry Europe
andemoortele is developing and marketing frozen bakery products and margarines and fats, delivered as ingredients and semi-finished products to professional users, and as finished products to end-consumers. Founded in 1899, and as a family-controlled concern with Belgian roots, Vandemoortele has a distinctly European outlook. The group has a head office in Ghent, Belgium, and sales organisation and production facilities spread across 12 European countries. The company occupies a leading position in the two core businesses and realised a revenue of around €1.1 billion in 2010, with 5100 employees working in 36 production and 15 commercial sites. The aim is to expand these through organic and external growth, based on operational excellence, innovation and a clear customer focus.
Lipids product portfolio In Lipids, the company targets both the professional users with a broad portfolio of products that combine processability, taste, texture and high nutritional standards, and also the retailers with private label margarines and frying fats. Vandemoortele markets a number of strong margarines, oils and dressing brands in Belgium such as Vandemoortele®, Alpro® soya (licensed by Alpro) and Vitelma®, as well as Diamant in Holland and Sojola in Germany. A host of different products are available for the needs of modern artisan bakeries and the catering sector, and industrial clients can choose from an extensive range of standard as well as customised products.
Frozen bakery products portfolio Valdemoortele produces a wide range of bread, pastry, doughnuts, muffins, cookies and patisserie for professional users in the bakery and food service industries as well as for retailers. The concept Croustifrance was developed for local supermarkets as a total package based on full service, training and follow-up. With Les Pains Pérènes de Roland Cottes, Vandemoortele offers a unique range of bread specialities, and a popular classic bread range Industry Europe 135
is sold under the brand name Banquet d’Or. The driving force behind the American range The Originals is the doughnuts that are sold in more than 20 European countries. As European market leader Vandemoortele produces more than one million doughnuts each day.
The corporate objectives of the group were re-modelled in the decade between 1998 and 2008. The upstream activities (crushing and refining) and the non-Belgian oil bottling and mayonnaise production activities were closed down, and the focus was placed on three core activities of soy foods, lipids and bakery. Acquisitions brought Cottes France (artisan bread in 2004), Colombus Food Belgium (doughnuts in 2004), SoFine Foods Holland (tofu and meat replacers in 2006), Erkens Bakkerijen Holland (patisserie in 2006) and Gourmand Poland (bread and pastries in 2007) into the group. The biggest acquisition followed in 2008 with Panavi, the French market leader in frozen bakery products. With a turnover of €307 million, 22 factories, 17 distribution centres and over 2000 employees, this takeover was a crucial step in Vandemoortele’s strategy to position the group among the key players in Europe.
announced it’s intention to sell the consumerfocused Alpro soya division early in 2009. Just five months later the Dean Foods Company acquired Alpro for approximately €325 million. The decision to divest Alpro was quickly followed by a major capital injection: in March 2009 Gimv and Vandemoortele announced an investment of €75 million in the food group. Jean Vandemoortele, president of the executive committee of the group, commented: “With this capital injection, we have taken another important step after the takeover of the French group Panavi. Gimv’s minority stake strengthens our equity, enabling us to realise growth plans in the divisions of frozen bakery and margarines and fats.” In 2010, Vandemoortele took a further step in its international expansion by acquiring Van Dijk Zeewolde, a company with €138 million turnover. With this acquisition, the Lipids division strengthened its leading position on the European market and achieved a turnover which is comparable to that of the bakery products division. “Thanks to this acquisition, we are able to consolidate our Dutch and European position, as well as scale size at production level and join forces in sales,” said Jean Vandemoortele.
Divestment followed by capital injection
A taste for growth
In order to fully concentrate on bakery products and lipids, which represent 80 per cent of the group’s turnover, Vandemoortele
Vandemoortele has been a member of the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil since 2009, and in October 2011 the group rein-
Refining the focus
forced its commitment to cover all of its needs with 100 per cent certified palm oil by 2015. Two months later came a move to strengthen the Dutch market position: the acquisition of the Remia brand of liquid deep frying fats for retail, while selling the sauce brand Gouda’s Glorie to Remia. Through these takeovers, both companies have become the biggest brand suppliers in Holland in the fields of sauces and deep frying fats respectively. In the future, the group will continue its path of steady growth, even against the backdrop of the uncertain financial situation in some European countries and increasing commodity prices. Owing to strict cost control and further rationalisation of the production chain, combined with a dynamic commercial organisation, investment in ongoing training and sustained R&D efforts, the group is confident it will be able to achieve the mid-term objectives of further turnover growth n and improved profitability.
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TEATIME TREATS Bisca A/S, Denmark’s largest producer of cakes and biscuits, is the company behind the well-known brands, Bakkegaarden and Karen Volf. Last year, Bisca was acquired by the Norwegian consumer goods company Scandza AS, which is majority owned by the private equity firm, Lindsay Goldberg. Joseph Altham reports on an acquisition that has strengthened Scandza’s position as a leading Scandinavian consumer goods company.
isca supplies a delicious range of teatime treats to the Scandinavian consumer, from Danish cookies to marzipan cakes. The company’s production facilities are located in the pretty market town of Stege, on the Danish island of Møn. Bisca employs around 460 people, the majority of whom work at the company’s 35,000 m2 production site. With total annual sales of 728 million Danish kroner, Bisca is the market leader in Denmark in the biscuits and cakes segment. Bisca has a strong presence in the Norwegian and Swedish markets and also exports to Britain, Finland and Russia. High production values have helped Bisca to earn the trust of the Scandinavian
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consumer. The company has obtained IFS (International Food Standard) certification and is also certified to the standards of the British Retail Consortium. However, Bisca is especially proud to hold the royal warrant, as a Purveyor to the Royal Danish Court. Craftsmanship and high quality are vital to Bisca’s success, but the company also emphasises sustainability. In 2008, Bisca launched a programme of energy-saving measures in partnership with the energy efficiency specialist, Danfoss Solutions. By the spring of 2010, Bisca succeeded in reducing its energy consumption by 17 per cent and lowering its annual carbon emissions by 1320 tons.
Products and brands Bisca is a company with a long history. The Karen Volf brand dates back to 1890, when Karen Volf started a cake-making business in the town of Hellerup, near Copenhagen. Today Bisca offers a selection of tempting cakes under the Karen Wolf label. These include Danish truffle cakes, which are made with fruit and rum, bite-sized lemon cakes and Dark Delights, little cakes that have an orange cream filling and are covered with Belgian chocolate. The company is equally famous for its traditional Danish cookies. Sold in attractive-looking 400g boxes, Bisca’s Danish cookies come in five different shapes, including vanilla ring, vanilla star and pretzel.
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Bisca has also brought out a new addition to its range of cookies. Based on wheat flour, the Karen Volf cranberry cookies are made with dried cranberries and have a crunchy taste.
Change in ownership In 2011, Bisca was acquired by the Norwegian fast-moving consumer goods company Scandza. The managers of Scandza are two former Carlsberg executives, Jan Bodd and Stig Sunde, who between them have nearly
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50 years of experience in the food and beverage sector. Bisca fits well into Scandza’s porfolio of assets, alongside Sørlandschips AS, Norway’s second largest potato chips company, and Synnøve Finden AS, Norway’s second largest dairy company. Scandza itself is majority-owned by Lindsay Goldberg, a private equity firm headquartered in New York. Lindsay Goldberg is a longterm investor that aims to grow businesses and build lasting value. Bisca represents an
attractive investment opportunity, not only on account of its robust market position throughout the Nordic region, but also because of the healthy state of its finances. Over the past few years, Bisca has achieved positive financial growth under the management of Leif Bergvall Hansen, Lars Ytting and Michael Budtz Berthelsen. Scandza has therefore acquired a company that is already in good shape, as Claus Astrup-Larsen, Chairman of the Board at Bisca, points out. “In recent
years, Bisca has implemented a new strategy focused on more processed cakes and biscuits and has been able to show greatly improved results. At the same time, the company has built up a robust position as market leader in Denmark as well as strong positions in Norway and Sweden.”
Growth strategy By assembling a collection of various Scandinavian FMCG companies, Scandza can put together a larger operation and benefit from the resulting scale. Mr Bodd and Mr Sunde
ought to be able to do something interesting with Bisca, given their considerable expertise in food and beverages. Partnership is an important concept here as the new owners seek to build on the solid achievements of Bisca’s management team. Bisca’s CEO, Mr Bergvall Hansen, has welcomed the acquisition. “I am pleased to be able to join the Scandza team. Bisca has realised strong improvements across the business platform in recent years, not least because of the great team we have. I am looking forward to continuing this
success as part of Scandza.” The acquisition of Bisca has provided Scandza with a foothold in Denmark as well as broadening its FMCG competence to include new kinds of product. Altogether, the purchase of Bisca enables Scandza to solidify its position in the Nordic region. Mr Bodd and Mr Sunde thus consider the acquisition to be a key element in Scandza’s growth strategy. “We are very excited to be able to expand Scandza both geographically and product-wise, in line with our long-term strategy of becoming a leading Nordic consumer goods company.” n
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THE IT COOLING SPECIALISTS The air conditioning systems made by the German company Stulz are used throughout the world in data centres, mobile phone stations and factories to keep sensitive data and industrial machines cool. Victoria Hattersley talks to Kurt Ploetner, the company’s global sales and marketing director, to find out how it maintains its strong global position.
tulz, established in 1947, has been involved in the business of air conditioning and cooling systems since 1965. Since then, aside from its main production facilities in Germany, the company has expanded on a global scale with the setting up of production sites in the USA, Italy, India and China. These facilities have various production programmes but they share one thing in common: a focus on cooling systems for IT and telecommunications systems. Mr Ploetner explains this focus on the IT and telecoms industries: “Our core products are mainly for the IT industry. We have seen that the IT markets are the most rapidly growing so we are working to keep up with demand – to which end we are currently expanding our production facilities in China, India and Italy. “The IT and telecoms market changes very rapidly and with all these new drivers such as ipads and iphones the amount of new data which is being sent, received and stored by fibreoptics is growing very quickly, meaning that the demand for new data centres is also increasing. Whatever we do on an iPad or iPhone has to be sent over a telecommunication line and all that data
requires a data centre – all of which require cooling. In fact, in data centres the cooling systems are the biggest power user apart from the data processing itself.”
Cooling and air conditioning The company’s systems for air conditioning in the IT sector vary in size from its CyberAir 2 for large computer and equipment rooms down to its MiniSpace compact system for cooling small server rooms. For the telecoms sector, its products include the SplitAir range for base stations, and the Tel-Air 2 line for internal mounting at base stations. But whilst Stulz’s products are mainly targeted towards IT and telecoms, it also manufactures cooling and air conditioning systems for a number of other end uses. For example, it provides systems for production machinery in various industries, such as tool-making or laser machines which need cooling to precise temperatures. In terms of new products, the company is currently launching an updated version 3 of its CyberAir precision air–conditioning system
that is able to reduce power consumption by 10–15 per cent compared to the previous version of the series – saving costs for the customer as well as reducing CO2 emissions. As Mr Ploetner says, “Our product development focus for the future will be on reducing the total cost of ownership are we are also looking at new refrigerants which are less environmentally damaging.” Stulz’s products can be customised to meet clients’ needs if this is commercially viable. “The service we offer is important because sometimes our customers need their plants to be running 99.999 per cent of the time – which means the machine should not stop any longer than 53 minutes per year. We have specific solutions which we make for certain larger customers, be they telecoms companies such as Orange and Vodafone, or commercial customers.”
Global ambitions Whilst Stulz’s actual production activities are confined to the five countries mentioned above, it has a presence in around 115 countries today with its own sales and service companies or indirectly with what Mr Ploetner refers to as ‘sales and service partners’.
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The company intends to maintain and indeed increase this global coverage, as Mr Ploetner tells us: “Basically we have the world pretty well covered with the exception of Africa, but we are looking to move into this market very soon. We won’t actually be manufacturing here, but we will be establishing service and sales points because in Africa, as is the case with most areas today, communication is increasing which means data centres have to be built and companies such as ours need to create the infrastructure to cool the equipment.” And it seems that Stulz will be able to continue with its global expansion plans relatively unhindered. According to Mr Ploetner his company is the second largest producer of precision air conditioning units in the world with only one other player, the Emerson Group, holding a larger market share.
