Industry Europe – Issue 22.9

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VOLUME 22/9 – 2012 • €6

The world of European manufacturing

ALPINE BOOSTS PRODUCTION IN HUNGARY EPTA DELIVERS RETAIL REFRIGERATION SOLUTIONS ECO-FRIENDLY POLYAMIDES FROM RHODIA POLAND

CHALLENGING TIMES FOR STEEL



OPINION

PETERMERCER

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Capital questions Banks are being urged to increase their reserves and lend more to business. Can they do both at the same time?

We

all know the problem with banks, apart, that is, from their tendency to bring down the global economy. As the old joke has it, they are happy to lend you an umbrella when it’s sunny but want it back when it rains. Or, more exactly, the individuals and businesses that they prefer to lend to are those that are already well-funded, who may not really need a loan at all. If you really need a loan the bank may think it’s possible that you may be unable to repay it – so you won’t get it, unless you can offer some collateral. So your friendly local manager may think your latest scheme to sell sausage rolls to Saudi Arabia is a winner but you won’t get a penny unless you put up your house, your pit bull terrier and your prized collection of beer mats as security. It may come as a surprise to anyone who watched the banks racing each other to the edge of disaster in 2008 but, basically, bankers don’t like risk. That’s why they like to hold the safest possible securities, such as government bonds and, oh yes, those clever new collateralised debt obligations that the rating agencies said were as safe as houses. It’s true, of course, that before the crisis many banks went in for what turned out to be highly risky lending, especially to the property markets in Spain and Ireland, where the joke was that the banks were lending Irishmen money so they could buy the country off each other; but four years down the line the universal complaint is that banks’ reluctance to lend is inhibiting growth and choking off demand. There is no doubt that, in the UK for example, credit growth continues to be very weak despite rock-bottom interest rates; there are some signs of increased mortgage lending but very little of better credit conditions for

business. Multinationals may be sitting on mountains of cash – putting off investments until the global picture is less murky – but SMEs continue to complain that they cannot get credit to expand and the government and the media continue to exhort the banks to do more – while at the same time continuing to bash them for their rapacity and incompetence in causing the crisis in the first place.

No excuses In a recent article, Andrew Bailey, head of financial regulation at the UK’s Financial Services Authority, claimed that the changes made in Britain to secure the safety and soundness of the banks had freed them to lend once more – there were now no excuses for credit scarcity. The Bank of England, he explained, had two goals – to make banks more resilient and to boost the availability of credit to the economy. It was quite wrong to say that these policies were contradictory, to argue that banks cannot at the same time build up their reserves and lend more money to businesses. Never mind to claim, as some have done, that it was the regulator’s insistence on banks increasing their resilience that was slowing the flow of credit. The two goals, he insisted, were not mutually exclusive. Banks could increase their resilience and still support lending if they removed bad loans from their balance sheets and raised new capital by issuing shares to investors. The essence of this argument is that it is only by increasing their capital and reducing uncertainty about the value of their assets that banks can reduce their vulnerability to shocks and lower their cost of funding – and thus sustain the availability of credit. Not everyone, however, agrees.

The monetarist economist Tim Congdon continues to argue that there is indeed a direct connection between the demand for highly-capitalised banks and the persistent sluggishness of demand. So when the authorities raised capital/asset ratios in late 2008 (when Gordon Brown was saving the world) and so obliged banks to shrink their assets, the inevitable result was the destruction of money balances and the exacerbation of the recession. But even if an increase in the banks’ capital/asset ratios is to be achieved not by shrinking assets but by raising more capital (the current plan), the result, says Congdon, is still to reduce the quantity of money in the economy. When someone invests in bank equity, a sum of money has to be paid from that person’s bank account to the share issuing bank; the consequence is that bank deposits in private sector hands must decline and the quantity of money goes down too. He points out that while in the three years up to late 2007 the annual rate of money growth in the UK was far too high – over 10 per cent – since 2008 it has been under 2 per cent, despite extremely low interest rates. His argument is essentially that while bank recapitalisation may make banks safer and less vulnerable to financial instability, this can only be achieved safely over the long term; in the short run, done too quickly, bank recapitalisation can be highly deflationary by precipitating a collapse in the quantity of money. “The main point,” says Congdon, “is that the various exercises in bank recapitalisation are themselves largely to blame for the onset of the Great Recession in late 2008 and the shaky character of the recovery over n the last two years.” Industry Europe 3


Administration Anna Chamberlain Amber Dawson Kayleigh Harvey

Editor Peter Mercer Deputy Editor Victoria Hattersley

Art Administration Tania Balderson

Profile Writers Abigail Saltmarsh Felicity Landon Piotr Sadowski Emma-Jane Batey Barbara Rossi Philip Yorke Joseph Altham

Advertising Manager Andrew Briggs Sector Managers Matthew Howe Eniko Kovacs Milada Preslova Massimo Ragazzo Jesse Roberts Helen Leisi Mac McCarthy Anthony McClintock Ben Snowing Anna Dudek Kevin Gambrill Stephen Moore Richard Thomas Lisa Ackroyd John Cliff Mauro Berini Martin Gisborne Victoria Pease Daniel Sands

Art Director Gareth Harrey Art Editor Rob Czerwinski Designers Leon Esterhuizen Paul Abbott Claire Bidle Web Development Neil Robertson IT Support Jack Everson Production Manager Kamila Kajtoch

CONTENTS Comment 1 4 5

Opinion Capital questions Bill Jamieson Eurozone: breathing space – or last gasp?

James Srodes A thankless task

Steel Industry 6 9 12

Challenging times for steel Global demand still weak

Steel news The latest from the industry Innovations in high strength steel 2012 Swedish steel prize

News 14 16 18 19 20

Winning business New orders and contracts Linking up Combining strengths Moving on Relocations and expansions Industry people Appointments Technology spotlight Advances in technology

Reports 21 22

Focus on France Ian Sparks reports from Paris Focus on Germany Allan Hall reports from Berlin

Aerospace 30

Flying high Mettis Aerospace

Air & Liquid Handling

Industry Europe Alkmaar House, Alkmaar Way, Norwich, Norfolk, NR6 6BF, United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)1603 414444 Fax: +44 (0)1603 779850 Email: photos@industryeurope.net adcopy@industryeurope.net Web: www.industryeurope.net

33 38

High pressure solutions Leobersdorfer Maschinenfabrik

Aesthetic value – design and performance Ostnor

Automotive 42 46 50 57

Investment in precision Linamar Seeking new partners TS Tech Sound investment Alpine Group Lighting the future Tecnomeccanica

Construction © Industry Europe 2012 No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form for any purpose, other than short sections for the purpose of review, without prior consent of the publisher. POSITIVE PUBLICATIONS

A Square Root Company

US Industry Today, Industry Europe’s sister publication, is published in the United States of America. For further information or to subscribe contact: Sue Poeton, 100 Morris Avenue, Suite 202, Springfield, NJ 07081. Tel: +1 973 218-0310 Fax: +1 973 218-0311. Email: corporate@USIToday.com. Web site: USIToday.com

4 Industry Europe

60

A strong partner Handler Construction

Chemicals 64 67 72 76

Ready for the recovery Cosmo Innovation in speciality chemicals Rhodia Specialist in water-based additives Coatex Special in silicones CHT R Beitlich

Consumer Goods 80 84

Spinning with success Hajdu Setting new standards in robotic power products Honda

Electrical & Electronics 88 92

First in advanced PCBs Aspocomp Customised high quality solutions Teknosystem


VOL 22/9

Energy Above: JOWA p116

96 100 105 108 112

Specialists in energy optimisation Apator Clean, lean, power machine Budapest Power Plant Generating higher output and greater flexibility NEM Taking UPS technology to a new level Piller Group Transforming power supply parameters ABB

Food

116 The taste of success JOWA 120 A healthy level of growth Nestlé

Heavy Vehicles

124 Masters of construction machinery Hidromek 128 Increasing payload performance Fabrika Automobila Priboj

Above: Ostnor p38 Below: Alpine Group p50

Materials Handling

131 Making it better Atlas

Above: Schneeberger p134 Below: Gruppo Piantoni p172

Measurement & Control

134 Driving linear technology forward Schneeberger 140 The eyes have it Tobii Technology

Metals

144 147 152 156 160 164 169 172

Nordic Brass Nordic Brass All tied up Bridon International Responsible steel-making Acroni Aero dynamic Aeromet International Complex castings Luitpoldhütte Made of steel Alfa Acciai A high technology focus Emmegi A global service provider Gruppo Piantoni

Mining

178 Heaping up riches Talvivaara

Below: ABB p112

Plastics

184 In the pipeline Wavin Ekoplastik

Above: Talvivaara p178 Below: Tech Data p212

Textiles 188 192 198

Expanding fibre technology Buckeye Technologies Yarns and threads from Hungary Coats Hungary Pioneering hygienic, sustainable disposables Ontex

Also in this issue... 23 203 206 209 212 218 224

Keeping cool EPTA Group Keeping it cool Norpe Modular marine furniture – safer by design Norac Poised for growth JOTKEL Customer support Tech Data Winds of change East Metal New sensors at the heart of pump efficiency Grundfos Industry Europe 5


COMMENT

BILLJAMIESON

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Executive Editor of The Scotsman

Eurozone: Breathing space – or last gasp? When suffering from a headache it does help to stop banging one’s head against a wall.

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or a few weeks this autumn it did rather seem as if the eurozone had desisted from its relentless self-inflicted headache. We had Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank, to thank for this. He pledged that the ECB would do “whatever it takes” to save the euro – a statement widely interpreted to mean a resort to quantitative easing on a massive scale. Markets gave a massive sigh of relief, interest rates on troubled sovereign debt fell sharply, equity markets rallied and for good measure the German Constitutional Court gave a conditional green light to German approval of an enlarged eurozone bail-out fund. Suddenly, after months of gloomy prognostications about the eurozone heading for a financial catastrophe, it did look as though the Draghi pronouncement had bought the eurozone time for governments to undertake structural reforms, bear down on their deficits and lower their credit risk. There was only one problem: the ECB could not purchase any government bonds until the country in question had formally requested assistance from the bail-out fund. After the interest rate on its bonds had fallen sharply, the Spanish government, never in a hurry to make such a request at the outset, has felt it has been effectively let off the hook. In the meantime it is pushing ahead with an austerity programme which it feels adequate to the task, and fears any attempt to pursue an even more severe programme that a formal bail-out application would entail would run the risk of political explosion. The result is that the enormous feeling of relief that swept through markets in August has given way to renewed apprehension in the face of further deterioration in the economies of the eurozone and uncertainty over further progress on the road to stabilisation. 6 Industry Europe

This is worrying because many were counting on the European Central Bank’s bond buying scheme to bring about a period of calm in markets and lift the gloom that has been bearing down on domestic demand. Indeed, considering all the postponed spending decisions over the past two years it may even unleash a torrent of investment orders. There is certainly little evidence of any immediate economic uplift in the eurozone. Economists at HSBC are sticking with their forecast of a 0.6 per cent contraction in eurozone GDP. And its forecast for 2013 has also been edged down. What growth there is for next year is seen to come from a gradual revival in demand for exports. And of course, the lower these growth forecasts, the greater the doubts as to whether member states can realistically meet their fiscal targets: a deadly Catch-22 that seems once more to have the eurozone in its grip.

Counting on Germany In Germany the outlook for companies in the capital goods sector has deteriorated owing to falling capacity utilisation in manufacturing, a development that points to lower capital spending ahead despite those rock bottom interest rates. As a result, job hiring looks unlikely to improve, pointing to slow or no growth ahead. However, helped by wages and salaries showing year-onyear growth rates of almost four per cent, domestic demand should continue to contribute to growth. And it is the strength in German domestic demand that Spain and Italy are critically counting on to help lift their own economies out of the mire. Despite all this, however, HSBC has deemed it prudent to cut back its 2013 growth forecast from 1.5 per cent to 0.9 per cent. So, some two months after the ECB chief seemed to have halted the eurozone’s headlong plunge into financial mayhem, it is

hard to find positive reasons for optimism. With Germany facing elections next autumn, Chancellor Angela Merkel will be anxious to avoid having to make any fateful and unpopular decisions – or at least, not until these elections are out of the way. This might also mean that Germany may not be so keen to provoke a confrontation with those governments that appear to be dragging their heels on budget reform.

Some two months after the ECB chief seemed to have halted the eurozone’s headlong plunge into financial mayhem, it is hard to find positive reasons for optimism. One possible lifeline in the coming year may come in the form of a growth upturn elsewhere in the world economy. For example, a massive credit/infrastructure stimulus in China would provide a boost, at least in the short term, to the likes of German exporters. In America there is the prospect that Congress could agree an approach to rebalancing the country’s fiscal position. That could help confidence and boost hopes of a growth recovery next year. And that would help give some hope for a pickup in the eurozone – though one thing’s for sure: Europe’s politicians would be loath to n admit it.


USA

JAMESSRODES

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Veteran commentator on Washington & Wall Street

A thankless task Does it really matter who wins the US Presidential election of 2012?

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f course it does, in the sense that it will matter how Washington responds over the next four years to whatever crises suddenly pop up on the world stage – Iran’s nuclear threat, the implosion of the eurozone, the faltering Chinese economy, another earthquake somewhere. But over the longer term one has to ask whether the structural cracks that are developing in the world economic and social order are not so fundamental that no American President will be able to accelerate the US back to robust prosperity let alone forestall the slide into global recession that appears headed this way. While it is clear that there is a very anaemic sort of US recovery underway – some revival in homebuilding, motor car sales on the uptick, a speculator’s bull market on Wall Street – there is little prospect that the pace of growth will rise and many signals that it could lapse back into the stagnant decline of 2009–2011. Despite the fact that the Federal Reserve is now in this third round of pumping liquidity into the financial sector – this time targeting mortgage lending – it does not appear to be working. While US corporations have increased bond issues because of the historically low yields enforced by the Fed, the growth in actual business investment has slowed. Bank mortgage lending increased by just half a percent during the year ended

in July but bank consumer credit declined by 1.8 per cent over the period. In short, Americans are neither spending nor borrowing and instead are playing down their heavy debt burdens accumulated over the last twenty years. This is a natural human response to the current financial crisis but it also reflects a broader and more ominous force – demographics – that has a threatening implication for all industrial nations. Americans are getting older as a nation. Also there are going to be fewer young workers entering the workforce as time goes on, and greater numbers of retirees living to older ages and becoming even more dependent on government social safety net programmes such as pensions and affordable health care. The US Congressional Budget office forecasts average labour force growth of just 0.5 per cent per year from now on, a third of its average pace during the 1950s boom period. That is critical because the healthy 3.3 per cent average annual growth rate that the US economy enjoyed from 1950 to 2011 was sparked by a 1.5 per cent growth in the labour force plus a 1.8 per cent annual average gain in productivity. All other things being equal, the Congressional budget economists predict that the best America will be able to do in the future under these circum-

stances is grow by a paltry 2.3 per cent per year. But all things will not be equal.

Poverty gap There is another critical factor. The latest data counts 46.2 million Americans as officially poor – the largest number of persons counted as living in poverty since the government’s records began 53 years ago. Worse, the government’s economists predict that levels of poverty will likely remain above the prerecessionary levels for a decade or more. Adding to the broader political instability is the fact that the gap between wealthy Americans and the poor continues to widen. In part this is due to the fact that much of the family wealth of middle and lower income citizens was tied up in the values of their homes which have plummeted to a greater degree than upper income families. The most recent poverty reports do not really capture the harsh reality of the US economic malaise. To be counted as officially poor in America a family of four can have no more than $23,000 in pre-tax income – an impossibly low figure. Nor is poverty equally shared among lower income Americans. African Americans who make up 12.8 per cent of the total population make up nearly 24 per cent of the poor. Hispanic citizens, who account for 16.5 per cent of the population, represent nearly another one third of the poor.

That these two segments also are most heavily concentrated in large American urban areas only adds to the threat. Of course there are things a President can do in the immediate future that can have critical impact on how and whether the American economy can weather the storms roiling the global markets. He can, if he wants, dissuade the Federal Reserve from continuing to pump liquidity into a banking system already awash with unused capital and thereby lessen the prospect of an inflationary debacle when and if the demand does revive. More immediately, he can work with the new Congress when it convenes in January to avoid the notorious “fiscal cliff” that will occur when a set of automatic tax increases and spending cuts will take effect and contract gross domestic product by four per cent with a resulting loss of two million jobs and a rebound in the unemployment rate to 9.1 per cent. Beyond that there are pressing and thorny issues of trade policy that need addressing, especially the growing estrangement in relations between the United States and China. Questions of financial market regulation and oversight need to be settled finally as do the confused policies on development of domestic energy development. So while it does matter who wins the US Presidency, it may prove a thankless task for the victor. n Industry Europe 7


CHALLENGING TIMES FOR STEEL

The global steel sector continues to be subdued on China and eurozone uncertainties. Vera Blei reports.

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he continued uncertainty from the eurozone debt crisis and a sharper than expected slowdown in the Chinese economy are weighing heavily on the global steel sector. ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker by assets, reported a drop in its core earnings of 28.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2012. Market conditions have been “more challenging than we had expected due to a number of factors including the “still unresolved” debt crisis in Europe, its chairman and CEO Lakshmi Mittal said. 8 Industry Europe

Earnings at German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp fell by 30 per cent year-on-year in its fiscal third quarter ending on June 30, 2012, as orders and sales were hit by the weak economic environment, the company said in August. “The weak economic situation, and in particular the general uncertainty resulting from the unresolved sovereign debt crisis, are increasingly affecting our markets,” executive board chairman Dr Heinrich Hiesinger said. Poor returns in the steel industry are down to a combination of high raw materials prices, volatility and low capacity utilization. Tough

environmental regulations are also putting further pressure on European steelmakers. Production costs in Europe are not only higher than those in emerging markets, such as China and India, but also greater than in the CIS and US. ArcelorMittal announced on October 1 that it would permanently halt hot steel production at its Florange site in France. Instead it is going to shift its focus to finishing. From now onwards, the company said, its focus will lie in “enhancing Florange’s position as a centre of excellence for devel-


oping high-quality value-added products for its customers, most notably in the automotive industry”. Two out of three blast furnaces at the steelworks in eastern France have been idle since July 2011. Demand in Europe will also be the key factor for Tata Steel when it considers restarting blast furnace No4 at its Port Talbot steelworks in Wales, after the completion of a £185 million rebuild. “The blast furnace will be ready in early December and we will then examine the situation,” said Hans-Ulrich Köhler, managing director and ceo of Tata Steel Europe on October 11. We will take a look at the market, the cost position and efficiency gains,” he added. New construction orders have fallen sharply in Germany, according to financial information company Markit. German civil and commercial engineering activity declined more strongly in September than it had in August, according to the September purchasing managers index (PMI). However, the overall rate of contraction in the German construction industry slowed. The construction sector is one of the key end users of steel products. The reduced pace of decline in the sector was due to an upturn in homebuilding for the first time in six months, Markit said. Construction activity and new business in the sector fell in the UK during September,

according to the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS). “Looking ahead, there is little to be positive about,” CIPS CEO David Noble said. “Homebuilding continues to be hit hard [and] the commercial sector, so long the star of the industry, has lost its sparkle,” he said. “That civil engineering has seen a moderate increase in activity is scant consolation.”

Global outlook Weakness in the manufacturing sector, the European sovereign debt crisis and the uncertainty on China’s economic performance have had a negative impact on sentiment and as a result momentum in both the developed and emerging parts of the world weakened considerably, the World Steel Association (worldsteel) said at the presentation of its latest short-range outlook for the global steel sector. Global apparent steel use is expected to increase by 2.1 per cent in 2012 to 1.409 million tonnes. Six months earlier, worldsteel had forecast an increase of 3.6 per cent to 1.422 mt. For 2013, worldsteel expects modest growth of 3.2 per cent to a record high in world steel demand to 1.455 mt. This is based on an expected gradual improvement in the eurozone debt crisis, restored investor confidence and a governmentinduced soft landing in China.

“We expect China to accelerate based on the government’s fiscal stimulus, but the impact will be less than in 2008/2009,” said chairman of the worldsteel Economics Committee Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff. China’s purchasing managers’ index for the steel industry rebounded to 43.5 in September, as demand stepped up in the month. The latest reading represents an increase of 3.6 points from August’s 39.9, which was the lowest level since December 2008, according to China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing. The new orders index for the steel industry also registered an increase of 9.3 points to 41.6 in September after falling for two consecutive months in July and August. Apparent steel usage in the EU27 is expected to decline by 5.6 per cent this year, with Germany, as the most resilient country, expected to see a decline of 4.7 per cent from 2011’s 39 million tonnes. Despite the overall drop, German steel demand remains above, pre-economic crisis, 2006 levels. “Germany is developing in a more robust way than other developed economies,” said Kerkhoff. In comparison, steel demand in the USA in 2013, will be 16 per cent below 2006 levels. In Japan, the decline will be 19 per cent, while demand across the EU27 will be down 20 per cent on 2006 levels. Spain

Industry Europe 9


and Italy are the worst affected countries in Europe, with apparent steel usage expected to fall by 11.9 per cent and 12.6 per cent, respectively, this year. In 2013, the situation is expected to improve and steel demand in the EU27 will recover by 2.4 per cent according to worldsteel’s forecast. “It will take a long time for Europe to deal with the sovereign debt crisis – well beyond the period of worldsteel’s short-range outlook,” Edwin Basson, director general of worldsteel said. “As long as financial markets distrust that governments can service the interest on their debts, we will continue to see doses of negativity being fed into the market.” Japan’s apparent steel use is projected to increase by 2.2 per cent to 65.5 million tonnes in 2012 aided by the reconstruction activities and government stimulus measures. However, the manufacturing sector is struggling with the strong yen and falling exports, worldsteel said. In 2013 steel demand in Japan is expected to drop 2.9 per cent to 63.6 million tonnes. “The US perhaps is a bright spot for the steel industry in 2012,” according to Kerkhoff. He cited the automotive sector, energy infrastructure spending from the shale gas boom and a “timid” recovery in housing construction as the causes of the increases seen thus far this year. US apparent steel demand is on course to reach 100 million tonnes in 2013, as it revised its forecast

10 Industry Europe

upward by 0.5 million tonnes from its prior prediction in April. The association also revised its expectations for the country’s 2012 demand growth to 96.5 million tonnes, an increase of 2.3 million tonnes. Brazilian steelmaker Gerdau is confident that US economic growth and the growth of its manufactuing sector will be sustained in 2013, according to ceo André Gerdau Johannpeter. “It’s not a quarter recovery: You have to look long-term,” he said. He expects the results of the presidential election in November to eliminate some shortterm uncertainty. As for 2013, there will be continued growth in steel consumption in Asia and the Americas, even if that growth is not as strong as had been expected or hoped, he said. “We’d all like China to grow by double-digit growth again. But if it grows 7 per cent or 8 per cent, it’s still good growth. This is growth. It’s not crisis,” Johannpeter said.

Headwinds As for Central and South America, worldsteel has also revised downward its forecast for apparent steel for both 2012 and 2013. Most of the countries in these regions had also been facing “headwinds from the poor external economic environment,” worldsteel said. Finished steel consumption is now expected to reach 47.4 million tonnes this year and 50.4 million tonnes in 2013,

down from the association’s April forecast of 49.1 million tonnes and 52.5 million tonnes, respectively. The new forecast represents an increase in consumption of 3.8 per cent in 2012 and 6.3 per cent next year, compared with its previous estimates of 6.8 per cent for 2012 and 6.7 per cent for 2013. Apart from the poor environment abroad, Central and South American countries have been facing “domestic tightening”, worldsteel said. Alacero, the Latin American steel association, also recently cut its forecast for finished steel consumption in the region because of uncertainties in the global economy. The recovery of steel demand in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) has been stifled by the continuing political instability in the region. This, according to Basson, had led his organisation to be less optimistic about growth in the region. However, apparent steel use in the region is expected to increase by 4.9 per cent in 2012 to 62.7 million tones. In 2013, the growth rate is expected to accelerate to 6.7 per cent and steel demand will reach 66.9 million tonnes. In the long-term the Mena region is set for growth based on growing demand from a young population and urbanisation. This is further supported by stable sources of supply into the region and the availability of financial resources. “The major question is over political events, such as in Egypt, which can bring recovery and growth to a halt,” Basson said. “Hopefully, the situation will stabilise, [which] would benefit Turkey and Egypt, with a small spin-off into suppliers in Ukraine as well.” In April, worldsteel forecast a rebound in steel demand in the Mena region by 5.7 per cent following a 2 per cent drop in 2011. At the time it also forecast accelerated growth of 8.4 per cent in 2013 with a projection of apparent steel use of 68.5 million tonnes. Steelmakers continue to face difficult times that will certainly last well beyond the end of 2012 and 2013. Addressing the underlying structural challenge of global overcapacity will be painful with a limited number of bright spots for the year ahead. n


NEWS

INDUSTRYNEWS

New developments in the Steel industry

MMK completes construction on cold rolling complex

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agnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works (MMK) has launched the second stage of its new cold rolling complex. The complex, capable of producing 2 mtpa of finished products, will primarily produce high-quality cold-rolled and galvanised steel to be used in the production of exterior and interior car parts, as well as for use by home appliance manufacturers and the construction industry. MMK’s total investment in the project is RUB 44.5 billion, including the cost of the equipment – €490 million. The contract to deliver the equipment for the first stage of the cold rolling complex – the Mill 2000 – was signed by MMK in July 2007 with the German machinery maker SMS-DEMAG.

Construction began in March 2008. In July 2011 the first stage of the complex (a continuous turbulent pickling line linked to the five-stand cold-rolling Mill 2000) came on line, with President Vladimir Putin participating in the launch ceremony. He noted the significance of this project to Russia’s entire industrial sector. According to MMK chairman of the board Victor Rashnikov, “With the launch of MMK’s cold rolling mill, both Russian and foreign automakers working in this country will have the opportunity to use Russian milled steel products which meet the highest world standards.” Visit: www.mmk.ru

EVRAZ contract with Uralvagonzavod ArcelorMittal Poland

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VRAZ plc has signed a five-year contract with UVZ agreeing the supply of metal products. The agreement was signed in Berlin at the international ‘Innotrans-2012’ exhibition. The contract is valid from 2012 till 2017 and establishes mutual obligations for the purchase of metal and railway wheels. This collaboration between EVRAZ and UVZ will establish a transparent mechanism for determining the price, the formula for which will be tied to market indicators. “EVRAZ intends to strengthen relationships with its partners through long-term contracts, and this five-year agreement with Uralvagonzavod is a sign of our commitment to that process,” said Ilya Shirokobrod, vice-president and head of EVRAZ’ railway products division. “EVRAZ is among the world leaders in the production of railway products, and we are sure that our products will meet the demands of our partner.” “This strategic partnership agreement, signed by the two largest companies of Nizhniy Tagil,

Forgemasters wins US pressure vessels contract

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he UK’s Forgemasters has won a contract to supply pressure vessel components to a large global chemicals manufacturer, based in the US. Valued at more than USD 3 million, the contract will see Forgemasters produce forged shells, liners and heads for large-

ensures the success and prosperity of not only the city, but the region and our industry as a whole. It will lead to modernisation of production facilities. We closely cooperate with each other and we are sure of mutual success,” noted Andrei Shlenskiy, deputy director of Uralvagonzavod, head of the Railway Equipment division. Visit: www.evraz.com

scale pressure vessels, designed to operate under highly stressed conditions in the manufacture of polyethylene. The deal builds on Forgemasters’ many years of experience in the large, complex petrochemical pressure vessel business and initiates the company’s supply into the vast American pressure vessels market. Martin Brear, sales director at Shef-

re-starts major rail project

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rcelorMittal Poland has invested €58m in four projects, including a major new production line for Dabrowa Górnicza. The plan to produce 120metre rails – a strategically important project for ArcelorMittal – was re-approved by the investment allocation committee in July, after the project was put on hold in 2011 due to capital investment limitations and the difficult economic situation in Europe. “We are currently producing 30-metre rails which have to be welded several times until they reach the required length. This project is absolutely crucial for sustaining and strengthening our market share and the completion date has been scheduled for December 2013,” said Patrick Deforche, chief technology officer of ArcelorMittal business division east. A total of €36m is being invested in the rail project, of which €4m was spent in 2011, mainly on construction in the heavy section mill where the rail line will be installed. Visit: www.arcelormittal.com field Forgemasters Engineering Ltd, said: “Although the details of the pressure vessels contract are commercially sensitive, we are able to announce that Forgemasters has won a significant first order for highly specialised forged components, which will form large-scale pressure vessels for the chemicals production industry.” Visit: www.sheffieldforgemasters.com Industry Europe 11


NEWS

New developments in the Steel industry

voestalpine expands in the USA IN

the next few years, voestalpine will be investing more than €100 million in new plants in China, the USA, South Africa, Romania, and Germany as part of a comprehensive globalisation strategy in the automotive sector. Now the first concrete step is being taken overseas. A production facility is being erected in the USA, with a construction budget of €50 million. Cartersville, Georgia is about 60 kilometres north-west of Atlanta and is in the centre of a cluster of automobile factories. Production is slated to begin by mid-2013. When fully developed, this facility will have created 220 jobs. voestalpine, a steel processing and technology group, is continuing to forge ahead with its internationalisation plans. Currently, existing voestalpine production sites are being expanded or new plants being erected on four continents. All of these sites are/will be in close proximity to the production facilities of well-known premium manufacturers. The already existing global presence in other business sectors will be expanded to include the automotive sector of the Metal Forming division. “We are following the automobile manufacturers, especially the European ones, to the markets of the future and will be expanding our presence there dramatically,” stated CEO Wolfgang Eder. Visit: www.voestapline.com

Salzgitter steel for the Meerwind offshore wind farm project

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alzgitter Group company Ilsenburger Grobblech GmbH (ILG) has received an order from Siemens Wind Power AS to supply around 15,200 t of steel plate to construct the tubular steel masts for the Meerwind offshore wind farm. In 2011 ILG was awarded an order from AMBAU GmbH for materials for the mast foundations. This new contract means that ILG will be supplying all of the steel, totaling more than 85,000 t, for the masts for the wind farm which covers an area of 42 km2 out in the North Sea. The steel will be used to manufacture 80 wind

turbine masts commissioned by Siemens Wind Power. Production of the plate, which will be supplied with seams pre-welded and dressed, has already begun. Just-in-time deliveries to the wind turbine builders in Denmark will commence in September. These orders underscore the high expertise and competitive strengths of Ilsenburger Grobblech GmbH as a supplier to the offshore wind industry, as the company continues to successfully develop its involvement in this sector. Visit: www.slazgitter-ag.com

ILVA to clean up steel plant I talian steel group ILVA intends to invest €400 million to clean up its plant in the southern city of Taranto and stop further environmental damage in order to avoid a total shutdown. In July, Italian prosecutors gave the company

Sale of ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe’s construction activities closed

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October 2011, the executive board of ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe decided to divest its business of high-quality steel products for the construction industry. A purchase and sale contract for the Construction Group was signed with Kingspan on 8 August 2012.

12 Industry Europe

until the end of September to come up with a plan to clean up Europe’s biggest steel plant, after an inquiry alleged that chemicals pumped from the plant were harming the health of workers and local residents. With sales of roughly €315 million in the year to March 31, 2012, the Construction Group comprises ThyssenKrupp Bausysteme, Hoesch Bausysteme and Isocab. This business unit employs around 780 people and has plants in Germany (Kreuztal-Eichen, Oldenburg), Austria, France, Belgium, and Hungary, as well as international distribution companies.

The plant employs about 12,000 workers and another 8000 jobs in the area are related. It is one of the few major industries in the southern region of Puglia. Visit: www.rivagroup.com The new owner of the Construction Group is the internationally successful and fastgrowing Kingspan Group plc headquartered in Kingscourt/Ireland. Kingspan has been producing construction elements and insulating materials for over 35 years and employs around 6000 people at almost 50 production sites worldwide. Visit: www.thyssenkrupp-steel-europe.com


INDUSTRYNEWS

Ruukki wins contracts in Czech Republic

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uukki has signed contracts to deliver the envelope for the boiler house at a power plant in Kladno and steel frame structures for the soda boiler house at a pulp mill in Paskov. The contracts are worth a total of around €3 million and are Ruukki’s first extensive deliveries to the Czech energy sector. Under a contract signed with VÏtkovice Power Engineering, Ruukki will deliver the envelope, including installation, for the 65-metre-tall boiler house at Alpiq’s power plant in Kladno, some 25 kilometres to the north-west of Prague. Ruukki will also deliver the steel frame structures for the soda boiler house at Biocel Paskov’s pulp mill in Paskov. “These orders in the Czech Republic further strengthen Ruukki’s position in power plant construction. Recently we have had many similar orders from energy sector clients. With these orders we can utilise the repeatable implementation concept type which supports our strategy. In this way we can offer our clients both advanced technical solutions and further improve our strong expertise in project implementation,” says Sami Eronen, SVP, Building Projects at Ruukki Construction. The envelope for Kladno will be manufactured at the plants in Vimpeli, Finland and Bolintin Deal, Romania, whereas the steel frame structures for Paskov will be manufactured in Oborniki in Poland. Visit: www.ruukki.com

Tata Steel secures another highspeed rail order in France

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he steelmaker will supply about 50,000 tonnes of rail for the new Brittany-Loire Valley line, which will connect the cities of Le Mans and Rennes. The steel will be manufactured in Scunthorpe, UK, before being rolled into rail at Tata Steel’s mill in Hayange, north-east France, for delivery from 2015. The order value is likely to be around €50 million.

Outokumpu breakthrough in Chinese market

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utokumpu has introduced duplex stainless steel to domestic water heaters in China, producing the first-ever duplex water heater tank in cooperation with a local fabricator Phinx. Duplex stainless steel means that less material is required while superior corrosion resistance is maintained in the application.

Jean-Luc Trottin, Eiffage Rail managing director, said: “One of the key reasons for awarding this Letter of Intent to Tata Steel was its commitment to deliver the rail when we need it, directly to the job site of Sablé and Laval.” Gérard Glas, head of Tata Steel’s Rail Sector, said: “This is our second high-speed rail project secured in the last year and is a recognition of our world-class product and service. “We will be supplying rails each measuring 108 metres long for this new high-speed line, giving passengers a smoother ride and reducing maintenance costs. “We’ve been investing significantly in state-ofthe-art technology at our Hayange rail mill – almost €50 million in three years – to enable us to make the highest quality rail and help us create a sustainable future for our 400 employees there.” Visit: www.tatasteel.com Outokumpu’s long business development efforts in China came to fruition when a prototype water storage tank for domestic water heaters was fabricated from Outokumpu’s thin duplex stainless steel sheet of grade 2304. To maximise their service life, water heaters should be manufactured with stainless steel. “This is a leading example of market development activities at their

Erasteel increases capacity in Asia and Europe

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rasteel has recently expanded its highspeed steel (HSS) edge wire capacity in its production unit located in China. Based on the latest technology, the new production line will enable the factory to double its capacity for edge wire. In addition to this investment, on-going projects are taking place in Erasteel Stubs, a factory based in the UK and dedicated to the production of HSS edge wire. The optimisation of this production facility, which started in early 2012, will continue in 2013 to enable the company to serve the growing needs of the edge wire market. Erasteel is the world’s leading producer of profiled edge wire for bimetal saws. With these continuous investments, Erasteel will have doubled its global edge wire production capacity in 2013 compared to 2010. Visit: www.erasteel.com

best. Thanks to close cooperation with a local Chinese fabricator and a number of Outokumpu’s own units and our R&D expertise, we have been able to produce a full-size prototype tank based on the design of the potential buyer,” says Dr Chang-Ching Sun from Outokumpu’s sales office in China. Visit: www.outokumpu.com Industry Europe 13


‘Forwarder 1450 F’ Gremo AB - Sweden

INNOVATIONS IN HIGH

STRENGTH STEEL The winner of the 2012 SSAB Swedish Steel Prize will be announced on November 15. Four finalists have been nominated for the prize for leading designs in high strength steel. The jury has chosen innovations for the packaging and transportation of metallic scrap, light and sustainable train seats, a truck suspension system, and a forwarder – a light timber transportation vehicle.

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he Swedish Steel Prize is awarded for innovative designs made of high strength steels. The prize is intended to inspire, stimulate and disseminate knowledge about high strength steels and the possibilities they offer to develop lighter, safer and more environmentally-friendly products. “The quality has been consistently high and it has been a difficult task for the jury to select the four nominees. The large number of applications from 26 countries 14 Industry Europe

demonstrates the high level of interest in high strength steels,” says jury chairman KG Ramström, chief technical officer, SSAB.

The finalists are: Scrap handling system ‘Mi-slide’ A-Ward Attachments Ltd - New Zealand Recycling, which involves the use and transportation of metallic scrap, is extremely important from an environmental perspective. A-ward has designed a flexible and innova-

tive system comprising two units made of high strength steel which compress and pack metallic scrap in containers. Unsorted scrap is fed in at one end by the equipment and compacted scrap is injected directly into a container in the other, which provides for rapid and efficient loading of scrap. This results in increased profitability. This is an elegant and innovative system solution for scrap compacting and loading of unsorted scrap in a way which is efficient


Scrap handling system ‘Mi-slide’ A-Ward Attachments Ltd - New Zealand

and avoids causing damage to containers. Loading takes place without knocks from falling scrap, which eliminates the risk of buckling and abnormally high wear and tear on the containers. Hardox 450 and 550 high strength steels have been used in the design.

Light train seats ‘Regio and Regio+’ – Borcad CZ s.r.o – Czech Republic Borcad, which enjoys a strong position on the market for light train seats, has developed the next generation of train seats through a smart design. Through optimal use of high strength steel – SSAB’s Docol 1200 M steel – the weight has been reduced by a further 25 per cent. Reduced weight is especially important for commuter trains, which brake and accelerate very often, since it results in lower energy consumption and faster acceleration. The new design offers improved safety for the head, knee and neck in the event of a collision. The high strength of the steel also provides protection against damage due to vandalism. Borcad has just secured an order for the new seats for 15 three-carriage trains.

‘Forwarder 1450 F’ Gremo AB - Sweden Within the forestry industry, the need for forestry thinning equipment is increasing. A forwarder is a vehicle which transports

timber from the logging site to the road. Gremo has produced a carefully conceived and optimised new design which efficiently utilises high strength steel. The 15 per cent reduction in chassis weight leads to lower fuel consumption relative to payload. The forwarder’s chassis has been designed for increased torsional stiffness, thereby improving off-road performance, and the engine’s emission control is in accordance with the most recent EU directives Manufacturing benefits of the optimised design include approximately 30 per cent lower production costs in the form of fewer steel sections, less welding, and a simpler revolving crane base in the mid-section. SSAB’s Domex 700, Weldox 700 and Hardox 450 steels are used in this design.

Back axle suspension ‘Twin Y suspension’ – Volvo Group Trucks – USA Volvo Truck Group has produced a new back axle suspension system which resolves a sustainability problem, while at the same time achieving other benefits. Compared with the previous solution, which most truck manufacturers have been using for decades, the new design leads to a 25 per cent reduction in tyre wear. This reduced tyre wear entails major savings for the end user. Calculations show that the owner saves approximately SEK 200,000 over the life of the vehicle, which in light of US production of 30,000 trucks per year corresponds to SEK 6 billion. This is in

addition to lower production costs, increased safety and comfort for the truck driver. The solution means that a tensile problem (suspension fatigue) has been resolved, at the same time as achieving appreciable improvements in other areas. The design demonstrates that a well-known solution can be improved so much as to have a major impact on the entire application. A patent has been sought for the solution. The Swedish Steel Prize will be awarded on November 15 at Münchenbryggeriet in Stockholm. The winner will receive an award of SEK 100,000 and a statuette. The prize ceremony will conclude with a two-day event in Sweden at which hundreds of international representatives from the engineering and industrial sectors will participate in plant visits and seminars. SSAB established n the Swedish Steel Prize in 1999. www.ssab.com

Light train seats ‘Regio and Regio+’ – Borcad CZ s.r.o – Czech Republic hments Ltd - New Zealand Industry Europe 15


NEWS

New contracts and orders in industry

First Otokar bus to be standard equipped with Spheros air conditioning

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eading Turkish bus manufacturer Otokar has selected Spheros as system supplier to provide air conditioning for the new intercity bus Territo U. With the Territo U, Otokar has added a first intercity bus to its product range, with which it hopes to conquer the European market, in particular the German- and Italian-speaking regions. For the air conditioning the Turkish bus manufacturer opted for a system solution from Spheros. It will comprise the compact Aerosphere Tropical 300 rooftop unit with a cooling capacity of 35 kW, Thermo E Combi heater and fully auto-

matic SC 1000 control unit for intelligent control of all air conditioning components. The Thermo E Combi heater is a compact system consisting of the Thermo E 320 heater, Aquavent 6000SC pump and compatible fuel filter. The system is offered as a unit and gives the customer substantial savings in terms of costs, installation work and storage space. The first 50 systems are currently being produced at the Spheros Turkey plant and will be delivered to Otokar for installing in the 4th quarter of 2012. Visit: www.spheros.de

Daimler receives major orders for 520 city buses in major Brazilian cities

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hrough updates of their fleets and infrastructural measures, major Brazilian cities are already preparing themselves for the increased traffic volume expected during the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016. Fortaleza in north-eastern Brazil will be one of the cities to host World Cup soccer games. With an order of 135 new Mercedes-Benz city buses with BlueTec 5 technology, Fortaleza is one of the environmentally conscious cities to update their fleet of public transport vehicles in the run-up to this major sports event. The second major order was placed by the public

transport companies in Ribeirão Preto. The new fleet, which will begin to operate within the next few months, is part of the local public transport concept aimed at improving the city’s traffic infrastructure. The concept also involves the establishment of new bus lines and the creation of exclusive bus corridors along the city’s main avenues. “The public transport companies chose our vehicles because of their state-of-the-art equipment, low fuel consumption and high profitability,” says Hartmut Schick, head of Daimler Buses. Visit: www.daimler.com

Roxtec to supply Australia’s biggest gas project

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ury based cable and pipe seal manufacturer Roxtec is undertaking a contract to supply materials to one of the world’s biggest gas developments, the Chevron-operated Gorgon Project, on Barrow Island, western Australia. Roxtec UK managing director Graham O’Hare said Roxtec’s global operation played a key role in winning the

CTT Systems AB receives an order from Gore Design

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ore Design Completions based in San Antonio, Texas, USA has ordered CTT Cair™ System to be installed in an Airbus A330-200 aircraft. Gore Design Completions is a major completion centre offering top quality cabin outfitting and associated services. “CTT are very pleased to receive this

16 Industry Europe

contract and coordinating Roxtec’s supply from its offices around the world. “This is a prestigious project for Roxtec to work on and it demonstrates our expertise in the oil and gas sector. We supplied cable seals with an in-built electromagnetic compatibility system to protect the plant’s electrical systems. The seals are installed in

the modular instrumentation buildings and will help ensure the safe operations of control systems.” Mr O’Hare said Roxtec had also supplied Ex rated seals (ATEX Directive compliant) for use in Hazardous Areas as well as cable and pipe penetrations for the blast walls and floors in the substations. Visit: www.roxtec.com

new order from Gore Design Completions, the second from the company,” says Peter Landquist, vice-president Sales, Marketing & Customer Support at CTT Systems. The Cair™ system is based on evaporative cooling technology and uses a method that effectively precludes the transfer of bacteria within the aircraft. The dual-purpose system increases humidity for greater comfort and

incorporates the Zonal Drying™ System to counter condensation problems. CTT’s Zonal Drying™ System has been selected as basic equipment for the new B787 ‘Dreamliner’ and CTT’s humidifiers are options in crew rest compartments and on the flight deck. The A380 offers CTT’s humidifiers as an option in crew rest compartments. Visit: www.ctt.se


WINNINGBUSINESS

Austria’s InterSky orders 2 ATR 72-600s T

he Austrian carrier InterSky, INTRO Group and the European turboprop aircraft manufacturer ATR have announced the signature of a contract for the purchase of 2 ATR 72-600s, valued at some US$ 47 million. The first of the 70-seat ATR 72-600s will be introduced in December this year, with the second one following in March 2013. These aircraft will become the first ATRs to be operated by an Austrian carrier. With the introduction of these two new ATR 72-600s, InterSky will almost double the seat capacity of its fleet, which currently consists of three 50-seat turboprop aircraft. These new ATR 72-600s will provide passengers with the most modern standards of comfort and updated technologies. The ATR aircraft will be stationed at the company’s base in Friedrichshafen, Germany and will enable InterSky to propose more frequencies on main routes, such as to Berlin and Dusseldorf. Peter Oncken, managing director of InterSky, commented: “The new ATR 72-600 will bring us the opportunity of expanding our business with the most fuel-efficient and eco-friendly regional aircraft. This aircraft fits perfectly with our aim of combining very high-quality service for our passengers with low operating costs.” Visit: www.atraircraft.com

Air Products helps CEMEX achieve ambitious environmental objectives

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ir Products, through its Spanish subsidiary Carburos Metálicos, has signed a major contract with CEMEX – world leader in the construction materials industry – to provide five of its Spanish cement plants with its Prism® on-site oxygen generators and oxy-combustion system. The combination of these innovative and highly-efficient technologies will generate significant savings at each operating site whilst considerably reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Oxy-combustion technology consists of injecting oxygen directly into the furnace burners creating greater yield, accelerated combustion, and the potential of increasing use of alternative fuels by up to 80 per cent, thereby decreasing the consumption of fossil fuel and considerably reducing CO2 emissions to atmosphere. The proposed solution consisted of installing a Prism® Vacuum Swing Adsorption (VSA) oxygen generator coupled to a backup tank, designed to supply the furnace with gas at low cost, with maximum flexibility and without the risk of supply disruption. CEMEX has set itself the ambitious goal of using alternative fuels to cover 35 per cent of its energy consumption by 2015 in order to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Visit: www.airproducts.com

Strabag Real Estate and Otto Wulff awarded contract for Hamburg College project

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he Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg has commissioned HEOS Berufsschulen Hamburg GmbH – a project company of STRABAG Real Estate GmbH and Otto Wulff Bauunternehmung GmbH specifically established for this purpose – with the planning, construction, renovation and operation of 15 selected voca-

tional colleges. The €700 million project will be implemented in public private partnership (PPP) over a period of 30 years. 

 FMHH Facility Manager Hamburg GmbH, a joint venture company of Otto Wulff and the Schultz Group, will be responsible for infrastructural facility management; STRABAG Property and Facility

Boeing extends deployment of Dassault Systèmes PLM Platform

years ago and has resulted in numerous breakthroughs in the development and early deployment of powerful technologies that make game-changing innovations possible. “Boeing and Dassault Systèmes have enjoyed a long working relationship, and we are pleased to extend our contract. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with Dassault Systèmes to create and

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he Boeing Company has signed a fiveyear contract to extend the use of Dassault’s industry-leading applications at both Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Boeing Defense, Space & Security. Dassault Systèmes and Boeing’s ‘Working Together’ partnership began over 25

Services GmbH will take over technical building management and relocation management. 

 All construction services have been transferred to a joint venture between Ed. Züblin AG, Germany’s leading building and engineering company, and Hamburg’s Otto Wulff Bauunternehmung GmbH. Visit: www.strabag.com leverage new innovations that will enhance our product design and manufacturing capabilities,” said Nancy Bailey, Boeing vice-president of IT Product Systems. “Dassault Systèmes continues to evolve and mature their solution portfolio to more completely address our needs across the entire product value stream. Visit: www.3ds.com Industry Europe 17


NEWS

Combining strengths

BASF to strengthen global crop protection business with acquisition of Becker Underwood

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ASF plans to acquire Becker Underwood for a price of $1.02 billion (€785 million). The company, headquartered in Ames, Iowa, is one of the leading global providers of technologies for biological seed treatment, seed treatment colours and polymers, as well as products in the areas of biological crop protection, turf and horticulture, animal nutrition and landscape colourants and coatings. “We are impressed with Becker Underwood’s ability to translate growers’ needs into innovative, tailor-made solutions that can promote higher yields while conserving resources. Becker Underwood is to become part of BASF and we are

excited that together with our new colleagues we can continue expanding our competencies,” said Dr Andreas Kreimeyer, research executive director and member of BASF’s board of executive directors responsible for the Agricultural Solutions segment. Becker Underwood is expected to achieve sales of $240 million (€185 million) for fiscal year 2012, ending on September 30. As part of the acquisition, BASF’s Crop Protection division will create a strategic global business unit called Functional Crop Care. Becker Underwood’s animal nutrition business will be integrated into BASF’s Nutrition & Health division. Visit: www.basf.com

Westinghouse and Hutní montáže announce strategic cooperation W

estinghouse Electric Company has announced a strategic cooperation with Czech construction/installation company Hutní montáže a.s, in preparation for the potential construction of Westinghouse AP1000® nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic and regionally. If Westinghouse is awarded the AP1000 project in the Czech Republic, in response to its competitive tender submitted to Czech utility ČEZ, Hutní montáže would be responsible for performing the vast majority of the mechanical installation and corresponding construction testing, including assembly and installation of the containment vessel (CV). Hutní montáže could also provide heavy lifting cranes and rigging to offload, transport on-site and set components into the plant, including modules, the CV, and

major nuclear steam supply system (NSSS) and balance of plant equipment. The strategic partnership marks a further important milestone in Westinghouse’s ongoing initiative to develop local partners and deliver a highly competitive tender to ČEZ for the construction of two AP1000 reactors at the Temelín nuclear power plant site. Visit: www.westinghouse.com

Rio Tinto acquires BHP Billiton’s interests in Richards Bay Minerals

stake in this tier one asset further strengthens Rio Tinto’s titanium dioxide portfolio at a time when the long-term outlook remains robust. Demand for feedstocks is expected to grow strongly, needing the equivalent of a new operation the size of RBM to be built every two and a half years.” RBM is a South African mineral sands mining and processing operation located in

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io Tinto has doubled its holding in Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) following the completion of its acquisition of BHP Billiton’s entire interests. The purchase price paid by Rio Tinto on completion was $1.7 billion. Rio Tinto Diamonds & Minerals chief executive Alan Davies said: “Doubling our

18 Industry Europe

Nokia and Virgin Atlantic to partner in wireless charging technology

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okia has announced a deal with Virgin Atlantic to offer wireless charging facilities at its London Heathrow Clubhouse for passengers who want to recharge their phones before a flight. Stylish and colourful Nokia wireless charging plates will initially be introduced in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow later this year. Nokia and Virgin Atlantic also plan to expand wireless charging to the JFK Clubhouse at a later date. “Virgin Atlantic is putting passengers first by removing a major anxiety, particularly for business travellers – how to keep their phone charged throughout a long day,” said Jo Harlow, executive vice-president, Smart Devices, Nokia. “The Virgin deal is a first step in our plan to make wireless charging as ubiquitous as Wi-Fi is today.” Visit: www.nokia.com

Kwa-Zulu Natal. Rio Tinto manages the RBM business and markets all of its products. The remaining 26% of RBM is now owned by a consortium of local communities and businesses (24%) and RBM employees (2%), in line with South Africa’s Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment legislation. Visit: www.riotinto.com


LINKINGUP

Hexagon acquires minority stake in North West Geomatics H

exagon AB, the leading global provider of design, measurement and visualisation technologies, is to acquire 10% of the shares in North West Geomatics Ltd. North West Geomatics Ltd, also known as North West Group (North West), is a leading aerial data acquisition company dedicated to providing high quality aerial mapping and related spatial data services to engineering and mapping firms, environmental consulting organisa-

tions and government agencies. Besides housing the single largest library of high resolution imagery and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data in Canada, North West participates in large scale aerial data collection projects throughout the US and across the globe. “Following a similar investment earlier this year in Blom, a leading European company in the same markets, this alliance further underscores our commitment to redefine the geospatial

eco-system and provide new dimension to the industry overall,” said Ola Rollén, president and CEO of Hexagon AB. “Already a longstanding partner of Leica Geosystems and Intergraph, the expanded alliance with North West undoubtedly strengthens the utility and relevance of our current offerings and our continued ability to meet the ever-increasing needs of our geospatial customer base with industry-leading solutions.” Visit: www.hexagon.com

BEUMER Group acquires Indec Airport Automation

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he BEUMER Group has acquired the majority shares of Indec Airport Automation (IAA). This airport equipment company, headquartered in Bree, Belgium, produces products for automated baggage loading onto planes. “Acquiring Indec Airport Automation is a logical addition to our product portfolio in the Airports sector,” said Dr Christoph Beumer, managing partner and chairman of the board at BEUMER Group GmbH & Co. KG. Managing director and former owner Dirk Fransen will continue to run operations at IAA for the BEUMER Group as he had previously. IAA has 12 employees in Bree, Belgium. “The portfolio offers an immense reduction in flight transfer times at airports,” says Klaus Schäfer, CEO of Crisplant AS and head of the BEUMER Group’s Airport Logistics Business Segment in Aarhus, Denmark. The BEUMER Group’s new products greatly simplify automatic baggage loading at airports. The first phase of the high automated system is already tested at Heathrow Airport in London. This solution saves between 50–70% in terms of space and staff, saving time and enabling substantially greater capacity. Another advantage is the accurate allocation of bags to ULD containers. Visit: www.beumergroup.com

Headset specialist Imtradex and INVISIO start cooperation

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erman Imtradex Hör-/Sprechsysteme GmbH and Danish INVISIO Communications A/S, two of Europe’s leading headset manufactures, are now working together. As part of the cooperation agreement, Imtradex will include INVISIO’s wide range of ear-microphones, which are based on the patented Bone Conduction technology, to their product range. It is an in-ear-headset technology that addresses

Funkwerk AG sells Funkwerk Dabendorf GmbH

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unkwerk AG is set to sell Funkwerk Dabendorf GmbH, Zossen. The subsidiary consolidates the main activities of the group’s Automotive Communication (AC) segment. Funkwerk Dabendorf will be taken over by the novero group, Düsseldorf, which specialises in aspects such as

professional mobile radio equipment in the automobile sector. The sale does not extend to the facility site in Dabendorf/Zossen nor the 100% share held by the company in Funkwerk eurotelematik GmbH, Ulm. Under the agreement, both assets will be removed prior to execution of the contract and transferred to Funkwerk AG, Kölleda.

the most demanding users and allows smooth communication in extremely noisy environments. “With this collaboration our goal is to secure a larger presence across Germany with INVISIO’s innovative technology, which fits extremely well in to our product portfolio,” said Ralf Kudernak, managing director of Imtradex Hör-/Sprechsysteme GmbH. Visit: www.imtradex.com With the sale of Funkwerk Dabendorf GmbH, which generated sales of around €19 million and operating earnings of around €3 million in 2011, Funkwerk AG consistently continues its strategy of focusing on Traffic & Control Communication and Security Communication as its core segments. Visit: www.funkwerk.com Industry Europe 19


NEWS

MOVINGON

Relocations and expansions across Europe

Exmac Automation moves to new factory

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eading materials handling and automation specialist Exmac Automation Ltd has relocated to a new purpose-designed 44,000 sq ft facility at Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, UK. Announcing the move, managing director Gary Sweeney says relocation was essential in order to build on the success of the business following the MacDonald Humfrey Automation (MHA) acquisition in 2010, and to manage future growth. The new site, located just one M5 motorway junction north of the company’s former Worcester

factory, will transform Exmac’s manufacturing facilities within a systematically re-planned and re-equipped working environment, which also includes more spacious office accommodation. Exmac, which is the largest British manufacturer of conveying, materials handling and logistics systems, provides comprehensive turnkey solutions that include design, manufacture, project management, factory assembly and testing, and installation. www.exmac.co.uk

Porsche Consulting opens base in China W

ith the establishment of a location in China, the Porsche Consulting GmbH management consultancy firm, based in Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany, carries forward its systematic international growth strategy. With headquarters in Shanghai, Porsche Consulting Ltd will be launched at the onset of 2013. After Italy, Brazil and the United States, it will be the fourth foreign branch of the consultancy firm. “To be present with our own office in Shanghai allows us to provide support to current and future clients in China and other countries in the Far East far better and even more directly,” says Eberhard Weiblen, president and CEO of Porsche Consulting GmbH. In Asia, Porsche Consulting is focusing primarily on the automotive industry, aeronautics and space as well as machine building. www.porscheconsulting.com

Rolls-Royce expands in Japan R

olls-Royce Motor Cars has announced that a strong interest in the company’s super luxury cars has resulted in the marque opening increased retail space in Tokyo and a new

New Audi plant in Mexico

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udi will build its new plant on the American continent in San José Chiapa, in the State of Puebla, Central Mexico. The new plant marks a major milestone in the growth required in Audi’s Strategy 2020. Site conditions, logistics links, infrastructure, well-qualified employees and living quality – these were the decisive 20 Industry Europe

presence in Osaka, in addition to an upgraded showroom in Yokohama. The CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, visited both Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Tokyo and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Yokohama and also oversaw the opening of a new, expanded showroom at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Tokyo. Paul Harris, regional director, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Asia-Pacific said: “In 2011 Japan matched 2010’s sales result, a remarkable achievement considering the challenging market conditions.” www.rolls-roycemotorcars.com criteria for the choice of location. “The production site in San José Chiapa meets various key requirements of our global growth strategy and we can step up our activities in American markets,” said Rupert Stadler, chairman of the board of management of AUDI AG. The chosen location is an ideal base from which to supply international markets from Mexico. He continued: “We

PNA boosts Ouistreham terminal with €20m investment

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nder the supervision of port owner PNA, the first phase of the Ouistreham ferry terminal’s extension and redevelopment has been completed successfully, at a cost of €16 million. When the second phase (worth €3 million), supervised by Caen-Normandy Chamber of Commerce & Industry, is finished, the new facility will be greatly improved: it is due to be fully operational at some stage in the autumn of 2012. The Ouistreham cross-Channel ferry terminal has provided a link between north-western France and the UK since 1986. In the space of 26 years, the Caen-Ouistreham port has become the leading Channel crossing west of the Strait of Dover, handling both passengers and goods in large numbers. Completion of the project will lead to a range of improvements to the terminal’s facilities and functionalities. Parking facilities for unaccompanied trailers and heavy-goods vehicles (HGVs) will be doubled to 280 places, and the process of loading and unloading vehicles will be optimised and made more secure. www.ubifrance.com/uk/

are delighted that the Mexican government and the state of Puebla are so supportive of our project.” Audi will build the successor to its current Audi Q5 SUV model at its Mexican plant, with a planned annual output of 150,000 units. Production is scheduled to begin in 2016. www.audi.com


NEWS

INDUSTRYPEOPLE

New direcor of design at Bentley B

entley Motors has appointed Luc Donckerwolke as its new director of design. Mr Donckerwolke succeeds Dirk van Braeckel who moves to Volkswagen Group design directed by Walter de Silva. Mr Donckerwolke joins Bentley from his role as head of advanced design for Volkswagen Group. He

began his career as an exterior designer at Audi in 1992 and has subsequently worked for a range of other Volkswagen group brands including Lamborghini, SEAT and Skoda. His work at Lamborghini includes the award-winning designs of the Murcielago and Gallardo.

Concentric AB appoints account manager T

he hydraulics business unit of Concentric AB (formerly Haldex Hydraulics) has appointed Robert Muller (52) account manager responsible for sales of its hydraulic pumps, hydraulic motors, power packs and flow dividers in the UK and parts of Europe. In his new position, Robert will also be responsible for developing systems solutions for major OEMs in the UK, Ireland and key accounts In Germany. He brings to Concentric over 30 years’ hydraulic system design and sales experience gained with companies ranging from Vickers Systems South Africa, Parker Hannifin, Fluitronics and, most recently, Sauer Danfoss.

H&K Industrieanlagen appoints further general manager

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he increasing growth of H&K has led to growing financial requirements, especially with regard to international business and the financing of large-scale projects. These factors have therefore led the executive partners of the company to appoint Pierre Welsch as a third general manager alongside Wolfgang Gerhard and Gerhart Hölzl. Pierre Welsch has gained a lot of experience in the steel industry and knows the H&K team very well from his previous assignments at Koch Transporttechnik GmbH and FLSmidth Wadgassen GmbH and from his work as a freelance consultant. He has worked with numerous of his present colleagues for many years.

Luis Alvarez to become CEO of BT Global Services

BT

has announced that Luis Alvarez is to become CEO, BT Global Services from 1 October 2012. Alvarez has been with BT for 12 years in a variety of roles, most recently president of BT Global Services Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. He brings a wealth of global

New CEO of Cassidian B

ernhard Gerwert, 59, has been appointed chief executive officer (CEO) of Cassidian and member of the EADS executive committee with immediate effect. He will succeed Stefan Zoller, 54, who has decided to leave EADS in order to pursue new professional challenges. Bernhard Gerwert has served in various senior management functions of the EADS Group as well as its German predecessor companies. Since 2011, he has been the chief operating officer (COO) of Cassidian, overseeing all business activities within the division. Previously, from 2007 to 2011, he headed the Cassidian business units Air Systems and the Defence Electronics business unit from 2004 to 2007.

experience and knowledge with him. Alvarez will take over from Jeff Kelly who has decided to return to the US following almost three years as CEO, BT Global Services. Under Kelly’s leadership, BT Global Services has firmly established itself as a global leader in the provision of managed networked IT services to global corporations and governments around the world. Industry Europe 21


NEWS

TECHNOLOGYSPOTLIGHT

Advances in technology across industry

NEW ECOLINE series – progress across the board B ITZER has introduced the complete NEW ECOLINE reciprocating compressor series, from 4 to 221 m³/h. The compressors are now even more versatile and available for other refrigerants than R134a – for example, R404A, R407A, R407C, R407F, R507A, and hydrocarbons. With the new series, BITZER is transferring all the advantages of the proven ECOLINE series for R134a refrigerant to an even broader range of applications, in order to provide customers with significant added value. The extensive ECOLINE series stands out with higher efficiency levels and simultaneously expanded application limits – and can still fit into existing systems as a replacement.

The coefficient of performance (COP) was improved throughout the series. In terms of the usual nominal points, by 6%; at low condensing temperatures, which are important for seasonal efficiency, the increase was even up to 12%. The compressors with motor version 2 are now universal refrigeration compressors – for full applicability in low temperature applications and medium temperature applications with, for example, R404A up to 0°C evaporation temperature, and even at tropical ambient temperatures. Motor versions 1 or 3 are provided for heat pumps, medium temperature applications with R134a, and special applications.

BASF receives award for metal organic frameworks (MOFs) research

‘Talking’ robots could transform industry

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ASF has received the French Pierre Potier Prize for research achievements in the area of metal organic frameworks (MOFs). BASF research scientists developed a process by which aluminum MOFs can be manufactured solvent-free on an industrial scale for the very first time. “With the innovative production process, we can now manufacture MOFs by the tonne and in that way enable their commercialisation,” said Dr Ulrich Müller, who heads MOF research in the BASF Process Research and Chemical Engineering division. “As the manufacturing process only uses water and no organic solvents at all, the method is particularly safe and eco-friendly.” MOFs are suitable for numerous applications. BASF uses them for example for highly efficient storage of natural gas in gas powered vehicles. MOFs are made up of a three-dimensional metal organic framework with nanoscale pores. “The resultant very large internal surface and high porosity enables comparatively large amounts of gas to be stored in natural gas tanks. As a result, natural gas vehicles may be able to drive twice the distance on a single tank in future,” Müller said. Visit: www.basf.com 22 Industry Europe

Each ECOLINE is compatible with its predecessor compressor, with an unaltered mounting hole pattern and the same pipe connections – with efficiency gains even when repairing existing systems. Visit: www.bitzer.de

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new generation of software that will allow computers and robots to ‘converse’ with a person is being developed by University of Aberdeen scientists. The technology could be used to perform tasks as wideranging as unmanned exploratory missions in hostile environments, decommissioning nuclear power plants and maintaining and repairing railway lines. Dr Wamberto Vasconcelos from the University of Aberdeen’s School of Natural and Computing Sciences, said: “Autonomous systems – such as robots – are an integral part of modern industry, used to carry out tasks without continuous human guidance. However evidence shows there may be mistrust when there are no provisions to help a human to understand why an autonomous system has decided to perform a specific task, at a particular time, and in a certain way. What we are creating is a new generation of autonomous systems, which are able to carry out a two-way communication with humans.” The new systems being developed use technology called Natural Language Generation (NLG) – whereby complex information and data are translated into simple text summaries. Dr Vasconcelos continued: “Information and data created by the system, originally represented as symbols of mathematical logic, is automatically transformed into a simple text which can be easily understood by humans. This enables the system and a human to discuss a plan before a task – such as dismantling a nuclear plant – is undertaken.” Visit: www.abdn.ac.uk

The jacket that talks to Facebook

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an emergency situation, we cannot expect rescue crews to do their jobs while fumbling with a tiny mobile phone when they need to read and send messages. A group of students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) Department of Computer and Information Science (IDI) decided to create a prototype jacket that could communicate with Facebook. They used the Arduino platform to create the physical user interface with social media. Arduino is a popular system used to develop physical prototypes that integrate with ICT. The platform that supports the jacket communicates with an ordinary Android mobile phone via BlueTooth.

They bought a simple lined jacket and inserted the cables and sensors between the inner and outer layers. Then they put a battery-operated circuit in the pocket, which controls the sensors and microphone. Instead of a telephone display, the jacket sleeve has a display sewn into it, showing a line of rolling text. “By using social media technology, we can enable rescue groups to communicate, and this jacket with a customised user interface makes it easy and practical to use more advanced ICT in demanding rescue work,” says Babak Farshchian of Norwegian research organisation SINTEF. Visit: www.sintef.com


EURO-REPORT

FOCUS ON...

France Ian Sparks reports from Paris on the crisis at Renault.

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enault could ‘disappear in its current form’ as the French car giant faces its biggest crisis in its 113-year history, the company has warned. A ‘deep and lasting decline’ in sales could trigger the closure of all of its factories in France because it is ceasing to be competitive in its core home market, chief executive Carlos Ghosn said. And his chief operating officer Carlos Tavares added that bosses were this month frantically negotiating with union leaders to reach a new nationwide pay deal – or face lay-offs on a massive scale. The fate of Renault is mirrored across the entire sector, where sales across the country fell 14 per cent in the first seven months of this year. At the nation’s biggest car manufacturer PSA Peugeot Citroen, executives recently announced 8000 job cuts between now and 2015 and a 2012 first half loss of €819 million. This is in stark contrast to Asian car giants like Hyundai, which saw sales soar by 30 per cent in France last year, sparking outrage from industry minister Arnaud Montebourg who accused the Korean company of ‘dumping’ cars on the French market at an artificially low price to steal customers. The outlook is now so bleak in France that socialist president Francois Hollande has pledged to plough €1.8 billion in subsidies over three years into the industry. Now Renault’s Mr Ghosn has admitted in an interview with France’s RTL radio that the company may not even survive the current slump in demand that has hit his industry. Asked if Renault could even ‘disappear’ as a major European car manufacturer, he said: “In its current form, yes. “Each company is tied to its home country. I do not know of any company that can be viable, that can prosper from a base that is not competitive. A company needs a natural base, Renault’s natural base is France.” Mr Tavares said the board was now mulling the complete closure of factories

because of the dire state of the market, adding: “We have a competitiveness problem in western Europe and France and it may take up to five years to return to pre-crisis levels. It’s by no means certain we have reached the bottom yet and we are stuck in a situation that could last a long time.” One glimmer of hope lay in Renault’s cooperation with Nissan, which could make production capacity available to the French firm at its factories in Sunderland in Britain and Barcelona in Spain. “These factories are among the most successful in Europe and that is certainly one possibility,” he said.

“We have a competitiveness problem in western Europe and France and it may take up to five years to return to pre-crisis levels.” Chateau California Another industry suffering from a glut of ‘cheap’ foreign imports is France’s long-suffering winemakers, outraged that wine from the US may be allowed to use the word ‘Chateau’ on its labels. Wine producers backed by the country’s agriculture minister Stephane Le Foll are currently fighting European Union plans that would see American wines labelled with the venerated French title. The head of the Bordeaux CIVB wine producers’ union Georges Haushalter said: “The authorisation would lead to unfair competition, as the American definition of the term chateau is extremely lax. “Over there it can be used to describe wine made from multiple sources with no pedigree at all, whereas European consum-

ers associate the word with wines from a specific vineyard attached to a single estate.” The EU’s wine management committee had been due to rubber-stamp approval for the US to use the term last month until they were hit with a last minute plea from French producers. An EU official said: “We had been talking to the French government about this for a number of weeks and they never raised any problem. Then two weeks ago, someone in Bordeaux woke up and said we’re selling off the term ‘chateau’ too cheaply. The committee has now agreed to delay its final decision until opponents have had their chance to present us with their arguments and alternative proposals.” French winemakers welcomed the delay, but still fear the outcome of a final vote on the issue later this year. Bernard Fages, president of the Federation of Great Bordeaux Wines, said: “It’s not a victory but it at least gives us time to get ready to defend our rights when it comes back on the agenda. We are continuing to fight.” The US has previously been allowed to use the chateau label in Europe between 2006 and 2009, before the authorisation lapsed under the terms of a bilateral wine agreement between the two countries. Ironically, in 2010 – when US wines were no longer allowed to use the ‘chateau’ label – the country’s exports to Europe rose 13 per cent to almost €400 million, according to figures from the US Department of Commerce. It has led some people to question whether continuing to prevent America from using the word will yield any benefit to producers at all, or could even be counter-productive. The EU official added: “One does wonder to what extent it’s going to make any difference whatsoever, and in the worst case scenario the French may even be losing market share to the US by trying to stop foreigners from using a word that is clearly n very dear to them.” Industry Europe 23


EURO-REPORT

FOCUS ON...

Germany Allan Hall reports from Berlin on the new demand for flats built by the former GDR.

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hey were once the symbol of all that was hideous and uniform about the communist bloc: mile after mile of soulless apartment towers sprouting like ferroconcrete mushrooms across a landscape scarred by industrial pollution. But now, over two decades on since the country which spawned them marched into the history books, the once-hated ‘plattenbau’ buildings are not only seriously sought after living spaces, but are also highly prized investment opportunities for some of real estate’s biggest global players. Plattenbau – it literally means buildings that are bolted together – are enjoying a rennaissance. “German flats are being snapped up,” said Andre Adami, an analyst for BulwienGesa market research firm. “Any portfolio which comes onto the market meets high demand.” Most of the flats have one or two bedrooms, an interior bathroom, low ceilings and floors constructed of reinforced concrete that deadens virtually all sound and makes them perfect party venues, particularly for the young crowd in Berlin. Many apartment blocks are considered minor architectural gems, especially those designed and built by East German architect Hermann Henselmann who also had a hand in the buildings along Karl-Marx-Allee in east Berlin – now a UNESCO World Heritage Site – in the capital of reunified Germany. Prefabrication was pioneered in the Netherlands following World War I, based on construction methods developed in the United States. The first German use of plattenbau construction is what is now known as the Splanemann-Siedlung in Berlin’s Lichtenberg district, constructed in1926– 1930 but produced on a vast industrial scale following WW2 by the East Germans. Virtually all new residential buildings since the 1960s in the German Democratic Republic were built in this style, as it was a quick and relatively cheap way to solve the country’s severe housing shortage, which 24 Industry Europe

had been caused by wartime bombing raids and the large influx of German refugees from further east. There were several common plattenbau designs. The most common series was the P2, followed by the WBS 70. the WHH GT 18, and Q3A. The designs were flexible and could be built as towers or rows of apartments of various heights. Now those once nerdy numbers are translating into nice round figures on balance sheets. “Around half of prefabricated apartment blocks with more than ten flats sold have been snapped up by foreign buyers who

The once-hated ‘plattenbau’ buildings are not only seriously sought after living spaces, but are also highly prized investment opportunities for some of real estate’s biggest global players. see the market as a lucrative place to invest, spending €3.3 billion in the first half of 2012,” said Germany’s business daily Handelsblatt in a special report on the phenomenon. This is the highest level of overseas investment in German property since 2008 and a huge spike on 2011 when the figure was €2.4 billion for the entire year. “German residential property is one of the best places in Europe to invest,” said Roger Orf, manager of European property at Apollo Global Management. The company has a 15 per cent share in Germany’s biggest letting company, Deutsche Annington Immobilien AG. Blackstone private equity firm bought up 8000 flats from bankrupt investor Level One in March, while in May Cerberus bought 22,000 flats from bankrupt Speymill Deutsche Immobilien Co. Although some of the portfolio is in the west, the bulk of it are the plattenbau buildings of old East Germany.

Christian Schulz-Wulkow of Ernst & Young Real Estate, said of them: “They are very efficient, you can buy a lot of them in the same place and then have a thousand flats that are all very similar and can be handled in the same way,” he said. Demand is high among young couples, both families and childless. There is a new sense of street cred, in Berlin and Leipzig in particular, to say that you live in one.

Coming home Some of those snapping up the plattenbaus – most of them to rent – are former East Germans who went west following the collapse of communism but who are now returning on the back of improved job prospects and homesickness. Two million eastern citizens went west following reunification but government figures show that last year, for the first time since 1997, more people moved to the state of Saxony than away from it. Berlin and Brandenburg are also reporting positive net-migration rates. And although Thuringia is still losing more residents than it gains, it reports that more people moved to the state in 2011 than at any time in the past 15 years. Although some of the new migrants are students escaping high tuition fees and rents, and pensioners seeking to stretch their pensions further, over half of those going back are returnees, according to the German Institute for Economic Research. The flow of foreign investment into property companies in Germany has seen the value of its five biggest real estate companies rocket 55 per cent this year. While welcomed by some, warning notes of a potential bubble are being sounded. “Foreign investors are regarding Germany as a safe bet,” said Steffen Sebastian, head of the institute of real estate management at Regensberg University. “But even the German property market isn’t independent from the rest of Europe. Investments in the German apartment market have a very speculative character, n and that makes them very risky.”