Moving forward In June 2011, Stulz GmbH, Hamburg acquired the Comfort and Precision Air Conditioning and Service divisions of Servo King in Austria in order to extend its market leadership and increase its presence in this market. Aside from this, however, the company’s growth over the next year or two is expected to be of a more organic nature, with the continued expansion of its existing production facilities and development of its product range. Mr Ploetner concludes, “If an acquisition comes along that makes sense we would take it, but it would have to be a company with complementary activities and at the moment we have no plans for any such thing. We are, however, working on a new kind of product, but I cannot talk about this in any detail as it is still in development. What I can say is that it will n give a new direction to cooling.”
IS POWER Engineering conglomerate Kirloskar takes innovation and excellence very seriously. This historic company has long enjoyed a reputation for exceeding in both these fields. Emma-Jane Batey discovers just how this is achieved by speaking to director Aditya Kowshik.
irloskar Pneumatic Company Ltd is a key part of the Kirloskar Group of Companies, a $1.2bn engineering conglomerate based in Pune, India. Established over 100 years ago, the Group has been able to hold onto the best of its lengthy experience while still utilising the very latest in available technology and business development strategies. Consequently, the Group has grown to become a leading engineering operation, attracting the best engineering talent to work alongside excellent sales, marketing and manufacturing employees. The company was founded by the grandfather of the present Kirloskar family and although it is a public limited company, the family retains an absolute majority, with some shares traded on the Indian stock market.
Historically, the company has centred its activities on the air compression sector. With other companies within the Group dedicated to products such as diesel engines, Kirloskar Pneumatic fulfils the role of being perfectly tuned to niche markets, with its system engineering skills adding value rather than simply ‘making’ a product. Mr Kowshik elaborated on the specific details of the transmission division: “We don’t create off the shelf products. It’s all about using our extensive engineering skills to deliver tailor made solutions that perfectly match our customers’ requirements. Here, we also offer a mega watt range of transmission products that are engineered precisely for windmill and marine applications.”
The overriding expertise at Kirloskar is its air compression systems knowledge. The company was one of the first in India to establish an ecologically-friendly refrigeration product, which continues to be an important factor in its operation. This gas compression system is traditionally ammonia-based, but the greener Kirloskar version uses hydrocarbons, which are considerably cleaner than ammonia. “We use simple hydrocarbons such as propane and butane,” Mr Kowshik continued. “Our innovative system has further positioned us as a speciality systems supplier. This is supported by the fact that many of our customers for these products are in
As a provider of a range of compressed air, air conditioning, refrigeration and hydraulic power transmission products, Kirloskar Pneumatic Company Ltd is specialised in the manufacture of pumps. Director Aditya Kowshik explained to Industry Europe how the business is made up of three core divisions. “We are essentially three companies in one, with each of the three divisions running independently but with the support of the company and the Group,” he said. “We have an air compression division, a transmission division and the third division comprises air conditioning, refrigeration and processed gas all together.”
Keeping it green
the petrochemicals business where they are used for cooling, so we have to guarantee extensive safety standards. There cannot be any contamination to ensure the safety of the product and we have perfected this important aspect.”
Building strong relationships In addition to petrochemical customers, Kirloskar enjoys strong business relationships with clients in the majority of India’s refineries, as well as many of those in South East Asia and the Middle East. Mr Kowshik pointed out that this client base is a strong long term strategy for the company as it remains a growing sector in the country, especially as large, ‘grass-roots’ refineries are only thriving in India. The company also supplies some smaller systems to its clients in the Middle East and South East Asia. Gas compression systems for upstream and pipeline applications is a focus for Kirloskar, as well as CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) systems that are rapidly increasing in popularity, cementing the company’s position as a leader in all of the power sectors in which it operates. In order to maintain this sector leading position, Kirloskar is committed to continuous investment and extensive R&D. Mr Kowshik explained, “We’re investing heavily in our gas compression business with a particular focus on the growing windmill gearbox business. We manufacture everything in house, so we have great control over every aspect of our
product portfolio which, we believe, helps to give high quality and continuity reassurance to our customers.”
Future development Alongside the investment, Kirloskar works with a number of international research organisations to ensure that it has access to the latest in technological development information. Although bound by secrecy regarding the actual findings, Mr Kowshik was clear that the advances in gas compression and gearboxes will yield some exciting opportunities in the near future. Kirloskar has largely been unaffected by the global economic downturn, particularly
thanks to its activities in the food packaging and renewable energy sectors. Mr Kowshik pointed out, “People still have to eat! These two solid industries have given us a consistent demand, which help to balance the more variable sectors of marine industry gearboxes, for example. We have a long term, solid business due to our varied yet complimentary range of engineered systems.” It is this solid business that will take Kirloskar into a bright future, with the company committed to excelling in all sectors where its products are sold. Although cautious of the changing trends in the global economy, Kirloskar is proud to maintain an efficient business n unit that delivers value and expertise.
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Bonnet Neve is a European leader in the design and manufacture of refrigerated display cabinets. Philip Yorke reports on its latest, energy-efficient products designed for the world’s fresh food and beverage hypermarket retailers and looks at the company’s strategy for future growth.
onnet Neve was created as the result of a merger between two prestigious French brands, Bonnet and Neve, more than 20 years ago. Since that time Bonnet Neve has built up an enviable reputation for its advanced range of energy-efficient refrigerated cabinets, technical products and dedicated customer services. The company is part of the EPTA Group, which was established by the Nocivelli family in 1986. Today the group is a global leader in its field and comprises many leading international brands, including the Italian company Costan Refrigerazione, Intercold of Austria, BKT of Germany, George Barker of the UK and Argentinian brand leader Costan Market. Bonnet Neve’s core expertise lies in the design, production and installation of refrigerated display units, production units and cold rooms. All the company’s products offer maximum energy efficiency and display ratios, as well as optimising merchandising opportunities and ergonomics. The company’s eco-friendly and super-efficient products are backed by advanced design, the latest manufacturing processes, global technical support services and an unrivalled distribution network. Com-
mitment to these core attributes has been the reason for the company’s ongoing global success. Currently Bonnet Neve has a 60 per cent share of the French market and its European sales represent around 20 per cent of the Epta Group’s global revenues, which in 2010 stood at more than €500 million.
Product innovation driving sales Bonnet Neve has been continuously investing in new technology and the development of innovative, energy-efficient products. During the past decade the company has been responsible for developing some of the most successful refrigeration products ever launched in the industry. For example, in 2006 it unveiled its Effica 2000 and Effica 1500 models, both of which enjoyed record global sales for its ‘Compact Line’ series. These represented excellent value and provided unique display and storage solutions for small food retailers and service stations. Other successes followed shortly afterwards with the introduction of Bonnet Neve’s Cosmos 3ECO and the ‘Duetto’ refrigerated island, designed for the storage of cold meats, dairy products and other chilled cabinet merchandise.
The year 2010 was no exception with the launch of an all-new compressor pack offering significantly reduced environmental impact. This Eptagreen natural refrigerant compressor pack was specifically developed to minimise the direct emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The special properties inherent in the R744 (CO2) gas that is used in the new family of Eptagreen cascade compressor packs ensures numerous advantages for the customer. These include a significant reduction in carbon emissions and improved flexibility and operational system efficiency.
Increasing power and flexibility In keeping with its strategy to offer even greater operational value and energy-saving features, Bonnet Neve recently launched another ‘first’ onto the market. The new product quickly attracted media interest and was announced as the all-new refrigerator compressor pack EptaBerg Power Unlimited model. This was developed especially by Bonnet Neve to offer energy savings and greater flexibility for large displays of food in supermarkets and hypermarkets. A major
advantage of this latest offering from Bonnet Neve is its ability to minimise leaks and greatly reduce the levels of vibration that can cause them. In addition, the new compressor pack manages both positive and negative temperature ranges independently, all within the same structure. By utilising 3+3 or 4+4 compressors, it is possible to significantly reduce the space that the cabinets take up. These models also come with unlimited power, with up to 500kW available in the HT version and 125kW in the LT model. Uninterrupted continuity of service is guaranteed with these units due to their high performance specifications. Furthermore, thanks to their functional layouts, access is easier and maintenance is thereby simplified.
Pioneering eco-technology At the heart of every product from Bonnet Neve is the dedicated research and development that has been devoted to ensuring that the final product is not only offering the best possible display solutions, but also
the best-in-class environmental outcomes. Bonnet Neve’s eco-production display cabinets are designed for use with foam insulation that contains no high GWP blowing agent. These units are manufactured at four factories distributed throughout western Europe in order to minimise transportation mileage and the resulting negative effects on the environment. Supporting this eco-friendly culture, the company’s extensive innovation centre integrates the latest energy-saving technologies to meet the most stringent European eco-legislation. As the leader in zero HFC technology, the company has more than 50 C02 trans-critical systems installed in Europe. When buying components, Bonnet Neve also takes into consideration the life-cycle benefits of its products and favours the use of local suppliers whenever possible. In addition, as you would expect, Bonnet Neve is fully RoHS and WEEE compliant. The company believes that Bonnet Neve’s success hinges on the quality of its innovative design and manufacturing processes and the well-defined distribution of its product ranges. The company’s future strategy is to continually out-perform the competition in terms of cost-effectiveness, eco-sustainability, product n excellence and service reliability.
SAILING IN LUXURY Growing from a small family business to one of Europe’s leading yacht builders, Delphia is today a renowned brand and a proud manufacturer of some of the best sailing and motor boat vessels on the European continent. Piotr Sadowski reports.
stablished in 1990 by brothers Piotr and Wojciech Kot, Delphia Yachts has grown to become Poland’s largest manufacturer of sailing boats. “The recent years have certainly been a very interesting period for our company,” explains Bogdan Skórkiewicz, president of the board at Delphia. “We have faced many challenges, but nevertheless we have been able to pursue our goals of introducing brand new models of vessels onto the market. In January 2011 we launched the Delphia 46CC – Central Cockpit – boat, which was premiered in Düsseldorf at the 2011 ‘boot’ trade fair. The sailing yacht was received extremely well by the market, with the industry recognising it for being a luxurious mid-size cruiser, fitted with a large engine, air-conditioning, big water tanks and, of course, a fantastic cabin design.” Another addition to the range of products offered by Delphia is the Escape 1350, which has been nominated for the ‘European Powerboat of the Year 2012’ title, with the official ceremony taking place in January 2012 at the ‘boot’ fair in Düsseldorf. It is a spacious and comfortable slow-cruising yacht, with a maximum speed of 10–12 knots, ideal for relaxed cruising. This captivating yacht, which was introduced to the market in August 2011 during the ‘Wind and Water’ trade fair in Gdynia in Poland, offers convenient accommodation for six to eight passengers and is available in a three-cabin version, with two or three bathrooms. 152 Industry Europe
Strength and credentials Delphia Yachts, despite the challenging economic times, has managed to perform very well over the course of 2011. “In 2009 we manufactured 93 sailing yachts, followed by 154 in 2010 and this year we are expecting another increase of 9–11 per cent in our output,” explains Mr Skórkiewicz. “In terms of powerboats, in 2009 their production reached 519 units, followed by a massive increase to 1188 in 2010, and again for 2011 we are forecasting a rise of several per cent.” These strong capabilities are achieved by the company’s over 400 staff, working to promote both the Delphia brand, as well as to work in partnership with a number of other global sailing brands. “We have a long-standing relationship with Brunswick, for whom we produced significant numbers of powerboats for the European market,” adds Mr Skórkiewicz. “Delphia also cooperates with the American company G-Boat for whom we produce the G80 sailing boats. So far this partnership has resulted in Delphia manufacturing over 1000 of these boats.” In order to secure its continued growth, Delphia focuses a lot of its efforts on ensuring that innovation remains one of the pillars of the business. The company has an excellent prototyping department which means it is also able to cooperate with a range of clients outside of the sailing and powerboats industry. Nevertheless, the core area
of activities is the sailing and powerboat market and Delphia manages to be in the vanguard of this particular sector in Europe. “Our yachts are designed by highly professional craftsmen who use state-of-the-art computer software and high-tech equipment, such as CNC machinery,” points out Mr Skórkiewicz. “We use infusion technology for the development of our boats. We use ERP systems in order to control and manage costs in all of our processes. Over the years we have also addressed the need for environmental protection in all areas of our operations. The company also cooperates closely with leading educational institutions in Poland, as well as with the Ship Design and Research Centre, where our boat prototypes are examined and tested.”