KEEPING COOL Commercial refrigeration specialist EPTA Group is a respected global partner and the European market leader in its sector. The company has enjoyed continuous growth throughout the economic recession, so Emma-Jane Batey spoke to the international sales director, Christian Le-Gousse, to find out how this has been achieved.

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PTA Group is the European market leader in commercial refrigeration and a widely respected global partner for food retailers, with its five main product areas of cold rooms, refrigerated packs, special cold cases, mainstream cases and their installation and maintenance. Offering five well-established commercial refrigeration brands, EPTA appreciates its position as the partner of choice for retailers looking for

turnkey solutions. Its brand portfolio including Costan, Bonnet Névé, BKT, George Barker and Euro’Cryor has allowed it to continue to grow throughout the global recession. Mr Le-Gousse told Industry Europe why he thinks this is the case. He said, “There are two main reasons why we have continued to perform well during these challenging economic times. Firstly, we have strategically focused on gaining market share both in our traditional

Industry Europe 23


European domestic markets and further afield. Secondly, we are lucky in that we service the whole of the food industry. This means that whether people have plenty of money in their pockets and are buying luxury food, or if they’re cutting back their food budget and retailers are working hard to retain their profit margin, we still deliver commercial refrigeration units. People always have to eat something!”

New opportunities In 2005, EPTA’s turnover stood at €340 million. By 2011, this had increased to €500 million. The company has employed a strategy of acquiring companies within the

24 Industry Europe

commercial refrigeration sector that can support its long-term aim of expanded market penetration. Mr Le-Gousse continued, “We are dedicated to the commercial refrigeration sector and always have been. This helps to keep us focused on the potential opportunities and proves to our customers that we are a reliable partner for their long-term needs. We have grown quite substantially since 2005 and times have been good.” The focus on gaining commercial refrigeration market share has incorporated close attention to improving all aspects of EPTA’s offer. With both time and money spent on rationalisation, new tools, increased flexibility

and enhanced customer service, the company is clear that it is at the top of its game. Mr Le-Gousse continued, “We’ve been systematically focused on trying to get where we were not already. By using our widelyappreciated high levels of service and our wellrecognised brand portfolio alongside acquiring companies that already had a solid market presence in the geographical areas in which we were aiming to penetrate, we’ve been able to grow in a solid and sustainable manner.” Active worldwide, EPTA is currently strongest in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. Its extended portfolio still has potential for more acquisitions in both



DDL Stampaggio was established in 2010. The founder’s partners all operate in the areas of planning and equipment manufacture. This is in order to coordinate and create group synergies to better meet the needs of clients.

Ordinary people, Extraordinary RAMI Officine Rami is a leader in the production of night blinds for upright cases and cabinets. Thanks to its own unique design and its wide range of products such as manual blinds with and without slow roll, blinds with different cassette shapes and motorised blinds for long covering, Officine Rami is selling all over the world, satisfying the needs of clients in many countries. In order to create products for a greener world, Officine Rami has developed a new type of motorised blind called ‘HP – High Performance’ which is capable of doubling the energy saving usually achieved with standard blinds.

46020 Motteggiana (MANTOVA) Via Provinciale, 10 - ITALY Tel. +39 0376 527481 Fax +39 0376 527060 www.officinerami.com info@officinerami.com

26 Industry Europe

It operates in the sector of die construction and cold plate stamping, using an office for planning, toolmakers for the construction of dies and different departments for stamping. The society’s structure is adequately covered in all of its main functions: • management • financial • buyers

• sales • planning • quality insurance

The company’s quality system is certified to the VISION 2000 standard according to the criteria required by the automotive sector. Besides this, the production processes of all its departments are certified according to the ISO 9001-2000 standard for quality.

D.D.L. Stampaggio S.r.l. Via Casnedi, 78–23868–Valmadrera (LC) E-mail: ddlstampaggio@postax.it



emerging markets and traditional markets where commercial refrigeration for the food sector has either room to grow or would welcome increased competition. In order to increase its competitiveness, EPTA is clear about its unique selling points. Mr Le-Gousse explained, “As an organisation we are continually considering our customers. We stay close to them and listen to their real needs to ensure that we are meeting their changing demands. We are a slim company that is totally up to the challenges presented by the retail industry, particularly during such difficult economic conditions. We know that our complete flexibility and reliability is valued by our customers too, and we have many long-term customers that truly

28 Industry Europe


see us as a partner. We offer short delivery times and can change orders if required to suit a new style of store, for example.”

Ready for more growth A retail industry trend that is set to see the majority of stores across France change the way they display cold food is also set to have positive repercussions for EPTA. Mr Le-Gousse told Industry Europe about the recent French government announcement that all food retailers will have to display cold food such as meat and cheese behind glass doors

by 2020, rather than the open chilled cabinets that are currently used. With EPTA able to supply these units, it is keen to highlight its capabilities in meeting this new regulation. EPTA expects to continue to grow in the coming years due to its dedication to meeting customers’ needs, acquiring new companies that will boost its presence in the commercial refrigeration sector while enabling it to gain new market share in countries outside its traditional European heartland. Mr Le-Gousse concluded, “In many ways we have reached a critical mass in

terms of commercial refrigeration as we have financial stability, excellent R&D, strong customer service and support and an unbeatable offer. What we will concentrate on in the next few years in bringing that total package to a wider geographical audience by both following our existing customers and looking at interesting acquisitions. Any company we consider must be active in the commercial refrigeration sector but we are open-minded about what area they specialise in, such as manufacturing, n service or contracting.”

Industry Europe 29


FLYING HIGH Aerospace components specialist Mettis Aerospace is utilising both its heritage and its future-focused strategy to continue to perform well in the competitive international aero engines and airframes industry. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to the executive chairman, Brian Doran, to find out more.

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elebrating its 75th anniversary in 2013, aerospace components manufacturer Mettis Aerospace has long been at the top of its game. In fact, the company can trace its roots back to the very first jet engine, when it manufactured the impeller for the original Whittle power jet, under its original name High Duty Alloys. Such a strong heritage has continued to boost Mettis Aerospace’s appreciation of the importance of manufacturing quality components for its worldwide customers. The executive Chairman, Brian Doran, told

30 Industry Europe

Industry Europe, “We’ve been present since the very start of the British aerospace industry and so know the industry inside out. We have a unique perspective, in that we have not only fathers and sons working in our company, but even some grandfathers too. It means we have a total understanding of the technical aspect of our business as well as the constantly changing demands of the industry.” With Mettis Aerospace having an unusually strong dedication to maintaining and promoting its apprenticeship programme, the fact that it has staff across all age ranges


Over 30 years experience of Precision metal processing of castings, forgings and machined components for the Aerospace, Industrial Gas Turbine, Automotive and Orthopaedic industries. Services Available • NADCAP and Rolls Royce Approved Chemical Processing (Titanium, Steel and Nickel based alloys) • NADCAP and Rolls Royce Approved N.D.T. (F.P.I. & M.P.I.) • Close limit hand polishing • Grinding / linishing / fettling • Visual Inspection • Barrelling • Sand blasting • Nickel plating • Quality Management System ISO 9001:2008, AS 9100 For further information contact : Tony Burrow at Narla Engineering 64 Danby Walk, Leeds, LS9 8JF Tel.: +44 (0)113 2482028 / 2480972 E-mail : tonyburrow@narlaengineering.com www.narlaengineering.com

plaslab.com

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Fume Scrubbers and Chemical Process Equipment manufacture, installation and service. Export orders welcome!


highlights how it stays close to its past as well as being focused on the latest technology and ever-changing demands. Mr Doran continued, “There are so many changes and trends that are affecting us. It is both challenging and exciting making sure we stay at the forefront of these changes and I’m proud to say I believe we are succeeding. We have a fresh new management team that is being strengthened all the time. After all, we’re competing in an aggressive market – airlines need to be buying planes for component manufacturers such as us to succeed, so ultimately we need people to be buying tickets to travel.”

Exciting demands Mr Doran pointed out that much of this increasing demand is coming from India, Asia and China, where the rise in disposable income is creating a rapid upturn in both international and domestic air travel. The airline industry predicts that around 20,000 new airframes will be required by 2030 in order to cope with demand, with this having a positive knock-on effect to companies such as Mettis. Mr Doran continued, “We are finding that many airlines around the world are needing to upgrade less efficient planes, so we have great opportunities for development here.”

In order to maximise the potential of these opportunities, Mettis is keen to highlight its extensive capabilities in forging, machining and processing exotic metals for engine blades, airframe components and landing gear. All of its products are manufactured at its 600,000 sq ft state-of-the-art facility in Redditch, near Birmingham, and then transported wherever in the world they are required. Mr Doran said, “We are increasingly providing a full service solution to our customers. In this challenging marketplace, we are well aware that reducing costs while maintaining quality is what will enable us to keep our market-leading position. We are unable to cut any corners in the manufacturing process, but by reducing administration we can improve efficiency, which lets us pass on cost savings to our customers. Our own very capable machine shop on site has the latest five-axis machining centres which enables us to offer a cheaper forged and machined solution. We are also able to undertake production of machined parts if we have spare capacity. This flexible, multidisciplined approach is beneficial to our customers as they know they can come to us with any manufacturing requirement which we will always be able to meet – quickly, efficiently and with great skill.”

Spending wisely Continuous investment is also a key element in Mettis Aerospace’s ongoing success. Owned by a City-based private equity group, it has access to considerable investment which helps it continue to lead the way in the aerospace component manufacturing sector. Mr Doran added, “It’s not just about having deep pockets – continuous investment also requires continuous improvement in order to spend the money wisely and see results. We have a team of in-house continuous improvement engineers that are dedicated to working on upgrading our offer and helping to reduce production costs so that we stay competitive.” Staying competitive is part of Mettis Aerospace’s strategy for success for the next 75 years, alongside building on its growth potential in emerging markets. Mr Doran continued, “We know that price pressures will continue and we’re well prepared. Mettis today is a clever hybrid of our past and our future; we are committed and focused on meeting the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s customers by ensuring that we harness, and pass on, the benefits of 75 years of manufacturing expertise in the n aerospace industry.”


HIGH PRESSURE SOLUTIONS With over 60 years of experience in the business, LMF is the leading Austrian manufacturer of high-pressure piston compressor systems. Julia Snow spoke to the sales director, Günther Ognar, to find out about the company’s specialist solutions.

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rom engineering to manufacturing, testing, start-up and maintenance – Leobersdorfer Maschinenfabrik (LMF) provides the full range of services expected of a one-stop provider. Located 30km south of Vienna, LMF employs 355 staff at its state-of-the-art engineering and production facilities. The company achieves an annual output of up to 200 specialised compressors – equivalent to a total weight of 3300 tons – and a turnover

of around €80 million. The careful selection of raw materials and outsourced components guarantees the highly reliable operation of LMF compressor systems, even in the most demanding environmental conditions. Systems for air and natural gas as well as technical and industrial gases, the modular structure of the product portfolio is ideally suited to respond to different technical and economic requirements. LMF specialises in high-pressure piston compressor systems Industry Europe 33


with a power range of up to 6200kW and final pressures of up to 10,150psi, developed exclusively to individual client specifications.

Long history as technology leader The company was initially established as an iron foundry in 1850, producing raw castings and, later, parts for transmissions. In 1887 LMF was sold to Ganz & Co, Budapest, and transformed into an AG in 1907. During this period, water turbines were added to the product programme, while Viktor Kaplan, inventor of the Kaplan turbine, was employed as a design engineer. Another famous name associated with the company was Rudolf Diesel, who sold a licence for the manufacturing of Diesel engines to LMF at the end of the 19th century, resulting in the production of diesel engines from 1902. After a period of Soviet administration from 1945 to 1955, LMF was bought by

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Egon Strager and renamed MAW Strager Maschinenfabrik in 1956. But the transformation into a worldwide operating company came with the take-over by the German division of Babcock in 1963, which gave LMF access to the resources of a global group. In 1998 an Austrian investor acquired the company which has since been in the ownership of various investors, thereby gaining independence in all operations. In addition to European presences LMF operates sales offices in Mexico, Russia, the UAE, India and China.

Business units serve industry needs The main business field for LMF is the oil and gas industry and the chemical/petrochemical industry, as well as applications in industrial and food technology settings. LMF is well known for its tailor-made API compressors, which are produced

for refineries, petrochemical and chemical plants, says Mr Ognar: “We sell to the end customers in this market as well as to EPCs who undertake plant newbuilds or refits.” Applications include underground storage for CO2 natural gas, desulphurization, flare gas, gas re-injection as well as boil-off gas. The second major business unit specialises in mobile systems for offshore applications onboard seismic survey vessels and for onshore applications. These systems are mounted on trucks or trailers for pipeline and oilfield service applications such as pipeline pressure testing, pipeline evacuation or on-site nitrogen production. “We have around 90–95 per cent market share in this field worldwide,” says Mr Ognar, “and we expect further growth due to our unmatched levels of know-how.” Around 10–15 per cent of turnover is represented by the third unit, which provides standard compressors for gas in industrial



ELIN Motoren GmbH With more than 120 years of experience in development and production of electrical machines, ELIN Motoren GmbH is one of the most traditional industrial enterprises in Austria. Motors for low and high voltage applications from 400V up to 15,000V and from 50kW up to 35,000kW are produced as well as asynchronous generators from 500kW to 5,000kW and synchronous generators from 5,000kVA to 50,000kVA. ELIN Motoren GmbH offers support throughout the life cycle of the machine as well as an extensive scope of services, with central technical handling at Preding/Weiz and the support of an international network of certified service partners worldwide. The company’s strengths lie in the production of small

and medium quantities, as well as custom-tailored products, designed precisely to customer’s specifications. Serial production is also covered by innovative partnerships (for example licences, joint ventures, outsourcings,…). The customers are offered all the advantages of a flexible business. ELIN Motoren GmbH motors and generators are in use worldwide, especially in the following fields: Wind Energy, Industrial Plant Applications (cement, steel, metallurgy, paper, pulp, …), Power Plants, Decentralised Energy Systems and Small Hydro-Plants, Tunnel Boring and Mining, Plastics Industry and in the field of Gas & Petroleum.


applications, PET bottle processing and in the field of CNG and CBG, where the product portfolio ranges from bare blocks to compressor units with control systems and accessories up to turn-key CNG filling stations.

Engineering excellence “LMF has a dedicated group of R&D engineers working on the further development of our products, but in addition the engineering departments of all business units draw on this know-how when fulfilling specific orders.” explains Mr Ognar. Protecting natural resources is at the heart of the company, he adds: “We are in full compliance with the stringent European and Austrian legislation. It is in our utmost interest not to waste any material or natural assets, so one of our main driving factors in new product development is to increase the efficiency of operation for our end users, which leads to optimising energy-efficient operation of our products.” A dedicated aftersales service department supports customers for maximised performance.

Global potential in specialist markets LMF is aiming for profitable organic growth, with some geographical expansion also on the cards, says Mr Ognar: “Currently, our main markets are Europe, Asia and the Middle-East, but we are planning to increase our activities in China and develop the potential of the South-American markets.” LMF intends to capitalise on its technology leadership in the industry. “One of our recent innovations is a new series of mobile pipeline evacuation units, which reduce the emission

of methane during gas pipeline repair jobs. This not only salvages the valuable gas, but also protects the environment, given the fact that methane is 21 times more harmful than CO2.” And a second business field – the substitution of natural gas by bio-gas in the gas grid business – offers a future path to growth for the company: “We are among the two top world leaders in terms of technological advances when it comes to CBG applications, so we know that our activities will increase n considerably here.”

Industry Europe 37


AESTHETIC VALUE DESIGN AND PERFORMANCE

Ostnor, created from the merger of four companies in 2007, develops and manufactures taps and accessories, with the focus on two strong brands. Felicity Landon reports.


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ustainability and style top the list of ‘must-haves’ in today’s world – and for companies like Ostnor, that means products that deliver energy and water savings for bathrooms and kitchens – alongside stylish and innovative design features. Ostnor’s roots go back to 1927 – and some components of the company go back much further – but Ostnor as it exists today started a new chapter in 2007, when four companies were merged into one. The challenge then was to create a cohesive company with long-term and improved profitability, and a key developmental step was formulating and introducing collective fundamental values across the new group. Today, Ostnor has a very strong position in its home market of Sweden, where it makes 75 per cent of its sales. The Nordic countries outside Sweden are also Ostnor’s main market, with 17 per cent of sales going to Norway, Denmark and Finland. Ostnor develops and manufactures a wide range of taps and accessories, with the consistent theme of operations being leading-edge technology, high quality, attractive design and eco-friendliness. Marketing is through the strong, wellestablished product brands FM Mattsson and Mora Armatur – the strength of these brands is one of the group’s most valuable assets. Outside the Nordic region, the FM Mattsson and Mora Armatur brands primarily occupy niches in specific market

segments. Ostnor is active in Germany, Russia, Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK, Australia and Iceland.

Regional preferences Regional differences in usage and design preferences mean that products need to be tailored to succeed on international markets. For example, Ostnor has a relatively strong position in the German hospital sector, where tailored products are developed for this market’s specific needs. Another example of Ostnor’s strong position in the case sector during 2011 was an order from Queensland Children’s Hospital in Australia for up to 1200 integrated FMM thermostat mixer taps. The hospital will have 359 rooms and opens in 2014. In recent years, Ostnor’s annual sales figures has hovered around the SEK 1 billion mark; the company employs 500 people, with operations concentrated in Mora, Sweden, where the head office is also located. Unsurprisingly, given the current economic climate, Ostnor had a tough year in 2011. There was an 11.9 per cent net growth in Swedish sales in the first quarter but after that progress faded – although at the end of the year the company was still confident that it had retained its market shares. “One factor affecting the demand for mixer faucets is the progress of housing prices – which, in turn, are affected by fac-

tors including market interest rates,” said CEO Håkan Olson. “We saw a slowdown in housing prices in Sweden and several other markets in 2011.”

Flexible production Operating profit for the full year 2011 was SEK 69.6 million, compared with SEK 113.5 million in 2010. The company adjusted production capacity and reduced inventory levels to match lower demand in the second half, developing in parallel its lean principles and improvement programme to create flexible production, and sharpened its focus on marketing and sales, “with the aim of exploiting opportunities on our markets”, he added. “We also accelerated our efforts in further enhancing our market plans to pave the way for Ostnor’s strong brands, FM Mattsson and Mora Armatur. We conducted initiatives to further strengthen brand identity and the clarity around our products. In the year, we made a number of product launches that supplement our broad product range of mixer faucet products and associated services.” Ostnor has a partnership with the Umeå Institute of Design, reflecting the important focus on energy rationalisation and water savings as expressed in its Ecosafe products. “This work continued in the year,” said Mr Olson. “We made our development processes more effective. Our innovation level, meas-


Nordic Brass Gusum Nordic Brass Gusum is one of the longest established smelting companies in Scandinavia with its origins in brass manufacturing dating back to 1607. That was the year when one of the original companies, Skultuna Messingsbruk, was founded. Nordic’s other founding company, Gusums Bruk, was also established in Sweden in 1653. These companies formed the strong foundation that is Nordic Brass Gusum, Sweden. The company has set consistently high quality standards with its semi-finished and finished products, all of which are manufactured at one of Europe’s most advanced brass production facilities. Nordic’s state-of-the-art plant is located at Gusum in Sweden and has a capacity to produce more than 40,000 tons of high-quality brass products annually. Nordic Brass’s products include standard unfinished items such as round, square and hexagonal rods, profiles and ingots, as well as a range of finished nuts. The company is supplying to customers producing ready-to-market products. These products include screws, nuts, taps, pipe fittings and lock parts, as well as electrical components and ornaments. Nordic Brass’s products are in demand in a wide range of industries from companies involved in the heating, ventilation and sanitary sectors, to those operating in the automotive, building, electrical and telecoms industries.


ured as the sales share of products less than three years old, continued to increase. Our launch precision increased significantly in the year, and the share of common components in our products increased, bringing us economies of scale in production and purchasing. We completed the development of two sharedbrand product platforms in the year.”

First with innovations Ostnor’s oldest roots are through FM Mattsson, Sweden’s oldest tap manufacturer. Founded in 1865 by Frost Matts Mattsson, the company initially made parts of traditional Mora clocks, nit combs, small bells, brooches and pastry wheels. Mattsson manufactured his first barrel taps and boiler room taps in 1876. FM Mattsson, which supplies hundreds of thousands of mixers every year, was the first to introduce ceramic seals, non-freeze

garden taps and two world-unique solutions – soft closing single lever mixers and thermostatic mixing valves. “For most people, a mixer is just an attractive interior design feature that supplies water and enhances the interior of a kitchen or bathroom,” says the company. “For us who have been working with mixers for over 100 years, it means so much more. We value aesthetic qualities both on the inside and the outside. Among other things, that means developing technical solutions that help to save water and energy, thereby improving the environment. To us, aesthetic value means always taking the whole picture into account.

Energy-efficient 9000E II A good example is the recently launched FM Mattsson 9000E II basin mixer, which is extremely energy-efficient and has a

classic design that suits many different bathroom interiors. It complies with the highest level (A) in the new Swedish energy classification system. The E in 9000E stands for Ecosafe, the Ostnor concept based on environmental awareness at all stages. This includes minimising environmental impact in the factory, choosing optimal materials and providing energy-smart functions that make the end products eco-friendly and recyclable. For example, the Eco Flow function on the aerator means that the tap works exactly as usual but air is mixed into the jet. This limits the water flow, making the mixer very energy-efficient. Cold Start is another energy-saving function. When the lever is in the neutral position, it delivers cold water instead of a mixture of cold n and hot.


INVESTMENT IN PRECISION Linamar has been investing in its Hungarian operations for 20 years now. Its latest investment project was completed in March this year, when the capacities of Linamar Hungary Zrt were significantly increased to maintain competitiveness in both the automotive sector and in general machine production. Edina Beale investigates.

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he Canadian multinational Linamar Corporation is a leading designer and diversified manufacturer of precision metallic components and systems for the automotive industry, energy and mobile industrial markets. The group acquired a presence in Hungary in 1992 and introduced new technological solutions and an efficient working culture to the small town of Orosháza, in the south-east of Hungary. Since then the staff number of Linamar Hungary Zrt has grown from 354 to 2170 whilst the initial turnover of HUF 602 million has now reached HUF37.3 billion. At present there are three production centres in Hungary, two of them engaged in the automotive and precision component production. These plants are located in Békéscsaba and Orosháza whilst the division in Oros specialises in general machine

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production. Today Linamar Hungary Zrt is a vital part of the Linamar global operations and investments have been constantly made by the group to increase the firm’s competitiveness in its markets. The latest investment project was completed in March this year. Mr Csaba Havasi, the managing director of the Linamar group in Europe said in its statement to the MTI: “We opened a new manufacturing facility of Linamar Hungary Zrt as part of a HUF 6.9 billion investment. The company’s 11 000 m2 capacity was increased by 5 000 m2 in Orosháza, whilst new modern reception area and offices were built. The company received a HUF 1.5 billion fund from the Economic Operative Programme. “Linamar in Hungary is the largest employment provider in the region. Significant investments were made to acquire new

machinery and assets for both the automotive and machine manufacturing units, and we will continue with these investments this year. As a result of this development we created an extra 250 jobs.”

Diverse portfolio The company manufactures a wide range of products for the automotive industry; the portfolio includes engine components, gearbox-, driving-, braking-, steering wheel-, and compressor components. In addition to this, the production of large size generator components and motor generator components is also significant. Both automotive divisions acquired the ISO TS 16949 quality assurance certificate in addition to meeting the criteria of the environmental EN ISO 14001 and the health and safety requirements of the OHSAS 18001standards.


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Foresƶt-9 Kft was established in 1973 and has been operating as its current form of limited company since 2009. We specialise in metal processing and cutting as well as machine production using CNC and traditional technologies. In addition, we design and manufacture specialist tools and equipment. Mostly we carry out lease work, but we have also manufactured our own products in the past, these include brake components that acquired the ’H’ certification by TÜV. Throughout our operations the list of our partners included large organisations such as; Ganz-MÁVAG; Ikarus; IFA Magyarország Kft.; GYSGY Rehab Kft; Gázipari Gépgyár Kft; Phoenix Rubber Gumiipari Kft.; Linamar Hungary Zrt.; Hungaro SLR Gépipari Kft.; Első Beton Kft. Besides our daily operations we are currently focusing on extending and modernising our facilities, whilst aiming to meet the requirements of the ISO quality assurance standards. FORESƵT-9 KFT. - MA’JUS 1.u.15., H-6727 Sƶeged, Hungary Tel/Fax: +36 62 457229 - E-mail: foresƶt09@gmail.com


The Oros division specialises in general machine production; its product range includes agricultural machinery, road construction machines and erector machines for the construction industry. The Oros division has been developing and supplying corn and sunflower adapters for over 35 years. During this period 30,000 pieces of corn harvesting adapters have been made and sold in many different parts of the world.

facility whilst operating with reduced energy and minimising seed dropping. During the development process the company’s aim was to develop an adapter that reduces harvesting waste to a minimum: the adapter is fitted with a row of trays that collect the falling sunflower heads and seeds. Its simple construction and light weight also allow users to significantly reduce costs during the harvesting process.

Recent product launches

In parallel with the global strategy of the Linamar group, Linamar Hungary Zrt mainly concentrates on the European market; more than 80 per cent of the products are exported to countries including Germany, the UK, France, the Ukraine, Russia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Croatia. The company’s own development products are also sold in North America. Mr Janos Ivanics, CEO of the Linamar Hungary Zrt has numerous reasons to be confident about the company’s future: “We have strengthened our position in the domestic market in both activities, and in 2012 we expect further growth as a result of the large and increasing demand for our products. Due to the considerable amount of funds we received for investment

The company’s core product is the high quality corn harvesting adapter, the Oros cornhead, that can be fitted to all types of harvesters, and is suitable for harvesting corns and sunflowers that are planted in 70–100cm rows. The company’s CORNADO corn harvesting machines were redeveloped this year; customers can choose from 6 rows to 16 rows, or whether they want the product to be fixed or foldable. Continuous product development has always been a priority focus in the Oros division. The Oros Sun hydrostatic sunflower harvesting adapter was launched in 2011. This is an innovative quality product, which is equipped with a stalk crashing

Strong presence

purposes, our technological developments have been significant in recent times. In addition to this, we have increased our efficiency by raising our requirements to recruit skilled professionals and by continuously improving our work environment. “We will continue our investments in the next few years in both automotive component production and in the machine manufacturing division too. The customer base of Linamar is continuously expanding, and our capacities in both automotive divisions are 100 per cent utiliSed. In the next few years we would like to continue to extend our capacities in this sector as well as in our n own machinery production.”


SEEKING NEW

PARTNERS 46 Industry Europe

Automotive seating expert TS Tech UK is in the process of expanding its customer base across Europe, with the aim of capitalising on its extensive experience as the sole seating supplier to Honda UK. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to director David Stone to find out more.


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Tech UK is the UK arm of global automotive seating manufacturing giant TS Tech. Based in Japan, TS Tech is a key supplier to Honda worldwide, providing high-quality, technically advanced front and rear seating for all its models. Established in Japan in 1960, TS Tech’s multinational locations include Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, China, Hong Kong, the USA, Canada, Mexico, India and Germany, with TS Tech UK located in Swindon. TS Tech UK’s director, David Stone, told Industry Europe how the company’s UK hub fits within the global group. He said, “We are the UK subsidiary of TS Tech and we have access to the group’s extensive design and development capabilities, not to mention its incredible global network. As the sole seating supplier to Honda UK, we are currently

only engaged with Honda, but we are eager to expand and certainly have the experience and the facilities to do so.” TS Tech builds front and rear seating for all three of Honda UK’s automotive models – the Civic, CRV and Jazz. This means that all Honda vehicles manufactured in the UK have seating by TS Tech installed. Mr Stone continued, “We manufacture the front and rear seats as a complete kit, ready to be installed at Honda’s UK plants. Our relationship with Honda has grown steadily over the years as we have continued to prove ourselves as a flexible, reliable supplier.”

Flexible and reliable It is precisely this capability as a ‘flexible, reliable supplier’ that TS Tech UK is keen to bring to a wider audience. The global recession

brought with it the realisation that being largely dependent on one customer is not ideal even though Honda’s UK production is now recovering towards pre-recession levels. Mr Stone explained, “Our volume peaked in 2007 as Honda’s production peaked – to approximately 237,000 vehicles in one year. 2008 was not so different, but 2009 saw a significant drop, by well over 50 per cent. We are now going in the right direction, but we appreciate that we are not fulfilling our total capacity potential and that is where we are focused.” Until now, TS Tech UK has been limited by Honda’s UK vehicle production. This has, however, meant that the company has developed an impressively flexible approach to car seating manufacture, with efficient modifications of its shift patterns and the ability to react quickly to changing demands.

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Mr Stone said, “We are ready to bring this flexibility to other customers, while still maintaining our excellent relationship with Honda. We are actually capable of doubling our current production levels, so even though Honda is currently going through a volume increase and we are responding to that increase in demand, we can also service new contracts.” Mr Stone continued, “We are already in communication with some European OEMs to meet their automotive seating manufacture requirements. Seating takes quite a long time in the development stages as it is such a key component to a vehicle. We are looking at long-term relationships with new customers so that we are both able to take advantage.”

Greener seating In terms of ecological understanding, TS Tech is well aware of the weight impact that seating has on a vehicle, and as such is able to implement weight-reducing measures while retain-

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ing the highest possible quality seating that complies with all European standards. The company is also promoting its sustainability credentials by sourcing as locally as possible in order to reduce shipping costs. Its sourcing strategy is no longer focused on overseas, particularly Japan as it was previously, with its aim now to purchase in Europe, and ideally the UK, wherever possible. At the beginning of September TS Tech commenced its production of Honda’s new CRV. The upgraded vehicle will be available in dealerships later in 2012, so TS Tech is

expecting to ramp up its activities considerably during this period. Mr Stone also explained that this increase in production is welcome as, following the joint Asian disasters of the tsunami in Japan and the floods in Thailand, Honda’s production had been badly affected, which in turn impacted on Honda in the UK and TS Tech. Mr Stone concluded, “Historically we’ve only worked with Honda in the UK, but as we appreciate the limitations of that we are eager to source new customers. We have recently opened a new office in

Germany which gives us a greater presence in Europe and we are in talks with a few OEMs. We will continue to specialise in automotive seating manufacture as this is what we know best and what we do best – we will also continue to meet Honda’s needs in the UK as our role with them is paramount to our continued success. But what 2013 will also bring is new partnerships with automotive clients across Europe that can benefit from our flexibility and reliability as a forward-thinking seating n manufacturer with fresh ideas.”

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SOUND INVESTMENT The Alpine group made a good investment when it chose Hungary to become the European production centre of quality mobile solutions more than a decade ago. Whilst achieving rapid growth, Alpine Hungary has built strong links with its partners and today makes large contributions to the group’s global success. Edina Beale reports.

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uropean sales in the field of OEM production were rising fast in 1999, when Alpine decided to set up its first and only European production facility in Hungary. The former Eastern bloc country provided a perfect location for the Japanese parent company for various reasons. Alpine at that time had already been operating its European headquarters in Munich, with sales and development center in Stuttgart, the UK, France and some other European countries. Hungary’s geographic position has enabled the new factory, Alpine

Electronics Manufacturing of Europe Ltd (AOHU), to closely liaise with these centres in order to fully satisfy customers in the whole region. In addition to its low labour cost and low transportation cost, Hungary’s position also provided the opportunity for custom free import within the European Union via applying Customs-Free Zone business scheme for the Hungarian plant. The brand new state-of-the-art manufacturing plant was built in a 129,000 m2 land in Biatorbágy, 20km west of Budapest capital.

Strong links with partners on both sides Today AOHU supplies products to the most prestigious European car manufacturers. The portfolio includes CD and radio audio products, navigation systems with built-in DVD readerand dash information displays. BMW and Mercedes are the most significant customers, but sales with the VW groups and Honda have also increased lately. In addition, the company manufactures a small volume – approximately 200 products – for Volvo each month.


Mr Yasuki Matsui, managing director of AOHU, believes that its effective communication with partners is a major strength of the company: “Our 13 years of experiences in communication enable us to handle problematic situations efficiently and we can reliably build on our relationship by keeping every day contact with our partners. Our suppliers have an important role too, since as a TIER1 supplier we rely on our efficient and well-established relationships with them. In recent times, our

domestic suppliers acquired growing significance; more and more components are being supplied by companies in Hungary and other European contries.”

Efficiency and quality increasing projects Products are being developed in the Japanese R&D plant that works closely with the development centre in Stuttgart. “Our priority is to fully satisfy our partners, but efficiency and quality are also our main focus,” highlights Mr Matsui. “We believe in our ability and have put

in place many efficiency-increasing projects that will improve our quality, flexibility and efficiency as a result.” Due to its geographic location, AOHU is able to cut its logistics cost significantly by serving partners directly from their own warehouses. The company began the direct supply of BMW in 2005, and reduced Alpine’s 2–3 week consignment warehouse needs to 4–5 days storage in the Hungarian plant, and therefore also eliminating the shipping cost. “It is particularly important for the customer from


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cash flow and quality aspects,” explains Mr Attila Cserepes, SCM director of the Hungarian plant. “Due to our low stock we are able to adjust to the latest changes made by our engineers that further improve our quality level or required by our customers. Our efficient production and the dynamic team behind it, largely contribute to our success. Alpine uses the Hungarian factory as a showroom to demonstrate Alpine production capabilities to our partners,” continues Mr Cserepes. Recent investments have enabled AOHU to meet the stringent criteria control measures and ensure that the products leaving

the plant are to the highest standards. In order to improve cleanliness, AOHU installed suspended ceilings and ESD barriers in their manufacturing facilities as well as invested in a condensation system to precisely control humidity in the building.

Key role in global operation After ten years of dynamic growth, AOHU has now a key role in the Alpine group’s global operations. Alpine manufactures worldwide nearly 8 million pieces of finished goods of which over 1 million pieces are produced in Hungary. The factory last year

turned over €222 million and currently employs 950 staff. Since its establishment, the plant facilities in Hungary have been expanded three times, most recently in 2008 when manufacturing capacities were increased by 7000m2. “Alpine has six other manufacturing plants in other worldwide locations, and we can produce the most complex products to provide one third of the group’s total European sales,” confirms Mr Cserepes. “If we consider the fact that European sales contribute 40 per cent of the group’s total turnover, our output indicate a significant production volume.” Industry Europe 55


Alpine in Hungary has acquired significant experience in the past decade and built strong relationships with their customers and suppliers. At the same time, the Hungarian plant adapted well to the Alpine structure and established a smooth cooperation between the Japanese, German, English and Hungarian multi cultural operations. Mr Cserepes has even more reasons to be optimistic: “We believe, that our factory has an increasing responsibility in Alpine sales and that we make large contributions in assisting Alpine to manufacture more efficiently. Following our ‘Made in Market’ policy, utilising the capability of local engineers and considering the strength of Alpine’s customers the company’s future is guaranteed for the next 4–5 years and we can expect 15–25 per cent annual output growth. We believe that when the European car industry starts growing again, Alpine Hungary, with its awareness towards the total production cost, recognising the needs of flexibility and pursuing to supply high quality products, will be able to take on a n big role to satisfy customer demands.”


LIGHTING THE FUTURE Tecnomeccanica SpA is an Italian manufacturer of high-precision aluminium die-cast components of different shapes and dimensions for the automotive industry. Barbara Rossi talks to Giorgio Valli, the company’s plant manager and COO, to find out more about its operations.

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ecnomeccanica, which today employs 110 people, achieved a €13 million turnover in 2010 and exports 85 per cent of the 8 million die-cast components that it produces every year. The company was established in 1945 in Novara, between Milan and Turin, and began by designing and constructing moulds and aluminium die-cast components. There were several developments over the years, with the most significant of these taking place in 1999 when the company, which had already started pro-

ducing reflectors, began metallising them. In 2003 the company moved to a larger site in Novara, and in 2007 it began producing LED lamps and aluminium heat sinks.

Know-how in one hand The introduction of metallisation was particularly significant because it has allowed Tecnomeccanica to distinguish itself as an integrated process supplier, from die-casting to metallisation, which is quite rare at the European level. However, the company also

continues to supply some non-metallised reflectors to clients who prefer to carry out the metallisation process in-house. Nowadays Tecnomeccanica provides an entire service, starting with the customer’s input, followed by mould design and construction, aluminium die-casting, blanking, tumbling, powder coating, metallisation and quality control, and then completed with shipping. Sophisticated 3D design and test tools, including optical scanning and contact machines, are employed during this process. Industry Europe 57


The 2003 move has been very important because, as a result, Tecnomeccanica now operates from a 34,500m2 site where production capacity has recently been increased further thanks to investments in the automation of the die-cast and cutting cycles. Mr Valli stressed that his company is interested in pursuing this automation trend. In 2010, for example, it purchased new automated machinery and retrofitted existing equipment, increasing the number of automated production islands.