Investments and market growth Delphia Yachts is currently in the process of building its own department for manufacturing INOX elements for its vessels – previously such items were bought from external suppliers. The company is also strengthening its prototyping department to ensure its maximum efficiency and effectiveness in carrying out final surface works on vessels. “Another area of innovation is the purchase of a CNC machine for the furniture department which will ensure that the internal fittings of our vessels meet the highest standards and satisfy the expectations of the most discerning customers,” says Mr Skórkiewicz.
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By ensuring the ongoing development of its production capacities, Delphia is able to continuously strengthen its position on the European market, as well as outside of the continent. Western Europe is clearly the area in which Delphia Yachts is confident, but it does not fear expanding its brand globally. “We have dealers who successfully sell our yachts in Canada, Brazil, Japan and Australia,” points out the president of the board. “Currently we are building vessels for each and every one of these markets. One missing destination in the world is China but we hope to address this issue in the very near future.”
Raising brand awareness During the upcoming ‘boot’ trade fair in Düsseldorf, in January 2012, Delphia will be showcasing a wide range of its yachts and boats, including Delphia 47, 40, Delphia 31 (which is a novelty, being a sailing yacht
filling the gap between 29 and 33 feet vessels), as well as the Escape 1350, already nominated for the title of the European Powerboat of the Year Award. Delphia is hoping that the boat will secure an award from the trade fair in Germany, as it is part of the process of building brand awareness amongst customers in Europe. “We find that the most effective way of promoting our company is through channels where our clients are already present,” explains Mr Skórkiewicz. “The PR and brand communication activities are carried out by Mr Maciek Kot and his team, who are working hard to strengthen the marketing philosophy of the company. This includes promotion in trade magazines and publications, as well as the internet – we are in fact in the process of preparing for the re-launch of our website, which will be much more informative and share more information about our products and our company.”
Growth in the future In the current economic climate there are opportunities for development generated not only through organic growth, but also through potential business tie-ups. Hence, a takeover of another business in the sailing yachts and powerboat industry is something that Delphia Yachts will definitely consider in the near future. “Organic growth is, of course, important, but there can also be benefits from acquisitions,” concludes Mr Skórkiewicz. “Most importantly, we want to remain very close to our clients, as well as make sailing more accessible for them. This was the reason why we invested in our own yachting port in Górki Zachodnie in Poland – we want sailing to be easier for our customers, give people access to this fantastic hobby through our own charter company, as well ensuring that the Delphia brand goes from strength to strength over n the coming years.”
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The Ugland owned bulk carrier Favorita loading a drilling module designed and built at Ugland’s own yard in Grimstad.
CONTINUE TO INVEST IN SHIPPING 156 Industry Europe
JJ Ugland Companies is a global provider of shipping, ship management, offshore and industry services. Philip Yorke talked to Oystein Beisland, the shipping group’s managing director, about the growth in its bulk and shuttle tanker business and its move into new markets.
Ugland Companies is one of Scandinavia’s most respected and successful shipping groups, and is located in the historic town of Grimstad on Norway’s south-eastern coastline. The Ugland companies have a remarkable history dating back to the 17th century when the Ugland family were involved in forestry, farming and shipbuilding. Norway’s famous local shipbuilder, Halvor Olsen Ugland built the classic sailing ship ‘Fortuna’ in 1772 and this was the beginning of a long family tradition in shipping. The companies’ key business areas are ship-owning, ship-management, offshore operations and offshore construction. In June 2010, the group’s main shipping company AS Uglands Rederi celebrated its 80th anniversary. The shipping arm of The JJ Ugland Companies consists of AS Uglands Rederi,
Ugland Shipping AS, Ugland Bulk Transport AS and Ugland Marine Services AS. These companies constitute a professionally managed and fully integrated ship management consortium where all service facilities are provided in-house via Ugland Marine Services. The main JJ Ugland companies are located in Grimstad, and it is from there that Ugland Bulk Transport operates a pool of Handymax bulk carriers, four of which have been delivered during the past couple of years. Another vessel will be delivered in 2012. It is worth noting that recently Ugland Bulk Transport AS was rated as one of Norway’s best companies. Also based in Grimstad is AS Nymo, the group’s full-service engineering, procurement and construction company within the oil and gas industry, with its main yard in Grimstad and additional fabrication facilities in the neighbouring town of Arendal.
Continuous investment programme JJ Ugland Companies is a diverse shipping group and is continuing to expand both its bulk carrier fleet and its range of marine services. The bulk shipping fleet operates on long-term charters worldwide. Mr Beisland said, “When it comes to bulk carriers we are one of the biggest in Norway with 12 owned vessels, most of which have been commissioned by us and ‘new-built’ by Japanese yards. We are continuing to renew and expand our bulk carrier and tanker fleets, which represents an investment of around $30 million for a bulk carrier and more than $100 million for a tanker with a deadweight of over 120,000 tons. However, what is most important is timing when it comes to making such large investments. “Furthermore, we are an old-fashioned company in the sense that we are a fully integrated shipping group that provides Industry Europe 157
The heavy lift crane vessel Uglen in operation at Nymo in Grimstad.
technical management and full crewing and are committed to maintaining our high standards of safety and reliability. We are proud of our heritage, our philosophy and the fact that 100 per cent of the companies’ shares remain privately owned by the original founding family.”
Flexible, customised solutions The group believes that operational flexibility is a core part of its culture in providing customised solutions for its customers. This philosophy applies to both bulk carriers and shuttle tankers. Ugland’s bulk carriers are modern Handymax dry cargo vessels that range in size from 45,000 tons to 58,000 tons deadweight. Each vessel is fitted with additional self-loading and unloading equipment including grabs, and the majority of these vessels are designed for the transportation of logs and lumber. The JJ Ugland Companies’ forward planning expertise and operational flexibility provides its customers with a wide variety of options under both short-term and longterm period charters. This flexibility ensures that a customer’s transportation requirements can be optimised in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. All of Ugland’s fleet operations are controlled by Ugland Marine Services, in close cooperation with local port representatives in order to meet 158 Industry Europe
the special requirements of its clients and to maximise operational efficiency. Furthermore, the group’s tanker division operates modern crude oil tankers equipped with dynamic positioning systems, variable pitch propellers, as well as side thrusters in order to offer the most advanced manoeuvring capabilities. Its modern fleet of shuttle
The 126,000-dwt shuttle tanker Vinland.
tankers has played an important role in the transportation of oil from installations in the North Sea, the East Coast of Canada and offshore Brazil and they have been operating regular and efficient tanker operations in the North Sea since 1986. Mr Beisland added, “We will continue to develop the business segments in which
we operate today and will also continue to invest in our bulk carrier and shuttle tanker fleets. However, we are now looking at new shipping segments in which to apply our expertise as well as new geographical areas in which to operate. “We are currently operating from oil fields with very sophisticated tankers, and all these
very expensive vessels are on long-term charter to the major oil companies. “There is also strong competition in the shipping market, but we have good long-term relationships with our customers. Our commitment to safety and the environment is another reason why we are seen by many as the shipping group of choice.”
The Ugland barge UR 108 carrying wind turbine foundations.
Expanding offshore activities In 1978 Ugland Construction was established and today operates a fleet of flat-top and semi-submersible barges in sizes ranging from 10,000 to 16,000 tons, some of which are equipped for the installation of offshore wind turbine. The company also provides its customers with the facility of a self-propelled 600 ton, heavy lift crane vessel called the Uglen. This highly specialised Ugland division focuses on marine transportation and inshore lifting operations for oil and gas companies, as well as providing services for offshore contractors, fabrication yards, shipping and engineering companies. This growing sector offers further value-added services, such as the fabrication and installation of grillage and sea-fastening structures. When it comes to health, safety and environmental protection, JJ Ugland Companies is proactive. The shipping group lists its top health and safety priorities in the following order: (1) safety to life and health, (2) safety to the environment, (3) safety to vessels and cargo. It is committed to the continuous improvement of its safety performance and has maintained an excellent track record with no serious accidents or negative environmental events occurring during its long and successful history. n Industry Europe 159
DEEP SEA SAILING OCEA’s Yacht division continues to deliver the finest trans-oceanic vessels.
rench shipbuilder OCEA, appropriately based on the Atlantic coast at Les Sables d’Olonne, home of the famous round-theworld sailing race ‘The Vendée Globe’, has been in business for nearly 25 years. Initially a producer of fishing boats, the company later saw a need to expand its business into new areas, and began to develop working vessels, and later passenger vessels and fast patrol boats. Today the group is known as a pioneer in aluminium shipbuilding and a major aluminium industrial manufacturer. With four production sites located along the French coast, the OCEA Shipbuilding company delivers up to 15 fast patrol boats, passenger vessels, environmental vessels and motor yachts a year, while OCEA Industries manufactures tank ends, floating pontoons and cruise ship superstructures. The group as a whole has turnover of €57 million; and employs close to 235 staff at its production sites. The group’s professional knowledge, combined with its expertise in the use of aluminium, has enabled its motor yacht division, launched in 2000, to develop two ranges of yachts: 160 Industry Europe
OCEA Commuter and OCEA Classic, which make up 10–15 per cent of the company’s turnover. With each individual project taking an average of 18 months to complete, the division has so far delivered eight yachts. Jean Michel Flour, the yacht division’s sales director, explained that the company’s first two deliveries – one Classic and one Commuter – were sold to shipowners, who were looking for a professional shipyard to build their yachts – a shipyard building working vessels, rather than a traditional yachtbuilder. “When I joined the company in 2001 we decided that there were two ways to develop the yacht department. The first would have been to offer custom yachts, and promote the yard as a brand, with its own specialised workforce, or, secondly, we could work with a naval architect. We chose the second route, and worked with a naval architect to design two ranges based on the company’s first two projects. Since then three Classics and five Commuters have been constructed.” These two ranges are designed to offer a combination of stability, manoeuvrability and
speeds of between 10 and 20 knots. With aluminium hull and superstructure providing durability and quality, the use of light materials also means that OCEA’s yachts offer low fuel consumption and low maintenance costs.
Long-range cruising The OCEA Commuter range take their names from the historical boats used for commuting along the USA’s East Coast. ELISABET is a 47m Commuter, which is steady enough for long travel at ‘cruising’ speed and has a semi-displacement hull, low-profile, and straight, vertical bow. The Commuter stands out amongst other yachts available on the market, according to Jean Michel Flour, because of its low and narrow structure, with less superstructure and its unique retro look. “At the same time, we find that some customers prefer the Classic look,” said Flour, “So this range has been retained on the company’s offering, to satisfy that demand.” The OCEA Classic range is designed for family navigation and long range cruises. “It aims to offer a timeless and elegant design with great comfort,
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reliability and high security at sea.” The OCEA Classic yachts comply with professional standards for transoceanic yachts (valid also for the Commuter range) – with a full displacement hull, a high profile and a bulbous bow, they are designed for the open seas. “The Classic offers much more volume – The Commuter, offers less volume because it is narrower, but this is counterbalanced by its extra speed – it is a trade-off between volume and speed.” Most recently delivered is the OCEA Commuter 155 ‘Elisabet’; Work on the ‘Elisabet’, a 47 metre boat, began in 2008. Designed for extended cruises, with a hull reinforced for ice navigation, it also offers a helipad located on the bridge deck aft. The yacht has a cruising speed of 15.5 knots, and includes five
162 Industry Europe
state rooms and crew quarters for ten. It is the largest yacht the company has produced so far, and Jean-Michel Flour says that this trend in increasing size is likely to continue. OCEA is currently exploring new markets, working with agencies, and will be present at the French Pavilion at the ‘boot Duesseldorf’ event in January 2012, meeting with potential new German clients. Jean Michel Flour notes that this particular event – more than others
in the sector – also attracts an international list of attendees, and he hopes to engage with potential clients from north-eastern France, Belgium, Switzerland, Scandinavia and Russia. The event was an opportunity for the company to highlight the fact that its success lies in its determination to meet the exact needs of the customer. Each project is handled – from beginning to end - by a single project manager, with regular meetings
to map out the customer’s requirements. Working hand in hand with the project design department, the whole team works on the details of engine power, tank capacities and stability, in close collaboration with the client. It is this value-added service that, according to Jean Michel Flour, distinguishes OCEA from its competitors and gives the customer such a diverse range of choices and possibilities, from design to delivery. n
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164 Industry Europe
SETTING A NEW COURSE With a radical reorganisation of its business and major acquisitions, Sweden’s TransAtlantic shipping company is now offering customers fully integrated shipping, transportation and logistics services. Peter Mercer reports.
March 2011 the Swedish shipping company Rederi AB TransAtlantic took the decision to restructure into two separate business entities with independent stockmarket listings. For many years the company had been operating in two distinct business areas – Offshore/Icebreaking and Industrial Shipping – but it now judged that the future development of the group would
be best served by spinning it off. A new entity, Viking Supply Ships, has been established with a head office in Copenhagen to develop the Offshore/Icebreaking activities while Rederi AB TransAtlantic continues to develop the Industrial Shipping operations, focusing in particular on the integration of the Swedish shipping and logistics company Osterstroms, which was acquired by the group in June 2011.
Viking Supply Ships will be established as a separate shipping company focused on offshore operations, specifically in the Arctic areas and other areas with difficult weather conditions. The Odin Viking anchor handling tug supply vessel and four newbuildings are to be transferred to the new Danish company Viking Supply Ships Offshore A/S while the TransAtlantic group’s three icebreaking anchor
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Orust Fartygsservice AB
Orust Fartygsservice AB was established in 1978 and is
Lindahl is one of Sweden’s largest law firms and offers
most focused on maintenance of ships, machining and
a full range of specialised legal services relating to the
different engine repairs worldwide. We are among the
oldest and most experienced company in our line in Sweden.
Lindahl gives legal advice on all matters relating to Swedish and international trade, shipping, offshore and
We have fifty skilled repairmen who can set up and be
energy projects, logistics and insurance.
ready to work on shortnotice in Sweden and abroad. We also have a number of portable machines.
The firm’s extensive experience within these fields, including lawyers who previously worked in shipping
Next to Gothenburg we have a well-equipped workshop
companies, enables Lindahl to offer clients not only
where we receives cylinder heads, liners etc for overhaul
legal expertise but also industry-specific experience and
and reparation. We are very pleased with our longstanding
know-how in market practices and culture.
cooperation with TransAtlantic among others.
handling vessels will remain in the Norwegian company Viking Supply Ships Icebreaking & Offshore AS. The icebreaking vessels will continue to be available for icebreaking to the Swedish Maritime Administration during the first quarter of each year and will be available for the offshore market for the rest of the year. A listing of the new Viking Supply Ships company is planned on the Oslo stockexchange. TransAtlantic has also boosted its offshore capabilities by acquiring SBS Marine, a British offshore shipping company based in Aberdeen. SBS Marine operates a fleet of five modern platform supply vessels (and one older vessel) and integration of the company’s operations into Viking Supply Ships Offshore is well advanced. TransAtlantic says that its unique experience in conducting operations in ice conditions and harsh weather and the unrivalled expertise of its ships’ officers in ice breaking and offshore work will be invaluable as the search for oil and gas gathers momentum in Arctic waters, from the Barents Sea to the coast of Greenland. The company sees opportunities for multi-year contracts with international oil companies. For example, in November 2011 Viking Supply Ships entered into a $70m contract with Sakhalin Energy Investment Company for an initial period of two and a half years. The Vidar Viking will perform icebreaking, supply and anchor handling services, sailing initially under the Swedish flag and subsequently with a Russian crew. 168 Industry Europe
Industrial Shipping expands Following the decision to spin off the icebreaking and offshore operations, TransAtlantic saw the need to strengthen its position in the Industrial Shipping sector, in particular to achieve critical mass both to ensure efficient operations in the expanding Baltic short-sea market and to secure its status on the Stockholm stockexchange. It therefore decided to expand the range of its services by acquiring the Swedish shipping and logistics company Osterstroms International AB, an operation with some 400 employees and sales in 2010 of SEK 900m. The strategy of this acquisition is to improve the services that TransAtlantic offers to its European customers by adopting door-to-door solutions that combine the company’s bulk, RoRo and container services with integrated logistics and IT-related services. On the completion of this acquisition in June 2011 Percy Osterstroms, the owner and CEO of Osterstroms, was appointed Head of TransAtlantic’s Industrial Shipping business area. The company also decided to relocate its head office in Sweden from Skarhamn to Gothenburg in order to be closer to clients, suppliers, banks etc. Percy Osterstrom says that the opportunities for adding value and increasing efficiency through the merger are considerable: “TransAtlantic has grown in the past 40 years from a one-ship coastal operation to one of Sweden’s leading shipping companies and it now sees the need to extend its range of services by
adding value throughout the logistics chain. For many years now Osterstroms has, for example, been bringing steel products from mills in Finland to northern European ports and then transporting them throughout central, eastern and south-eastern Europe by barge, train and truck. It is now time to implement this door-to-door service throughout Trans Atlantic’s Industrial Shipping business, in particular by offering integrated logistics services that bring together shipping, distribution, terminal services and IT and information systems.”
Full service offer Following the acquisition of Osterstroms, TransAtlantic Industrial Shipping operates through five divisions – Bulk, Container, RoRo, ShortSea Bulk and Integrated Logistics. Its fleet consists of some 50 vessels that are wholly or partly owned as well as vessels chartered for specific periods. As well as its sea-going crews it employs staff in terminals, offices and ports in seven countries. Its focus is primarily on the Baltic Sea, including the Gulf of Bothnia and the North Sea, and its customers come primarily from the forest, steel, energy and mining industries of Sweden and Finland. Trans Atlantic’s RoRo services operate mainly in the Baltic Sea and in parts of the North Sea on four main routes – Kemi OuluLubeck–Gothenburg: Oulu–Kemi–AntwerpZeebrugge; Kotka–Gothenburg and GavleRauma. All types of cargo are carried, including machinery parts, boats and tanks using a fleet
“Orust Fartygsservice AB, supplier to TransAtlantic for many years” Orust Fartygsservice AB Lundens Industriområde, 473 31 Henån, Sweden Tel: +46 0304-31750 - Fax: +46 0304-31030 - E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org - www.ofab.se
of cassettes and roll-trailers. The company’s bulk services operate mostly through long-term contracts with producers in the forestry, mining and steel industries and its ice-class vessels can call at most ports in its region. A typical example of such a contract is its recent agreement with FNsteel and Norkalk to ship some 1.6 million tonnes a year of limestone and iron ore for a three-year period. Two specialised ice class vessels will transport these cargoes from the Bay of Bothnia and other parts of the Baltic Sea. TransAtlantic offers container-based traffic between the Malardalen/Stockholm area and the south of Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands and Germany. The lines are served by modern container vessels with high ice classification and several of these have builtin dehumidifying systems for transporting moisture-sensitive steel products. Now that the integration of Osterstroms into the Industrial Shipping business is complete, TransAtlantic can offer customers a true one-stop service through its fully coordinated logistics solutions, in which a single employee assumes responsibility for
170 Industry Europe
the customer’s entire logistical flow, from the shipment of raw materials to the delivery of the finished product to the end customer. The company operates ports in Sweden, Poland (Stettin) and the UK (Hull) where it deploys its many years of experience not only in shipping but in cargo handling, customs documentation and clearing, haulage and ship brokerage. It also enjoys an extensive network of partnerships though which it can ensure swift and efficient onward distribution of shipments via trucks, trains or barges. Linking all these services is a coordinated IT and information system that can monitor the location of each individual item in the logistics chain and provide information on when it will reach the end customer. Indeed the customer himself has the option of following the movement of his goods via his own computer systems. Such monitoring systems have, of course, been familiar in land transportation services for several years but are fairly new in combined sea/land services. “Our aim is to increase the competitiveness of our customers by providing integrated shipping and logistics services that bring together
shipping, terminal operation, warehousing and distribution, backed up by sophisticated information systems,” says Percy Osterstroms. “We see great opportunities to grow our business, in particular through our routes from the Bay of Bothnia to Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium and through our terminal at Stettin to east and south east Europe. Our new terminal at Hull also gives us the ability to greatly expand our services for our customers in Sweden and Finland to all parts of the UK. “TransAtlantic is committed to helping customers manage logistics flows in a safe and cost-efficient manner. We now focus on development, efficiency and refinement by broadening our range of services and IT-related services. It’s all about giving added n value to the customers.”
CENTURIES OF SHIPBUILDING
Established in 1729, Kraljevica Shipyard is the oldest shipyard in Croatia. The yard builds large ships such as passenger ferries and asphalt tankers, as well as yachts and pleasure boats. Joseph Altham reports on a company that is building a passenger ferry for the harsh Canadian climate.
he Kraljevica Shipyard takes its name from the town of Kraljevica on the Adriatic Sea. Kraljevica’s sheltered situation, overlooking a bay, makes the town an ideal location for a shipyard. In the First World War, the shipyard built ships for the Austro-Hungarian Navy. Later, in the communist period, it built warships for the Yugoslav state. Modern day Croatia is now preparing to join the European Union, and the Kraljevica Shipyard has good communication links with Austria and Northern Italy, putting it within easy reach of one of the most prosperous parts of Europe. In changing times, the Kraljevica Shipyard remains committed to offering a first-class service and is now a major Croatian exporter. “Our approach remains on track to meet the most advanced needs of all our domestic and international customers,” says Jurij Vukelic, the Kraljevica Shipyard’s sales director. The Kraljevica Shipyard has built passenger ferries for the British company Wightlink Ltd and asphalt tankers for various international customers including the Italian firm, Petrolmar. The shipyard not only builds new
ships, but also performs repairs to older vessels. For ship repair work, the shipyard has a 575 metre long quay together with two gantry cranes. However, in the past decade the balance of the shipyard’s activity has swung towards new builds. “Most of our work is building new vessels, including ferries, yachts and asphalt tankers,” stated Mr Vukelic. “Today, new builds account for more than 90 per cent of the work at Kraljevica Shipyard.”
Impending privatisation The owner of the Kraljevica Shipyard is the Croatian government, and the Croatian state ferry company, Jadrolinija, is one of the shipyard’s most important customers. However, the Croatian government plans to privatise the Kraljevica Shipyard. According to Mr Vukelic, the privatisation process is entering its final stage. Privatisation means transferring ownership of a valuable national asset. The Kraljevica Shipyard has a total area of 110,000m2 and two open slipways, as well as a covered hall, 2460m2 in area. Within the hall there is a completely sheltered slipway
where section assembly and construction of hulls can be carried out for vessels of up to 60m in length. Mr Vukelic acknowledges that the Kraljevica Shipyard faces strong international competition. “The Kraljevica Shipyard is under the same pressure as many other European yards to make the most of its resources and drive down costs.” However, with the aid of its skilled workforce, the shipyard can offer customers high standards of quality and reliability. “The challenge for us at the Kraljevica yard is the same as for our European counterparts: to keep our tradition alive by maximising efficiency, making full use of new technologies and achieving greater levels of specialisation.”
Strategic considerations One tradition that Mr Vukelic hopes will continue after privatisation is the role of the shipyard as a builder of naval craft. “In the past, one of the main activities of the Kraljevica Shipyard was the construction and repair of naval ships of various types, made from ordi-
nary or high strength shipbuilding steel or aluminium, and always complying with the highest standards of construction. The shipyard is well qualified for building and repairing these types of vessels and our intention is to maintain this tradition on both the domestic and the foreign market.” Mr Vukelic argues that Croatia needs to preserve its shipbuilding capability for reasons of national security. “Bearing in mind the strategic nature of shipbuilding, it should be in the interests of the national government to intervene through purchasing and related policies like national procurement to ensure that its national independence in this key area is not compromised. This makes strategic if not always economic sense.”
New orders The Kraljevica Shipyard is one of Europe’s leading producers of asphalt tankers and is currently building an oil, chemical and asphalt tanker of 9015 DWT (dead weight tonnage) for the Dutch firm Tarbit Tankers BV. The new addition to the fleet is expected to strengthen the position of Tarbit Tankers in the market for the transport of bitumen. Meanwhile, on the passenger vessel side of the business, the Kraljevica Shipyard is now building a new passenger and car ferry for the Canadian ship owner, Transport Desgagnés. The ship, the Bella Desgagnés, will have six decks for passengers, fitted out to various levels of
luxury. In total, the ferry will be able to carry around 380 passengers in 63 cabins, as well as 125 containers for general cargo and vehicles. The ship is intended to sail in Canadian waters, where the climate makes severe demands of any craft. “The Bella Desgagnés will operate in icy waters in Quebec and will be built of ordinary mild and high tensile steel and suitably equipped,” said Mr Vukelic. “The biggest challenges on this project concerned electric propulsion, together with the dynamic positioning system and the interior outfitting. All this involved placing numerous highly sophisticated items of equipment in very narrow spaces.” n
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THE APPEAL OF STEEL
Finland-based steel producer Ruukki has an impressive list of international project wins and ongoing expansion plans. Business director Esko Vattulainen spoke to Industry Europe’s Emma-Jane Batey.