Benefits of aluminium for headlights and heat sinks “Our reflectors are targeted at high range cars, because generally for standard halogen headlights reflectors are made in plastic,” – Mr Valli explains – “whereas our reflectors are still used for high power halogen headlights and especially for all xenon lamps because they need to dissipate a lot of heat and only aluminium reflectors can keep their complex geometry at these high temperatures.” The 2007 innovation has

seen the introduction of aluminium heat sinks for LED daytime headlights on high range cars, which also require high heat resistance. “Further benefits offered by aluminium die-cast components for both reflectors and heat sinks include very thin thickness with complex profiles, and these characteristics allow us to keep both cost and weight at low levels – essential for today’s automotive sector,” adds Mr Valli. Eighty-five per cent of the high precision aluminium die-cast components produced


by Tecnomeccanica are reflectors, whilst the remaining 15 per cent is made up of heat sinks. This latter area is growing and in fact Mr Valli forecasts that it will soon make up 20 per cent of the company’s total output. The outlet for Tecnomeccanica’s products is the automotive industry, mainly in terms of pure automotive products such as cars (90 per cent of turnover), lorries and motorbikes (5 per cent), agricultural (tractors) and earth moving vehicles (5 per cent).

Developments in various types of illumination Tecnomeccanica’s new products will concentrate on the growing field of heat sinks and, while up to now metallisation has been exclusive to reflectors, the company

is now developing metallised heat sinks for which it has reached the prototype phase. Alongside this development, it is interested in exploring possible applications for its reflectors in the civil lighting sector, for the illumination of facilities such as roads, parks and sport sites. Tecnomeccanica’s interest in developing applications for this area is linked to the increasing trend for LED lamp road lighting, due to the considerable environmental and energy saving benefits it can offer. At present the company’s main export market is Europe (mainly in Germany), followed by the NAFTA area, then Italy and, with a small share, Asia. However, geographical sales areas and rankings could change as Tecnomeccanica follows trends

in the production of high-range automobiles so any relocation/delocalisation here could mean a shift in the company’s geographical sales balance. Talking about future company development, Mr Valli mentions organic growth, which might take place alongside possible joint ventures so as to set up production near important clients’ production sites. He also talks about possible future joint ventures to set up production on the American continent. Tecnomeccanica holds the ISO TS 16949, ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 certificates and was also one of the first companies in Italy to achieve automotive-specific certifications. Its aim for the future is to remain an essential partner for the major automotive n lighting manufacturers. Industry Europe 59


A STRONG PARTNER This year the Austrian building company Handler Construction is celebrating its 150th anniversary. Managing director Markus Handler told us how the company combines tradition and experience with a forward-looking attitude.

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he highest competence levels, a modern infrastructure and cutting-edge machines – these are what make the Bad Schönau-based building specialists successful in a multitude of projects, from private dwellings and commercial properties to a range of municipal developments. The company, which achieves a turnover of over €60 million, boasts its own fleet of vehicles and undertakes most of its building projects in the wider area of Vienna, in southern lower Austria and eastern Austria.

150 years of tradition The success story of Handler Construction started in 1862, when Josef Handler founded a carpentry business. This was handed on 60 Industry Europe

from son to grandson and finally to Walter Handler, who had been running his own building company since 1962. The carpentry business was integrated into the building company, and one of its first major contracts was the refurbishment of the prestigious luxury Hotel Sacher in Vienna in 1978. Continuing the family’s passion for the building sector is his son Markus Handler, who has been leading the enterprise since 2007. Handler Construction builds residential houses, multiple-occupancy dwellings and commercial, industrial and agricultural buildings. In addition, refurbishments, alterations, loft conversions and more are undertaken. “Most of our customers for homes and agricultural buildings are private individuals, while


municipalities and businesses are the target group for the urban projects,” says Mr Handler. “We offer either one or all of the following services: master builder work, carpentry work, roofing and sheet metal or plumbing works. We can also help with the planning stage or act as general contractors.”

investments are underway, in the shape of a new production facility for the carpentry unit which is due to open in 2013 and will be located about 20km away. All construction will be moved there, and with its range of new machines the company will start to produce wooden building elements there.

Extending the service portfolio

Challenging projects

Over the years the company has not stood still, but has developed, modernised and expanded the facilities, most recently in a complete rebuild of the premises in Bad Schönau in 2000. Today around 300 employees are working there, joined by a regular contingent of highly motivated young apprentices. The company’s headquarters house the wood construction facilities, logistics areas and the administrative facilities. Large

Some recent projects are particularly suited to demonstrating the high level of expertise that customers can expect from Handler Construction. For a spa and hotel in Lutzmannsburg, Handler Construction carried out wood construction works that included the refurbishment of the pyramid roof, and managed to complete eight building phases in the extremely short period of nine weeks. Logistical problems had to be overcome

where some of the sites were more than 100 metres away from navigable roads – leading to the complex use of crane technology. As a general contractor Handler Construction led the completion of the financial centre in St Pölten – a particularly challenging project in terms of architecture and statics based near the river Danube. Specialist knowledge was also required for the building works on the Burg Perchtoldsdorf castle, which turned a historical castle into an events centre. Some of the works had to be carried out right beneath the foundations, and many of the existing segments had to be secured. Another accomplishment was the construction of a residential complex in Vienna with 21 apartment buildings, completed in a record building time.

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Handler Construction even managed to find a solution for building works on a piece of land that was solely accessible from the nearby lake, at a house in an eastern Austrian lake. To construct this unique new weekend home in a bay, the determined experts worked from a boat for the first building phase of construction, and used wooden poles to anchor the building in the lake.

Building a future for the business “Our future plans include a stronger presence in the timber construction market, which is why we are investing in our own construction facility for wooden building elements,” says Mr Handler. In order to

further future-proof the business Handler Construction is currently implementing a process optimisation systems and IT support structures. “We aim for organic growth, and we see many opportunities for our company due to the increased demand for timber constructions. We also see much potential in extending our property development activities, in addition to our construction services, to make the company less dependent on the fluctuating demand in the building sector.” Over the next few years the company is working on further optimisation of all business processes, with the aim of responding n quicker to market developments.

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READY FOR THE RECOVERY Continuing to flourish during tough times, India-based global packaging films manufacturer Cosmo Films is enjoying the results of its recent investment and remodelling programme. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to CEO Ashok Jaipuria to find out more.

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ow in its 31st year, Cosmo Films has seen enough business cycles to know that strategic planning during tough times can deliver strong results when growth returns. CEO Ashok Jaipuria is clear that the company’s careful development over the past four years will continue to deliver excellent results in the coming years, thanks to a close monitoring of its active markets. With the company dedicated to ‘quality and service’ ever since it was established in 1981, it was determined to guarantee that the promise held as true today as it did in the early days of business. The ‘remodelling’ of Cosmo Films has largely centred on addressing the issues that Mr Jaipuria and his team had identified as being areas of possible improvement. “With employees as the biggest asset, Cosmo placed a lot of emphasis on training requirements for its employees. A successful team of motivated employees helped us develop new products and thereby making Cosmo carve a niche for its products in the market.” He continued, “It’s never easy to admit where you could improve, but it is imperative that you take a step back and see what cus-

tomers see. We realised that our customer response could be better, new products would be welcome, management could be improved and that manufacturing processes could be tightened up. We’ve worked hard to ensure that every area of the business is as strong as possible, so that when the market surfaces back we will be performing over and above the competition.”

Even more customer-focused Customer satisfaction was, is and will always be the most important aspect of Cosmo’s business worldwide. Cosmo Films has implemented a series of more customer-focused practices, such as ensuring firm delivery times and meeting the exact needs of the customer regardless of whether they request two or three shipments in one order, for example, or various different films within one order. Mr Jaipuria added, “It’s what we call a ‘yes we can’ attitude. If we are asked a question that we have not come across before, or have a request for an order or product we do not have, we say yes and work out a way to make it happen exactly as the customer wants. We do whatever we can to help so that customers know they can always rely on Cosmo”.

For our future endeavours we are focused on: • MANAGING VOLATILITY OF RAW MATERIAL, REGIONAL SHOCKS & COMPETITIVE PRESSURES. • COST, COST & COST. • COMMITTED TO CONTINUOUSLY DEVELOP NEW PRODUCTS & REDUCE TIME TO MARKET. • EMPLOYEE GROWTH, PARTICIPATION & ENGAGEMENT.

All the above will be the driving factors to achieve our goals and mission. The company’s three core areas of production remain packaging films, laminating films and coated films, with its state-of-the-art manufacturing units in India, Korea, the Netherlands and the USA all offering high quality products. Cosmo changed its strategy of meeting customer needs by teaming up with local channel partners in Europe – its distributors – to ensure in-time deliveries at competitive prices for the customer. Cosmo Film’s best-selling product is its range of laminating films. The new products recently introduced by Cosmo Films also reflect the company’s desire to be customer-focused Industry Europe 65


at all times. Having acquired a new company that has further enhanced its variety of thermal films, Cosmo Films has improved its product offering by expanding its range as well as upgrading its existing products. The management changes at Cosmo Films have also played a key role in ensuring the company is perfectly poised to utilise the predicted upturn in the global economy. Mr Jaipuria pointed out, “The last two years have seen a few senior management changes as well as more internal promotions to reward employees that encompass our ‘yes we can’ attitude. I am more than happy that we are in the ideal position to deliver growth in the coming years will all these carefully executed changes in place.”

All about upgrades “As the future beckons, we are committed to take higher market share through expansion and new investments, expanding more than 30 per cent further, thereby mak-

66 Industry Europe

ing us stronger in the market to compete and bring us closer towards our growth mission. Cosmo Film’s internal development includes a considerable upgrading of its IT infrastructure. With SAP for all locations and additional investment made to deliver additional online services, the company’s global sales potential has seen a surge.” Mr Jaipuria continued, “We expect to introduce online ordering soon too, but we do not believe that this can replace the personal touch. Labour costs in India are still very affordable, so we prefer to offer direct contact with our customers and sales people to guarantee that all questions are answered in person immediately. But we will soon offer the best of both worlds, so if customers want to order on line, they can.” With an exciting year ahead where the results of Cosmo Films’ investment are set to bear fruit, Mr Jaipuria predicts a 50 per cent increase in revenue, “Thanks to additional capacity, a boosted product offer

and a management team and workforce that is dynamic and committed, and we are looking forward to 2013 and beyond. We will work hard to manage extreme volatility in the market so that we are well prepared for any other hard-to-predict changes too, as we feel confident that all aspects of Cosmo n Films are ready for anything.”


INNOVATION IN

SPECIALITY CHEMICALS Rhodia, a member of the Solvay Group, is a global leader in the development and production of speciality chemicals. Rhodia provides added-value products and high-performance solutions to diversified markets, including automotive, electronics, consumer goods and industrial. One of its global business units is located in Gorzów in Poland, where the factory focuses on the production of polyamide materials. Piotr Sadowski reports.

R

hodia, founded in 1998, today leads the world in the production of mild amphoteric surfactants, phosphorous chemistry and guars and derivatives, as well as in high-performance silicas, rare earthbased formulations and diphenols. It is number two in polyamides and the number three producer of cellulose acetate. Established in 25 countries worldwide, with manufacturing facilities and R&D centres in all four major regions of the world – Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific – Rhodia

is dedicated to bringing the very best in innovation and service to its customers, as well as providing a vibrant and fulfilling working environment for its staff. In 2011, Rhodia became the third sector of the Solvay Group following a successful friendly bid for the company. Solvay is a major global industrial company with annual sales reaching €12 billion. “The common strategy is now being worked on and implemented across the Group,” says Jacek Bobrowicz, who heads the Rhodia polyamide

division in Poland, which focuses solely on the manufacturing of products derived from polyamide 6. “In 2008 the production of polyamide-6-based compounds was moved entirely from Italy to Poland; back then the annual output was around 30,000 tonnes, while 2011 was closed with a total production of 50,000 tonnes, with our operations focusing predominantly on exports reaching western europe as well as supplies to other factories within the Group. Our flagship brands include the TECHNYL STAR polyam-

Industry Europe 67


VELOX

Owens Corning

VELOX GmbH is a European leader in the marketing and supply of raw material specialities for the plastics, rubber, paints and coatings industries. Established in 1993 by Bernard Goursaud and N. Max Schlenzig, VELOX’ Head Office is in Hamburg, Germany. The company offers an extensive product range and specific market know-how right across the European continent. As a strongly customer-orientated company, VELOX understands the value of building personal relationships to provide its customers and business partners with rapid, tailored advice and technical support in all aspects of their projects.

“Long-term partnerships with customers like the one we have with Rhodia provide us with great insight about current and future needs as well as trends in the markets they serve,” said Simon Bos, Owens Corning global account manager for thermoplastics. “As a result, our products meet the mechanical performance Rhodia requires and they work well in the company’s manufacturing processes.”

VELOX currently has 16 offices and over 130 experienced staff in motion supporting customers in most European Union countries including Turkey.

Owens Corning also understands that supply security is critical for manufacturers. The company is a leading global producer of glass fiber reinforcements and engineered materials for composite systems and residential and commercial building materials. This includes composites plants in 15 countries, enabling the company to produce its product globally and supply locally.

For further information please contact the VELOX webpage: www.velox.com

ide 6.6 family of products, used in the automotive, electrical and electronics, industry and processing, and other sectors. We are also constantly working on introducing new, highly innovative products into our offer.”

TECHNYL eXten and other novelties As Mr Bobrowicz explains, the drive to obtain green, eco-friendly solutions is one of the most visible tendencies, in all areas of industrial manufacturing, including the production of polymers. One of the novelties in Rhodia Polyamide Poland’s product offer is the TECHNYL eXten, which is a 68 Industry Europe

One of the many benefits of forging a long-time relationship is working side-by-side with a customer to develop innovative solutions. Currently, we are exploring potential applications using our broad portfolio of glass fiber products.

polyamide 6.10 version obtained from castor oil. “It is an important and affordable alternative to the expensive polyamide 12,” explains Mr Bobrowicz. “It is also difficult to buy – while the demand is high, the supply in 2012 has been low, with the shortages caused by production stoppages at one of the main polyamide 12 manufacturers. TECHNYL eXten is characterised by very good chemical resistance, including against fuel permeation. It is also easily used in further processing.” Key sub-products within the TECHNYL eXten family include D 458P and D 437P,

specially developed for semi-finished and rapid prototyping automotive and other applications, such as extruded pipes and tubing applications, where a long-term hightemperature usage is required. In addition, D 218 V30 and D 238 V30 formulations are reinforced with 30 per cent glass fibre and are impact modified, which makes them suitable for injection moulding. These products are used in various applications in fastening devices in industry and processing and offer excellent chemical resistance, low water absorption, very good mechanical properties and mouldability. “Thanks to the hard work



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of our R&D team, this range of products has very quickly become a major hit with clients across Europe as well as other crucial markets, including Brazil,” adds Mr Bobrowicz. The company has also prepared a diverse offering of polyamide 6 and 6.6 for the electrical and electronics markets, which are halogen free but contain red phosphorous, and are therefore perfect for appliance and industrial controls, such as control switchgears, rotary switches and timers. “Our investments in innovations in polyamide 6.10 and products containing red phosphorous were worth €2 million,” says the CEO of Rhodia Polyamide Poland. “In addition, our R&D unit is constantly working on new developments, one of which includes products based on polyamide powders which can be used for the 3D creation of elements: polyamide powder is glued together and made ready for printing, which is an excellent solution for the creation of prototypes.”

the overall weight of vehicles and improved recycling, hence the use of composite materials, just to mention the automotive industry,” explains Mr Bobrowicz. “We are also working on a possible strategic move, to locate our automotive production in Russia, as this is a market where the automotive industry is expected to boom and where there is no significant producer of polyamide 6. However, this is a very long-term issue and in the meantime we need to engage in the consolidation of our production capabilities in the plant in Gorzów. It is also important to note that in addition to Russia, we expect a lot of potential to grow our sales across all BRIC countries, as the example of Brazil with our polyamide n 6.10 products is proving already.”

Ongoing growth and expansion in new markets The automotive sector accounts for around 50 per cent of Rhodia Polyamide Poland’s sales, closely followed at around 30 per cent by the electrical and electronics market, for which the products containing red phosphorous have been especially developed. In addition, the company’s clients also include those in the consumer industrial goods sector, distribution and others. “We are known to be a very flexible producer, capable of answering the needs of customers and responding to trends such as the ongoing lowering of

Industry Europe 71


SPECIALIST IN WATER-

BASED ADDITIVES With a core business focus on the design and production of water-based rheology additives for use in a wide variety of water-based processes and formulations, French company Coatex – part of the Arkema Group – has established a strong position in Europe in a highly competitive sector.

72 Industry Europe


C

oatex is looking to grow rapidly and increase turnover by 50 per cent in the next five years. According to the company’s executive team, its focus on water-based products, its continued internationalisation and its policy of avoiding over-diversification will be instrumental in achieving its goals. Coatex’s key product areas are in paper and board (producing minerals for slurries, and process additives); construction (focusing on water-based processes), supplying rheology additives for the manufacture of acrylic paints and concrete; water treatment and for the production of a range of minerals (including calcium carbonate, titanium dioxide, talc and kaolin). The paper and board side of the business accounts for around 50 per cent of

revenues. The company’s additives are used in fine-tuning paper coating processes, and Coatex supplies the industry both directly and indirectly. Jacques Laluet, general manager for sales and marketing, explained: “We supply the paper and board industry via two channels. The first is indirectly, through the use of pigment slurries, and we have developed special grades of products for these slurries. The second channel involves selling the additives that are used in the coating process directly to the paper and board industry.”

Strong partnerships Coatex works in close partnership with its customers in the development of products, including technical collaborations on the

fine-tuning of additives. It produces both bespoke solutions, and standard ranges, and has developed several product lines for the paper and board industry. The main driver for companies in the sector is to reduce cost, so this is a major factor in Coatex’s work with its customers. Marketing director EMEA Francois Court explained: “We do this by reformulating to use cheaper components – this obviously will involve some process issues, and this is where the rheology additives come into play in order to solve these technological barriers that arise when you try to reformulate. This has been a main driver with one of our partners, OMIA – a leading supplier of calcium carbonate slurries. We have worked closely with this company to help paper producers

Industry Europe 73


Coatex technician providing technical assistance

High shear rheometers

Left: François Court, Right: Jacques Laluet


Headquarters: R&D center plant in Genay, France

reformulate and use more and more calcium carbonate in their formulations in order to reduce the final costs.” Jacques Laluet said that another positive effect of this work is to help producers reduce their carbon footprint. “There has been a development in slurries over the last 30 years. We started with slurries at 60 per cent solid content, and this figure is now around 80 per cent, which means we have made a significant reduction in the amount of water transported around Europe. Also, by increasing the solids content of coating colours, it means the producer uses less energy in the paper drying process so there is an advantage both in terms of cost and of carbon footprint. Across the industry, there is a push for continual innovation to achieve improvements in these areas of cost and carbon footprint reduction.”

Global expansion to continue While focusing on these key elements of its business, Coatex is also expanding globally. It has two plants in Europe, in the Netherlands and France, with the latter also housing its R&D centre and technical centre for Europe. It has a plant and technical centre in the USA and the latest addition to its facilities was a new technical centre opened last year in China, followed by a plant to serve the paper, board and other industries in China and Asia-Pacific. “More than 50 per cent of our last run of paper-making machines were manufactured in China,” said Francois Court, “so this was a crucial step for Coatex in order to be able to serve the global market.” Next on the radar are development projects in South America, where the company currently has a sales office in Brazil. “The paper industry is very international, and our customers expect

their partners to be able to follow them on a global basis. We are a relatively small company with 350 staff, but it is important for us to be a global business. We are also helped in this area by being part of the Arkema Group, and the group’s existing networks and supply chain help us in developing our international footprint. For instance in China we have a Coatex plant based on a larger industrial plant owned by Arkema.” The company acknowledges that future growth will come through further innovation. With the kinds of new machines that are being installed in Asia, new additives are required. And at the same time, in Europe, where the paper and board sector is under more pressure, there’s a demand for new additives to help increase competitiveness. With its continued focus on innovation, cost reduction and environmental responsibility, Coatex is well n placed to meet these demands.

Industry Europe 75


SPECIAL IN SILICONES CHT R Beitlich has built its reputation on textile chemicals but now it is also making a name for itself in silicone specialities. Abigail Saltmarsh reports.

IT

was about seven years now that CHT R Beitlich, headquarters of the CHT/ BEZEMA Group, added another area of speciality chemicals to its portfolio. Since then the German company, which for decades had been known as a textile auxiliaries and dyes specialist and focused production and promotion of silicones specialities. CHT has very successfully started now to develop further business activities in industrial fields like industrial laundries, building materials, paint & coating industry, paper industry and consumer goods industry. It prides itself on the success it is having in these areas,

76 Industry Europe

says managing director and CCO Uwe Halder, and it expects this part of its operation to become increasingly important. “It was in 2005 that we decided to adapt our strategy and move towards becoming a special chemical company. We decided to implement new fields of activity and to offer customers products to meet their needs,” he explained. “Over the next two or three years we will be moving even further from being a company that was completely depending on textile chemicals to one where speciality chemicals for other industrial fields

account for a larger percentage of our product and sales. Now about 70 per cent of our sales are related products for the textile industry that should change so the balance is 50/50 or even 60/40, with more sales in speciality chemicals.”

A history in textiles CHT R Beitlich was founded in 1953 and specialised in producing and distributing auxiliaries and dyes as worldwide leading partner of the textile industry. Today CHT/ BEZEMA Group is represented in all major textile countries worldwide and produces


Industry Europe 77


and sells products with more than 1700 employees and 20 affiliates. By taking charge of the Hansa Textil Chemie of former Goldschmidt AG, CHT R Beitlich GmbH joined the silicone chemistry in 1997. Under the brand name HANSA an innovative portfolio of organomodified silicone oils, formulations and silicone defoamers are developed, produced and distributed for applications in the textile, leather and cosmetics industry as well as in home and car care industry. The consistent further development led to completion of this innovative product portfolio by silicone additives for further industrial applications such as manufacturing of paints, lacquers and adhesives. Since 2010 the silicone portfolio of CHT has expanded with silicone elastomers through an acquisition of Alpina Technische Produkte in Geretsried. At the new site CHT

78 Industry Europe


is specialised in the manufacturing of silicone elastomers applied, for example in mould making, rapid prototyping, coating of fabrics and in pad printing. “We are seeing fantastic growth in these areas, and in silicones in particular,” says Mr Halder. “We expect this growth to continue at a rate of about four to five per cent a year.” No other class of substance demonstrates a similar diversity of product characteristics as silicone – this includes softness, shine, hydrophobicity, colour intensification and anti-static qualities. The chemicals have an abundance of possible uses from cleaning and treating surfaces in the home (plastics, wood, metal, glass or ceramic) and protecting outdoor articles against the influences of the weather.

Dedicated solutions “The modern and state-of-the-art silicone production facilities open various possibilities for flexible modification and customised product design”, he continues.

Further investment Today, the company produces from a total of 16 manufacturing sites around the world. These include its facilities in China, India and Peru, where it has seen expansion in recent times. “Our sites across the world do serve the local market and have seen increasing demand in these places in particular,” he says. “We will be expanding further in new segments and do expect new sites to come elsewhere in the future too through acquisition.”

Investment is ongoing to ensure that the company’s 7000 customers across the globe receive a high quality service at all times. It has recently installed a new SAP ERP system. “This has made a huge difference in terms of speed, accuracy and delivery,” he adds. The focus, now, he stresses, is very much on the future as a speciality chemicals, as well as textile chemicals, operation. “We are a customer-driven organisation and the aim is to continue to focus on customised product development, mainly in the new segments, that are interested in silicone specialities. We expect to add value to the market and to be able to continue to offer our capabilities in research, development and technical support, which can then lead to more special n applications and satisfied customers.”

Industry Europe 79


SPINNING WITH SUCCESS Hajdu Zrt, Hungary’s most renowned manufacturer of household goods, celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. For many decades the company’s flagship products were washing machines, but in recent years it has moved its focus to the renewable energy sector and has been acquiring a strong presence with their award-winning developments. Edina Beale reports.

H

ajdu Zrt, the formerly state-owned company, was established in 1952 to supply parts for the armed forces. In 1957 the company began to manufacture household goods and has continued with this profile ever since. By the mid-1970s Hajdu became a strong brand name for its high-quality automatic washing machines and began to export a significant amount. Since then the company has been continuously developing its products to meet rapidly changing customer needs and has expanded its portfolio to keep up with current trends.

Success in renewable energy In 2006 Hajdu began to shift towards the renewable energy sector and established a new division to develop products for this segment. In addition to maintaining its traditional markets, Hajdu Ipari Zrt began to supply solar systems and condensing gas-fired boilers. Soon the company identified other opportunities in this sector and made a strategic decision to start a large investment project to meet demand. In 2010 Hajdu completed the HUF 800 million technological development that was required to

manufacture indirect tanks, enabling it to launch its buffer tank production. In addition to introducing the most modern technologies, the company has greatly improved its IT structure, staff training and marketing. Whilst completing this project, the company has been constantly developing its product ranges in all segments. “There have been many significant changes in the EU laws regulating energy efficiency, and this encourages producers to focus on product development. This is exactly our direction, too,” confirms Mr Istvan Novotni, managing director of Hajdu




Ipari Zrt. All developments at Ipari Zrt focus on using renewable energy sources and aim at improving energy efficiency. The new approach has already brought the company success. In recent times Hajdu has launched an innovative buffer tank family range that won the Hungarian Quality Product Award, and also developed an STA type, multi-energy (indirect and solar) heat pump system that received the Hungarian House of Quality award in 2010. Currently there are many product development projects in progress, as Mr Novotni explains: “These are adjusted to the imminent EU regulations and to the quickly changing consumer needs: we are redeveloping our small capacity products and are aiming to improve the energy efficiency and electronics of our traditional electric hot water tanks as well as extending our heat pump hot water tank family range.”

Dynamic growth in automotive products Hajdu Autotechnika Ipari Zrt, the diversified manufacturing operation of the Hajdu group, came out as a winner from the recession, as its turnover has increased dynamically in the past few years. The company was established in the 1990s to supply automotive products, and its facilities have been constantly developed to meet the required technological demands. For

many years the company has been producing exhaust system parts for the French company Faurecia and developed and produced its own manufacturing tools. Following a new contract win, the company has recently begun to manufacture nearly 50 different types of exhausting drums that are being implemented into the biggest auto brands including Mercedes and BMW. The new assignment required Hajdu to make large developments in the factory, but also enabled it to take a step forward in the supply chain. “The first shipment of four different drum types went out in the beginning of June. The company is now able to provide assembled parts and completed drums in addition to manufacturing parts only,” reveals Mr Novotni.

Firm outlook Hajdu today is a renowned name throughout Europe. The company has a presence in almost all countries in Europe, but its export activities to North Africa are also significant and it regularly distributes products to Thailand too. “Next year we will be putting emphasis on expanding our markets in Russia, Germany and France,” confirms Mr Novotni. “We maintained our market position in Hungary; our market share has increased in the market of traditional products whilst our turnover remained the same: HUF 7 billion in 2011.”

In the renewable energy sector, Hajdu is able to provide complex system solutions with full customer service. The company is able to assist in everything from carrying out a survey to writing applications for funds as well as installing and implementing the systems. Owing to the reduced purchasing power in the consumer sector, the factory is currently targeting companies that are looking to make large investments in this field. In terms of future development plans, Mr Novotni explains: “The recent economic climate is a new challenge for all companies. Firstly, we will have to economise all our resources better than ever. Secondly, we will have to continue with our investments – but we will have to precisely hit the direction and size of these projects, regardless of whether it is a product, technological or organisational development. “We plan to carry out a serious organisational development this year: we will expand and restructure our sales department, especially the export division, and will strengthen our research and development sector. The Infrastructure Zrt, which operates our industrial park grounds, invested HUF 200 million last year to improve our electric network system. This year’s agenda is to develop the compressed air system and our industrial n waste water treatment system.”


SETTING NEW STANDARDS

IN ROBOTIC POWER PRODUCTS Honda leads the world in the design and development of household and industrial power products. Philip Yorke looks at Honda’s operations in France from where it manufactures a wide range of energy-saving products from generators to robotic lawn mowers.

H

onda is a global brand that has steadily built upon its reputation for innovation and design excellence since it entered the field of power products in 1953. However it wasn’t until 1993 that Honda Europe Power Equipment (HEPE) became a fully integrated subsidiary of the Honda Motor Group. Today Honda France Manufacturing is responsible for the manufacture of petrol and electrical walk-behind lawnmowers, ride-on mowers and power generators, as well as hand-held trimmers and tillers. Honda France supplies more than 30 countries in the European region as well as exporting a selected range of power products to Japan. With increasing competition from the emerging markets and to maintain its position as the world’s number one supplier of quality power products, Honda has put even greater emphasis on its R&D programme.

84 Industry Europe

This has resulted in a whole new range of energy-efficient, versatile power tools and products. The company’s focus on new technologies and high quality is its answer to cheap imports that are flooding the European marketplace. As an integral part of its global strategy for growth, Honda is committed to providing the best quality products for its customers, with speed and affordability combined with low CO2 emissions.

Honda robotics leading the field Honda has just embarked upon the international launch of its most innovative power product to date: the Honda Mimo, the world’s most advanced commercial robotic product. The Mimo offers the perfect solution for home owners who want a beautiful lawn all year round, but without having to find the time or energy to mow it themselves. This is the ultimate time and

labour-saving device and once installed the Honda Mimo requires minimal human interaction when working, to ensure a perfectly cut lawn throughout the length of the mowing season. This unique addition to the Honda range of domestic mowers, tillers and power generators sets new standards in robotic technology through an intelligent combination of controls, timers and real-time sensory feedback features. The sensational Honda Mimo operates a continuous cutting system which typically cuts just 2–3mm off the grass at a time, several times a week. The unique Mimo robotic mower embodies a fan, built into its blade holder which literally sucks the grass towards the blades to ensure a superior finish and an even distribution of the grass clippings. This innovative cutting system mows in a random pattern, which means less stress on the grass, healthier growth and a reduc-


Industry Europe 85


tion in weeds and moss. In contrast to traditional lawnmowers, which need the hopper to be constantly emptied, the Mimo does not need to collect the cuttings. This is because the clippings it creates are so small that they are easily dispersed into the lawn root system and break down quickly to act as a natural fertiliser which further improves the health, quality and visual appeal of the grass.

86 Industry Europe

Strong growth European sales of robotic lawn mowers are seeing strong growth with consumers today tending to use the garden as an “outdoor living room” to enjoy the increased contact with their surroundings and the option to eat ‘outdoors’ in comfort. The Mimo robotic mower offers the ideal solution for people living busy lives who do not have the time to maintain

a lawn, as well as for the ageing population who may not be able to maintain their lawn. Honda’s Mimo operates using one of three modes: random, directional or mixed to suit the size and type of garden landscape. The Mimo can also ascend slopes and when it encounters patches of thick or long grass it will automatically reduce wheel speed whilst maintaining its blade speed in order to


deal effectively with tough lawn areas. Honda has been working on the development of robotic products since 1986 and the Honda Mimo is the company’s first commercially produced robotic device. The Mimo will be manufactured by Honda France Manufacturing, in Orleans and will be available from authorised Honda dealers across Europe from early 2013.

A new generation of portable power Every year Honda produces around 50,000 compact petrol generators ranging in capacity from 0.6 – 80kVA a large proportion of which are manufactured in France. The broad line-up of models are designed to meet a diverse range of needs, from providing an emergency power source in

the event of a power failure, to outdoor construction work and leisure activities. Honda has three generator product lines and is constantly raising the standard of its generators to add enhanced performance and value for its customers. Recently, Honda announced that it was launching its new generation of portable power generator products across all three of its product model ranges. Over three years of investment in research and development have gone into the re-engineering of its ranges, which have resulted in new technological innovations being installed in its Economy Series, the Deluxe Series and in its Industrial Series of generators. Whilst each series of Honda generators retains its own product differentiation, and each includes advances based upon

Honda’s analysis of its user segments, the entire product platform shares a number of common elements. These new advances, including a unique, Honda-developed and produced alternator for increased quality control, place Honda at the forefront of modern generator technology. These new products also meet the latest EPA Phase III timing and guidelines, which address the latest clean air standards for emissions from engines used in non-road applications. In January this year Honda also announced the launch of its most powerful industrial series generator yet, the all-new EB10000. This is now the company’s flagship model with a n maximum output of 10,000 watts. For further information on Honda’s latest power products visit: www.honda.com

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FIRST IN ADVANCED PCBS

Acquisition of a new plant at Teuva has helped boost results for Aspocomp, the Finnish specialist in the design and manufacture of high-tech PCBs. Felicity Landon reports. 88 Industry Europe


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spocomp’s half-year results for 2012 made for some positive reading, with net sales at €13.1 million, a 14 per cent increase compared to sales of €11.5 million in the first half of 2011. The company, which provides services for the design and manufacture of high-tech PCBs, reaped the benefit of acquiring the business operations of the Cibo-Print factory in Teuva, a transaction completed at the start of this year – but it warned in its half-year statement that the outlook was far from clear. “Aspocomp posted better performance in the second quarter of 2012 than in the first, despite the uncertain market conditions,” said CEO Sami Holopainen. “Net sales grew to €13.1 million following the acquisition of the Teuva plant. However, due to unstable

demand, capacity utilisation was not at a desirable level. Operating profit amounted to €1.2 million, slightly over 9 per cent of net sales.” Operational cash flow turned ‘clearly positive’ as the acquisition of the Teuva operations no longer increased the working capital during the second quarter of the year, said Mr Holopainen. “In operational terms, the integration of Teuva into Aspocomp has proceeded according to plans but the demand has not, as yet, enabled us to reach our profitability target.”

Number one producer Aspocomp’s products are used in the electronics industry – for example, in telecommunications networks, the automotive sector and many types of industrial applications. The com-

pany is considered the number one producer of advanced PCBs in Europe, with the focus on HDI with multiple stacked or staggered build-up layers; high layer count multi-layers; RF applications; metal-back heatsink PCBs; and metal-core PCBs. Founded in 1979 as Pohjois-Piiri Oy, the company became part of Aspo Oy in 1986 and moved to its factory in Oulu in 1992. In 1999 Aspocomp Group Oyj separated from the multi-business Aspo and was listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. In 2007, Aspocomp Oulu was registered as an independent company; two years later, it was granted ‘The Strongest in Finland’ certificate by the Finnish credit rating company Suomen Asiakastieto. Aspocomp has chalked up many technical milestones throughout its history. In 1987, Industry Europe 89


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Atotech support and supplies Aspocomp with chemistry and systems technology for pretreatment, desmear and metallization, electrolytic copper plating as well as final finishing. In addition we supply chemistry solutions, such as metal resists, photo resists, cleaners and products for oxide replacement. The application areas include HDI with multiple stacked or staggered build-up-layers and high layer count multi-layers, RF applications and metal-back heatsink PCBs.


Latest plating technology for HDI and thin panel plating

it made the world’s first Teflon PCBs and in 1996 it was one of the first companies worldwide to start laser PCB production. Aspocomp started microvia production in 1998 and introduced multi-layer PCBs of high-frequency laminates in 1999. In 2000, laser direct imaging (LDI) was introduced and heatsink PCB production started in 2002. In 2008, Aspocomp introduced the viafill process for stacked microvias. Production at the 7,000m2 Oulu factory is optimised to provide short lead times and guarantee high quality for high-tech PCBs; process capabilities include CAM, inner layer imaging, inner layer etching, AOI, multi-layer lamination, drilling, laser drilling, plating, surface finish, electrical testing and process laboratory. The company also has production capacity in China.

Globalisation challenges Aspocomp’s company’s history has inevitably reflected the difficulties within the European

PCB industry, including the impact of globalisation of the electronics industry and the transfer from European to Asian manufacturing. Appointed CEO in 2009, Mr Holpainen oversaw a major restructuring which delivered a tighter operation ready to take advantage of improving marketing conditions. There remains a strong emphasis on R&D and the development of technical capabilities and production processes – as well as strong customer support and quick turnround. The company offers extremely fast prototype and small series deliveries from Oulu, and can also provide support in exceptional supply chain situations with very fast mid-volume deliveries. There is design support to ensure manufacturability and lowest total cost of ownership, and logistics are designed to fit the customer’s needs. The company has ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 accreditation. The near-term market outlook still remains ‘murky’ and demand fluctuations are expected to continue, said the CEO. “However, we are

keeping out full-year outlook unchanged; we expect that net sales will rise clearly and that the operating result will be at a good level with respect to the industry sector, but to fall significantly short of 2011.” In the first-half 2012 results, Aspocomp said that its five largest customers accounted for 70 per cent of sales – compared to 81 per cent in the year before. In geographical terms, 95 per cent of net sales were generated in Europe and 5 per cent in Asia. “Net sales grew due to the acquisition of the Teuva plant, which also reduced the share of total net sales accounted for by the five largest customers.” As Aspocomp’s business focuses on prototypes and quick-turn deliveries, it is difficult to forecast full-year net sales, said the company. “It is estimated that net sales will rise substantially in 2012 thanks to the acquisition of the business operations of Teuva. The operating profit is expected to be at a good level with respect to the industry sector, but to fall significantly short of 2011.” n


CUSTOMISED HIGH

QUALITY SOLUTIONS

Poland’s Teknosystem is a medium-sized enterprise which, since 1990, has been involved in the production and delivery of custom-made electromechanical systems, cable harnesses and fibre optic products. This contract manufacturing company, part of the Swedish Teknoprod AB Group, works with customers across many different markets, with a strong focus on Scandinavia. Piotr Sadowski reports.