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eadquartered in Helsinki and present in 27 countries worldwide, Ruukki is in a constant state of growth and development, with new locations, new projects and new employees joining the 11,700-strong workforce on an ongoing basis. Well-known for its high-quality specialist products, Ruukki provides metal-based components and integrated systems to construction, and the company has a wide selection of metal products and services. Business director Esko Vattulainen is responsible for the project business, and tells Industry Europe: “The last five years have seen Ruukki’s growth continue strongly, even though there were some difficult times during
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the downturn in 2008 and 2009. Since the end of 2009 the market has been good in some areas such as eastern Europe and Russia. We are more than happy with our current structure and plan to maximise the opportunities that are available in our current markets, as well as being open-minded to new opportunities.”
Concept to completion Within Ruukki there are three complementary divisions working together to offer a complete integrated mining and metals service. Joining the longest standing division of Ruukki Metals, Ruukki Engineering and Ruukki Construction combine to deliver new projects with new opportunities not
previously available to the company. Mr Vattulainen explained, “The three divisions allow us to move beyond being a steel producer and into the complete project sphere. Our strategy was to make sure that the engineering and construction divisions eventually grew bigger than the metals division so that we could continue to produce metals to the same high standard that we’re famous for, but to also specify and use those metals in high-spec projects that would benefit from our expertise and complete metals understanding.” With this aim being achieved, the engineering and construction divisions at Ruukki now represent a larger proportion of its turnover
ESL Shipping Ltd is the leading carrier of dry bulk cargoes in the Baltic region. Our main clients are the power generation, steel and chemical industries to whom we carry raw materials such as coal, iron ore and limestone. ESL Shipping Ltd has been in business more than 60 years and is a subsidiary of Aspo Plc. Our mission is to optimise the supply of raw materials for the various industry sectors. Reliable, safe and flexible deliveries give our customers good possibilities for stock controlling. Effective fleet utilisation combined with just-on-time (JOT) principle needs a lot of flexibility from all parties but gives in return highly competitive freight rates. Experienced crew on board and personnel ashore together with the versatile fleet built for the demanding conditions of the Baltic Sea quarantees our customers quality of service they can rely on in all conditions. Ice strenghtened fleet can safely call at most of shallow drafted ports in the Baltic Region. All ships have cranes on board which enables independent cargohandling both at ports and at open sea.
www.eslshipping.com ESL Shipping Ltd - Lintulahdenkuja 10, P.O. Box 91, FI-00500 Helsinki Phone: +358 (0)9 5211 - Fax: +358 (0)9 521 9999 Email: email@example.com
PROPAK is a leading producer of (PU) poliurethan tapes (gasket) for all types of sandwich panel. PROPAK was founded in 1979 as a manufacturer of products for the construction industry. PROPAK is a leading distributor of protection film.
WWW.PROPAK.COM.PL PROPAK, 62-069 Dabrowa k/Poznania, ul. Batorowska 5, POLAND Tel: +48 603 137 495 / +48 618 944 413 - Fax: +48 618 944 582 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
than the production of metals. Mr Vattulainen is specifically focused on the construction division, which itself has three separate business units. The materials and services unit offers products such as steel frames, facades and roofs, including all related design, erection and installation. The component business unit provides the necessary steel items such as steel sheets required for the installation process. The infrastructure business unit is focused on the smaller production projects and is able to call on the extensive project experience across the company.
Local and international The main geographical market areas for the contruction business continue to be in northern Europe, with a very strong performance region-wide. The company’s activities in eastern Europe and Russia have developed apace, with a growing number of projects in western Europe. Mr Vattulainen continued, “Eastern Europe is an important market for us, supported by our network of production facilities with many in Finland, one in Poland, Russia and Romania. We also have a number of smaller local production sites in countries such as Norway and Lithuania, which allows us to deliver both a local and an international 180 Industry Europe
service. Some production sites just service their own local projects, but the Finnish site for example backs up these secondary sites with whatever they need.” Ruukki plans to continue to utilise this network of production facilities, in order to ensure that its costs remain competitive and its quality remains high. The company is committed to making sure that each production facility plays to its strengths, with intense training for its workforce and a close understanding of its technical capabilities. With Ruukki continually adding to its workforce
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with highly experienced specialists, enthusiastic graduates and technically advanced production workers, the company is clear that all of its sites are at the top of their game.
Building stronger projects Recent project wins highlight Ruukki’s achievements. The company has recently won a €13 million-plus steel structure contract for the Kaunisvaara mine in Sweden and in July it made the first of many deliveries of steel structures to the offshore wind farm project in the North Sea for Kvaerner Verdal AS.
In the construction business Ruukki’s plans for the coming years see it dedicated to continuing its geographical focus on its existing northern Europe market whilst building up its activities in eastern and western Europe and Russia. Rather than aiming to work in a large number of countries, Mr Vattulainen explained how the company prefers to focus on “the best countries for our construction project business, where we can add value for our customers and utilise the cost and technical advantages n of our production facilities”.
EXPANDING IN REFACTORIES Germany-based Intocast offers its customers a complete package in refactory materials – and is looking for strong growth in the coming years. Abigail Saltmarsh reports.
recent times, refractory and casting auxiliary products producer Intocast has seen significant growth. Now, says the sales director, Markus Schwan, the group is looking to almost double its size again within the next two years. “We are looking for worldwide, aggressive growth,” he stresses. “We want to achieve that with organic growth and through acquisition. Our target for the next two years is to reach a €250 million turnover.
“This means almost doubling our turnover but we can do it through new products and new markets, and by becoming the manufacturer of choice.”
Major growth Intocast was founded in 1979 with the takeover of the activities of Eugen Schwarz, a company which had supplied the German and European steel industry with products since 1922. In the course of the past two
decades, the group has expanded by taking huge market shares within refractory and casting auxiliary products, and through strategic acquisitions. Today, the Intocast Group is a global player with eight German and nine foreign offices and production plants. It employs approximately 800 staff members worldwide. It is one of the few companies worldwide that manufacture refractory materials and casting auxiliaries as well as metallurgical slag additives. Industry Europe 185
DRAGUN Shooter EVO II
A complete package Intocast’s operations include blast furnace launders, iron transfer ladles, iron mixers and refractory maintenance for basic oxygen converters and electric arc furnaces. It also focuses on RH degassers, vacuum degassers, steel ladles, slag pots, continuous casting operations, ingot casting and heat treatment furnaces in rolling mills. Its products are designed for the iron and steel
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Soaking pit at TKS
industry, the foundry industry and the nonferrous metal industry, as well as the cement industry, the ceramics industry, those working in chemicals and petrochemicals, and in all incinerator plants where processes are carried out at high temperatures. “Our aim is to offer our customers from these areas a complete package,” explains Mr Schwan. “For example, we have just launched a new range of gunning materials
for basic oxygen furnaces (BOFs) and/or electric arc furnaces. This means we now offer our customers all the equipment they require in this area. We can provide them with the full package.”
Years of knowledge Intocast is recognised for the knowledge and know-how it brings to its business. It understands that no two steel plants
MAPEKO horizontal ladle burner
or their processes are the same and that customer requirements are individual and unique in their own right. In close cooperation with its customers, it analyses current and future processing issues and develops tailor-made solutions. In a continuous exchange of ideas and a close cooperation with the customer, solutions are developed in accordance with the specific demands and economically viable applications for refractory materials and casting auxiliaries are introduced. The goal is to simplify operational processes, continuously lift quality targets and raise cost-effectiveness, says Mr Schwan.
Intocast offers the customer a wide range of products and services to raise productivity and increase competitiveness. To enable it to do so, it employs metallurgists, foundry engineers, chemists, mineralogists and ceramics engineers, whose expertise is enhanced through long practical experience in the development and application of refractory products and casting auxiliaries.
New markets “We are expanding our business into new markets but there is always an emphasis on quality,” says Mr Schwan. “We are very well established in Germany and in Europe
in general so now we are looking towards South America. We have a joint venture with a Brazilian partner. This was launched at the beginning of the year.” With joint ventures in China as well, and a recent acquisition in Spain, which has “filled the white space” in the Spanish and Portuguese markets, Intocast is on target for further global growth. “At the moment, 50 per cent of our turnover comes from Germany, and 50 per cent from the rest of the world,” he continues. “We would like to see the global percentage increase, particularly with the up-and-coming markets of n South America and China.”
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VALUING QUALITY, THE ENVIRONMENT AND HUMAN RESOURCES
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The Beltrame group, headed by AFV Beltrame SpA, with its over 50 per cent of market share, is the European leader in commercial rolled section manufacture. Industry Europe speaks to its sales director, Mr Fornelli as Barbara Rossi reports.
FV Acciaierie Beltrame is the oldest Italian company operating in the iron and steel industry and can boast of a tradition over a century old. Nowadays, thanks to the acquisitions of its main competitors, the company has undergone a very rapid growth and evolved into the family led Beltrame group, at the forefront of technology and innovation in the industry. AFV Acciaierie Beltrame was founded at the end of the 19th century by Antonio Beltrame, forefather of the fifth generation of the Beltrame family who wholly own and lead the group today. AFV Acciaierie Beltrame SpA, as well as in its core business of commercial rolled section manufacture, is also engaged in the production of steel for the construction industry, including reinforcing bars, and in the production of special bars for shipbuilding and earth moving machines.
The headquarters of the group are in the north-eastern Italian town of Vicenza, but the group comprises several companies, including Stahl Gerlafingen, based in the Swiss town of the same name, Laminés Marchands Européens (LME) headquartered in the north of France, but with production sites also in Belgium and Luxembourg, and Donalam Srl based in Calarasi, south-eastern Romania. Merchand bars manufacture is mainly based in Vicenza, Turin and at the LME sites, while steel manufacturing for the construction industry is a specialism of the Swiss plant and the production of round special steel SBQ for various sectors is carried out at the Romanian site. The industries supplied with the Beltrame group products are extremely varied, ranging from construction, agriculture, shipbuilding and earth-moving equipment to some automotive sub-sec-
tors and niche market fields.Nowadays the Beltrame group has just under 3000 employees, a productive capacity of 4 million tonnes a year and, with its 50 per cent of market share, is the Italian and European leader in its field. In fact, the group sees Europe as being its domestic market and it also distributes its products in North Africa and the Middle East. Overall the group, headed by AFV Acciaierie Beltrame SpA, can count on four steel plants, respectively based in Vicenza and Turin (Italy), Gerlafingen (Switzerland) and Trith-Saint Léger (France), as well as on fifteen rolling mills, located in different countries ( two in France, one in Belgium, one in Luxembourg, one in Romania, two in Switzerland and the rest in Italy). Presently the merchand bars manufacture accounts for about 60 per cent of its output, with the remaining 40 per cent coming from its other lines of production. Industry Europe 189
Diversification is key As well as being a leader in Europe and an important supplier in North Africa and the Middle East the group also distributes its products in other areas, but only on a spot business basis, as logistical and transport costs, as well as exchange rates, play a fundamental role in the final cost of the kind of products manufactured by Beltrame. For this reason the company is planning to start production in
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other continents, so as to be able to be supply potential users of its products in other parts of the world. An area in which the company has already started investing for this purpose is South America, specifically Argentina, and it is also considering commencing production in the Far East. This decision has also been taken because of the limited scope for volume growth obtainable in mature markets, such as Europe. In order to pursue this future growth
and expansion in lower-cost geographical areas Beltrame is open to joint venture, acquisition and partnership possibilities. Mr Fornelli says “We are paying maximum attention to industrial development, such as new technology leading to increased quality, but at the same time we are also valuing environmental friendliness and human resources, because trying to compete at the lower and cheaper level of the market
is not feasible in Europe. Although we are a heavy industry company, we recycle metal and scrap in our industrial processes and we try to be as environmentally friendly as possible.” Beltrame is very concerned with pollution prevention and waste minimization , constantly controlling emissions and effluents into air, water or soil. This is probably one of the reasons why Beltrame, which is ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 18001
certified, is one of the few merchand bars manufacturers to be a successful supplier in northen Europe countries, where the environment is high on the agenda. With regard to improved product quality, Beltrame has technical laboratories, which will shortly be completely renovated and thanks to which it can develop and manage customer tailored solutions. In terms of human resources, Beltrame is about
to launch a pilot project in partnership with some Italian universities to train iron and steel industry specialised engineers. Alongside this Beltrame, which has its own published ethical code, regularly carries out internal staff development courses in various subjects, both to improve the skills of its workforce and to foster a group spirit and a sense of belonging within this n multicultural group.
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AN IDEAL PARTNER FOR CAST IRON AND BRONZE Omco (Overmeyer Mould Corporation) Metals, located in Hamme in Belgium, offers its customers maximum flexibility and delivers a wide-ranging offer of cast iron and bronze metals. Piotr Sadowski reports.
ack in 1964, Omco, as a leading producer of glass moulds in the USA, founded a division in Aalter in Belgium, in order to improve the company’s market position in Europe. The glass moulds were made from specially alloyed cast iron and bronze. Omco did not, at that time, own a foundry, so the rough castings were made by third parties. However, in the early 1970s the need for castings became so high that it was decided to establish its own foundry. In 1971 the foundry belonging to the company Bekaert in Hamme, only nine months old at the time, became available for sale and was 192 Industry Europe
immediately bought. Since then castings for both the glass industry and general engineering have been produced there. In 1984 Omco found itself in financial difficulties and decided to sell off its European division, Omco NV. This was done by a management buy-out, carried out by the Regional Investment of Flanders, together with the Seyntex Group. From then on Omco NV became a Belgian company. In 1990, after 19 years of the foundry’s operations, the facility proved to be technologically out-of-date and therefore a brand new foundry was introduced. A year later Omco
NV merged with BMT NV and became a publicly traded company. In 2000 a second foundry was acquired, in Slovenia, and from then on the glass moulds for the division in Croatia and Austria have been produced there, while the foundry in Hamme has been increasingly focused on customers outside of the group.
Activities today Luc Willems, the Hamme foundry manager, explains that while 10 years ago Omco Metals was operating as a local foundry, with around 60–80 per cent of products distributed locally
to Belgium and southern Netherlands, today the company’s spread is much wider. “Today only around 20 per cent of products are sold in Belgium; the rest goes to export markets which include Italy, Spain, Germany and Switzerland,” says Mr Willems. “Despite the economic downturn we have also been able to secure increases in turnover of around 20–30 per cent a year. This year’s turnover will be in the region of €24 million while five years ago it was approximately €14–16 million.” The company expands not through securing more volumes of products, but through focusing on even better serving its market segment, which includes shorter, low and ultra-low series more complicated castings and alloys. “The turnover increases not as a result of more kilograms of metals produced, but from the added-value of our products,” adds Mr Willems. “We focus on Europe, glass moulds, metals-based products for the automotive sector, but also deliver specific alloys and castings tailored to direct needs of customers in other areas, including agricultural machines, earthwork machinery, pumps, incinerators and general engineering. We look to the markets to identify new trends and expectations, and respond with excellent solutions. We are a small foundry, but we do our job very well.”
Technology, offer and quality The foundry in Hamme has three induction furnaces for iron (1800 kg/furnace), an induction furnace for bronze (500 kg/furnace) and an automated core making for cores up to 30kg, as well as an automated horizontal moulding line for box size 650 x 650 x 500 mm (with a capacity of 60 moulds per hour). The facility is also equipped with two grinding robots for automated grinding, its own pattern shop with CAD/CAM capabilities and five furnaces for heat treatment. The offer includes pieces with weights 0.1–100kg, prototypes and small- and medium-sized repetitive series (from tens to hundreds per order line). The company offers all types of cast iron: lamellar iron, ductile iron, low alloyed cast iron, vermicular iron, stainless iron (Ni-Resist), wear-resisting iron (Ni-hard), heat-resisting iron (SiMo and high Cr), bainitic iron and ADI. “We also deliver core-intensive pieces with complex geometry,” adds Mr Willems. “The foundry also offers aluminium bronze, as well as machining, painting, galvanising, pressure testing and other services associated with our activities.” The quality at Omco Metals is assured by an ISO-TS standard certified by Lloyds. A range of other specialist provisions guar-
antee that the highest quality is achieved. They include CAD design of castings, digital transfer and manipulation of customer drawings (in any format), simulation software for mould-filling and solidification, spectrometric analysis, digital measuring equipment and microscopic examination. The company is able to perform all necessary mechanical tests and provide the relevant certificates.
Planning for the future Although Omco Metals has not recently carried out any major investments, nevertheless a lot of effort has been put into identifying areas where investment is needed in order to further strengthen the company’s operations. “These include HR as well as a very important investment in a brand new IT system,” says Mr Willems. “We have opted for the Glovia solution and will be implementing it from January 2012.” There will also be a major investment in new logistics systems, including a new warehouse which will support us in maintaining stocks of products, primarily to serve automotive clients. Omco Metals will grow organically and focus on delivering the best in what it does, thereby nurturing the relationships with existing customers and acquiring new ones, across n many different European markets. Industry Europe 193
BREAKING NEW GROUND From underground coal mines in China and surface gold mines in Mali to the oil sands of Canada, Caterpillar Mining’s products are hard at work. Abigail Saltmarsh looks at recent developments at the company.
trategic takeovers, new products and an ever-growing global customer base – as part of Caterpillar Inc, Caterpillar Mining is extending its reach even further. Driven by a key strategic imperative to expand its leadership and support for customers in the mining industry, the company has announced that it has completed its acquisition of Bucyrus International, Inc. The company has also seen its 10,000th truck roll off the line and has launched the new 795F AC. This is Caterpillar’s first AC electric drive truck.
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A global leader Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company is also a leading services provider through Caterpillar Financial Services, Caterpillar Remanufacturing Services, Caterpillar Logistics Services and Progress Rail Services. With 50 production facilities in the United States and another 60 overseas, Caterpillar does about 44 per cent of its business within the USA and 56 per cent abroad. The com-
pany employs over 100,000 people – and of those, about 1250 are employed by the Caterpillar Global Mining organisation.
Strategic acquisition It was in July 2011 that Caterpillar announced it had completed the acquisition of Bucyrus International. Caterpillar group president Steve Wunning would have executive office accountability for Caterpillar’s Global Mining business, including Bucyrus. “We are pleased to complete this acquisition and are proud to welcome Bucyrus
employees to Caterpillar,” Mr Wunning said. “We are bringing together the best people, the best products and the best facilities from both companies. This acquisition is all about growth and unprecedented opportunities. “Combined with our aggressive product development and capacity expansion plans, it will position Caterpillar to offer a broad range of surface and underground mining products and solutions to our customers.” He continued: “The rapid development of the world’s emerging markets is expected to continue to drive an increasing need for commodities as billions of people around the world seek to improve their standard of living. Wherever there is mining, Caterpillar and our dealers will be there to serve our mining customers. “Since we announced the acquisition last November, we’ve been busy planning to bring Bucyrus into the Caterpillar family. A dedicated team has been working on the integration plans and we are excited to begin implementation. As part of the integration process, we are pleased to report on the following key areas – organisation structure, branding and distribution, synergy benefits and funding.”
by the use of Caterpillar engines and components in Bucyrus products and improved service and lower owning and operating costs driven by Caterpillar’s global manufacturing, supply chain and purchasing capabilities. “The announcement marks the beginning of a new era in Caterpillar’s mining business,” said Wunning. “The joining of these two iconic companies is an incredible combination. It positions us for long-term success in an industry with significant growth potential, and we intend to
fully leverage our unique strengths to help the mining customer make money. In turn, that will benefit our employees, our stockholders and the communities in which we live and work. We’re ready to get started.”
A single brand He said Caterpillar had evaluated the best approach for branding legacy Bucyrus products. It had sought input from dealers, customers, the leadership of Bucyrus and
Long-term success Mr Wunning said the purchase of Bucyrus was an important strategic acquisition for Caterpillar. The benefits include higher sales of new equipment and aftermarket parts and support, lower product cost and greater reliability driven
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outside industry and branding experts. The conclusion was to create a single brand – Caterpillar – for all mining products. In addition, it became clear that the capabilities of the Cat dealer network with mining customers meant that all products should be sold and serviced by Cat dealers. Cat offers an unparalleled range of mining and support equipment and technologies for all types of surface and underground mining. Its products are on more mine sites than any other equipment line, and are known for their reliability and durability.
New products In recent times, BHP Billiton Iron Ore has purchased the 10,000th large mining truck to emerge from the Caterpillar off-highway truck facility in Decatur, Illinois. This was a 793F. BHP Billiton also bought the 1,000th and 2,000th trucks to come down the 793 line. The 793F, the fifth generation of the line, has a payload capacity of 250 tonnes and can be loaded by large wheel loaders, excavators and rope shovels. A versatile mining platform, it is available with high-altitude, extra-quiet as well as retarding packages. However, Caterpillar
has recently taken the development of the 795F even further – and it has introduced the new 795F AC – its first electric drive truck. It matches a wide range of mining shovels, and a variety of body options allow it to be adapted to any mining application. Featuring stateof-the-art safety and maintenance features, the 795F AC also breaks new ground in operator comfort. Operators will appreciate the improved handling made possible by a unique braking system that combines four-corner blended retarding and oil-cooled disc brakes for the highest retarding speed on grade. n
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HIGH WIRE SUCCESS Operating as part of the MVM Group, the largest state-owned Hungarian power company, OVIT ZRt. (National Power Line Company Ltd.) offers the most diverse services within the electricity sector in Hungary. The company now has the goal of strengthening its established position by further expanding its activities and exploiting opportunities in foreign markets. Edina Beale reports.
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omestic market leader, OVIT began to erect, maintain and renew high voltage power transmission lines and substations over six decades ago in Hungary. Beside these activities the company today also manufactures a wide range of equipment for power stations and steel structures as well as offering heavy goods transport services for both domestic suppliers and foreign partners. With its wide network of operations across Hungary and the employment of 1600 staff the company today is the second largest firm within Hungary’s national power group, the MVM Group.
The annual turnover of OVIT is expected to reach HUF 46 billion for 2011, mainly relying on two major partners, MAVIR ZRt. (Hungarian Transmission System Operator Company Ltd) and PA Zrt. (Paks Nuclear Power Plant Ltd), both part of the MVM Group. The company has been serving Paks Nuclear Power Plant for a number of years. Ongoing projects include the replacement of main transformers, the reconstruction of safety cooling-water system and the maintenance of the reactor and primer-secondary appliances. The provision of maintenance work is a vital activity within the company’s
operations; OVIT is responsible for the full maintenance of the coal-fired VÉRT ZRt. (Vértes Power Plant Ltd) and regularly carries out maintenance work for other power stations within the group, such as the MERT ZRt. (Mátra Power Plant Ltd), the gas turbine power plants in Liter and Sajószöged and the wind farm in Sopronkövesd.
New prospects “The value of power line construction and installation jobs for MAVIR will reach HUF 14 billion, whilst the total turnover achieved by this sector is HUF 27–38 billion this year,” Industry Europe 199
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reveals Mr Péter Gopcsa, chief executive of OVIT. Moreover, in recent times OVIT has been exploring new opportunities within this area of activity that will greatly determine the company’s future direction in this segment. New prospects were found in two areas: assembling railway transmission lines and modernising telecommunication lines. “In the railway segment we laid the foundations this year and we will become a railway company either via an acquisition or by obtaining the necessary licences,” confirms Mr Gopcsa. “So far we have signed a contract with a value of nearly HUF 2 billion and we are close to finalising two other contracts worth another HUF 9–10 billion. These contracts run for 2–3 years, and will contribute annually HUF 4–5 billion to OVIT’s turnover as well as providing jobs for our skilled workers in this sector.” The modernisation of Hungary’s national telecommunication system began this year, and OVIT has been asked to take a significant role in the project that will contribute HUF 2 billion to the company’s turnover.