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ith its headquarters and production facilities in Warsaw, Teknosystem employs between 130 and 170 staff, depending on prevailing demand and contracts. With an annual turnover of around €15 million, the company provides manufacturing services to OEM and EMS clients operating mostly on the Scandinavian industrial market. “We are considered to be a very specialised producer as we work directly with clients to deliver tailor-made solutions,” says Radosław Krawczak, managing director at Teknosystem. “Custom-made products are delivered to internationally known corporations, as well as to family-owned compa-

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nies. Teknosystem is very much focused on Scandinavia, due to our link with the parent company, and Sweden is certainly one of our key export markets. However, we also serve customers in Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Portugal, and the region of western Europe is generally the most important area of our activities.”

Customised high-quality products Teknosystem is aiming to continuously increase its independent sales, which currently constitute 40 per cent of the overall sales activity; 60 per cent of sales are carried out through the parent company. It has a current annual output averaging at 1.9 million items of products. Extensive manufacturing

know-how in short series and highly specialised products, supported by international standards IPC/WHMA-A-620 and IPC-A-610, along with ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and UL file E334895, guarantee outstanding product quality, on-time delivery and environmentally friendly processes. “Our cable harnesses, complete electromechanical systems and niche fibre optic cable assemblies are custom made and delivered to clients in industrial automation, transportation, renewable energy, telecommunication and high definition broadcasting [HD TV],” explains Mr Krawczak. “We also work with producers of medical equipment and we are very proud to be the supplier to the European

factory of Canon. By providing contract manufacturing services to clients in the different industrial sectors we are able to offer excellent flexibility, cost effectiveness, accuracy and technological innovation.”

Investing in production capacity In its drive to further strengthen the level of its own, independent sales, Teknosystem has committed significant amounts of funding to expanding its current production facilities. “Currently the company has 5000m2 of production and office space in Warsaw, but this will be significantly increased,” adds Teknosystem’s managing director. “The factory is currently being expanded and will gain a brand new manufacturing hall with additional

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production space of 1500m2. Of course, we do not only invest in modern manufacturing technologies and state-of-the-art equipment; we also focus on further expanding the knowledge and expertise of our staff.” Higher output will certainly enable Teknosystem to continue strengthening its presence in EU markets. The company is particularly looking to strengthen its presence in Germany and the Benelux countries, where demand for competitively priced tailored solutions is very strong and promising for Teknosystem. “Our advantage is that there are no tasks too difficult for us,” states Mr Krawczak. “We work closely with clients to manage new projects from conception until final completion, cooperating with customers’ designers and engineers, suggesting alternative solutions that usually lead toward product optimisation and additional savings,

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and last but not least, actively participating in sample production. Every future specification change in any client’s documentation is fully recorded and its implementation is supervised by engineers from Teknosystem’s technical department.”

Environmentally friendly operations Teknosystem’s management and personnel is highly conscious of the environment and its own potential impact on it. The ISO 14001 environmental management system supports the company’s efforts to eliminate virtually completely any negative production impact on the environment. This is achieved by lowering production waste to a minimum acceptable level, cutting down atmosphere and underground water reservoir pollution, lowering energy and material consumption, as well as using only environmentally friendly components. Along

with its clients and suppliers, Teknosystem works together to preserve the environment for the benefit of future generations.

Going forward In its strategy for further growth, supported by expanding its manufacturing capabilities, Teknosystem is first and foremost focusing on organic development as an independent business unit. “A very important priority for the coming years will be to ensure very high visibility of the company across the European market,” says Mr Krawczak. “Our products are really of the highest quality and come at very competitive prices, but we need to reach the awareness of customers that Teknosystem is a reliable business partner, capable of successfully completeting any type of contract. This goal will be one that continues to drive our n business for many years to come.”


Bejoken AB Bejoken AB is a name to be reckoned with when it comes to electronic components. In business since 1962, we have developed an impressive range of products and fostered close relationships with customers and suppliers spanning the globe. Our product range features 40 000 items covering pretty much everything our customers could ask for. That alone is reason enough to choose Bejoken. We have the contacts and the expertise to produce unusual components when you need them. Demanding enquiries just spur us on to keep learning more. Going the extra mile is all part of the service at Bejoken.

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SPECIALISTS IN ENERGY OPTIMISATION “We carefully listen to our customers and tailor our products to their needs. Our distinctive feature is our flexibility and comprehension in meeting the expectations of our customers,” Jerzy Kuś, the Apator Group’s Member of Executive Board and its Metering Equipment and Systems Director explains the commercial success of the company.

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pator SA, based in Ostaszewo near Torun, Poland, is the leader of the Polish switchgear and metering market. “Our goal is to help our clients to optimise their energy consumption”, says Mr Kuś. ”Our metering systems make it easier for consumers to manage the consumption of electricity, heat, water and gas. Their application allows the expenses for consumed water, energy, gas and heat to be reduced. Distributors of utility services can manage the information and properties more efficiently and effectively. Our top-quality switchgear equipment allows for safe distribution of energy and protection of power networks, so that energy distributors and consumers do not have to be afraid of any power failures. Thus, our world becomes cleaner, healthier and friendlier for the future generations.” Apator SA is a company with 60 years of tradition on the switchgear and metering mar96 Industry Europe

ket. In May, 2012 Apator SA moved its operations to a new plant, located in the Pomeranian Special Economic Zone in Ostaszewo in Torun. This site houses Apator’s production departments and its Board office, as well as commercial and administrative departments. “This is the optimum investment for us, as the plant is very modern and full of ‘intelligent’ solutions. Moreover, since it is located in a Special Economic Zone, Apator is entitled to recover 50 per cent of investment costs”, says Mr Kuś.

The head of the group The company also plays a leading role in Apator Group in respect of organisation and coordination of cooperation of all its units. The Group is a dynamic business structure currently consisting of nine entities, including two foreign companies. Apator’s market range includes a wide variety of low-voltage switchgear, surge-


protective equipment, metering systems and equipment. “Our long-term strategy involves development of our two ‘legs’. Switchgear systems is one of them and metering segments is the other one”, explains Mr Kuś. The Group’s activity covers such areas of operation as power industry, water and sewage industry, gas industry, heat engineering, construction industry, real estate management and mining. Apator is the pioneer in the implementation of innovative technical developments such

as: LEW system Apator – electricity metering system based on the electronic pre-paid LEW meters or comprehensive remote data readout and management system based on GIS type numerical spatial maps.

Development despite the crisis Total employment of the Group is 2000 people, including 400 people employed in Apator SA. Each company in the Group has a special team of the constructors working in design offices. The total number of construc-

tors is 120. “Despite the economic crisis throughout Europe, the dynamic development of the Group will make it necessary to employ new workers soon,” reveals Mr Kuś. This dynamic development has its specific financial value. The company’s turnover in 2011 was estimated as more than PLN 537 million (more than €139 million). The first quarter of 2012 was a record-breaking period for the Group. Its income reached more than PLN 163 million (€40.6 million), or 52 per cent more than in the first quarter of 2011.

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The share of metering equipment and systems, and switchgears in the Group income is 64 per cent (or more than € 26 million; by 34 per cent more than in the first quarter, 2011). Foreign markets make up over 30 per cent of the sales. They are very important for Apator as, according to Mr Kuś “the strategic objective of the Apator Group is to establish a Polish technological group based on the strong Apator brand and oriented towards the increase in sales on foreign markets.” The Apator Group sells its products to 65 countries. “Our knowledge and technical competence has enabled us to expand products into worldwide market. Central and eastern Europe is the main foreign region for the Apator’s products, followed by Russia, Germany,

and some African countries”, specifies Mr Kuś. “Different groups of products are popular in different countries; for example Apator’s water meters are very popular in Russia, gas meters in the Netherlands, and energy meters in Hungary and Germany.” The company’s ambitions go much further. It would like to become EMEA leader in manufacturing and delivering comprehensive metering systems and switchgear.

Commitment to sustainable development “We take corporate social responsibility very seriously and are involved in many social programmes,” explains Mr Kuś. In the strategy of Apator, business responsibility means, first of all, charity and commitment to sustainable

development with respect to the economy, ecology and ethics. The company supports important social projects. It focuses on the promotion of culture and science. Apator SA participates in the innovative CSR project, “a platform of knowledge transfer and creation of common venture of social responsibility.” The project is aimed at the exchange of knowledge and experience between the scientific community and business in the scope of social responsibility of business. The leaders of the project are the Nicolas Copernicus University in Toruń and enterprises from Kujawsko and n Pomorskie province. www.apator.com

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CLEAN, LEAN, POWER MACHINE

Budapest Power Plant (BERT), a member of the EDF group, is the largest cogeneration power plant company in Hungary. A recent development which aimed at increasing efficiency and protecting the environment enabled the Kelenföld power station to continue to supply the capital’s district heating efficiently in the long term.

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ERT operates four plants in Budapest and its past connects closely to the history of the capital. The Újpest, Kelenföld and Kispest plants use combined cycle production technology to provide heating energy and electricity. The fourth plant is the Révész heating plant, which operates hot water boilers to provide a district heating supply. BERT currently provides 60 per cent of the district heating energy demand in Budapest, and supplies 3 per cent of national electricity consumption. The power station in Kelenföld is one of Hungary’s most distinguished establish-

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ments, where energy production began in the 1910s. The plant contains a number of listed buildings which are well maintained ensuring that a piece of industrial building inheritance is preserved for the nation. The antique exterior however hides a modern and environmentally friendly technology due to the many developments completed over several phases in the past years. Mr Zoltan Szabó, project manager at BERT, recalls: “The redevelopment of the Kelenföld power station was quite a bizarre thought at first: Let’s ruin the performance capability of the gas turbine that is actually the ‘soul’ of the power station. How is that?”

High efficiency, low emissions “In order to answer this question, we have to know a little bit more about the firing technology of the gas turbines. The burning of the firing material including natural gas or light oil happens in the gas turbine. In case of traditional firing equipment, the amount of nitrogen oxide that is released during the firing process is reduced by steam injections whilst keeping the firing temperature under control. Because we are talking about significant amount of firing material (41,000 Nm3/h), the amount of steam injected is also significant (40t/h). The injected steam in the gas turbine works to lower efficiency,


The investment in figures: The total cost of the investment: €14 million Duration time: 11 months production and 4 months implementation Electric performance increase: 3 per cent CO2 emission reduction: 14 per cent NOx emission reduction: 29 per cent Water use reduction: 150 000 m3/year

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but afterwards, together with the flue gas, it goes to the open air as vapour through the chimney of the heat furnace. “Today – due to the systematic development process – the dry, low-NOx (DLN) type firing equipment implemented with the necessary geometric requirements and by premixing firing material-air, will be able to keep the NOx and CO2 emission within the limit values. The

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released steam can work with high efficiency on the steam turbine so that we achieve a positive effect in the power station. “The results of this are diverse: the electrical and thermic efficiency of the power station increases whilst saving primer energy; the specific harmful material emission reduces significantly; the maintenance cycle of the gas turbine increases resulting in

smaller maintenance cost and the flexibility and reliability of the plant also increases.” The development of the Kelenföld power station was carried out by the company’s own project team following a 1.5 year preparation process. The task to replace the gas turbine firing equipment was delegated to a main contractor, whilst all the complementary jobs including acquiring the necessary permis-


sions, implementing piping systems and the construction tasks were taken care of by sub-contractors. During the development the safe completion of the site was a major issue, all parties involved provided extra attention to safety and therefore the project was completed without accidents or related safety issues. The performance measures carried out during the testing period confirmed that the company

achieved the expected results; in fact they exceeded those in some parameters. Some of the buildings owned and operated by Budapest Power Plant may look as though they belong to another century but look deeper and you find state-of-theart equipment producing 60 per cent of the power for the city of Budapest. Meeting the challenges of producing the essen-

tial power and warmth requirements for a major capital city requires a business that is prepared to adapt to changing requests from customers, changing legislation and changing technology. BERT not only meets that challenge but embraces it, proudly preserving its past whilst developing its future with technology to meet the requirements of the 21st century. n

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GENERATING HIGHER OUTPUT AND GREATER FLEXIBILITY NEM is a global leader in the development and manufacture of heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs). Philip Yorke looks at its latest mega project in the Middle East, as well as the company’s new products that are shaping the future of the global energy market.

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EM was founded in Leiden, the Netherlands in 1929 and has grown to become a leading global engineering company in the field of steam generating equipment. However it was not until 1968 that it moved into the expanding energy market. This began when it was granted a license to supply HRSGs to the General Electric Company (GEC). In the 1980s GEC sold manufacturing rights to NEM thereby

establishing the company as a major new force in the global energy marketplace. Today NEM is based at Hengelo and Leiden and is comprised of several distinct business units. These are operating in a diverse range of industrial activities from the manufacture of HRSGs for gas turbines, to a number of related activities such as waste management and incineration and the supply of industrial and utility boilers.

Tailor-made products and solutions NEM’s heat recovery steam generators represent the biggest contribution to the company’s turnover and its unparalleled know-how and commitment to continuous technological innovation has kept NEM ahead of the field. NEM is recognised internationally as the preferred partner for tailormade products and solutions, which are aimed at generating reliable energy in the

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most efficient manner possible, whilst taking into account its responsibility towards the environment and sustainable productivity. In today’s market, an increasing number of contracts call for tailor-made systems designed to suit a customer’s specific needs. NEM’s advanced 3D CAD design facilities and in-depth experience in heat transfer technology, enable it to optimise its project outcomes. Today HRSGs can be supplied either in modules or as ‘loose harps’. In addition, NEM’s dynamic software makes it possible to calculate low-cycle fatigue and apply the appropriate advanced welding techniques, as well as ensuring optimum start-up and cool down procedures. Whether its HRSGs, direct fired boilers or process components such as dampers and diverters, or simply maintenance services,

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NEM guarantees a consistent standard of reliability and advanced technology. The company’s products are used in power plants and various other related industries throughout the world and can all be supplied on a turnkey basis. A number of auxiliary systems can also be supplied, such as feed water systems, and DCS systems, which are all backed by the major code requirements including ASME, PED, BS and TRD.

Biggest order During the first quarter of 2012, NEM secured one of the largest contracts ever awarded for the supply of HRSGs. The company secured the unprecedented order, which is worth many hundreds of millions of US dollars, from the Arabian Bemco Contracting Co Ltd of Dubai against strong global competition. The order

involves the development and supply of 40 unfired dual-pressure Heat Recovery Steam generators (HRSGs) for the new PP1- Combined cycle power plant project in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Once fully operational, the power plant will be the largest combined cycle power plant in the world. The advanced PP10 power plant is owned by the Saudi Electric Company (SEC). Construction of the simple cycle gas turbine plant has recently been completed and consists of 40 GE Frame 7EA gas turbines. Ultimately it will provide over 20 per cent of the power required for the city of Riyadh, which has more than 5.2 million inhabitants. This historic award is the result of a close cooperation between the different NEM business units in Hengelo and Leiden in the Netherlands and with Dubai


in the United Arab Emirates. The Saudi Arabian market for power generation is one of the most promising in the world with an expected increase of between 5 and 7 per cent in the coming years and construction of well over 3,000MW is anticipated annually.

A quantum leap for HRSG technology Recently a major advance in HRSG technology was announced with the launch of the latest Benson HRSG technology system. This represents a quantum leap forward compared to traditional heat exchanger designs and these latest NEM innovations will be employed in the new Riyadh power plant

now under construction in association with NEM. The new, advanced module is driven by gas turbine exhaust flows and its attendant high temperature emissions and meets the increasing global demands for higher output plant and optimised operational efficiency. NEM’s combined experience with HRSGs for H-type gas turbines, elevates the company to a new level within the industry and places it at the forefront of combined cycle power plant developments. Furthermore, this latest technology from NEM makes it possible to achieve significantly higher outputs and greatly improves overall plant efficiency for its customers.

Consistent with the company’s commitment to innovation and customer service is its unrivalled after-market support. NEM is aware that even a very small defect can be responsible for the shutting down of a plant and its overriding goal therefore is to ensure that every single boiler component provides lasting and totally dependable service. NEM’s installation and commissioning panels maintain a full-time, on-site presence to guarantee optimal installation and commissioning. In addition, its after-market support group is permanently on call to attend any inspection required and to quickly source any parts that n may be needed.

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TAKING UPS TECHNOLOGY TO A NEW LEVEL The Piller Group is a global leader in the manufacture of uninterruptable power supply (UPS) protection systems. Philip Yorke talked to Andrew Dyke, the company’s global managing director, about its latest rotary and hybrid UPS systems and its growth in supply to the world’s mega data centres.

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he Piller Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of the global UK engineering group, Langley Holdings, and can trace its roots back to 1919 when Anton Piller began manufacturing electrically-driven fans in Osterode-am-Harz in Germany. The company saw consistent growth, developing the first aircraft ground power supply systems and frequency converters in the early 1960s, and by the 1980s was responsible for developing the world’s first rotary hybrid UPS system known today as ‘Uniblock’. In 2005 the Piller Group was acquired by Langley Holdings plc, a British, privately owned diversified global engineering group. Today Piller manufactures high capacity rotary UPS, hybrid UPS, diesel UPS, static UPS and static transfer switches. The company maintains a unique position as the only UPS manufacturer in the world with a range of products that encompasses both rotary and static power supply technologies. From this strong position Piller is able to offer the most cost-effective and appropriate solution

for any specific UPS application. The company’s head office is located in Osterode, in Germany where Piller was originally founded. The Piller Group employs more than 750 people with regional offices in Asia, Europe and the Americas and in 2011 recorded sales of over €200 million.

Expanding range of products and services Piller’s diverse portfolio of products and services continues to expand in order to meet the growing demands of the global power supply industry. The company offers critical power solutions across a wide range of applications, including banking, telecommunications, outside broadcasters and healthcare facilities as well as airports and air traffic control centres. Another growth area for Piller is the computer data centres market and other similar operations that require a totally reliable, high capacity power source. Piller power converters and related products are in widespread use in both military and civil applications, providing ground

power systems to airports worldwide and shore-to-ship and on-board power systems for both submarines and surface vessels. At the heart of every rotary UPS is the tailor-made Uniblock machine which comes in many forms and represents the hallmark of Piller’s product quality and reliability. The company’s latest generation of static UPS and AP premium products, are just two of a limited number of Piller products on the market that offer sinusoidal input with the use of both IGBT rectifiers and inverter technology. Other premium power systems from the company include the Apotrans range of static transfer switches and the unique Powerbridge kinetic energy storage system for battery replacement and voltage stabilisation. Mr Dyke said, “There is a growing global demand for energy and higher voltage UPS systems, and our latest Powerbridge 21 product is the largest single energy system in the world and our well known Uniblock+ range offers higher efficiency for high voltage applications, designed to meet the ever-increasing


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demands of the global energy industry. We operate two main business divisions, the first of which is dedicated to serving the world’s large-scale data centres, which is a fast-growing sector for us. Then there is the industrial process division which applies to any industry that requires continuous uninterrupted power supplies, from the retail banking sector and stock exchange trading floors, to hospitals, broadcasting and aviation.” Mr Dyke added, “In addition, there is an ever-increasing demand for more and more complex electronic platforms, especially in the computer power sector where the power required to drive these new systems is growing exponentially. However, we are not just involved in providing energy-saving, cost-effective UPS systems to our customers, but also the power to cool them. Today we are seeing a continual migration to where the power is cheaper and a trend towards ‘natural cooling’ systems. Today we are basically a one-stopshop energy solutions provider and can offer companies the best building block on which to

base their energy needs, so in that way, as in many others, we can offer added value to our many high-profile customers.”

Pioneering modular UPS systems The growing tendency towards mega data centres in the internet and IT business sectors, produces an increasing demand for highreliability power at individual, single locations. An increasing number of critical industrial processes rely on a power quality level which cannot be provided by the public grid. Medium voltage systems from Piller provide the answer, as they are able to reduce power distribution losses downstream of the UPS or DRUPS systems on one common output bus. In addition, Piller has pioneered the development of a unique range of modular UPS systems. The special design of Piller’s line of interactive UPS systems allows for a simple replacement of the grid-to-load interface from low voltage to medium voltage components upon demand. Piller is also delivering high-quality UPS systems to companies with short-term

power requirements. Today, Piller offers a comprehensive on-site rental service, which is available on a short- or long-term basis and can be tailored to suit any client’s specific needs. For example, in Poland and the Ukraine, Piller has been retained to provide a range of UPS products for the 2012 European Football Championships. This high profile international event relies on uninterrupted supply for both radio and television coverage of the games whilst in progress and represents a huge logistical and technical challenge. In order to meet these challenges, Piller provided its state-of-the-art rotary UPS system that delivers 500kVA of power, which is fully containerised and filters any kind of disturbance. In the case of mains failures, Piller is able to supply the total load required with a battery system that guarantees there will be no break in power supply. For long-term mains interruptions, Piller offers mobile diesel emergency generators, which are started automatically in the event of n any mains failure.


TRANSFORMING POWER SUPPLY PARAMETERS ABB is a global leader in the supply of advanced power and automation technologies. Philip Yorke looks at how this multinational giant is utilising its unique knowledge of transformers and automation technology to help increase industrial productivity in an eco-friendly and sustainable way.

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BB is the power house for change in the electrical transformer and automation technology sector. Since the company was founded in the late 1880s it has helped hundreds of countries all over the world to develop, build and maintain their power supply infrastructures in the most efficient, cost-effective and eco-friendly manner. Today the ABB group of companies operates in over 100 countries and employs more than 140,000 people. In 2011 the ABB Group recorded sales of over $30 billion.

Leading the world in high performance transformers ABB has earned an enviable reputation for innovation in all its many advanced engineering disciplines. However, none is more 112 Industry Europe

pertinent to addressing today’s environmental challenges than the cutting-edge technology that it has applied to its electrical transformer and automation divisions. The company’s latest UHVDC (ultra high voltage direct current) converter transformer can operate at over a million volts and enables the efficient and reliable transmission of larger amounts of electricity across longer distances than ever before. At the same time this innovative system minimises any impact on the environment. In July this year it was announced in Switzerland that the ABB Group had successfully developed and tested a 1100 kilovolt (kV) UHVDC converter transformer, which has broken all records for the highest DC voltage levels ever transmitted. In addition, it has afforded the facility of transmitting this huge electrical

capacity over longer distances than has ever been possible before. This ground-breaking technology was developed specifically by ABB to serve the needs of the Xiangiaba-Shanghai link in China, where transmission distances of over 3000km are commonplace. The new 1100 kV converter transformer technology from ABB makes it possible to transmit more than 100 megawatts (MW) of power across the huge expanses of China both efficiently and economically. Today ABB’s converter technology plays a critical role in HVDC transmission by providing the vital interface between the DC link and the AC network. The latest development of its 1100kV transformer addressed several technology challenges – for example, the sheer size and scale of the project and the electrical


insulation including bushings and thermal performance parameters required for the task. It will come as no surprise therefore, to learn that ABB is the world leader in UHVDC transmission technology, with countless pioneering achievements recorded since it embarked upon the development of advanced transformer technology over 50 years ago. Today there are more than 70 such large ABB projects in progress around the world, with a combined transmission capacity of more than 60,000 Mega Watts.

Complete power and automation solutions ABB can call upon more than a century of experience in providing power and automation solutions that improve the efficiency, safety and performance of hydropower plants. Today hydropower remains the world’s most widely used form of renewable energy and currently produces more than 20 per cent of the world’s electric power and accounts for almost 90 per cent of all electricity generated from renewable sources.

Hydropower is clean, sustainable and emission-free and ABB is the world’s leading supplier of almost every product used for the power and automation required for hydropower plants. These can range from generator circuit breakers and power transformers to switchgear, motors, drives and total plant automation systems. Furthermore, ABB supports its customers with a global network of centres of excellence and professional support in more than 100 countries worldwide.

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ABB’s unique single-source capability enables the company to provide complete and fully integrated turnkey packages that include instrumentation, control and electrical (ICE) solutions with a single, intuitive constant user interface. The company’s fully integrated ICE solutions have proved consistently over many years that they save time, reduce costs and optimise risk management.

Investing in a more sustainable, eco-friendly future There is probably no other multinational company in the world that attaches more importance to sustainability and environmental protection than the ABB Group. These issues are at the heart of its diverse

business activities. So when a strategic decision is made to invest in a new plant or in new technology, the company’s environmental management programme is at the forefront of its considerations. A recent example is its latest investment in new plant planned for its existing site in Lodz, Poland. In July this year ABB announced that it was planning to invest around $30 million in a fully automated production plant in Poland in order to make components for its power and distribution transformers. This new eco-friendly unit will be located adjacent to ABB’s existing transformer production facility in Lodz. The state-of-the-art 10,000m2 factory will be completed by mid 2013 and will employ about 140 people including machine operators and logistics personnel,

as well as staff for purchasing, quality control and engineering support services. “The new component manufacturing plant will act as a feeder factory for our transformer units in the region,” said Bernhard Jucker, head of ABB’s Power Products Division. “This investment reinforces ABB’s continued commitment to Europe and underlines our strong position in the market.” This latest investment in new plant is another example of how ABB helps to address the challenge of balancing the rising global demand for power, with increasing concern for the environment. With a 125 year heritage of technology and innovation, ABB continues to shape the parameters of the energy systems of the future by delivering power and productivity for a better, more sustainable world. n

ETI-Elettrindustria Srl. was established in 1948; since then our exclusive activity has been design and construction of control and protection equipment as well as accessories for medium and high power, oil cooled transformers. Based on this long experience, 25 people on a plant surface of 1,800m2 manufacture today a wide range of continuously improved products and are active partners of manufacturers and users of electric power transformers in suggesting solutions and solving specific problems presented by this equipment. If you have a problem with your equipment ask us, we may have the solution. Via dell’Industria snc - 20032 - Cormano - Italy Phone: +39 02 454 75 074 - Fax: +39 02 454 75 787 - www.eti-elettrindustria.it

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THE TASTE OF SUCCESS The largest bakery in Switzerland, JOWA is increasing its profile across Europe as it brings its range of high quality food products that includes its famous Huttwiler gluten-free brand. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to a senior representative to find out more.

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roducing ‘Swiss quality food’ since 1931, Switzerland’s largest bakery chain JOWA offers a range of fresh bread, pasta and cakes. JOWA has 90 in-house bakeries all over Switzerland, based in MIGROS stores, the country’s biggest food retailer, and exports across western Europe. 116 Industry Europe

Industry Europe spoke to a senior representative to learn more about how JOWA is steadily increasing both its market share and its range of products in order to meet the ever-changing demands of its customers and their end-users. He said, “We currently have an annual turnover of CHF 792.8 million

net with our principal market in Switzerland; every second person in Switzerland is consuming a JOWA product! As we continue to grow outside of our domestic area, we are enjoying success exporting to Germany, Italy, Austria, France and the UK. These countries will continue to be our focus as we have


identified further potential for our products, especially as we are perfectly in tune with the trends that are affecting the food sectors in which we operate.” The company’s headquarters are located in Volketswil, where it also has some of its production facilities. The company has eight regional bakeries in Switzerland as well as one pasta factory, one production site for glutenfree pasta and one durum wheat mill. There are also two bakeries outside Switzerland.

est safety and hygiene regulations, and it has been labelled as one of the safest locations for the production of gluten-free products. The representative continued, “Our production line is exemplary; a contamination with other products is simply not possible. An outstanding feature of our Huttwiler

gluten-free products is that there is not only the absence of gluten, but they are also free from nuts, wheat and lactose. In what can be a very difficult area of food production from a consumer’s point of view, knowing that Huttwiler gluten-free products are guaranteed clean and uncontaminated from

Investment in gluten-free production The company’s most recent major investment has seen it convert an old plant in Huttwil. Now a state-of-the-art production facility dedicated to making gluten-free products, JOWA is clear that this represents an important development. The representative explained, “The rebuilding of the factory in Huttwil is one of the biggest investments JOWA has ever made. It highlights the major role we see our Huttwiler gluten-free products having in our future portfolio.” The well-known Huttwiler gluten-free brand is a real feather in JOWA’s cap and thanks to Huttwiler the company is now the biggest producer of gluten-free products in Switzerland. The facility has been redeveloped to ensure that it operates according to the highIndustry Europe 117


potentially life-threatening ingredients gives real peace of mind.” JOWA’s core products are its fresh bread, dried pasta, cakes and pastries, and frozen and ready-to-bake (or ‘bake-off’) products. It also produces long-life bread and dough. Around 88 per cent of its turnover is derived from all these areas, which can all be bought through its in-house Migros bakeries in Switzerland, with its export and food service and wholesale business accounting for the remainder.

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A wider audience In 2011, JOWA launched its products on the German market, bringing its ‘delice & friends’ brand of appetisers and finger food products, as well as the Huttwiler glutenfree brand, to a wider European audience. The representative added, “Every country in which we are active has its own preferences and it is imperative that we take these into consideration when we are exporting and developing new markets. For example, in Italy our fresh dough ‘Tipo Swiss Premium’ is very popular. While we are keen to continue to increase our presence in new

markets, our strategic focus is to establish a firm market share in our existing regions before we move onto new regions. We do see that there are opportunities to enter new European markets in the future but the most important thing at the moment is to have a strong base in our current markets before further expansion.” JOWA’s expansion plans are therefore centred on organically building its market share in current locations, with export growth opportunities assessed on an ongoing basis. The expansion of its product portfolio is similarly open-minded, with the company dedicated

to meeting the changing trends and tastes of its end users. This is a key motivator behind its growing gluten-free range. The representative added, “Huttwiler gluten-free serves a niche market that is increasingly important and will continue to be so. Already around one per cent of the population has coeliac disease, with five per cent having special dietary needs – and these numbers are rising. By developing delicious products that are free from particular ingredients for people with allergies and food intolerances we are both expanding our business and helping n people to enjoy food.”

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A HEALTHY LEVEL OF GROWTH

Nestlé, the biggest food and beverages company and a leader in nutrition, health and wellness, has established a strong presence in central and eastern Europe. In Bulgaria, KIT KAT is now the country’s best-selling chocolate bar. Joseph Altham reports on Nestlé’s substantial investments in Bulgaria and the company’s initiatives in relation to sustainability, balanced nutrition and active lifestyle.

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ollowing the collapse of communism, Nestlé, like other multinational companies, began to operate into the countries from Central and Eastern Europe. Nestlé established its manufacturing operations in Bulgaria as early as 1994, when the company bought a chocolate factory in the capital, Sofia. Nestlé has another factory in Bulgaria for the production of ice cream, located in the coastal city of Varna. The company took over this factory in 2005 as part of its acquisition of an ice-cream company. Today Nestlé Bulgaria offers an extensive range of confectionery products and ice cream together with other business categories like culinary, beverages and dairy, breakfast cereals, pets` products, Nestle Nutrition products and Nestle Professional offerings. Besides chocolates that are well known in the UK, such as LION bar, KIT KAT and After Eight, Nestlé Bulgaria also maintains strong local brands like Kuma Lisa milk chocolate and MURA chocolate wafers, chocolate pralines under Taralejki and Prostor brands and biscuits Jiten Dar. The range of ice cream includes the popular NIRVANA brand together with the BOSS range of premium sticks, MAGNUM cones, take home bulk brands like FAMILIA and ALOMA, sandwiches and cakes.

Employing over 1700 people, Nestlé Bulgaria is now solidly established on the Bulgarian market, as the company’s communications director, Maria Hristova-Svec, explained. “Over the past 17 years, Nestlé Bulgaria has become one of the biggest strategic investors in the country’s food industry, with investments in fixed assets of over $40 million.”

Manufacturing operations Nestlé Bulgaria’s factory in Sofia has been making chocolate for over 70 years. However, following the acquisition, Nestlé took steps to expand and upgrade production, as a result today, the confectionery factory in Sofia is a centre of competence for confectionery products in Europe. “Huge investments are made in new production lines, advanced technology, improving the quality of products, training teams, choosing the best raw materials and suppliers and looking after consumers’ health.” NESTLÉ started on the Bulgarian market with the acquisition of a chocolate factory about 17 years ago. In 2002 Bulgaria became the second factory in Europe to open a production line for KIT KAT CHUNKY. In 2005, the KIT KAT brand expanded in the category of chocolate candy with the launch of KIT

KAT POP CHOC. In 2007, the Sofia factory launched a new production line. “This was the largest investment project in company’s confectionery production in Bulgaria,” stated Miss Hristova-Svec. “A new forming and packaging system was also installed and the revolutionary innovations included launching a new facility for the mass production of chocolate – the only one of its kind in Bulgaria.” According to the company data, the Sofia factory now exports around 80 per cent of its production volume. The main export destinations are European countries such as Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland and Poland, while Canada represents an additional export market. Together with the improvements at Sofia, Nestlé has put a lot of effort into upgrading ice cream production at its factory in Varna, investing a total of €6 million between 2007 and 2008 in order to integrate the site into the structures of the company. “Today the plant is a modern production facility that meets the requirements for ice cream production of the European Union and is certified to all European standards.” stated Miss Hristova-Svec. In 2008, Nestlé restructured its ice cream production on the Balkans, so that the Varna factory now supplies the Romanian market as well.

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Social responsibility In Bulgaria, as elsewhere, Nestlé is a socially responsible company. One example of this are the special programmes that Nestlé Bulgaria provides for professional training and development, such as the internship program the company offers to help young people develop their careers. In Bulgaria,

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Nestlé works constantly for development of sustainable production and employees’ education. Nestlé Bulgaria has implemented programmes for the reduction of water and energy consumption. Between 2007 and 2009, Nestlé Bulgaria succeeded in reducing the volume of water used for every tonne of production by 7 per cent. Over the same

period, the company also achieved a reduction in energy requirements of 5 per cent per tonne of production. Nestlé Bulgaria encourages consumers to lead an active lifestyle and to take care of their health. Under its “Live Actively!” annual initiative, the company organizes a range of big public events that are designed


to motivate Bulgarians for active lifestyle and balanced nutrition. The biggest such event takes place in Sofia every year and includes bicycle march, walking march from the National Palace of Culture to the biggest city park, as well as more than 10 locations with various sports activities, tournaments and concerts in the park. The event attracts thousands of people who participate in a wellness day for the whole family, together with the top Bulgarian athletes and stars.

Looking ahead Miss Hristova-Svec says that Nestlé Bulgaria has built strong credibility over the last 17 years on the market and the growth will follow this direction. “The company will continue to invest heavily in state-of-the-art equipment, ensuring the strategic role of the Sofia confectionery factory for the Group as a whole.” says the Country manager of

Nestle Bulgaria, Mr Juan Carlos Peralejo. The Varna ice cream factory will turn into an even more modern production facility, in order to play a greater role in the region. In March 2012, Juan Carlos Peralejo was appointed CEO of Nestlé Bulgaria. It is perhaps a sign of Bulgaria’s importance to the corporation that his previous job title was Director of Dairy & Confectionery at Nestlé for the entire Iberian Peninsula. Mr Juan Carlos Peralejo joined Nestlé in 1987 having previously held various management positions in sales and commercial at Kellogg and Rowntree Mackintosh SA. Since the beginning of his career at Nestlé he has held various positions primarily in the company’s Confectionery business. There, Mr. Peralejo gained extensive experience in sales and marketing and in 2003 he was appointed Confectionery Marketing and Business Optimization Manager for Nestlé’s markets in

Central Europe (including the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, the Baltic States and Hungary). In 2004, Juan Carlos Peralejo was appointed Confectionery Business Manager at Nestlé Hungary and in 2006 he took over as Manager of Nestlé’s Strategic Business Unit in Confectionery, with base at the Vevey n head office in Switzerland.

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MASTERS OF CONSTRUCTION MACHINERY Hidromek Inc is Turkey’s leading producer of construction machinery. Julia Snow looked at the company’s double strategy of investments and expansion.

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ith its portfolio of excavators that are designed, manufactured and exported all around the world, Hidromek has achieved an enviable reputation for machines that combine high performance, comfort and durability with low maintenance costs. Hidromek has a total annual production capacity of 10,000 backhoe loaders and excavators, according to marketing director, Levent Karaagac: “Our backhoe loaders and excavators are used everywhere, in infrastructure works, municipalities works, major construction projects and mining – and 124 Industry Europe

especially the construction and mining sectors are growing day by day in Turkey and in the markets that we are operating.”