Production for export Nearly one quarter of the turnover is achieved by sales outside of the MVM Group. Partners of OVIT include energy suppliers, power network companies, railway companies, industrial suppliers and foreign partners. The
main source of the current export activities is the company’s steel structure production plant located in Göd, outside of Budapest. The factory manufactures 11,000 tonnes of welded and bolted steel structure products and currently 75 per cent of this production is exported to EU countries as well as being delivered to places further afield such as Chile, South Africa and Australia. The company has also acquired strong links with foreign partners in the heavy goods transportation segment, and has invested in specialist machinery and equipment suitable to transport large size (up to 27m long) and heavy items (up to 240 tonnes). Whilst focusing on maintaining the same level of production in steel structures, OVIT also introduced a power equipment manufacturing facility in Kiskunfélegyháza in March 2011. The factory currently manufactures furnaces and special equipments, but has the ability to produce any type of product, excluding turbines, required for installation in a power stations. OVIT is hoping to double its turnover in this segment in 2012 and is keen to introduce its products to the foreign markets and establish relationships with new partners. OVIT is a market-leading company in almost all areas of its segments in Hungary. There is no other similar-sized company in this sector with such diverse activities. The strategic goal
of OVIT is to continue its role as a reliable service supplier of the MVM Group and to strengthen its profitability by generating good returns from activities carried out for partners outside of the group. “As part of the MVM Group, it is fundamental for our company to follow and support the group’s objectives and strategies as well as completing the tasks set by the group, and therefore our results can only be reflected in the results of the group,” explains Mr Gopcsa. “However, this can only be achieved if we operate well, and if we strengthen our presence in markets outside of the group, since our existing capacities and abilities can only be sustained this way. This is where we see opportunities in the future.” n H-1158 Budapest, Körvasút sor 105. Phone: (+36-1) 414-3200 Fax: (+36-1) 415-5815 Email: email@example.com www.ovit.hu
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FOCUSED ON ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY With names such as Bombardier, Siemens, Alstom and CAF among its clients, MSA (Mediterr Shock Absorber) SpA is a world leader in the shock absorber industry. Barbara Rossi spoke to the company’s sales & strategy director, Elena Giulivi.
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owadays MSA SpA, belonging to the Italian Montante group, designs and manufactures high range, highly technological shock absorbers for railway and industrial vehicles and for special applications, either in standard models or according to specific customers’ demands, and is present all over the world with its two brands: MSA and Gimon. The group started its activity in the 1930s as a bicycle manufacturer and the activity then developed following international transport trends, first moving to manufacturing shock absorbers for the railway sector and then accompanying this with production for the industrial automotive sector (shock absorbers for industrial vehicles, coaches and buses).
The company has two sites at the opposite ends of Italy, with one production site in the north-western town of Asti and the other production site, as well as its headquarters, in the Caltanissetta area of Sicily. The Asti site is specialised in products for the railway industry, as well as taking care of special applications, while the Sicilian site is dedicated to the industrial automotive range. Both of these sites are very recent and innovative, with the Asti site dating back to 2005 and the Caltanissetta one to 2001 and both are equipped with cutting-edge testing and R&D facilities and commercial departments, as well as having scope for increased production volumes.
“When the Montante family had to choose whether to aim at a lower cost, large volume, but less technological product, it chose another path, a more courageous one: that of a high technological offer.” Ms Giulivi says. All the MSA SpA production is composed of shock absorbers of high technological content, and even more so in the special application field, which comprises both the military sector and high risk buildings and structures (such as energy production plants, panoramic wheels or bridges). Moreover MSA set up TIVET, a spin off with the Politecnico di Milano, which has been active for a few years, to work on projects of particularly high technological content on the transport market. The Politecnico di Milano is
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an absolute European leader in railway sector design and research and only rarely takes part in spin-offs with industrial partners. This spin-off is an independent entity, engaged in research and development in the transport sector, as well as in other fields. MSA is currently engaged in two innovative parallel research projects on smart and active shock absorbers, which have the potential of revolutionising the transport market. Both have been developed in-house and, having already undergone the prototype phase, will be shortly introduced on the market. To this day the railway sector represents MSA Shock Absorber’s core business, followed by the automotive field and by the special application niche market. Currently MSA is present on most markets, such as Italy and Europe, North and South America, Australia and Asia. Italy accounts for 35–40 per cent of turnover share and the other markets for the remaining 60–65 per cent.
A love for innovation and investments There are important international development plans in store, involving both North and South America, Australia and Asia. In particular, MSA SpA is setting up production in China in collaboration with local partners for railway as well as for industrial automotive products, mainly destined to the internal market. Moreover MSA, which has been active in India
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for several years, is expanding commercially in the country, by establishing closer partnerships with Indian entities, to achieve a more widespread presence, and is also envisaging a possible future production activity. The company has also been present in Brazil for several years and finds this market very interesting, especially for the railway sector. Again this is a market where in future there could be the establishment of a production unit. MSA is very attentive to the specific requirements of each country where it operates, paying a lot of attention to the individual country systems. In emerging markets there are promising signs of development for the railway sector products, partly due to the fact that as they are starting, at least in some areas, from a lower infrastructural level. Ms Giulivi pointed out how MSA has the advantage of belonging to the Montante group, still led and owned by the founding Montante family, courageous entrepreneurs, who love innovation and investments. The company guarantees a total product quality, meaning that it ensures not only the high quality of its products, but also the safety and health of its employees, respect for the environment and a search for energy efficiency. MSA, as well as having produced a company code of ethics, also avails itself of specialised staff, which by employing specialised machines and equipment, regularly
monitor and check the company processes. Certifications held include UNI EN ISO 9001:2000, the environmentally oriented UNI EN 14001 and German welding certificates, as well as a commitment to working towards the achievement of IRIS (the most prestigious certification in the railway sector) and SA8000. Furthermore, MSA can be proud of the quality of life within the company. It has in fact been included, in more than one occasion, in Italy’s Great Places to Work listing, mainly assessed by means of confidential questionnaires filled in by actual staff members, ranking in 8th position in recent years, alongside names of the calibre of Google, Microsoft, Coca-Cola HBC Italia n and Cisco Systems.
CONTRACT OUTSOURCING Siegfried is a global leader in process development for specialised products and customised contract manufacturing services to the pharmaceutical industry. Philip Yorke spoke to Marianne Spaene, the company’s EVP of sales, marketing and global business development, about its unique out-licensed portfolio and the global trend towards high-potency products.
iegfried was founded in 1873 by pharmacist Samuel Benoni Siegfried, who began by supplying medical products to pharmacies. From the outset it was a success and by 1904 it was converted to a joint-stock company and was subsequently listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange in 1973. In the late 1980s the company transformed itself into a leading CMO player. Today it is a truly global organisation with a unique range of contract production capabilities and services that cover chemistry, continuous flow technology and formulation technologies, as well as micronisation and spray drying technologies. In addition, Siegfried offers a range of fully integrated services along the entire supply chain, as
well as services relating to regulatory affairs, intellectual property, project management, packaging and logistics. As a preferred partner to more than 60 per cent of the world’s pharmaceutical companies, manufacturers both large and small rely on Siegfried’s long-standing pharmaceutical and chemical heritage as well as its in-depth knowledge of drug production and licensing. Furthermore, as a global company serving pharmaceutical manufacturers worldwide, Siegfried has continued to invest in new manufacturing capabilities. More recently, investment has been focused on additional technologies in the US and Zofingen and in the expansion at its drug product manufac-
turing facility in Malta. This is in addition to establishing a manufacturing presence in Asia, by which the company plans to gain a competitive edge in its CMO business.
Increased potency products In the fast changing world of pharmaceuticals, the demand for drugs with higher potency levels and pharmacological activity shows no sign of abating. Since 2004 Siegfried has continually invested in advanced ‘containment technology’ to offset the potential occupational health hazards and possible threats to the environment of these ‘super-drugs’. However, the company’s significant investment in special containment measures ensures safe
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operation through all phases of development and manufacture. Siegfried offers its customers the capability for early stage development, scale-up and commercial manufacture of high-potency drug substances and drug products with occupational exposure limits (OEL) ranging down to 1ug/m3. Spaene said. “We are a true contract development and manufacturing company offering a broad range of chemistry and formulation options. We focus on being an integrated supplier and concentrate on developing and optimising chemical processes as well as difficult-to-make formulations for our customers. Our portfolio of APIs (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) is extensive and we have developed new products in the opiates and nicotine areas and are able to develop and market these mainly in the USA and Europe but also in the emerging societies. Our capability for the development of new opiates in North America is particularly important for us because government legislation there means that opiates cannot be imported.” Spaene added, “We are very much an innovative, integrated contract supplier that
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offers bridging technologies using crossfunctional teams. The increasing trend towards producing molecules that offer higher potency levels and pharmacological activity is another area that we have been investing in for many years and today we operate state-of-the-art, segregated, high containment facilities and production areas that we consider to be ‘best-in-class’. We are also able to offer continuous cross-flow technology that is not restricted to batches. This in turn reduces analytical costs.”
Optimising the pharmaceutical value chain Unlike many of its competitors, Siegfried is able to support and project manage the whole pharmaceutical value chain process from start to finish. The company’s goal is to build up a sustainable and stable relationship with its business partners by offering a range of supply chain solutions that are customised to suit a customer’s specific requirements. As an integrated partner, Siegfried offers its clients synergy, expertise and added value through reduced supply chain complexity
and simplified communication. In addition, clients benefit from a reduced vendor interface as well as a combined and coordinated analytical and manufacturing approach that achieves the optimum required formulation performance. Siegfried also provides complete life-cycle management services from development through to commercial and generic realisation. Spaene commented, “We are not in the distribution business; our focus is clearly on contract development and manufacturing in addition to offering our own portfolio of products. From our sites in Zofingen, Pennsville and Malta we can provide everything along the entire value chain including formulation development and small-scale sample manufacture. We operate a ‘key client strategy’ and are not only serving the big pharma companies, but also the mediumsized companies and those with only one or two products in their portfolio. As soon as we have a project in place we appoint a project leader to manage the team of chemists and regulatory experts, which means that the customer not only has just one point
of contact, but also access to our technical information and cost-effective project management processes.”
Creating value through innovative technology In exclusive partnerships with its pharmaceutical customers, Siegfried develops and optimises processes for the manufacture of new active ingredients and final drug dosage forms. The shared goal of these joint activities is to increase value for its customers through innovative drug development and the protection of a customer’s intellectual property rights. Regarding Siegfried’s own portfolio of products, which are developed and manufactured for different customers, the company continually strives for innovative approaches and the expansion of its own IP portfolio. This strengthens its competitive position and thereby enhances its customers’ own competitive edge. Siegfried also creates value through its dedicated approach to project management by guaranteeing that its customers can rely on ‘on-time’ delivery of all deliverables, known as
‘on-time-in-full’ logistics. This service is combined with simplified outsourcing processes. “We aim to decrease our customers’ outsourcing complexity by helping to free up internal resources across the board, which in turn creates more value for our clients.” concluded Spaene. n
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ONE STEP AHEAD Lano is a global leader in the design and production of carpets, carpet tiles and artificial grass. Philip Yorke looks at its latest innovative ranges recently showcased at the ‘Domotex’ trade fair in Hanover and the company’s strategy for further growth in niche markets.
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ano was founded in Belgium in 1970 as the result of a merger between three leading European carpet manufacturers, which together represented more than one hundred years of manufacturing expertise. The company is also exceptionally versatile; it has the ability to produce a truly diverse range of flooring products from broadloom woven and tufted carpets, to carpet tiles, rugs and artificial grass. Its product range also extends to the complete spectrum of Axminster woven carpets and tufted coverings, as well as a unique range of bamboo
fibre carpets that offer exceptional thermal and antibacterial properties. Lano is one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of carpets, carpet tiles and artificial grass and is headed by Pierre Lano who is also a distinguished member of the Belgian Parliament. Headquartered at Harelbeke in Belgium, the company produces around 20 million square metres of floor covering every year. Lano Carpet’s largest manufacturing site is located at Stasegem in Belgium and covers around 20 hectares. Installed at this vast site are 38, state-of-the-art tufting machines,
supported by the latest continuous dyeing and printing lines as well as a coating unit and a modern warehouse with storage facilities for more than 20,000 rolls of carpet. Today Lano exports its products to over 70 countries worldwide and in 2010 recorded sales of more than €100 million.
Setting new standards Lano has always been at the forefront of manufacturing and design technology and its commitment to continuous investment in new equipment, designs and composites has
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guaranteed its position as Europe’s premier producer. Leading the way at the recent Hanover trade fair ‘Domotex’ is Lano’s latest innovative creation, the Bamboo Collection. This unique and highly innovative range features a new series of designs that incorporate a high percentage of bamboo fibre, which brings distinct advantages to the carpet’s composition and consumer appeal. Lano’s bamboo fibre carpets offer natural anti-bacterial and humidity regulating properties and when turned into yarn, they become exceptionally soft to the touch. In addition, the Lano Bamboo
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Collection utilises the perfect, sustainable raw material, bamboo, which can grow up to 60cm a day and offers the consumer the environmentally friendly product of choice. Thanks to its high percentage of bamboo fibre content, the carpet is easy to maintain, as well as being very resilient and extremely comfortable underfoot. Furthermore, it offers a uniquely luxurious and silky look throughout its range of 28 colours. “The UK is the biggest market for Lano and for most other European carpet manufacturers and a country where demand for textile floor coverings has
remained constant. In other countries it has fluctuated considerably, affected by fashion and the inroads made by wood and laminate flooring as well as worries over hygiene. Some years ago carpet sales were hit by concerns that textile floor coverings harboured dust, mites and other allergens. In fact, it has since been proved that carpets are healthier than laminate flooring,” said Lano’s chief executive Pierre Lano. Interestingly, the launch of the company’s unique bamboo collection will go still further to enhance the growing confidence in textile
floor coverings as the bamboo pile prevents allergic material from being released into the atmosphere. However, with a good vacuum cleaner, dust and allergen particles can be quickly and easily removed.
Fulfilling demand in niche markets At the high value-added end of the floorcoverings market, Lano is leading the field with its landscaping of artificial grass in public areas such as roundabouts and central reservation areas on motorways, as well as for applications in private gardens. The artificial grass produced by the Lano Sports division is delivered direct to contractors of tennis courts, football and rugby pitches and to the growing number of multi-sport field contractors. Mr Lano said, “The technology is now so good that you can hardly tell the difference between grass and carpet. The leisure and utility market is increasing along with continuous demand for its use along highways, runways, schools and hospitals. This synthetic grass product definitely gives local authorities a welcome, low-maintenance option.” Lano’s success in this sector is illustrated by the fact that it continues to see annual growth in sales of around 100 per cent for synthetic turf and although the company does not expect this high level of demand
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to be maintained, there is still plenty of room for growth in this particular niche market. In a separate market sector, Lano is producing hard-wearing carpet tiles for the office contract market. In addition to its standard collections Lano is also able to create individual, personalised qualities and designs for its diverse range of contract carpet customers. Lano innovation does not stop there. In
keeping with its reputation for style and creativity, the company has developed a range of carpets designed exclusively for the automotive market. As one would expect, carpets for cars must fulfil a very specific range of technical requirements and these high-quality coverings are delivered directly by Lano to the first and second tier suppliers n of the automotive industry.
THE ENDLESS RECYCLE It’s the result of five years’ development work by technical experts from three countries – and it’s described by Aquafil as its most exciting innovation. Felicity Landon reports on Econyl, a yarn made with post-industrial and post-consumer reclaim.
ld carpets that would normally end up in landfill; fishing nets that in many cases are dumped at sea, posing a serious hazard to the environment; and plastic components such as those from the automotive sector: all these are being gathered together by Italian company Aquafil in the ultimate ‘closed-loop system’, to create Econyl, a 100 per cent recycled yarn from post-consumer and post-industrial waste. Aquafil has taken a huge step forward with this revolutionary project. The company, based in Trento, northern Italy, works in three main business areas, with nylon fibres
for carpets being the largest. Second is the production of textile filament yarn for panty hose and knitwear, and third is the production of nylon polymers for engineering plastic, including for the automotive, electronic and electrical sectors. “There are a lot of products we have developed over the years and in terms of quality and range we are by far the largest carpet yarn producer in the world,” says CEO Giulio Bonazzi. “We bring to the market 20,000 different products and at least 2500 a year are going to refresh lines or increase the products we are offering.
“Certainly, Econyl is the most revolutionary product amongst its competitors. Others bring out new products but based on incremental innovation. Econyl is a real revolution, the first product of its type in the industry and something entirely new that is possible because of the special chemistry of the raw material.”
Three continents Aquafil has 13 production plants around the world – five in Italy, four in Slovenia and one in Croatia, one in the USA, one in China and one in Thailand. It is the only carpet yarn company with extrusion capacity in three continents.
Mr Bonazzi says the USA is undoubtedly the biggest carpet market, but China is the market with the most promise. During 2011, the company invested heavily in expanding its production capacity in Europe and building a major extension in the USA, increasing capacity there by 60 per cent. Some €10 million was invested in its plant in China, which was built in 2010–11. “Every year we make investments and it will continue in 2012, but not at the same magnitude,” he says. “We are now consolidating.” What about the investment regarding the Econyl plant? Mr Bonazzi says: “the infra-
structure was already there, otherwise the investment required would have been more than double of the €17 million we have spent so far” Aquafil says that Econyl is the most environmentally friendly, cost-effective solution for a variety of applications, including carpet, textile and plastics production – and it is available in a wide range of commercial grades. Of course, Econyl is based on a very complex technology; also, in order to be energy efficient it must be adjacent to a polymerisation plant. Hence the choice was either a plant in Italy, where there was not
enough space, or in Slovenia, where Econyl was formally launched in May 2011. “During the next two to three years we are going to fully develop the technology in Slovenia and then very likely the next plant will be built in the USA – because, as the largest carpet market in the world, the USA offers the largest potential source of the raw material, reused carpets,” explains Mr Bonazzi. Aquafil’s overall sales are mainly in Europe, with about 15 per cent of sales going to the USA and 5–7 per cent to the Middle East and Far East, including Australia and New Zealand. “With regard to Econyl, the markets that have most appeal are the USA, Europe and Australia,” he says. “We are seeing a great interest in the material in these markets. But also China and wider Asia are becoming more and more interested and we are starting, for example, to market the product to Japan.”
Collecting the waste Collecting the raw material to feed Econyl production is a major challenge, of course. “We are sourcing the raw material from all over the world,” says Mr Bonazzi. “And we are trying to complete a map of what waste is available and where. Almost 100 per cent of this would otherwise go into landfill or, even worse, fishing nets are abandoned in the forest or at sea.” Aquafil hired a specialist to travel all over the world and gather information about what is available and how best to organise the collec-
tion. “We organise everything from beginning to end,” says Mr Bonazzi. Within the Econyl Reclaiming Programme Aquafil makes agreements with carpet companies (most of Aquafil’s clients), real estate developers, carpet collectors, fishermen’s associations, marine fisheries and others in order to expand the network of collection of waste materials that will then feed Econyl’s production. Another important feature is that this is endless; the used materials can be recycled an infinite number of times while always keeping the same high standard of quality and resistance compared to a virgin yarn. Understanding the impact that Econyl is having on the market, the question has to be asked: will others follow? The CEO says: “Yes, it will come. We have started and hopefully many others will follow us – not only consuming recycled fibre but also reengineering their products to be more easily recycled at the end of their useful life and
organising to bring back the material when it is replaced. “And we presume that sooner or later someone will try to imitate us – but it isn’t easy. You have to be strongly committed and invest a lot of money in R&D and then a lot of money to build the plant. You have to have very efficient technology and be very environmentally friendly.” Among clients already opting for Econyl are the Italian textile group Carvico and the automotive giant BMW, which will use Econyl both for carpets and some plastic parts in its newest model. Demand from all the largest carpet producers in the USA and worldwide is strong; in less than a year, Econyl will generate over 10 per cent of Aquafil’s annual production volumes. “During the development phase, we worked with customers so they could develop their products alongside,” explains Mr Bonazzi. “And now a lot of people, when they hear about Econyl, come knocking at our door.” n
AB KA Ekstrom & Son Adali Rubber & Polyurethane Co. Ltd Ahola Transport Oy AB Aperam Appe Packaging Arinox Deutschland GmbH Arsopi SA Aslanli Atco Towers PVT Ltd Aurubis Sweden AB
P 93 P 81 P 181 P 89 P 122 P 88 P 92 P 101 P 147 P 62
BK Giulini GmbH Bominflot Bunkergesellschaft Bothe-Hild GmbH BPW Fahrzeugtechnik Brüggemann Chemical BTC Speciality Chemical Distribution GmbH
P 186 P 170 P 76 P 41 P 50 P 99
C P 117 P 151 P 58 P 211 P 80 P 212 P 204 P 116 P 100 P 163
D D’hont Distrigas Domo Caproleuna GmbH Dragsbaek
P 84 P 88 P 177
P 128 P 108 P 100
P 154 P 77 P 66 Inside front P 88
H Hellenic Juice Industry ASPIS SA Henkel AG & Co. KGaA Hühoco Gruppe Hydro Aluminium Rolled Products AS
Inside back P 137
Kanus Tabbert GmbH Kranexpressen Syd AB KSB Aktiengesellschaft Küberit Profile Systems GmbH & Co. KG
P 43 P 93 P 62 P 73
L Lindahl Linde AG Gas Division Linde AG Gas Division Lucta SA
P 167 P 94 Outside back P 136
Majestic / Total Safety Supply Marsh Marine & Energy AB Metalleghe SpA Michael Pentz GmbH + Co. Molcon Interwheels NV Mondi Foods NV Murrplastik Systemtechnik GmbH
Noxor AB / Bameco AB NPF Nuova Presso Fondal SpA NTP AS
ORTS GmbH Orust Fartygsservice AB Orwell Engineering Outokumpu Tornio Works
P 123 P 183 P 49 P 182
Parmaco Metal Injection Molding AG Patrafee AB PMB Meccanica Di Precisione Poesia Holding AG Pompe Cucchi Prolan Zrt Propak Sp.J
P 68 P 169 P 191 P 29 P 33 P 125 P 36
P 95 P 118 P 94
P 56 P 62 P 133 P 118 P 166 P 196 P 207 P 182 P 183 P 106 P 200 P 150 P 178 P 56 P 101 P 169 P 108 P 166 P 58 P 215
Takasago Taylor Made Glass & Systems Limited Testori SpA Textilcolor Consulting AG Tikkurila Oyj Trancerie Emiliane SA Trench Austria GmbH Tubinox Srl Türk Henkel Kimya San. Ve Tic AS TVL
P 103 P 25 P 128 P 210 P 177 P 117 P 200 P 128 P 50 P 193
U Uniteam Italia Srl
V P 159 P 169 P 80 P 180
Van Steenkiste Transport Vendin SL VMF SpA
P 68 P 133 P 116
W P 76 P 95 P 116 P 76 P 107 P 200 P 180
R R. Frimodt Pedersen AS Rack Trans Kft Rexel Belgium NV Rolltech AS Roxtec d.o.o
Sapa GmbH Sapa Heat Transfer AB Satro GmbH Scaligera Guarnizioni Srl Scanunit AB Schenker Deutschland AG SCI Pharmtech, Inc. Securitas Oy SFS intec Oy Shin-Etsu Silicones Europe BV Siemens Zrt Sigma Produzioni SpA SK Tuote Oy SKF Sealing Solutions GmbH Solvay Stena Oil AB Sterling SIHI (Belgium) NV-SA Sterm Suspa GmbH SwissTex Winterthur AG
G Garmin Polska Sp z.o.o. Gates GmbH Aachen Gevacon NV Govi NV Grace Davison Materials
Jaana Transport Oy Jokey Holding GmbH & Co. KG
F Faco SpA Farm Frites International BV Fibervisions
N P 67 P 66 P 216 P 141
E Eco-Consult Hungary Kft Eduard Kronenberg GmbH ESL Shipping Ltd
P 128 P 81 P 191 P 190 P 113
Came SpA Castel Srl Castrol Industrial Clariant SE CNUD-EFCO International Cobble Blackburn Limited Colorificio Damiani SpA Commercial Dado SpA CSI Industries Cummins France
I.S.G.E.V SpA Italcarrelli Italghisa SpA Ital Tecno Group ITW Gema GmbH
P 62 P 84 P 68 P 88 P 172
W & J Knox Ltd Webasto Product France Weinfurtner GmbH Wistro Elektro-Mechanik GmbH
P 216 P 163 P 58 P 116
Y Ybbstaler Fruit Austria GmbH
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