Rapid growth in 35 years The company started as a small workshop in Ankara in 1978, mounting backhoe and loader attachments onto farm tractors. Over the years it continued to improve the technology and facilities, and today Hidromek has four manufacturing plants: Fabrication Plant I and II in Ankara, the Excavator Assembly Plant, the Backhoe Loader Assembly Plant in İzmir and

a Training and After Sales Service Center in Ankara. Including the latest extensions the current total land area of the premises is 175.887 m2 and the total closed area totals 75.000m2. “We have completely modern production technologies,” says Mr Karaagac, “including computer controlled cutting tables, welding robots, special purpose process tables, and ergonomic machines with world class performances.” To improve business processes and service levels Hidromek has also implemented a cutting-edge IT infrastructure and ERP software SAP.


Product portfolio Hidromek offers two models of Backhoe Loaders: the HMK 102B, a rigid chassis machine with 4x4 drive, turbo diesel engine and full power-shift transmission, and the HMK 102S, a 4x4x4 machine with the same engine and transmission and four-wheel steering. Both are available with different attachments like hydraulic breakers, clamshell buckets, grading blades or augers. An important development is the new Mini - HMK62SS backhoe loader. It is a minia-

ture version of the HMK models but with a hydrostatic powertrain. New technology includes assisted hydraulic controls located on the operator’s chair, TFT control, and Air Conditioning and a powerful (60 hp) Kubota heat engine for high performance. HIDROMEK excavators cover a wide range between 14 tonnes and 37 tonnes, like the Crawler Excavator models HMK220LC (22.3 tonnes), HMK300LC (30.5 tonnes) and HMK370LC (37.3 tonnes) and the Wheeled Excavators HMK140W (15 tonnes) and

HMK200W (21.6-tons). Several attachments and specialised machines such as Material Handlers and Long Reach Excavators complete the offer.

New products to meet growing demand “The demand for more materials and technologies, along with the need for comfort and speed widens the application range of construction machinery.” explains Mr Karaagac. “In addition to traditional settings we now have narrow urban construction

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sites, agricultural hilly areas or underground engineering work, so that the machinery needs to extend to compact, large and oversize.” Only equipment manufacturers with long cycles of research and production, who can demonstrate high levels of technology and added value, can be successful here – so Hidromek has decided to focus on this area. “We are planning to expand our portfolio on mid and large excavators.” says Mr Karaagac “Right now we are developing a 45–50 tonnes and an 18 tonne crawler excavator.

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Based on detailed studies with machine operators and project owners we are also working on special solutions, e.g. demolition machines, tunnel excavators and excavators for railway applications.”

Market and export shares The company’s domestic activities are conducted out of 13 Turkish cities, with 55 authorised service centers and mobile service vehicles. “In 2011, we were market leaders in Turkey for the third year running for backhoe loaders (market share of 34 per cent) and for

wheeled excavators (30 per cent). We are also in the top three companies for crawler excavators here.” In May 2012 these figures were even improved, with 45 per cent market share for backhoe loaders, 33 per cent for wheeled excavators and 22 per cent for crawler excavators. Exports extend to more than 50 countries across five continents. European operations are managed from the sales and aftersales service centre in Barcelona, Spain, and the network of 28 dealers in Spain, four dealers in Portugal and 16 in


France. In addition, sales are growing in the Middle East, Russia and CIS countries as well as South America especially in Argentina and Chile.

Future markets “Hidromek wants to remain the market leader in Turkey across the range.” says Mr Karaagac. “Our increased product portfolio will appeal to small operators as well as to large corporations requiring fleet-hire machines.” “We are expanding our dealer network because our mid-term target is to reach to 70 countries worldwide, and to increase

our market shares.” The Russian market has high potential, due to the proximity and the large number of Turkish contractors’ activities there, as well as the wealth of infrastructure and mining projects in the country. Hidromek is also planning to expand its operations and dealerships in South America and Africa. Another target is to increase customer loyalty and to make Hidromek a true ‘World Brand’. “We are proud to be the only construction machinery company in the TURQUALITY project (a government incentive to create global brands for Turkish products).” By winning both

the ‘Excellence in Design Award’ for the Backhoe Loader Maestro series in the Design Turkey Industrial Design contest in 2008 and the ‘Good Design’ award with the new excavator Gen series in 2010, Hidromek is the only firm to have received two awards in its sector, demonstrating its brand-building design competence. We also won the “IF Product Design” award in IF design competiton in Hanover this year and “Good Design award in USA-Chicago in 2011 by Gen series excavators. HIDROMEK is a company with an exciting future, and its growing order book supports n the optimism in the marketplace. Industry Europe 127


INCREASING PAYLOAD

PERFORMANCE

Fabrika Automobila Priboj is a leading European manufacturer of commercial and heavy-duty vehicles. Philip Yorke spoke to Mirko Stojovic, the company’s general manager, and Nikola Grabovcic, its expert for selling abroad, about the development of buses with gas-powered engines and its move into new markets.

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abrika Automobila Priboj (FAP) was founded in Priboj on the river Lim in Serbia in 1953 and began by manufacturing a composite range of heavy-duty vehicles. By the early 1970s, thanks to its manufacturing licence with Daimler Benz, the company achieved the production of more than 7,000 vehicles per year. However, in the 1990s, as a result of the civil war in Yugoslavia and heavy economic sanctions,

production was significantly curtailed for many years. After the war, a new investment and restructuring programme was implemented and FAP is now beginning to reclaim the ground that it lost in the commercial vehicle marketplace. FAP has three main manufacturing plants in Priboj, including a mechanical processing plant that is responsible for machining, as well as for the toothing of gears, assembly


works, thermal treatment and the manufacturing of tools and spare parts. The second facility is an assembly plant that has a number of dedicated machine rooms. These include workshops for pipe processing, frame-making, cargo boxes, cabin equipment and electrical systems and pneumatics. The third plant is focused on the company’s bus production and pressing lines as well as housing a surface protection workshop and a rim wheels production line. The company works to strict EU quality standards and produces over 5000 vehicles per year. It has over 1500 employees and in 2011 recorded sales of more than €25 million. To date FAP has manufactured over 150,000 vehicles and more than 1,000,000 spare parts.

Diversified range of vehicles and components With its three modern production facilities, the company produces a wide variety of vehicles that include trucks ranging from 10 to 32 tonnes with two, three or four axles and with engines rated from 180 to 420 horsepower. These vehicles are manufactured to EU3 and EU5 standards utilising power sources from Mercedes Benz, MAN and Cummins. The vehicle’s gearboxes are supplied by ZF, Voith and Allisson. In addition, FAP produces dump trucks, tractors, cargo trucks, refrigerated trucks and those designed for road maintenance and for forestry applications. When it comes to commercial transportation vehicles such as buses, FAP manufactures

these for use in cities and for intercity transport as well as producing buses for tourism. Trailers also form a major part of the company’s portfolio and include single and semitrailers with different types of loading capacity. These are all manufactured in accordance with FAP’s truck manufacturing programme. Mr Stojovic said, “We are now in a position to move forward and are open for negotiating new contracts. We are very flexible and can work on different levels. For example, for the low-cost markets in the emerging countries we can send disassembled vehicles that they can assemble themselves locally, thereby saving significant sums of money. This arrangement then provides them with the opportunity to make good


profits when they sell on the reassembled vehicles. Furthermore, we have our own after-sales and service department and can supply any spare parts required from our own stocks to anywhere in the world.”

New markets creating new partnerships Whilst over 80 per cent of all vehicles manufactured by FAP are destined for the domestic market, the company is now looking to broaden its horizons and move into new markets such as the Middle East, South Africa, eastern Europe and Asia. Its main customers for its domestic market vehicles are public utility companies and those engaged in the building and maintenance of roads and overall infrastructure, as well as companies focused

on the exploitation of forests and mines, passenger vehicles and the military police. Mr Stojovic commented, “We need to maintain our momentum and therefore we have established agents in other countries to sell and service our vehicles. In addition, we are currently looking to enter into exclusivity deals with a number of key overseas distributors. In fact, we are open to anyone in the industry who wants to work with us and we are also happy to enter into new investment opportunities from outside Serbia. As a state-owned company, once we have finished our restructuring we will be investing around €45 million in new plant and facilities. In September this year we will be attending the international Auto Trade Fair in Hanover, Germany and we will be showcasing

SPRINGS FOR RAILWAY CARS AND ROAD VEHICLES AND OTHER INDUSTRIAL UNITS Industrijska 27 | 36000 KRALJEVO Tel. + 381 (0) 36 309 000 | Fax.+ 381 (0) 36 309 039 | E-mail: prodaja@gibnjara.co.rs

www.gibnjara.co.rs

three of our latest trucks. These will feature two, three and four axles. We will also be presenting our latest multi-functional vehicles which in turn can be customised to suit any application.” Mr Grabovcic also added, “We believe that the globalisation process will result in a faster correlation with strategic partners and that we will become part of the production chain of some of the world’s leading OEM manufacturers of commercial road vehicles.” Today FAP is well placed to maintain its position as a leading manufacturer of heavy-duty, commercial and passenger vehicles in the Balkan region and to increase its potential through the appointment of new partners and agents, particularly in the developing markets. n


MAKING IT BETTER The order books are full at Atlas GmbH, the German specialist in cranes, excavators and allied technologies. But, as Felicity Landon reports, it is the drive to increase productivity that is the ongoing story.

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2010, Fil Filipov was confirmed as the buyer of Atlas Cranes & Excavators from Terex. As the sole shareholder in Atlas Maschinen GmbH, which acquired the Atlas business, he confirmed that the new company would be headquartered at the Atlas crane plant in Delmenhorst in Germany and he would serve as the chairman of Atlas Maschinen Group. Atlas would continue manufacturing excavators in its Ganderkesee plant, cranes in its Delmenhorst plant, and hydraulic cylinders and other components in its Vechta plant, he said. And he successfully reintroduced the Atlas name and colour, a move welcomed by the company’s extensive dealer network. However, there was soon conflict on the factory floors as he began implementing changes in his mission to turn a struggling

business around. Terex had more or less given Atlas away, feeling that the cost of closing the plant or restructuring to make it profitable was too much in both management time and financial terms. The belief was that an independent owner would be better placed to tackle the changes needed. Hence the arrival of Fil Filipov, an entrepreneur born in Bulgaria, who has lived in the USA since the 1960s and owns several companies around the world. Mr Filipov is no stranger to tough turnarounds and, as one publication put it, “is not noted for his delicate or slow approach; he does know, though, that if he is to make the most of what is potentially a strong business with a good product range and strong brand name, he needs to make significant changes to working practices at the plant.” Industry Europe 131


This summer, Mr Filipov has repeatedly warned that he may close down production at Delmenhorst altogether, relocating production to the other two German plants – because, he says, productivity at Delmenhorst is not high enough to justify the costs, and also because of the ongoing dispute

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with the works council, which he says ‘does not cooperate with management’. Such a closure is ‘still not off the table’, he told a local newspaper, and if it became necessary ‘it could go very fast’. This year has also seen his decision to manage the complete spare parts busi-

ness as an independent company, Atlas Spare Parts GmbH. This has enabled him to restructure and negotiate new pay deals with employees; the same process is planned for Atlas Sales GmbH. In an interview, he said that the mood in the factories is ‘certainly not the best’.


“But in the end, all of us are not here to like each other. We are here to do a job and to make progress.” In fact, he said, 85 per cent of the employees are behind him. He has invested heavily in production capability and capacity, and the company has six to nine months of work in advance. “Atlas is a good company,” he said.

Customer-driven Atlas manufactures a very wide range of equipment for the construction, railroad, material handling and infrastructure industries. The company’s roots go back to 1919 when Hinrich Weyhausen started selling construction and agricultural machinery. He discovered that the machines his customers actually needed were not available. So he listened carefully and then went about building the machines himself, exactly according to the requirements of the people who used them every day. Weyhausen was a pioneer with the focus always on the benefit of the machines and, says Atlas, nothing has changed in terms of

that ideal. “We produce robust equipment to enable our customers to work more effectively and safer than ever before.” The Atlas range of cranes for trucks is split into small (13 to 56kNm), offering lightweight, slimline, simple solutions for applications such as landscaping and moving building materials; medium (65 to 240kNm), flexible, compact, sensitive equipment for landscaping, building materials, grabbing, material handling and other applications; and large (250 to 620kNm), offering precision and reach, alongside lift capacity and including special features such as load sensing system, twin slewing gear and continuous slewing gear, for building material, lifting logistics, container logistics and assembly work. Atlas excavators are marketed in mobile, material handling, crawler and railroad ranges. The mobile excavators are the all-purpose machines for road construction and underground engineering work, being exceptionally strong, solid and mobile and operable in virtually all kinds of conditions. Material handling excavators include mobile industrial machines and industrial tracked machines, which work

on applications such as scrap, wood, bulky goods, special recycling, port applications and vacuum operations. In crawler excavator segments, Atlas offers maximum digging performance, large loads and superior tear-out and break-away forces, based on excellent kinematics. And for the railroad sector, its excavators are adaptable and flexible, with the new computer-aided CARSY system ensuring optimal contact pressure with the rails. These can be used for a variety of applications, from cutting works to dismantling and upgrading railway track. Atlas’s other capabilities include cylinders with diameters of 40 to 250mm and lengths up to 4000mm, and steel fabrications such as ditch clearing buckets, cactus grabs, buckets, demolition grapples, clamshell grabs, skeleton buckets, telescopic beam segments, lift arms and flow lines. The company’s in-house expertise also includes machining, painting and blasting. “Atlas will make you strong with excellent products and a comprehensive service,” n said a spokesman. Industry Europe 133


DRIVING LINEAR TECHNOLOGY FORWARD

Schneeberger is a global leader in the development of linear guide technology products for the mechanical engineering industry. Philip Yorke talked to Adrian Fuchser, the company’s president, about its latest products and its move into new niche market sectors.

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chneeberger was founded in Switzerland in 1923 and is a privately owned company managed by its third generation family. The world’s first linear guideways were conceived and developed by Schneeberger almost 70 years ago, which established the foundation for the world’s advanced linear technology systems that exists today. The company’s original guidelines for the construction of linear guideways defined the modern criteria for load-bearing capacity, reliability and economy, thus setting the industry standards that are still subscribed to throughout the world today. The spirit of innovation, technically superior products and uncompromising quality remain the company’s key maxims. Today the company is a global operator that employs more than 800 people worldwide,

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with offices and manufacturing facilities in Switzerland, Italy, the USA, Japan, China, the Czech Republic, India, Germany and more recently, Singapore and Korea.

Raising the bar on quality and efficiency Today Schneeberger offers a diverse range of quality products and services to its global OEM customers in the machine tool, solar energy and semiconductor industries, as well as to those in the electronics and medical technology sectors. The company develops and manufactures linear bearings, profiled guideways, measuring systems, gear racks and slides. In addition, it produces positioning systems and mineral casting products. Schneeberger’s capacity for innovation and technical development allows it to develop complex miniature

guideways for a number of niche markets, including micro-manufacturing and machining, biotechnology, medical technology. nano-technology, robotics and optical industries. The company continues to lead the world in its specialised high-technology disciplines through continuous investment in R&D and the development of new manufacturing technology. Mr Fuchser said, “At the heart of everything we do is innovation, and our new smaller bearings are a good example of this; they have been developed especially for handling automation applications, which is a big market and a growth segment for us. We are also planning to expand our capacity by doubling the facilities that are involved in electrical applications and rail and carriage products. Another key focus is our investment in high levels of automation


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Blaser Swisslube AG Blaser Swisslube AG is a globally active company in the cutting fluids and lubricants sector. Founded in 1936 as a small local business, this Swiss family-owned company is now a global player with 500 employees worldwide. With subsidiaries and general agencies in more than 50 countries, Blaser Swisslube is indeed globally local. Blaser Swisslube specializes particularly in the development, production and marketing of high quality cutting fluids. Our customers worldwide manufacture products ranging from tiny parts in the watch-making and medical industries, to enormous aircraft components. Blaser Swisslube customers benefit from a lot more than cutting fluids. They get a complete Liquid Tool – the right product for their specific application, correctly used, and supported on the spot by Blaser specialists with their know-how and expertise. Thanks to this powerful combination, our customers can fully exploit the potential of their machines and tools, effectively improving the costeffectiveness of their manufacturing processes thereby.


DURALLOY® more than only coatings

Duralloy is a specialist and leading manufacturer in the area of thin dense/structural chromium coating technology. Duralloy offers individual solutions for functional plating needs in different industries like the automotive sector, industrial gears, machine tools, textile machines, printing machines, hydraulics, medical technology, bearing technology and linear guide rails. Linear systems are typical applications of Duralloy

Germany Durally Süd GmbH Eckweg 6 D - 78048 Villingen-Schwenningen Sales service: Helmut Grotenrath; Dino Di Lucrezia (also in Italy) Phone: +49 (0) 7721 40444-10 Fax: +49 (0) 7721 40444-29 E-mail: contact@duralloy.info www.duralloy.info

Switzerland

Great Britain

Durally AG Schweiz Industriepark Altgraben CH-4624 Härkingen Sales service: Albert Rölli

Acorn Surface Technology Ltd. Clover Street - Kirkby in Ashfield UK - Nottinghamshire NG17 7LJ Sales service: David Cox

Phone: Fax: E-mail:

Phone: Fax: E-mail:

+41 (0) 62 3888000 +41 (0) 62 3888008 admin@duralloy.ch www.duralloy.ch

+44 (0) 1623 753107 +44 (0) 1623 754538 information@acornst.com www.acornst.com


and reducing all the tasks that are labour intensive to minimise our production costs and maintain our competitive edge. “We are market leaders in MONORAIL roller technology, especially in Germany and Japan, and our latest feedback system is also unique in MONORAIL systems technology. Mechatronics application technology is another area where we lead the field and this is all part of our drive towards providing more integrated business systems. Today our semiconductor and machine tool businesses remains our biggest business sectors, each representing

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35 per cent of sales with industry, life sciences and others making up the balance.” Mr Fuchser added, “In terms of our geographical reach Asia remains our main target market when it comes to our future growth prospects. This region is currently contributing 40 per cent to our revenues, with Europe providing around 50 per cent and North America representing approximately 10 per cent. We can see what the world economy is telling us and we believe that India will surpass China when it comes to growth potential over the next few years. Our future drivers for growth

will clearly be the Asian markets, as well as our new technology offerings in mechatronics, the MINIRAIL commodity markets and our low-cost production technology.”

Extending the boundaries of linear technology Whether it is customised bearings, profiled guideways or mineral casting technology, Schneeberger is at the cutting edge of the industry. In the solar power sector too, the company is setting new world standards with applications designed for the laser structuring


of photovoltaic cells. These require extremely accurately constructed linear guide axles, which are normally driven with linear drive motors. In the mineral casting sector too, the company brings its unique technological advantages to bear. Here Schneeberger’s linear technology provides optimal design flexibility and innovative system solutions for its customer’s specific requirements. Another example of the company’s technology at work can be found in its response to an OEM’s requirement for a high-rigidity and excellent running system for a compact and solid machine tool with a large work area. The machine also needed to be highly resistant to any mechanical deformation. In this particular

case, the Schneeberger MONORAIL MR roller guideways with SPL lubrication units were deployed, as they meet all the specifications concerning both quality and reliability. By using MONORAIL MR profiled guideways, the company achieved high quality with rapid axis speed, as well as excellent running characteristics. Greatly improved ergonomics and functionality were additional benefits that in turn made the operator’s work safer, easier and more efficient. These advanced types of Schneeberger guides are highly valued by the market thanks to their impressive range of features. What is more, compared with sliding guides, such as dovetail guides, they exhibit much

lower levels of friction. In addition, they also offer significantly increased load-bearing capabilities when compared with traditional n cam-roller guides.

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THE EYES HAVE IT The Swedish company Tobii Technology is the global market leader in eye tracking and eye control. The company’s eye tracking technology can be used for commercial and industrial purposes such as automotive safety and consumer research. Joseph Altham spoke to Henrik Eskilsson, Tobii’s CEO, to find out more.

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WE

use our eyes to observe what is going on around us. At the same time, the eyes are also ‘a mirror of the soul’. Our eyes not only enable us to perceive the world around us but are also a way for us to indicate our desires and intentions. This is the basic idea behind Tobii Technology. “Eye tracking,” as Mr Eskilsson explained, “can be used in two different ways. One is as a means to analyse human behaviour and to measure consumer responses. The other is to use the eye gaze as an input modality.”

The basis of eye tracking is corneal reflection. First, image sensors register a series of images of the eyes. These images are then processed in order to detect the exact position of the pupil, making it possible to calculate the point of gaze. In this way, eye tracking can show exactly what someone is looking at. Companies use eye tracking to monitor the way consumers interact with a website. When employed as a means of communication, Tobii’s eye tracking technology enables severely disabled people like stroke victims to

express themselves. Those who have lost the use of their hands (and voice) can use their eyes to write by picking out letters on a screen to form words. Thanks to Tobii’s invention, people who might otherwise have been silenced have gained the chance to speak again.

Boosting sales We are spending more and more of our lives on our computers, not only during office hours but also in our leisure time. Tobii’s eye tracking tests the usability of websites and

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A dream factory? Hardly. No, NOTE does not create dreams. But we do turn our customers’ product ideas into reality in partnership with them, and then safeguard their value chains. We manufacture PCBs, sub-assemblies and box build products on assignment from customers. Our services extend end-to-end through the value chain, from design to after-market. We add value at every link in the chain, while simultaneously cutting costs. The consistent aim is to reduce the overall cost and create new opportunities for higher growth and better profitability for customers. NOTE has a presence in Sweden, Norway, Finland, the UK, Estonia and China. In 2011, net sales were SEK 1,209 million; the group has approximately 900 employees. NOTE is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Stockholm Exchange. For more information, please go to www.note.eu

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computer software. The movement of the eye over the screen is mapped to show where the user pays most attention. As a result it is possible to identify and correct problems in a website’s design, such as when important information is positioned in the wrong place on the webpage. As well as advertising their services on the web, many businesses maintain e-commerce sites and sell their products directly online. By optimising the web experience, Tobii’s eye tracking technology can have a crucial impact on conversion rates. In 2009, the Dutch consulting firm, Valsplat, employed Tobii’s eye tracking software to make KLM’s online booking tool easier to use. After the airline’s booking tool was redesigned, the number of users who moved on from merely searching for flights on the site to making a booking went up by 30 per cent. Appearances count for a lot on the supermarket shelves as well as in the digital world, and consumer goods companies employ Tobii’s technology to improve the appearance of their packaging. “We are working in cooperation with Procter & Gamble, who have used our eye tracking solution to optimise the design of many of their packaging designs.”

Integrated applications Tobii sees great potential for eye tracking through its integration into other industrial processes and machines. “One interesting use of eye tracking is to ensure that an operator is paying sufficient attention. Eye tracking could be helpful in an industrial control room or in air traffic control. For commercial vehicles, we are currently developing solutions to monitor drivers’ safety.” When installed in the cab of a lorry, an eye tracking system observes the movements of the driver’s eyelids and the direction of his gaze. In this way, the system will pick up signs of when the truck driver is becoming sleepy or his attention is wandering. The driver can therefore be warned of the danger before it is too late. Driver safety solutions can make a vital contribution in the energy sector and one partner Tobii is now working with is Six Safety Systems who is developing solutions for operator safety for mining vehicles. For computers, Tobii argues that as a control device, eye tracking represents an advance on the mouse. “Gaze interaction is faster and more intuitive. It is particu-

larly valuable in professional software like computer-aided design. If you are photo editing, eye tracking offers you an easier way of zooming and panning images.”

$21 million investment In 2011, Lenovo unveiled a prototype eyecontrolled laptop, built using Tobii’s technology. Eye-controlled laptop computers are a very promising opportunity for Tobii but are only one product where the company’s technology is likely to appear in the coming years. Another exciting area is medicine. In the operating theatre of a hospital, direct eye control means that a surgeon can examine a succession of different images on a screen without having to put down his instruments. “As yet, eye tracking is a niche technology but in the future we believe there will be a much broader market for it. Tobii is actively looking for partners that are interested in integrating eye tracking into their products.” This year Tobii received a fresh investment of $21 million. “We need this investment for core technological development. Making our technology smaller and cheaper will allow it n to reach a wider market.” Industry Europe 143


NORDIC BRASS Nordic Brass is a leading manufacturer and supplier of high-quality brass products. Philip Yorke talked to Tommy Werlefors, the company’s CEO, about its unique structure, flexible manufacturing facilities and its move into new market segments.

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ordic Brass Gusum is one of the longestestablished smelting companies in Scandinavia with its origins in brass manufacturing dating back to 1607. That was the year when one of the original companies, Skultuna Messingsbruk, was founded. Nordic’s other founding company, Gusums Bruk, was also established in Sweden in 1653. These companies formed the strong foundation that is Nordic Brass Gusum, Sweden. The company has set consistently high quality standards with its semi-finished and finished products, all of which are manufactured at one of Europe’s most advanced brass production facilities. Nordic’s state-of-the-art plant is located at Gusum in Sweden and has a capacity to produce more than 40,000 tonnes of highquality brass products annually. Nordic Brass’s products include standard unfinished items such as round, square and hexagonal rods, profiles and ingots, as well as a range of finished nuts. The company is supplying to customers producing ready-tomarket products. These products include screws, nuts, taps, pipe fittings and lock parts, as well as electrical components and ornaments. Nordic Brass’s products are in demand in a wide range of industries from companies involved in the heating, ventila-

tion and sanitary sectors, to those operating in the automotive, building, electrical and telecoms industries.

Guaranteed quality Quality is the hallmark of the company’s culture and its success. This is evident in every aspect of its operations, from its dedication to customers’ needs, to its commitment to recycling and sustainability. Certified to the quality management system ISO 9001:2000, Nordic Brass ensures that reliable manufacturing and control routines are strictly maintained all the way from purchasing to the finished product. Furthermore, it guarantees that all customer

requirements are fulfilled during its operational processes, from providing original quotes to the final delivery of the finished product. All Nordic’s operations are based on its wellproven research and development practices and are carried out in close cooperation with its customers. This provides them with access to technical advice, high-quality products and the shortest possible lead times, as well as the opportunity of discovering new applications for innovative brass products. Mr Werlefors said, “We are fortunate in that we have everything under one roof here which helps to ensure that we achieve the highest standards at every step of our manufacturing processes. Our factory is one of the most advanced in Europe and is complete with casting machines, melting shop, press lines and finishing lines, all designed to work with optimum efficiency. We also carry large stocks of both finished and unfinished products at the site and keep a wide range of standard products in stock for express deliveries. “We also have our own fleet of ‘brass lorries’, and as well as our set delivery routes, we also offer special collection services for the retrieval of scrap, which is mostly turnings. In addition to our standard range of products we can also produce special rods


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and profiles using various alloy compositions, all at very short notice.” Mr Werlefors added, “We are the only manufacturer of brass products in the Nordic region with our main competition coming from Germany, France and Italy. However, we are able to produce very high quality products which are to the same standards as the best available in mainland Europe. We are also very flexible when it comes to meeting the challenges that our clients set us and we work closely with them to achieve the best possible outcomes. We will continue to rely on our organic growth for the foreseeable future and

are moving into new market sectors, such as the heavy truck industry where the preference is for brass fittings for connectors involved in a truck’s hydraulic systems. We are also seeing growth in the general manufacturing industry where a lot of brass is used, as well as in the sanitary and building industries.”

Taking recycling to a new level The company’s day-to-day business revolves around the recycling of scrap metal. Brass production, which involves smelting, casting and extrusion, has an effect on the environment in various ways and is strictly controlled

by legal requirements and government licences. As one of the early pioneers of sustainable production, Nordic Brass has worked systematically to employ a programme of continual improvement throughout its manufacturing processes. By combining an awareness of environmental issues with the involvement of its employees and setting clear, environmental targets, Nordic Brass Gusum has continued to set the standards in the industry. This dedication is supported by a company environmental control system that fulfils all the requirements of SS-EN ISO 14001:2004, and which is fully certified by BVQI. Mr Werlefors commented, “The brass business is by its nature a recycling business as our products are manufactured from the recycling of our customers’ scrap metal and from materials from our local Nordic scrap metal merchants. It is profitable to recycle brass and nearly 90 per cent of the raw materials that we use are derived from brass scrap. It is also important to mention that in order to avoid impurities, we insist that the highest demands are made when sorting and classifying recycled material. We also work to ensure that our logistics determine the shortest possible transport links when it comes to n delivering our products.”


ALL TIED UP World leading specialist wire and rope maker Bridon International Ltd has recently invested in the largest rope making machine in the world. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to CEO Jonathan Templeman to learn how this will further boost the company’s offer.

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K-based specialist wire and rope maker Bridon International Ltd has built up a solid reputation as the world’s leading manufacturer of wire and rope solutions for the most demanding applications. Its most recent investment highlights its desire to maintain the top spot, delivering ever-more complex ropes to its customers worldwide. CEO Jonathan Templeman told Industry Europe how the investment has been spent. He said, “We are very close to commissioning a major piece of machinery that is sure to further cement our position as the world’s leading wire and rope maker. We have invested considerable sums in the Closer – the largest rope-making machine in the world. It is a welcome addition to our technologically-advanced equipment

portfolio as it can be used to form dozens of strands of wire into a single finished rope. The Closer is capable of manufacturing ropes with package weights of up to an incredible 650 tonnes, which is by far the largest and most complex ever made. We know that the addition of the Closer will bring benefits to our customers as we can offer a broader range of package weights for the most demanding applications.”

Preparing for installation As part of the installation of the machine into the Bridon Neptune Quay, the company’s new facility on Tyneside which is set to be officially launched in November, the Closer’s eight bobbin section and capstan are already in place, a task which involved

the successful completion of the heaviest and highest risk crane lift of the whole Bridon Neptune Quay project - the move of the capstans into the pit. Off the back of this successful operation, the team is now setting out the 16 bobbin section ready for installation, and preparing to load material onto the machine in early October. In addition to the Closer, Bridon is also firing up the facility’s Strander for the first time. Both the Strander and the Closer have been manufactured by German engineering company SKET, and will be capable of winding dozens of wires together into individual strands to then be spun together into a final rope. This machine has now been fully installed, marking another major milestone on the road to project completion. Industry Europe 147


Mr Templeman continued, “It has been a demanding project that has called into play our most advanced capabilities in terms of project management and installation, but we have yet again proved ourselves as more than capable of on time, on budget projects that will give us additional skills and services to offer our customers. The Bridon Neptune

Quay is a formidable location, and one which we know will more than deliver on quality and efficiency.”

Ready to utilise a ‘fantastic facility’ The installation and development of the Bridon Neptune Quay has been an on-going project for the last 18 months,

with the company keen to ensure that the potential of this ‘fantastic facility’ is reached on time and on budget. The large pits, steel and cladding were all completed in early 2012, along with the civil work inside the building, which allowed for electro-mechanical installations to begin. SKET shipped the first components of the


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strander as the installation crew were on site to begin construction work, with the Closer on track for pre-shipment inspection in stages by mid-June. A construction safety service was also engaged to conduct a full safety report on the facility at various stages of the project to maintain the smooth running of the project. Testing of the new range of multi-strand ropes has already taken place, with the results proving that the equipment is ready to see active production service. This latest investment programme from Bridon illustrates the company’s on-going development and its commitment to staying at the top of its game well into the future.

Originally formed in 1924 from an amalgamation of wire rope producers, the earliest of which date back to the late 18th Century, Bridon is now a major supplier to key industries throughout the world with numerous strategically positioned global operations. The company has nine manufacturing units worldwide, market-focused technology and sales offices in all key territories and a global network of agents and distributors. Bridon was acquired by Melrose PLC, a specialist manufacturing investor listed on the London Stock Exchange, in 2008.

With the Bridon Neptune Quay close to completion, the company is positive about its continuing strong position as the world’s leading rope and wire maker. It regularly attends international trade exhibitions, with its most recent the MINExpo in Las Vegas in September, and is set to bring its promise of ‘Delivering reassurance through unrivalled expertise’ to an ever-growing international range of customers for many years to come. n

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RESPONSIBLE STEEL-MAKING

Slovenian steel-making company Acroni d.o.o. is seeing the positive results of its ongoing, long-term investment programme, with plans for continued environmentally responsible success. Industry Europe spoke with general manager, Slavko Kanalec. Emma-Jane Batey reports.

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ne of Slovenia’s most successful steelmaking companies, Acroni d.o.o. is dedicated to expanding its operation in as environmentally responsible and commercially efficient manner possible. Thanks to on-going large-scale investment and a clear understanding of what its worldwide customer base requires, the company is well on track to achieve its aim.

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Based in the Slovenian city of Jesenice, Acroni is the biggest company in Slovenian Steel Industry d.d. (SIJ), which in turn is a member of Industrial Metallurgical Holding (IMH), one of Slovenia’s leading business groups. Acroni’s general manager Slavko Kanalec told Industry Europe how being a part of this globally active group brought it considerable advantages. He said, “SIJ is one


of the 15 companies that make up IMH, and between us we have an unrivalled experience in the global steel-making industry, from production to process automation to sourcing materials. Acroni is small and nimble and we are focused on taking advantage of opportunities for niche products in the steel-making industry with high added value, so it means we have the best of both worlds. By having

such close access to exceptional know-how and experience while being agile and flexible enough to make quick decisions, we can pass that advantage on to our customers.”

Niche yet varied Acroni’s products and services are also a key element in the company’s success. As a manufacturer of basic iron, steel and

ferro-alloys, Acroni offers stainless steel, electrical steel, special steel and structural steel. All the company’s production is conducted in Jesenice at its state-of-the-art facilities. Complementary services offered by Acroni include chemistry, technical control and research and development. Mr Kanalec continued, “Our broad portfolio highlights how we are committed to providing Industry Europe 153


exactly what our customers want. We are focused on high added value iron and steel and within that we can deliver a very wide range of products and services. By essentially offering a wide range of niche products, we can continue to maintain our impressive market-leading position as we are not simply competing on price, but rather adding value to our customers’ offer by ensuring we meet their specific expectations.” Effective research and development is an imperative aspect in Acroni’s market-leading position too. With a dedicated team focused solely on finding and manipulating information that will benefit the company and its customers, Acroni’s R&D department is central to its ability to deliver its added value niche products.

International standards The company was officially founded in 1992, but its presence and capabilities reach back far further in other forms. By 1995, Acroni had gained the respected Quality Certificate for Production of Steel and Steel Products, with the world recognised ISO14001 and ISO9001:2000 soon following. 154 Industry Europe

Mr Kanalec continued, “We export at least 70 per cent of our production so it is of the utmost importance that we achieve and maintain the very strictest quality standards that are recognised throughout the world.” Ongoing investment has characterised Acroni’s success throughout its 20 year history. Early investment saw Acroni add hot rolling mills and new leaching baths for stainless steel sheets to its Slovenian facilities. These were soon joined by a high quality line for the final annealing of finished electrical steel sheets and a new vacuum oxidising and degassing device. In 2007, Acroni took its investment programme a step further. Mr Kanalec said, “We instigated a €22.5m investment with a clear focus on reducing our environmental impact. Ever since, we have remained committed to operating in an environmentally responsible way throughout the organisation, which appeals to us as a company and also to our customers and their own corporate social responsibility goals. So for example we now have our own waste water treatment facili-


ties and we have replaced all the obsolete roller furnaces, making all our equipment the most efficient possible.”

Green dream The environmental performance of Acroni’s entire production and facilities is of the utmost importance to the company. It has a ‘clear vision’ that its operation must be run efficiently and smartly, so that its environmental impact is minor yet its commercial achievements impressive. Mr Kanalec concluded, “Even though we have invested a great deal of money in making Acroni as environmentally responsible as possible, we are still continually looking at ways in which we can enhance our commitment. Our research and development department is keen to ensure that we have the most forwardthinking steel-making business in the region, both in terms of products and services and environmental performance. We intend to have the most modern steel-making facilities through ongoing eco-rehabilitation and our n ambitious development plans.”

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AERO DYNAMIC Aeromet International PLC is a global leader in the casting of aluminium and magnesium for critical components used by the aerospace and defence industries. Philip Yorke talked to Alan Dustan, the company’s business development director, about its ground-breaking new alloy and its move into new markets.

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eromet International PLC was founded in the UK more than 30 years ago and has grown to become a world leader in the manufacture of premium quality aluminium sand and investment castings and magnesium sand castings. The company has continued to invest in new technology since its inception, both in the sand and investment 156 Industry Europe

casting processes, for the aerospace, defence and auto sport industries. The company operates three major manufacturing plants in the UK. The first is located at Sittingbourne in Kent, where Aeromet produces aluminium and magnesium sand castings with mould sizes up to 1m3. The company also operates

two modern investment foundries, one in Rochester and another in Worcester, which are capable of producing aluminium investment castings that range from 10mm3 to 1.5m3, by either conventional or advanced SOPHIA casting processes. Aeromet’s Worcester facility has the accolade of being the only Boeing-approved


European investment casting foundry that produces castings by both conventional and SOPHIA high property processes. Aeromet specialises in the production of avionic chassis and housings, escape doors, fuel pumps, aero engine heat exchangers, air intakes and aircraft canopies. In addition, the company makes large complex structural castings, fuel connectors and transmission castings. Today Aeromet employs more than 250 people and in 2011 recorded sales of over €25 million.

Extending the frontiers of high performance alloys Aeromet is a dynamic, innovation-led company that prides itself on its ability to produce castings that set the benchmark for others. Its commitment to maintaining high levels of innovative technology and dedicated customer services has won it the confidence

of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers. These include such giants as Aero Engine Controls, Airbus UK, Boeing, Embraer, Meggitt, GKN Aerospace and Rolls Royce. Mr Dustan said, “In terms of cast alloys there has been very little in the way of new developments for over 20 years, although production methods have become much more efficient and cost-effective. However, at Aeromet we have developed a new alloy that is a true break through in terms of offering significantly improved properties. This is a very high performance alloy, which we have patented and named A20X®. We developed this world-beating product in-house and in cooperation with LSM in Rotherham and the University of Birmingham. “The potential of this product for a diverse range of applications is very significant, especially in relation to our key markets and

in particular to the aerospace industry. This innovative alloy places us at the forefront of new cast aluminium alloy development and the benefits of using A20X® cannot be overstated. This high performance alloy has a much higher strength to weight ratio than any conventional cast alloys and also offers improved corrosion resistance, extended fatigue life and improved ‘buy-to-fly’ ratios. Another important advantage is that it provides improved elevated temperature properties over traditional cast alloys, as well as over wrought 7000 materials.” Mr Dustan added, “Currently around 85 per cent of our business is dedicated to serving the aerospace industry and this is where we see our main growth for the future. Our other key market is the defence sector, which has remained static as a result of government cut-backs. However,

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with the advent of A20X® we can see new opportunities in this sector, as well as in other niche markets in industry as a whole. The A20X® properties are on a par with aluminium wrought material properties so that aerospace designers can now for the first time select a cast aluminium material over a wrought aluminium material and have greater freedom of design. We look to the future with confidence in three specific areas: First of all we are expecting significant organic growth to come from our existing programmes of work for Airbus and Boeing; and then there is the huge potential that A20X® offers. We are also at an advanced stage with new work concerning more conventional materials for our existing and related markets.”

The strongest cast aluminium alloy This latest breakthrough from Aeromet is based upon a modified version of the aluminium copper alloy A201 and eliminates the problems associated with the poor castability of the aluminium copper series of alloys. In addition, A20X® has the fluidity

that compares favourably with aluminium silicon based alloys such as A357. This novel and innovative alloy will be welcomed by a broad spectrum of industries as it has overcome shrinkage porosity and segregation. Furthermore, it is not prone to hot-tearing and is far more resistant to stress corrosion and fatigue cracking – a very important consideration in the aerospace industries – and is today the strongest cast aluminium alloy available on the market. Yield strengths of A20X® up to 440MPa, with tensile strengths of 500MPa and elongation of 3.5 per cent, are typical of this new alloy and define new boundaries for cast aluminium properties. This revolutionary new alloy has been developed over many years by specialists in the Aeromet R&D department at Worcester and A20X® has now been approved by the SAE Aerospace Council and has been designated as AMS4471 for investment castings and AMS4482 for sand castings with MMPDS confirmation available by the end of September. More information about Aeromet’s products and technical data concerning A20X® n is available from: www.aeromet.co.uk

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COMPLEX CASTINGS Germany’s Luitpoldhütte AG is a foundry producing sophisticated castings for customers worldwide. Marco Siebel spoke with the company’s new CEO, Dr Thomas Fessl.


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he first blast furnace in the little town of Amberg in Bavaria was established in the year 1883, followed by the setting up of the first foundry in 1911. It was called Luitpoldhütte, in honour of the prince Luitpold, ruler of Bavaria at the time. Today, Luitpoldhütte manufactures engine blocks and engine parts, transmission housings for agricultural equipment and machinery, transmission housings for construction equipment, industrial transmission housings and compressor housings. With a staff of 420 employees on average, the production volume achieved in the 2010/2011 business year was 53.400 tonnes and turnover was around €75.3 million. This

makes Luitpoldhütte one of the most efficient foundries for small and medium-sized series with unit weights of 100 to 1000kg.

Moderate yet steady growth Luitpoldhütte has core, melting, moulding and finishing shops where it can provide customers worldwide with just-in-time deliveries of large, highly complex and machine-moulded products in mediumsize series. Turnover for 2012 is expected to reach EUR 100 million, accompanied by an increase of the workforce to about 490 employees. Luitpoldhütte has been able to keep on its permanent staff, and even has

been able to hire extra temporary staff to handle the increasing numbers of orders. Thomas Fessl said “We will continue to deploy extra temporary staff so as to be able to compensate for fluctuations in sales. It looks as if the near future will see moderate growth, so that at the moment we can look confidently at what is ahead. We have been investing in starting up new products, and there are already additional projects in the pipeline that are expected to commence production later this year. The only risk we can see is that as production grows in Europe and Asia, raw materials will most probably become scarce and hence more expensive.”


Via Lazio 24 – Z.I. Schio 1 36014 Santorso (Vicenza) Italy Phone: +39 0445 575079 Fax: +39 0445 575468 E-mail: info@stipsrl.it www.stipsrl.it Contacts: Poier Matteo & Poier Sergio (owners)

S.Ti.P. Srl – Patternmaker since 1969 Patterns for crankcase, heads, axles, differential gears, etc. CN machine tools, support for the design (CAD/CAM system).

Complex supply contracts Luitpoldhütte has been working with engine manufacturer MTU, a German supplier of engines and transmission systems worldwide for off-road applications as well as decentralised energy plants. Initially the business relations were limited to supplying engine components but Luitpoldhütte now develops and manufactures additional castings, up to and including the initiation of serial production. The total time span from the first prototypes

of the V8 engine to serial production took only 18 months. From 2011 Luitpoldhütte started producing and assembling the first serial castings from a specially redesigned core shop. Luitpoldhütte has also been supplying General Electric Transportations Systems with cylinder jackets for locomotive engines. At regular intervals, the engines have to undergo maintenance checks, and on every occasion a certain number of cylinder jackets have to be replaced.

Mr Fessl explained “We are very pleased that the long-standing partnership and business relations between GE and LH are now being intensified, proof of which are the various mutual visits that have taken place.”

CGI castings Whereas a high duty grey cast iron product reaches its limits at a strength of just over 300N/mm², the modified compacted or vermicular graphite iron casting will “flex its muscles” at over 450N/mm²! It is combining


the strength of ductile cast iron (high strength and heat resistance) with those of grey iron (thermal conductivity and resistance). In grey cast iron, the carbon separates in the form of graphite flakes with pointed ends; the special treatment of CGI, by contrast, rounds off these flake ends so strongly that under the microscope the graphite looks like worms, all of this with a shrinkage behaviour similar to that of grey cast iron (for grey cast iron and CGI the same pattern can be used), good castability and a very good vibration damping, absolutely necessary in engine construction.

After several very successful trials and prototype productions back in 2009, Luitpoldhütte has been offering the CGI technology to its customers, following the increasing demands of the market. Mr Fessl concluded “With a consistent policy of people investment and investments in the latest technologies, Luitpoldhütte is pursuing the consistent implementation of its strategy of being the premium supplier of large, highly complex and machine-moulded products in n medium-size series.”


MADE OF STEEL Spurred on by a history and philosophy dedicated to advancement, Alfa Acciai SpA has been producing steel for the construction industry for over fifty years. Ross Davies reports on the group’s recipe for success.

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ince the late 1980s, Alfa Acciai has essentially utilised a four-pronged attack to successfully tackle increasing market demands. Through acquisitions, the umbrella group of Alfa Acciai also houses Alfa Derivati, one of Italy’s foremost manufacturers of bespoke welded mesh and girders; Ferroberica, a market leader in pre-shaping, laying and assembly of steel for reinforced concrete; and Acciaierie di Sicilia, which operates a state-of-the-art mill, complete with an arc melting furnace, to directly serve the Southern Italian market.

Ductility Since last speaking to Industry Europe in 2005, Alfa Acciai has stuck to its objective of expansion with regards to both its work-

force and market coverage. The group has increased its shop floor personnel to 1180 employees spread across its four companies located in Brescia, Catania, Parma and Vicenza. Through a diligent work ethic, Alfa Acciai has also cemented its position as a market leader on the world stage. Assisted by a first-rate sales network, it now has product certification in Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. Outside of the Continent, the group also supplies markets in Israel, the USA, China and the Gulf. Having developed a high-ductility steel for use in reinforced concrete, Alfa Acciai has also been able to tap into the niche, but lucrative, market of steel production for buildings found in earthquake-prone areas. Particularly Industry Europe 165



DANIELI AUTOMATION Section control systems for rolling mills have been a specific target of development because of their cost and impact on product quality. Danieli Automation has supplied to Alfa Acciai new eddy-current based sensors for the measurement of the rolled stock section, called HiSECTION. This sensors can provide monitoring of section and the balancing of bars in slit rolling. The results are reduction of cobbles, reduction of wear of roller guides, continuous section control and roll wear compensation. Additionally the weight per meter of the bars is continuously monitored. With the target of cut to length optimization DANIELI AUTOMATION has also supplied to Alfa Acciai the SM3100 Infrared Speed meter to accurately measure the speed of hot rolled bars. Thanks to the SM-3100 principle of operation, this device can detect the speed of small size rolled stock even in presence of vibrations.

pertinent to its home market of Italy – geographically prone to seismic disturbances – Alfa Acciai’s continuous efforts in this field led to the formation of SISMIC in 2004, an association of Italian manufacturers of seismic steel for reinforced concrete. Due to rigorous research, the advent of SISMIC-certified steel, able to withstand earthquakes of up to Grade 8 on the Mercalli Scale for protracted periods of time, became available to the markets in December 2006.

Led by research Alfa Acciai’s product range is impressive. Already manufacturing hot-rolled steels and cold-rolled wires for reinforcement, in 2008,

the High Council for Public Works also issued Alfa Acciai and Acciaierie di Sicilia with its approval for the group to begin producing hot-rolled B450C steel. Placing great emphasis on research and development, the group has been able to expand its product range very efficiently. As well as its central office in Brescia, Alfa Acciai has three additional laboratories allocated to the steelworks, hot-rolling division and cold-rolling department, respectively. This network allows for a direct exchange between control and production staff so as to facilitate the production process. In addition to this, the group collaborates with universities in its quest to produce high-quality steel for the

construction industry. Focusing on its unique selling point of producing high-ductility steel for earthquake-prone buildings, Alfa Acciai places particularly high value on its alliance with the University of Brescia. In its efforts to meet the needs of its customers, Alfa Acciai adheres to a strict quality policy. The group has made constant improvements and amendments to its processes and production plants, using in-house technological know-how in the electromechanical and steel industries. Alfa Acciai’s policy of absolute transparency has also seen it obtain a number of certifications since first becoming ISO 9001 accredited back in 1989. Furthermore, in 2005, the group was awarded the “First Industry Europe 167


Certification Seniority Certificate” by SINCERT, whilst it also is an active member of UNISIDER, the Italian metallurgical standardisation body.

Continuous upgrades Such commitments also extend to a clear-cut responsibility to sustaining the environment. As a member of ASSIA, an agency designed to support and promote organisational and managerial development in the steel industry, Alfa Acciai is also ISO 14001 accredited, pertaining to environmental responsibility. Once again utilising high technology, the group has shown dedication in tackling essential issues including waste management, noise abatement, off-gas uptake and removal, radiation protection and the protection of soil, subsoil and water. In recent years, Alfa Acciai has also invested heavily in remaining as environmentally friendly as possible, including the upgrade 168 Industry Europe

of its furnace 1 off-gas system and enlargement of the extraction hood of its furnace 2 off-gas suction system in 2007. Despite the impact of the recent economic crisis, Alfa Acciai has continued to maintain its investment policy. It has recently implemented an investment plan aimed at increasing the production vol-

ume at its Acciaierie di Sicilia plant. Having invested approximately €20 million in the construction of a new filter and exhaust system, and a further €8 million set to be spent in upgrading its casting line and scrapyards, Alfa Acciai looks set to remain a benchmark company in the steel industry, both at home n and abroad.


Headquarters Emmegi at Limidi di Soliera (Modena) – Italy

A HIGH TECHNOLOGY FOCUS Emmegi is an Italian company engaged in aluminium, light alloy and PVC profiles processing equipment. Barbara Rossi spoke to the strategic marketing director, Marco Bellucci, to find out more about its hi-tech products and global presence.

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he Emmegi Group’s main site is based in Limidi di Soliera, in the Modena area of northern Italy, where it was established in 1970. Its activities have constantly evolved and in 2006 it has added a line of machines for the processing of PVC profiles to its existing range of aluminium and light alloy profile processing equipment. The company offers both individual machines and turnkey systems and also produces all the software necessary to control them. The range of products includes automatic systems, working centres, cutting machines, copy routers, drilling machines, PVC welders, corner cleaning machines, handling and assembly solutions, automatic storage units, painting systems and office and workshop software.

Curved curtain walls

Emmegi has a range of standard products, but is also able to offer a significant degree of customisation, which means that it is able to fulfil most clients’ needs. Most of the company’s products are destined for the door and window manufacturing industry, but Emmegi also supplies other industries, such as the furniture, lighting, pneumatic, rail, truck trailer and oil platform sectors. All PVC products are supplied to the door and window industry, as well as around 70 per cent of the aluminium and light alloys, while the remaining 30 per cent of the metal range is supplied to the other industries mentioned above. The company is continuously evolving all its product lines, either by upgrading existing products or by launching new ones, as maintaining high levels of technology is central to its production.

Building shell and window wall realisation

Production sites Emmegi has three production sites in Italy, a production site in China and a series of commercial offices. The company’s main site in Limidi di Soliera covers an area of 42,000m2 and manufactures the entire PVC range, a wide spectrum of aluminium and light alloy profile processing machines. On the other hand the Ponte dell’Olio site, near the northern Italian town of Piacenza, is dedicated to the production of CNC working centres for the processing of aluminium and light alloy profiles. The third Italian site is located in Pesaro, on the Adriatic coast of central Italy, and houses the PVC research and development centre, as well as manufacturing prototypes for the PVC range (aluminium and light alloy R&D takes place at the Limidi di Soliera site). The Chinese site is based in Suzhou and is concerned with the manufacture of all the low technology products, such as small single head saws, assembly benches, bar trolleys and ordinary pantographs. The production of low technology products is gradually being moved to China in its entirety, but this is not expected to impact in a major way on the percentage of production taking place in Italy, as the core of Emmegi’s output is composed mainly of high technology machines.


Precision T2, twin-head cuttingoff machine for Aluminium and PVC bars or profiles

Hub centred distribution In the last few years Emmegi’s main investments have been channelled into establishing the PVC machines production, setting up the Chinese production plant and considerably enlarging the presence of its commercial branches worldwide. Last year, Emmegi made considerable investments into opening its Brazilian commercial site and expanding the German branch, which had been set up in 2007. Emmegi has numerous commercial branches and distributors. Up until last year most of these were supported by the Lugano site. Now the main commercial offices act as real hubs, dealing with both the geographical market in which they are based and with those of bordering countries. Each of these hubs is equipped with showrooms, and sparepart warehouses, which are therefore able to offer a full technical service. For instance, the German site, as well as taking care of

the German market, is also responsible for the eastern European countries, while the Swedish branch takes care of the whole of Scandinavia. The Swiss branch is also responsible for Belgium and Holland, while the US site also covers Canada, the Spanish branch also oversees North Africa and Portugal as well as Central and South America where a few dealerships have been established, apart from Brazil where Emmegi has its own branch. The UK branch also looks after Ireland, and the Turkish branch also covers Iran. The Chinese branch is also responsible for a few Far Eastern markets. Although Italy is the biggest single market for Emmegi, it accounts for significantly less than 50 per cent of turnover (in the past it accounted for about 35 per cent of turnover, but now exports are of increasing importance). Emmegi is present in all the western European markets, as well as in some eastern European

countries such as Poland, followed at some length by Russia, and then by Slovakia and the Czech Republic, as well as by Hungary, Ukraine and Byelorussia. Its network of distributors covers other countries worldwide such as the Middle East, India, Australia, South East Asia, South America and some African countries. Mr Bellucci stressed how Emmegi intends to grow in India and Turkey, and plans to widen its presence in South America particularly thanks to its new Brazilian branch. Future growth will be of an organic nature but, as Mr Bellucci pointed out, acquisitions or joint ventures cannot be ruled out. The future growth in terms of products will be driven surely by the aluminium and light alloy range which represents the core business of the group but also by the newer PVC lines where the completion of the range is foreseen. Mr Bellucci said: “Complete workshops and turnkey systems will be the basis of n our future expansion.”

Marco Bellucci, Marketing Director Emmegi Group and MD Emmegi Suisse 170 Industry Europe


Comet T6, CNC 4-axis machining centre

Quadra L1, CNC 12-axis through feed machining centre for light alloy profiles

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A GLOBAL SERVICE PROVIDER The Piantoni Group was set up around 60 years ago and has since then provided services to the steelworks industries. Eugenia Fiusco asks Mr Eligio Piantoni, the owner of the company, about the range of services that the company now offers.

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he Piantoni Group with its subsidiaries: GAP SpA, GAP SERVICES Srl, GAP INTERNATIONAL Srl, offers a wide range of services starting from storage/ handling of the raw materials up to the management and delivery of the finished product. The first service begins with the handling of the materials necessary for the

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steel production; they are received and directed to various discharge points either if they arrive on a trucks or on a rail wagons using proprietary machines suitable to the service, as loaders, handlers, cranes, etc. Mr Piantoni says ensuring the handling of raw materials from storage to the loading point of the melting furnace; furthermore we are able

to perform the work necessary in shreding the scrap in sizes suitable for the loading in the furnace, by providing facilities such as own shear (fixed and mobile), mills, presses, cutting flame... designed and manufactured according to customer’s needs, thus providing the cutting, shredding, crushing, pressing, screening and cleaning of the scrap and


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optimizing the productivity of the furnace with the consequent reduction of costs. The second service is dedicated to the slag disposal starting from the removal under the oven, operation performed by wagons with tilting ladles also owned by ourselves, then cooling them in special boxes and continuing the cycle, once cooled, with the operations of iron removal, pile drivers, crushing, shredding, screening, ending with the delivery, storage or sale according to customer needs. All performed with tools and facilities owned by ourselves. The third service is the handling, recovery, storage, warehouse management and delivery of intermediate or finished products. Even this is done by our own equipments. The Piantoni Group also provides a range of complementary services to their activities, such as the collection and transportation of waste industrial demolition including environmental recovery, excavation, cleaning of equipment and production departments, aspirations of dry and liquid waste, cleaning, washing and humidification of roads. These activities are carried out by our experienced and skilled personnel, “says Mr Industry Europe 175


Piantoni”, that is allowing us to guarantee to be in partnership, in reliability, competence, quality, safety and compliance to the assigned tasks. We are the first point of reference at the Country level and we work with different important groups like Arvedi Group, Lucchini Group, Feralpi Group, NLMK, Duferco Ö.... and so on. From 2011 the Piantoni Group started a new phase of expansion within the European community, which, although it is at the beginning, is now starting to produce some results, the evidenced is the development of the collaboration with Tenaris, with which we are already partners in Dalmine Italy, now extended to their Romanian plant. Also in 2011, Piantoni Group has created its R&D department with the clear aim to explore all innovative solutions in the field of services provided in the steel mills. The Group is thus able to offer: highly qualified and competent personnel supported

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by state of the art equipments owned by ourselves and endowed with dedicated tools, the ability to research, design and build the facility with the scope to qualify the services carried out in order to optimize the production process therefore to reduce costs.

Un fornitore di servizi globali Il Gruppo Piantoni e’ nato circa 60 anni fa e da allora fornisce servizi alle acciaierie. Eugenia Fiusco domanda al Sig. Eligio Piantoni, titolare dell’azienda, circa i servizi che oggi la compagnia offre. “Gruppo Piantoni” con le società controllate: GAP Spa, GAP Services Srl, GAP International Srl, offre una vasta gamma di servizi che partono dalla presa in carico della materia prima, alla gestione e spedizione del prodotto finito. Il primo servizio inizia con la presa in carico dei materiali necessari per la produzione dell’ acciaio, i quali vengono accolti e distribuiti nei vari punti di scarico sia che essi arrivino

su camions sia che arrivino con vagoni, usando mezzi propri, idonei al servizio, come caricatori, pale, gru ecc., “ dice Sig. Piantoni” garantendo la movimentazione delle materie prime, dal deposito all’acciaieria fino al carico in forno; inoltre siamo in grado di compiere le lavorazioni necessarie alla riduzione in pezzatura, idonea al carico in forno, del rottame qualora questa non risulti tale, provvedendo tramite impianti di proprietà quali cesoie (fisse e mobili), mulini, presse, taglio fiamma. studiati e realizzati in base alle necessità del cliente, provvedendo così alle lavorazioni di taglio, triturazione, frantumazione, pressatura, vagliatura e pulizia del rottame ottimizzando la carica e la produttività del forno con la conseguente riduzione dei costi. Il secondo servizio è dedicato alle scorie che partendo dall’evacuazione da sotto il forno, operazione eseguita con carri ribalta paiole anch’essi di proprietà, provvedendo al suo raffreddamento in appositi box e


continuando il ciclo, una volta raffreddata, con le operazioni di deferizzazione, bertaggio, demolizione, frantumazione, vagliatura, si concludono con la consegna, lo stoccaggio o la vendita in base alle esigenze del cliente. Il tutto eseguito con mezzi e impianti di proprietà. Il terzo servizio consiste nella movimentazione, recupero, stoccaggio, gestione

dei magazzini e consegna dei prodotti semilavorati o finiti. Anche questa operazione viene effettuata con mezzi e impianti di proprietà. “Il Gruppo Piantoni” fornisce, inoltre, una serie di servizi complementari alle attività svolte, quali: il recupero e il trasporto dei rifiuti, le demolizioni industriali con la riqualificazione ambientale, gli scavi, le pulizie degli impianti e dei reparti di produzione, le aspirazioni a secco e liquide, la pulizia, il lavaggio e la bagnatura delle strade. Queste attività sono effettuate da nostro personale esperto e specializzato “spiega Sig. Piantoni ”, questo ci permette di essere garanzia nella collaborazione, nell’affidabilità, nella competenza, nella qualità, nella sicurezza e nel rispetto dei compiti affidati. Siamo il primo punto di riferimento a livello nazionale e lavoriamo con diversi importanti gruppi come Arvedi Group, Lucchini Group, Feralpi Group,

NLMK, Duferco Group, Duferdofin-Nucor, Cogne Acciai Speciali e così via... Dal 2011 “Il Gruppo Piantoni” ha iniziato una nuova fase di espansione nell’ambito della comunità Europea, la quale, pur essendo agli inizi, sta dando i sui frutti; ne è prova la collaborazione iniziata con Tenaris, di cui siamo già collaboratori in Italia nella sede di Dalmine, nel loro impianto ubicato Romania. Sempre nel 2011 “Il Gruppo Piantoni” ha data inizio al settore di ricerca e sviluppo con il chiaro obbiettivo di studiare soluzioni innovative nel campo dei servizi svolti nelle acciaierie. Il Gruppo è quindi in grado di offrire: personale altamente qualificato e competente dotato di mezzi all’avanguardia e di proprietà con attrezzature dedicate, la possibilità di ricercare, progettare e realizzare impianti idonei a qualificare i servizi svolti nell’intento di ottimizzare il processo produttivo riducendo così i costi. n

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HEAPING UP RICHES The Talvivaara Mining Company has a large mine in Eastern Finland and mines nickel and zinc. Joseph Altham spoke to Harri Natunen, Talvivaara’s CEO, to find out how the company has succeeded in exploiting its abundant reserves of nickel with the aid of an unusual and innovative technology.

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he Talvivaara mine, located near the town of Sotkamo, has some of the biggest reserves of nickel outside Russia. Occupying a huge site, 60 square kilometres in area, Talvivaara has two deposits, Kuusilampi and Kolmisoppi, with total resources of 1.55 billon tonnes of ore. The mine’s resources contain some 3.4 million tonnes of nickel and 7.6 million tonnes of zinc. The Geological Survey of Finland started to explore the Talvivaara area back in the late 1970s, but for decades the deposits remained unexploited. In 2004, the Talvivaara Mining Company obtained the right to mine these deposits and managed to produce the first metals

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from the mine four years later. The mine yielded over 16,000 tonnes of nickel in 2011. Now Talvivaara is endeavouring to ramp up production, with a view to producing as much as 50,000 tonnes of nickel per year along with 90,000 tonnes of zinc. On this basis, Talvivaara could eventually become capable of producing some 2.3 per cent of the world’s annual nickel supply. The Talvivaara mine is not only a valuable asset, but has also created employment opportunities for the people of the Kainuu region. “We have 500 employees,” said Mr Natunen, “and we provide work for another 400 people in outside companies that we have contracted to help us.”

Bioheapleaching If the Finns discovered more than 30 years ago that there were substantial deposits of base metals at Talvivaara, then why did they wait until the 21st century before opening the mine? Part of the answer, as Mr Natunen explained, comes down to money. Originally, the owner of the mining rights at Talvivaara was the steel firm, Outokumpu. However, Outokumpu decided against developing the mine and sold off the mining rights in 2004 instead. “We have to keep in mind that when Outokumpu studied the mining possibilities in the 1980s, the price of nickel was lower.” Nickel is now more expensive, making the mine economically viable.


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Another reason why the situation has changed is that Talvivaara can now take advantage of a new technology known as bioheapleaching. Talvivaara uses bioheapleaching to recover nickel and zinc from the ore, along with smaller quantities of cobalt and copper. The distinguished Finnish scientist, Marja Riekkola-Vanhanen, was responsible for developing this technique. Bio-leaching uses the catalytic action of bacteria to promote a chemical reaction that causes the metal sulphides present in the ore to be oxidised into soluble compounds. First, the ore must be extracted from the ground, in open-pit mining. Then the ore is crushed into small particles, eight millimetres in diameter, and stacked onto a large heap, eight metres high. Inside the heap, bacteria stimulate the separation of the metals from the ore. Bio-leaching occurs naturally in the presence of air and water, but Talvivaara speeds up the process, irrigating the heap with a circulating solution containing water and sulphuric acid and using fans to ensure the airflow. The particles are moved in a continuous cycle from a primary heap to a secondary heap for further leaching. Finally,

the pregnant solution from the heap is piped down to the final stage of the production process, metals recovery. Here, using hydrogen sulphide, the leached metals are precipitated in order to reduce them into metal sulphides. “Heap leaching is commonly used in copper mining. We have been able to transfer the technique to zinc and nickel. Although there was a concern about whether the process was possible in cold winter conditions, bioheapleaching actually generates a lot of heat and we have proved that it works.”

Markets Talvivaara has secured a 10-year contract for the sale of its entire output of nickel and cobalt to Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta, a nickelrefining plant that is a subsidiary of the Russian company, Norilsk Nickel. Talvivaara also has a long-term agreement to supply zinc to the Belgian metals business, Nyrstar. Mr Natunen acknowledged that the contracts helped Talvivaara to raise capital. However, with or without these contracts, he is convinced the overall prospects for the mine are favourable, since demand for nickel is set

to remain high. “Nickel is used to produce stainless steel, and steel usage is expected to grow.”

Ambitions Talvivaara’s expects to boost production of nickel in 2012 to at least 17,000 tonnes, although its aim is to reach a level of 25,000 Ni tonnes annualised production rate by the year’s end. However, this is by no means the only task Mr Natunen has set himself. This year, the company is investing over €13 million in environmental technology. The investments include a water-treatment system to improve the quality of effluent waters. “The level of sulphates in waste water has been higher than anticipated. We had to solve this.” Talvivaara is also planning to produce uranium as a by-product of the bioheapleaching process. The company intends to construct a uranium extraction facility and hopes to produce as much as 350 tonnes of uranium per year. Talvivaara is the first mining company to use bioheapleaching to produce nickel on a commercial basis. For Mr Natunen, running a company in this unique n position is an exciting challenge. Industry Europe 183


IN THE PIPELINE WAVIN Ekoplastik s.r.o., based some 20km north of Prague, is a dominant producer of polypropylene (PP) plastic piping systems for pressure and/or hot water (heating) distribution in the Czech Republic, and ranks among the leading European manufacturers in its sector. The company now seeks to strengthen its position in its export markets. Romana Moares reports.

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avin Ekoplastik s.r.o. is the largest producer of polypropylene (PPR) pipe-work systems for pressurised liquid distribution in the Czech Republic. The most typical areas for the use of the Ekoplastik PPR system are distribution networks for drinking and hot water, and hot water heating. Nevertheless, the system is also suitable for many other uses, such as coolant distribution, compressed air, gases and liquids. It also has applications in agriculture and in horticulture. The greatest advantage of the Ekoplastik PPR system is that when correctly installed (using polyfusion welding) it forms an entirely homogenous closed system made entirely of plastic. Polypropylene is entirely inert, which means that, when used for drinking water distribution, perfect hygiene is guaranteed, and in

contrast to other technologies available it offers zero susceptibility to the organoleptic properties of water. Its other advantages include longevity, resistance to corrosion, low thermal conductivity, low hydraulic friction and higher liquid flow speeds, lower mass and simplicity of installation. And it goes without saying that it leaves a minimum environmental footprint (very low production energy requirement and complete recyclability).

Stronger than ever Ekoplastik was founded in 1990 and was one of the first Czech companies to be active in plastic processing. In a very short time it became the leader in its field, winning a major share of the market. Until 1997 Ekoplastik was able to cover all its requirements (manufactur-


ing and sales) from relatively small premises in Měšice not far from Prague. As a result of business expansion, a modern manufacturing plant was constructed in Kostelec nad Labem. In November 2004 the Wavin multinational took a share in the company, which led to a name-change to Wavin Ekoplastik. As a result of the ever-increasing interest in the company’s products, in 2007 Wavin Ekoplastik constructed a modern logistics centre in Horní Počernice, close to Prague, to which pipe production was also transferred. The main milestone recently was the founding of a joint venture with Ostendorf to service the Czech market, where Wavin Osma s.r.o. covers distribution and customer

service for the Wavin, OSMA and Ekoplastik brands. This allows the company to focus on foreign markets and continue its expansion. In 2011 its turnover reached around 1.5 billion Czech crowns.

An integral system Ekoplastik PPR makes up an integral system consisting of pipe-work, fittings, valves, taps and other specialised elements. The core business is the pipes themselves, which can be divided into plastic, multi-layer, Stabi and Fiber (with a layer of aluminium, or glass fibre, to achieve lower heat dilatation) and Therm Plus (with an additional 100 per cent oxygen barrier). The pipes are available

in PN10, PN16 and PN20 pressure series and in diameters from 16 to 125mm. The range is supplemented by fittings. These are divided up into plastic (extension pieces, elbows, T-pieces, reduction joints, blind flanges and cross pieces) and combined with brass nickel threads for thread connections (direct transfer, elbows, t-pieces, wall mounted elbows, a complete range of fittings for plasterboard, transfer pieces with nuts fitted). The company also makes fittings for flange-mounted connections, direct plastic valves with brass covers or handles (classic and under plaster), plastic ball taps and metal covers (classic and under plaster) and a series of other tools and parts.

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Thermoplastic compounded raw materials for injection moulding and extrusion: Automotive Appliances Pipes and Fittings • Customer oriented approach • Long-term reliable partner • Tailor-made solutions • High quality standard • Experienced technical service Contact Your Innovative Company!

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The Ekoplastik brand is well known for its supreme and uncompromising quality. This is matched of course by its manufacturing technology but also by the scope of equipment for quality control (in many aspects better than that of the leading accredited laboratories).

Recent investments Wavin Ekoplastik continues to invest in its development. “Our aim is to maintain sufficient top-quality manufacturing capacity to meet all of our customers’ requirements,” says Ondřej Krebs, the company‘s marketing manager for export. “We invest a lot of resources into quality control of our products, such as on-line ultrasound measurement of pipe-wall thickness, on-line monitoring of the pipe production process, expansion of the pressure testing facility and the gasifying furnace with microprocessor for the analysis of composite pipes.

“Our investments in production have included new extrusion lines for manufacturing multi-layer composite pipes and new injection presses for fittings production,” he continues. “And of course there are investments in environmental protection, especially in reducing the energy demands of production. Recently this has meant investment in replacing water being cooled mechanically with free cooling.”

Focus on export The market for pipe systems for internal distribution is, of course, very closely linked to the growth of the overall construction market. Growth in recent years has a single common denominator – the financial crisis and the subsequent global recession. At such times, it is clear that construction investment will be limited. “We have felt the decline very painfully, just like every other company in the industry,” admits Mr Krebs.

Wavin Ekoplastik is strongly exportoriented. Over ten years ago, the company entered the markets of Ukraine and Russia and maintains its leading position there. In addition to these key markets, products are exported to Chile, Bahrain, Japan and Singapore. Overall export sales make up approximately 80 per cent of production. Plans for the future are clear, says the manager: “Continuing to satisfy our customers’ needs with the highest quality products, to innovate (in the near future we will be bringing to market an innovation which will fundamentally and finally change the market for polypropylene pipe systems), to expand geographically and to strengthen our position in those markets where we already operate. And finally, of course, to spread the good name of the Czech Republic as a country where products are made which can beat n global competitors,” he concludes.


EXPANDING FIBRE TECHNOLOGY Buckeye Technologies is a global leader in the manufacture of speciality and non-woven fibre materials. Philip Yorke reports on a company that continues to extend its range of innovative products and set new standards in sustainable production.

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uckeye Technologies was founded in Ohio, USA in the early 1900s as the cottonseed crushing division of Proctor & Gamble. Today Buckeye is an independent public company that leads the field in the development and manufacture of value-added, cellulose-based products for high-end niche markets worldwide. The company’s unrivalled expertise in polymer chemistry and fibre science enables it to offer the broadest range of products and most innovative solutions available on the market anywhere in the world. Today the company is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. Over the years it has established a major presence in Europe. The centre for its European operation is based at Steinfort in Germany, where the company has two air-laid non-woven production lines which together produce more than 35,000 tonnes a year of speciality non-woven fibre products. Buckeye Technologies Inc. operates six modern manufacturing plants worldwide and employs more than 1000 people, of which 250 188 Industry Europe

are based at its Steinfort facility. The company is listed on the New York stock exchange and in 2011 recorded sales of more than $1 billion.

Focus on innovation and sustainability The demand in Europe for baby wipes, kitchen and bathroom cleaning wipes, moist toilet tissue and femcare products continues to see strong growth. All of these consumer products are based on the air-laid non-wovens technology, for which the Steinfort plant is famous. Buckeye is the only manufacturer in the world that provides cellulose-based products made from both wood and cotton, using advanced wetlaid and airlaid technologies. This combination enables the company to offer a broader range of cellulose-based speciality products than any other company in the world. Buckeye Technologies is the leading supplier of unique fibre solutions to a broad array of global markets and the company is clearly focused on developing new, optimised fibre solutions particularly for the ‘absorbency’

market and for industrial applications. The company’s ongoing commitment to optimising fibre product technology has resulted in the launch of its ground-breaking customised fibre: Ultra Fiber500®. This was developed for industrial applications and is a revolutionary, custom-modified cellulose polymer which is used in the concrete industry for minimising possible cracking in concrete. In addition, it provides a smooth and blemish-free surface that readily accepts decorative finishes such as stains and dyes. Buckeye Technologies also leads the pulp and paper industry in its achievements in energy saving and the sustainable management of its forestry operations. At Steinfort and other individual facilities, the company’s sustainability initiatives are making a significant difference. As a certified practitioner in the field of sustainable forest management, Buckeye contributes to the renewability of its forest resources and the continuing balance of the carbon cycle.


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Buckeye’s Steinfort plant now manufactures products under the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and the PFC chain of custody certification. In fact, since 2006 the company has reduced its reported air emissions by almost 20 per cent while reducing overall waste products by a further 15 per cent, and reducing the quantity of effluents from its facilities by 5 per cent. John Crowe, chairman and CEO of Buckeye Technologies, commented: “We have embarked on a sustainability strategy that embraces the importance of protecting the environment and resources for future generations, while leveraging long-term business and shareholder value.”

Improving the quality of semi-finished products The entire output of the Buckeye Steinfort facility is based upon semi-finished products, which are delivered to converters for

branded and non-branded products. The company operates three state-of-the-art airlaid non-woven plants in total, two of which are located in North America and the other of which is based at Steinfort. The German facility is focused on the requirements of the European market, especially for products such as kitchen and bathroom cleaning wipes, and femcare products. However, it is the fluff pulp that is used in products such as nonwoven materials for femcare products, wipes, table-top items, food pads and incontinence products that is seeing the strongest growth in Europe. These product groups are also benefiting from the company’s ongoing investment in R&D. Fluff pulp is one of the optimised grades of value-added products produced by the company. High quality fluff pulp is manufactured at its extensive facilities in Florida, before being freighted to Germany in a wholly integrated process.

Continuous investment in technology and innovation has led to a product that is superior in quality to any other similar product on the market. The raw material used in the manufacturing process also has a big influence on the physical properties of the airlaid non-woven material and as a result, Buckeye’s superior fluff pulp optimises fluid management in its diverse range of product applications. Enhancing both its productivity and quality is the company’s latest investment in new plant and technology at its Florida based ‘Foley’ operation. The cost of the new, cutting-edge facility is around $80 million and will increase high-end speciality wood pulp capacity by over 42,000 tonnes. The all-new plant is scheduled to be fully operational by December 2012, and the entire investment will be funded from cash flow generated from n Buckeye’s global operations.

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YARNS AND THREADS

FROM HUNGARY

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Coats Hungary is an important operation for Coats plc, the world’s largest manufacturer and supplier of threads, yarns and textile crafts for industrial and consumer markets. The two Hungarian facilities, based in Újpest and Nagyatad, produce more than 1400 tonnes of products per year between them, as well as making a significant contribution to the global company that produces enough yarn to travel to the moon and back every three and a half hours. Edina Beale investigates.

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lthough seemingly insignificant, yarn plays an important role in everyday life, from the clothes we wear, to the cars we drive and the stitches we receive following an operation. Coats’ Újpest facility produces yarn for sectors such leather goods including handbags, luggage and shoes, automotive, footwear, bedding, quilting, furniture, outdoor and camping goods, linen suture, feminine hygiene and filtration products, to name just a few. Originally established in 1923 the plant has undergone a number of improvements to enable it to meet current market demands. The facility has state-of-the-art machinery to

enable the production of goods that meet exacting standards including, ÖKO TEX 100 Textile Certificate Class 1, ISO 13 485 Medical Certificate for Suture thread and ISO TS 16949 Automotive Certificate. An important factor for all these accreditations is an ongoing commitment to quality. The Újpest site employs more than 250 staff and Coats places great emphasis on the health and safety of its workers. The HSE committee is led by the operators themselves, as they have the greatest experience of the risks faced and potential hazards in the workplace. Recent initiatives to improve staff and visitor safety at the site

include a new visitor card incorporating site safety rules and the provision of a new HSE room for training and development.

Friends reunited While Újpest produces thread and yarn for industrial markets, the facility in Nagyatád is focused on providing products that serve the consumer crafts market. Located in the south of the country, it covers 250,000 sq. ft across a 15 acre site and employs some 400 staff. The facility provides products for European markets as well exporting to the USA, Mexico and the Far East. Coats’ involvement with Nagyatád first began in Industry Europe 193


TEXTILCOLOR For the full range of Roaches machines, spare parts and service.

The partnership between Mesdan and Coats has a long lasting For more than 30 years TEXTILCOLOR has been supplying customers in the textile industry all over the world with textile auxiliaries, dyestuffs and optical brighteners. Today the enterprise with the headquarter in Switzerland and two further production sites in Belarus and Turkey delivers its products globally. With an own development department, equipped with latest technology and ultramodern analytics, the company provides most modern products of (the typically) highest Swiss quality for the customers. Certifications according to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 guarantee top products and the consideration of the environment at the same time. Computer controlled production ensures constancy in the quality level. Skilled and experienced technicians supported by in-house specialists and effective laboratories are always at our customer’s disposal to solve problems, recommend the right product for the right purpose and enable our customers to benefit from innovation. Our know-how – your advantage! This has been our maxim and the basis for mutual success.

Mesdan SpA Spare Parts and Service for Longclose and Pegg Dyeing Machines. Contact our team of experts with over 50 years experience in the Dyeing Industry. • Control Panels • Modifications • Mechanical Seals • Package Carriers & Accessories • Heat Exchanger & Machine Repairs • Quality Used Dyeing Machines Bought and Sold • Technical Support Approximately 80 per cent of our business is export and around 20 per cent UK and we have sold equipment to more than 55 countries world wide. We continue to grow the Roaches brand and would like to develop more, higher-tech products for the dyeing and quality control laboratories.

Advanced Dyeing Solutions Ltd/Roaches International Ltd. Unit 11, Springwell 27 | Dark Lane | Birstall | WF17 9LN | West Yorkshire Tel: +44 (0)1924 420083 - Fax: +44 (0)1924 476249 E-mail: sales@adsltd.net - sales@roaches.co.uk www.asdltd.net - www.roaches.co.uk

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The partnership between Mesdan and Coats has a long lasting history of almost 30 years and represents an example of a successful interaction between an equipment supplier and a quality minded commodity manufacturer, on a global scale. The spark that lighted up this cooperation was, on one end, Coats sensibility to quality and its commitment to deliver high quality threads. On the other end, Mesdan leadership in the field of yarn joining. Later, this cooperation was extended to various Mesdan-Lab QC equipment. Some Mesdan products have become a standardised tool within the group, some examples: • Jointair® 110R and 110M for knotless joining of filament yarns • Jointair® 4941A for knotless joining of synthetic sewing threads, especially popular in the finishing winding • Aquasplicers® 4923B for knotless joining of cotton threads, • Splice Scanner, transportable yarns strength tester complete with data processing system and printer • NATI (Neps and Trash Indicator), to measure and classify Neps and Trash content in cotton and polyester raw material • Other testing equipment such as Tenso-Lab strength testers, Twist testers, Autowash colour fastness tester, Count Analysers, Wrap Reels, etc.


Quality - in line with the environment Our textile auxiliaries and dyestuffs are high-tech chemicals of premium quality: • Highly effective • Ecologically optimised • Made of standardised raw materials • Produced by qualified employees in accurately controlled process steps • Each single batch is checked When designing and manufacturing our products we take the utmost care to ensure our products are safe for the user , end consumer and the environment.

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“Ugolini srl” is a leader in the textile machinery sector. Today Ugolini srl is able to offer a vast range of products to textile companies the world over, including: dyeing machines, laboratory apparatus, stainless steel accessories for dyeing, machines for drying, for hydroextraction (centrifugal machines) and for dyeing automation. Ugolini srl handles all the phases from the design to production with great skill: all the main activities are carried out in-house so as to guarantee a constant high-quality of the products and to honour delivery times. Ugolini srl is entirely dedicated to the international market and its export sales account for the biggest portion of its annual turnover. While quality is guaranteed by international certifications and homologations, the machines are designed and manufactured in compliance with various standards such as: PED, ASME for U.S., TUV for Germany, ANFOR for France and SELO for China.

SP MIX 6 Kiers 2 PKGS

1934 and lasted until nationalisation in 1949. During the 1990s Coats was able to re-establish relations with the Nagyatád plant and in 1997 once again took 100 per cent ownership of the site. The need to improve the site and introduce more efficient machinery was identified and a substantial capital investment has been made to bring the plant in line with the rest of the Coats’ operations. This investment ensures that the facility is set to meet future demand in the most efficient manner.

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A commitment to quality Producing quality products to a consistently high standard takes a great deal of skill and focus. All processes need to be reviewed and challenged on a regular basis to ensure that a plant is working to its optimum capacity. Both Újpest and Nagyatád are well aware of the need for constant monitoring and have introduced the Six Sigma business management strategy. The Six Sigma approach to business requires effective leadership and fact-based

Ugolini SRL Via Lago di Misurina 18 36015 Schio (VI) - Italy Tel. +39 0445 576110 Fax + 39 0445 576109 E-mail: ugolini@ugolini.net

decision making. This methodology is dependent on a strong, effective and committed management. The use of a belt system similar to that in judo identifies experts and managers and provides a robust yet flexible management system to help ensure the plant is working at optimum efficiency.

Long-term commitment In these times of austerity many companies shy away from thinking about the future and instead focus on consolidating the business


they have and cutting back on ‘unnecessary’ expenditure. One area where companies often cut back is training. However, Coats in Hungary is investing in staff training and development, providing additional facilities to ensure that the company and its people are best placed for the future. It is often said that the most important thing in business is a strong brand. With a history

dating back to 1755, Coats has a strong brand, but how do you maintain that recognition and tradition? The answer is to constantly adapt and adjust to meet new challenges. Over the past 18 months, Coats has worked to embed its vision of corporate responsibility throughout its global operations. Coats’ commitment to its staff and customers is based on trust and a dedi-

cation to high standards, ethical manufacturing, minimal environmental impact, supportive people management, effective partnerships, communication with local communities and quality products. Working to achieve sustainability across all businesses will help Coats maintain its position as the world’s leading manufacturer of n thread, yarn and textile crafts. Industry Europe 197


PIONEERING HYGIENIC, SUSTAINABLE DISPOSABLES Ontex is the European market leader in the development and manufacture of hygienic disposables for the private label sector. Philip Yorke looks at how the company is continuing to invest in the latest sustainable production methods and deliver innovative products for a diverse range of consumer and healthcare applications.

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ntex is a global leader in the production of hygienic disposables and the biggest manufacturer of its kind in Europe. The company operates 12 manufacturing facilities, which are strategically located to optimise service and logistics for its FMCG customers and the healthcare market sector. Ontex offers a diverse range of hygienic disposables 198 Industry Europe

for baby care, such as nappies and wipes and for feminine care, with products such as sanitary towels, panty liners and tampons. The company is also a key supplier to the adult incontinence sector through its growing healthcare division. All Ontex products are produced either for private label customers or its own well-known generic brands.

Ontex is based in Zele, Belgium, and employs more than 4300 people worldwide, with major production facilities located in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. This is in addition to other modern manufacturing facilities that it operates in Algeria, Turkey, China and the Czech Republic. Ontex is headquartered in Zele, Belgium, and was


acquired by Goldman Sachs and TPG Equities in 2010 for €1.2 billion. The company has continued to grow and diversify and has recently taken over Lille Healthcare, which is the leading French company in adult incontinence products. This well-known brand operates throughout Europe and Australia selling incontinence products to institutional healthcare customers under the Lille brand, as well as selling private label products to retailers.

Product development driving sales In order to maintain its leading position in the hygienic disposables market, Ontex maintains a strong focus on product development and invests continuously in innovative technology and new products in order to optimise comfort, fit and product performance. This is in addition to other research programmes designed to enhance its strong commitment to improving sustainability. This ongoing broadbased research enables Ontex to deliver high performance products with a clear environmental advantage at a competitive price. The Ontex R&D centres are divided up according to the product categories that

they serve and each has specialised R&D teams operating in every one of the company’s key manufacturing units, as well as in Ontex’s headquarters in Zele, Belgium, from where all R&D activities are managed. To ensure that all its products are fully validated and well tested before release to customers, Ontex R&D centre laboratory facilities work closely with the company’s 12 manufacturing units, which in turn have their own laboratory testing equipment. In addition, all Ontex R&D activities are based on multi-functional and short time-to-market principles. It is this dedication to meeting both changing market trends and increasing EU legislation that is helping Ontex to improve the sales of both its private label and own-brand products.

Prioritising sustainable business practices For many years Ontex has led the drive for more sustainable products and improved manufacturing processes. The company continues to demonstrate its commitment to the environment through its activities and

product development programmes. At Ontex, all manufacturing plants have introduced an advanced, environmental management system based on a number of key principles which give particular consideration to waste management, energy consumption, transport efficiency and packaging optimisation. In addition, the company works to minimise the effect that its products have on the environment after use, and works in close collaboration with its suppliers to achieve the sustainable use of natural resources, raw materials and energy. A good example of success in this area is the company’s research programme that has enabled it to drastically reduce the amount of fluff used in its production processes. Fluff pulp is the main raw material used to form the absorbent cores of all Ontex products. All fluff used in its products is obtained from suppliers who subscribe to responsible sourcing programmes such as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI/PEFC) and the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC). One of the key priorities for Ontex is to ensure that only wood from well-managed forests is used Industry Europe 199




and furthermore that it is used with respect for the regulations that apply to water quality and the important habitat elements for wildlife.

Focus on renewable energy Another eco-efficiency parameter for Ontex is its electricity consumption, which is one of its key performance indicators (KPI). In order to lower the cost of its manufacturing activities and their environmental impact, every Ontex plant has an action plan to cut electricity consumption with a view to drastically reducing its carbon footprint. Furthermore, the company’s plants in Belgium run exclusively on renewable energy due to the installation of a large number of solar panels on the roofs of its major warehouses. As a result of this success, many other plants are now looking to install solar panels or expanding their use. In the area of transportation too, the company recognises that this sector poses a key environmental challenge and therefore wants to limit the impact of its logistics activities. As a result, Ontex plans to limit the impact of its operations through optimised packaging and compactor products, as well as through an optimised ‘truck-fill factor’ programme. n Visit: www.ontexglobal.com 202 Industry Europe


KEEPING IT COOL Leading manufacturer of commercial refrigeration solutions Norpe Oy is well on target to becoming the preferred vendor for food retailers across Europe thanks to innovative solutions and a focus on customer enjoyment. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to CEO Matti Virtanen to find out how this is being achieved.

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stablished in Porvoo, Finland, in 1953, commercial refrigeration solutions manufacturer Norpe Oy has continually expanded to become one of Europe’s leading companies in its field. With subsidiaries across Europe and a wider comprehensive partner network, Norpe delivers refrigeration to clients in the supermarket, bar and restaurant, retail, and food and beverage cooling sectors. In the two years since Industry Europe last spoke with Norpe CEO Matti Virtanen, the company has continued its upward trajectory, with new products launched and an ongoing expansion programme. Mr Virtanen said, “We’re doing very well. We are no longer particularly affected by the recession, especially as the food, beverage and supermarket sectors did not really slow down anyway, so the last two years have seen us continue with our ambitious plans for growth and continued development. We’ve introduced lots of new products that

have been created in direct response to our customers’ changing needs, and indeed the demands of their end user - the consumer.”

Totally chilled Mr Virtanen explained that Norpe had enjoyed a strong performance at the retail industry’s trade exhibition EuroShop in 2011. Held in Düsseldorf, EuroShop was the perfect opportunity for the company to launch its latest product line. Mr Virtanen explained, “We had a fantastic EuroShop last year and we’ve continued to capitalise on the opportunities arising from our attendance, both in terms of new product introduction and customer relationship building. We launched our innovative Aida cooling cabinet for the convenience store sector, and this has already gained fans across Europe and is selling well. Aida is an attractive, curve-fronted cooling cabinet that is suited to a wide range of applications for clients in the prepared food display arena.” Industry Europe 203


A full line product, Aida is targeted at both the convenience store and the buffet food sectors. The clever design allows for greater display space, which helps the store or restaurant owner to sell their products more effectively. Using high quality glass and great lighting so that the products are well lit, Aida helps food look good. EuroShop also saw Norpe’s announcement of its intention to further expand its German subsidiary. Norpe is rapidly gaining new customers in Germany and is keen to continue this trend, particularly with the value-focused German supermarket chains that are enjoying excellent performance across Europe as new customers appreciate their cost-conscious approach to quality food products. Mr Virtanen added, “We are also keen to expand our activities in Russia. We are in a strong position to grow in the region as we have recently established an office in Moscow and we are steadily making progress thanks to our understanding of the local retail trends. Both Germany and

Russia represent important aspects of our expansion programme and we expect this to continue.” Norpe is also experiencing growth in its domestic Nordic markets. With many of its customers investing in new stores and/or refurbishing existing stores, Norpe is able to capitalise on this by offering well-priced, high-quality commercial refrigeration that meet the standards demanded by discerning end users. Mr Virtanen pointed out that it is essentially governed by the end user – the shopper in the supermarket or the customer in the restaurant – seeing that the food products look attractive, so its R&D is largely focused on this in addition to the technical performance of the cabinets.

Cool and green Many of Norpe’s existing and most recent products are focused on delivering energysaving solutions – a trend which is important to both Norpe and its customers. For example, within the cooler segment for supermarkets, Norpe has introduced the

EcoCooler. The EcoCooler is a refrigerated cabinet specifically for beverages and it has excellent energy-saving credentials, with a payback time of just one year. In addition to ecological advantages, Norpe products are designed to boost customers’


sales too. Mr Virtanen said, “One example of this is our complete line of Sofie cabinets which are for fish sales in supermarkets. Able to display more fish per square meter, the Sofie cabinets help fish look attractive and allow fresh and packaged fish to be displayed in the same place. Customers have already reported that their fish sales are up by 70 per cent, so it’s a very interesting product.” Norpe’s ongoing R&D is focused on three key areas, all of which are customer-focused. Firstly, it works hard to ensure its cabinets are the lowest possible life-cycle cost. Secondly, it is continually working to improve the features of its cabinets so that they sell products better, and thirdly Norpe aims to modularise its cabinets and accessories so that they can be flexibly adapted to meet whatever standards its customers require. This third point is especially important for European-wide or indeed international supermarket chains, which represent a key target area of growth for Norpe in 2012 and beyond. Mr Virtanen concluded, “All of these aspects come together to ensure that we will meet our aim to become the preferred commercial refrigeration partner to large and medium-sized food retailers across Europe, by providing the lowest life-cycle-cost cabinets and enhancing consumer enjoyment.” n

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MODULAR MARINE FURNITURE

- SAFER BY DESIGN Norac is a global leader in the design and supply of interior accommodation systems for cruise ships, ferries and offshore installations. Philip Yorke spoke to Geir Lindstol, the company’s marketing director, about its increasing range of dedicated, turnkey services and its unique modular systems.

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orac is a privately owned company that was founded in Norway in the early 1970s and has grown steadily to become one of the world’s premier suppliers of marine interior products and systems. The company has been pioneering complete turnkey solutions for cruise ships, commercial vessels and offshore installations for over 30 years. Headquartered in Norway, Norac designs and manufactures high quality, fire-rated safety walls, ceiling systems, doors and prefabricated wet units. In addition, the company produces floors, windows and marine furniture, making it a one-stop shop for high quality, affordable marine interior systems. Between them, the Norac group of companies has over 50 years’ experience in the marine interiors manufacturing industry. The company also keeps 100 per cent of all its design and manufacturing functions in-house and well contained within its five

state-of-the-art production facilities. It is therefore able to offer a unique and comprehensive range of products and turnkey services to its customers. Today there are very few vessels afloat that do not benefit from Norac interiors and systems. Currently the company employs more than 350 people at its two main production sites and in 2011 recorded sales of over €12 million.

Simple, safe and cost-effective modular systems Norac is one of the very few companies that can offer complete interior systems for ships and offshore applications. The company’s products have been successfully installed on board more than 5000 vessels throughout the world during the last 30 years. Furthermore, in recent years the product range has been developed and extended as a result of acquisitions. These in turn, have added to the company’s range of marine products

and services. This has enabled the Norac Group of today to offer an unrivalled range of products and services for its shipping and offshore customers. There is virtually no aspect of interior design and manufacturing processes that is not catered for by the Norac Group, which specialises in the manufacture of marine interior products such as wall systems, ceiling systems, doors, wet units, windows and marine furniture. Mr Lundstol said, “We offer complete solutions for our customers, who include some of the biggest names in the business. We are unique in our approach and product offering, and over the years have developed a complete modular package that is both cost-effective and simple to assemble and install. Just like a Lego puzzle, our components, profiles and panels can be interlocked in a safe and simple manner. Apart from offering complete turnkey solu-

Industry Europe 207


tions, which by the way offers our clients considerable cost benefits, we also sell a lot of wet units and other products which are prefabricated and can be easily assembled and installed on-site. “We differ from our competitors in a number of ways, not just because we can provide every aspect of interior deign and manufacture in-house, but also because we offer a proven system of high quality modular profiles – unlike many other more complex products on the market and we use only the best quality raw materials.” Mr Lundstol added, “Some of our competitors manufacture their profiles and panels in China, but they don’t deliver the same quality products as we do and in addition, we have all the relevant quality certifications to meet the highest standards of safety and functionality. Today we operate two major manufacturing sites, one here in Norway which represents around one

208 Industry Europe

third of our output, and another in Lithuania which is responsible for about two-thirds of our manufacturing output. Much of our new business is gained through the recommendation of our existing customers which include the well known Mayer Shipyard in Norway for vessels, and Conoco Philips for offshore installations. In fact, we are currently working closely with Conoco Philips as a first tier supplier on a major project currently underway in Singapore.”

Leading the way in fully fitted wet units One of the most important service areas on board a ship or on board offshore installations are the wet units, where operatives can relax and wash away the toils of the working day. Whether it is for offshore living quarters or even for buildings onshore, Norac’s priority is quality finish and a practical design that meets the most

stringent safety and quality standards. According to Norac, a bathroom must not only be durable and offer minimal maintenance, but should also be a room where the user feels comfortable and refreshed after a hard day’s work. With its many years of experience and specialised competences, Norac is reputed to offer the best, fully fitted wet units on the market. These are of a proven and unique modular design, making them ideal for marine accommodations both on and offshore. As with all other Norac products, Norac’s wet rooms are fabricated from only the finest materials. “Whether being a ship owner, a shipyard or an end-user, our wet units are manufactured with a great deal of consideration to ensure the maximum quality and reliability of our products, as well as providing our customer’s employees with optimal well-being and comfort” commented Mr Lundstol. n


POISED FOR GROWTH JOTKEL is a successful family-owned and run Polish company with a diverse range of products, including server and IT casings, systems for machinery storage, as well as new offerings such as outdoor gym systems. Piotr Sadowski reports.

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OTKEL’s history began 34 years ago, in 1978, when it was founded and set up by Jan Krzywonos, who today heads the business, supported by his three sons and many other dedicated employees. “Altogether we have 170 staff who continuously work to ensure that our stable market position as well as ongoing development are ensured,” says the company’s owner. “One of the most important business goals for us is to guarantee 100 per cent customer satisfaction and work closely with clients to develop products which best meet their needs. Around 50 per cent of our sales reach customers across export markets and so we must ensure that we offer a diversified range of products to satisfy all of our different clients.”

Focus on R&D and product development Innovation, diversification and flexibility are certainly key words when it comes to describing the business operations of JOTKEL. The company does not discriminate when it comes to the size of its customers. “Our offer

is perfect for both large and small companies,” says Mr Krzywonos. “We have over a dozen employees, both designers and technology specialists, who work specifically on our R&D activities and ensure that the JOTKEL offer is always being developed.” The company’s products can generally be divided into two main groups. The first is a standardised range of products available for direct purchasing from JOTKEL’s catalogue of products. Of this, around 30 per cent constitutes furniture and other logistical solutions for businesses. The second group of products is composed of a wide range of items, which JOTKEL supplies to customers under their own brands. “We closely monitor the market to ensure that both main product groups are continuously being developed,” explains Mr Krzywonos. “There are over 100 workstations in the company which are fitted with the latest technological solutions for quick reaction in production processes, such as laser-operated detection systems, bending centres for metal, assembly systems and others. Every day we


process more than 40 manufacturing orders and try to make sure that all of our human resource powers are fully utilised.”

Ongoing investments Mr Krzywonos makes a clear point that for many years now he has been implementing a strategy which focuses on innovation, product diversification and growth. This cannot be achieved without investments, of which there are always a significant number taking place at the company. Some of the most important capital expenditures are currently being made to further develop automated production processes at JOTKEL, including purchases of specialist machinery such as numerically controlled manufacturing appliances. “In order to remain strong on the market we cannot be complacent when it comes to investing,” confirms Mr Krzywonos. “Investing in new machinery as well as in raising people’s skills and knowledge is crucial to

raising the company’s efficiency and ensuring the best possible levels of quality in all of our production processes.” One of the latest pieces of equipment at JOTKEL is the Prima Power C5 hydraulic press, developed by the company Finn Power, part of Prima Power Group. Prima Power C5 brings together previously gained experience in manufacturing hydraulic presses with new, carefully designed functions. The result is a combination of reliability, universality, high efficiency and trouble-free service and maintenance. Prima Power Central Europe Ltd in Poland is a branch of Prima Power, Machinery Division of Prima Industrie Group (a company listed on the Milan Stock Exchange). The office of Prima Power Central Europe Ltd is located in Łomianki near Warsaw. The company undertakes a full range of activities related to marketing, sales, servicing and after-sales services for Prima Power products, across the whole of Poland. The

company’s service personnel are located throughout the entire country. Prima Power Central Europe Ltd has the broadest product offer in its industrial sector. ThePUNCH, TheLASER, TheCOMBI, The BEND, TheSYSTEM, TheSOFTWARE are the names of its lines of products designed for punching, laser cutting (2D & 3D), welding, laser drilling, bending, integrated punching/ shearing and punching/laser cutting, as well as automation of products and software. The mother company’s factories are located in Italy, Finland, USA, where from machinery and systems are supplied across the globe. The network of sales and servicing are active through either direct presence or a range of specialist dealers in over 70 countries. The current number of the company’s installation has already surpassed 10,000 systems. Prima Power gains strength and competences from over 30 years of experience in the production of laser, punching and bending machines and flexible manufac-


turing systems from the two companies that formed the history of the industry: Prima Industrie and Finn-Power. More information can be accessed at www. primapower.com or from the ‘2011 Facts and Numbers’ brochure.

Diversification of clients and markets As mentioned above, JOTKEL works with a wide range of business partners, both in Poland and abroad. The company sees a lot of potential in further cooperations with institutional clients, for whom it develops products such as outdoor gyms or furniture for schools. “At the same time we continue to closely cooperate with all customers, including those in the automation sector, industrial clients, automotive companies and many others,” says Mr Krzywonos.

“Owing to its proximity, by far our biggest export market is Germany, but in general we supply products to all countries in the EU with the exception of the Iberian Peninsula. Cooperation with clients in the UK and Ireland is developing very strongly; these two markets are very demanding, but we enjoy the challenge. In terms of further diversification of the different export markets, our goal is to look to the countries east of Poland’s border.” JOTKEL’s activities are very much appreciated by the different markets and customers it serves. As confirmation of this, the company continues to receive a wide range of awards and recognitions. Some of the most recent ones include the very prestigious Polish ‘Business Gazelle’ title, as well as a range of awards for quality, innovation and customer services.

“These are important recognitions as they prove that the strategy I have been implementing is successful for the business,” says the company’s owner. “What is now also very important for me, personally, is to ensure that at some point I will put in place a plan for the succession of the business, as it is vital for me and my sons that JOTKEL remains a 100 per cent family-owned company. In the meantime, we will continue to develop primarily through organic growth and while we are not directly looking to make acquisitions, if a good opportunity for a takeover arises we will certainly consider it. We will further invest in the latest technologies, develop our sales strategies and work on expanding the portfolio of our clients and markets. All of this, I hope, will ensure that JOTKEL remains a strong, family-owned n market player.”

A. Lepak-Przybyłowicz & Co, 58-100 Świdnica, Bystrzyca Górna 71A, Poland Phone: +48 74 852 51 72 E-mail: galess@galess.com.pl www.galess.com.pl The company GALESS, headquarters in Bystrzyca Górna, which is of course in possession of the ISO 9001:2008 quality management certificate, specialises in surface refining of iron and steel using electroplating and hot-dip galvanising technologies. Such treatment ensures long-term anti-corrosion protection and an aesthetic appearance. The company management’s primary focus is on quality and customer satisfaction. The company offers: • Relatively low prices with a full possibility of negotiations • Prompt completion of orders • Availability, together with “while-you-wait” services • High production capacity • Many years of experience • Professional and responsible staff • Convenient location with easy access from main national roads


CUSTOMER SUPPORT Tech Data BV is the Dutch arm of Tech Data Corporation, one of the world’s largest distributors of computer hardware and software. Joseph Altham interviewed Olaf Ouwens, the sales director of Tech Data BV, to find out about a business in which relationships are the number-one priority.


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ased in the USA, and with its European headquarters in Munich, Tech Data is a powerful multinational organisation. The corporation operates as a wholesale IT distributor, sourcing computers and software from leading companies like Samsung, Sony and Microsoft, and selling them on to retail outlets and other resellers. Tech Data is not a manufacturing company, nor does it sell directly to the end user. However, IT distribution involves a lot more than simply taking cardboard boxes out of a warehouse and loading them onto a truck. Rather than following the ‘pick, pack and ship’ approach, Tech Data positions itself as a strategic partner to the resellers, offering them technical advice and assistance with marketing. As well as trading in laptop PCs and other familiar items, Tech Data supplies complex solutions such as data centre and storage technologies through its collection of specialist subsidiary companies. In the Netherlands, Tech Data has its sales office in Utrecht, where it has part of the corporation’s business unit for the Benelux countries.

Logistics Olaf Ouwens acknowledges that Tech Data follows an indirect selling model and only supplies equipment to other businesses. However, he does not like to categorise Tech

Data as a business-to-business company. “I don’t want to see things in terms of b2b and b2c. What matters is that we’re a people relations business – one human being to another. We’re all about building relationships with our clients for the long term, which demands honesty and professionalism. We talk to the retailers all the time. We want to support them and help them to be more successful.” For Tech Data to be able to provide this level of service, prompt and reliable delivery is essential. Tech Data has nine logistics centres throughout Europe that ship more than 21 million units every year. “Logistics is very important. The market is tough, and hiccups cost money, so it’s vital to have a well-run system of distribution. We normally work on the basis of order today, deliver tomorrow.”

Acquisitions Tech Data has expanded its presence in the Netherlands by making three recent acquisitions. In the autumn of 2010, it acquired the Dutch company Triade Holding BV. Triade is a collection of distribution companies dealing in both IT products and consumer electronics. Besides the Benelux countries, Triade is also present in Norway and Denmark. In the Netherlands, Triade’s companies include Battrex, a distributor in

Delft which supplies accessories like batteries and memory cards, Quote Components, a distributor of business-related IT products, and HON, a distributor of white goods and other domestic appliances. The third major acquisition was of MCC, the largest telecom distibutor in the Benelux countries. Olaf Ouwens believes that consumer electronics distribution goes well with distributing IT products. “The dividing line between consumer electronics and IT is becoming blurred. Think of the iPad.”




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MMD “Tech Data is since years a brilliant partner for distribution in The Netherlands. The recent acquisition of Quote Components amplifies our partnership in supplying the B2B as well the B2C market for PHILIPS monitors in the Dutch market. Tech Data proofs that you have to develop continuously in order to be successful in this changing market. Innovation is a goal we set for ourselves at MMD. By developing new PHILIPS monitors which are useful and meaningful for daily use at the office or at home. (picture) Quality, (power) efficiency and innovation is key to do the job!” Roy van Weert – Sales Manager MMD – The Netherlands

In January 2012, Tech Data announced the completion of another significant deal, with the acquisition of the Belgian company ProDesk. In the Benelux countries, ProDesk is the official distributor for Autodesk’s CAD (computer-aided design) software. The acquisition of ProDesk is intended to strengthen the capabilities in the Benelux countries of TD Datech, Tech Data’s design software division, allowing Tech Data to improve its Autodesk offering as well as to draw on the ProDesk team’s extensive knowledge of the local market. “Acquiring ProDesk is a boost for our collection of specialist companies. We specialise in every segment and our aim is to be a one-stop shop for our customers.”

Innovations Olaf Ouwens expects that soon consumers will no longer be buying their software on CD-ROM. “Within a couple of years, all software will probably be digital. Boxed software will be eliminated and instead all software will be downloaded.” Tech Data is helping retailers prepare for this change and has developed an electronic software distribution tool. Using a web portal, this initiative allows consumers to buy software from a retail outlet as a download rather than in boxed form. Once they have paid for the download in the shop, the consumer will receive an email with an activation key, enabling them to log on to a website and download the new software. Retail-

ers still obtain the software from Tech Data before selling it on to the consumer, but with no need to keep boxes of software in stock, they save on storage space. Another advantage for retailers is that they can offer a wider choice of software and make it instantly available to their customers. “We are always looking to the future and electronic software is hot right now. But nobody can be sure how the IT industry as a whole is going to develop in the years ahead, because it is moving so fast. Ten years ago everyone was getting excited about the mobile cell phone, which we don’t think of now as particularly advanced. Whatever innovations we can expect, they are n likely to be big. The sky’s the limit!”

Industry Europe 217


WINDS OF CHANGE East Metal is a leading manufacturer of high precision steel components. Philp Yorke spoke to Bent Juul Larsen, the company’s CEO, about its growing involvement in the renewable energy sector and its investments in the latest cutting-edge technology.

218 Industry Europe


E

ast Metal was founded in 1997 as a privately owned production enterprise in Latvia. The company’s structure has proved to be one of the keys to its success with sales and project management located in Denmark and all production carried out at its two state-of-the-art facilities in Latvia. East Metal supplies extremely high-quality steel components to a number of major companies that are mainly focused on the wind turbine and transport industries. East Metal is a ‘top drawer’ supplier and outsourcing partner for a steadily increasing number of customers who have discovered that outsourcing to the company optimises their value chain, improves cash-flow and minimises capital outlay as well as providing greater production flexibility. Many of East Metal’s customers have previously produced their own steel components directly for their products, but all have experienced the many disadvantages associated with in-house manufacturing in an industry where it is often impossible to produce to inventory. Thus it is an advantage to use a sub supplier, which are adapting to its customers’ demands.

New vision brings new horizons Any disadvantages that existed in the past with outsourcing components have been dispelled by East Metal, which promises to offer, ‘Outsourcing without compromise’. This new vision has captured the imagination of other leading OEMs and today the package offered by East Metal is fast becoming the industry gold-standard. The company works closely with many of the major wind turbine manufacturers to supply high quality steel components to the most exacting specifications. The transport sector is another major customer group of East Metal. In a situation where one or more ships or vehicles require adaptation to meet special load or lifting requirements, East Metal can develop and produce the specialised equipment required quickly and cost-effectively. Larsen said. “Our services are being sought throughout Europe and we have increasing interest from the USA because as a medium size, independent company, we are very flexible and able to produce complex, precision components quickly and to a very high standard.

We are close to our customers and when you make ten of this and ten of that you work as a partner and together we are able to make the price more competitive. For example we have developed a special test centre for our offshore and transport clients as well as for other applications such as a heavy lifting test of up to 350 tons. Furthermore, if you have big items, say 10 metres long, we can make them and then test them all in-house. We are trying to develop our offshore business, a sector where we can produce precision components of up-to 50 tons with ease.” Larsen added, “The offshore oil and gas industries offer us new horizons for growth as we are ideally suited to meet the challenges that their high precision components demand. Our two modern production facilities in Latvia each employ around 250 people and we have more than 30,000 square metres of productive manufacturing capacity available. Last year we generated sales of more than DK220 million which is over €30 million, and we expect to be able to achieve growth of around 15 per cent this year.” “One of our main competitive advantages is the high quality of our welding and Industry Europe 219


JN Metal provides the following services: • MAG, TIG welding work (welders are certified according to SFS - EN 287 - 1) • Sawing with bandsaw • Plates cutting • Drilling / pressing • Sand blasting / shot blasting • Grinding works (cast iron, bronze, aluminium, plastic) • Painting works (spray painting, painting by dipping) Our company is ready to offer its experience in the production of high quality metal constructions. We offer our clients production of ironworks in accordance with their needs. JN Metal has a certified quality system in accordance with ISO 9001:2008 JN METAL SIA “Metali”, Gardene, Dobele region, LV 3701, LATVIA Mobile: +371 28640401 / +371 26518868 Fax: + 371 63724155 E-mail: jnmetal@inbox.lv



ECO System Service Ltd. (SIA “EKO Sistem Serviss”) is the company specialising in dangerous and non-dangerous waste service. The company ECO System Service Ltd. collects, transports and utilises dangerous and non-dangerous waste throughout Latvia. The sphere of our business activity: - Identification, collection, transportation, storage and utilisation of dangerous household and industrial waste such as technical lubricants, oils, worn out tires, useless laboratory chemicals, mercury waste, industrial waste containing heavy metals, lacquer/varnish, paint and tar/pitch waste, waste organic solvents, expired medicaments and other medical waste, old electrical equipment/appliances, used batteries and so on.

Rigas street, Kraslava, Kraslavas region, Latvia, LV-5601 Tel./fax: 0037165426373, Mob.: 0037122333270 www.ekosistemserviss.lv E-mail: ekos2@inbox.lv


the advanced processes that we employ and these are produced to the very finest tolerances and tested with advanced ultrasound NDT equipment. We can also paint very big items and have a modern finishing plant for this purpose. Everything we do is done with openness and transparency as we are only interested in developing a long term relationship that is designed to benefit our customers.”

More complex assignments Adding to its already impressive catalogue of state-of-the-art machinery, East Metal has complemented its inventory by investing in the latest Fermat CNC milling machinery. This broadens still further the company’s range of competences and services and will enable it to carry out larger and more complex assignments. The new machine by Fermat is a universal boring and milling machine designed with the latest cutting-edge technology that affords the highest precision available on the market today. East Metal has also continued to invest in other areas of its operations including its surface treatment facilities, which enables it to achieve optimal results in relation to its customers’ specific requirements. The company’s modern factory in Latvia offers a variety of surface treatments including shot blasting, metalising, galvanising and painting. The company guarantees lasting quality and provides painted coatings up to corrosion category C5 and galvanises

in accordance with DS/EN ISO 1461 – the industry’s most stringent quality standard. To ensure that all aspects of East Metal’s operations are to the highest quality and to the best ‘LEAN’ standards, the company’s quality control begins when it receives the raw materials from its suppliers and is only complete once the order has been delivered and approved by its customers. There is strict quality control in place at every stage of production under the expert leadership of the

Danish quality management team. In addition, many of East Metal’s customers require third party quality control of their processes and finished products and the company is happy to facilitate such requests. Customers are also invited to visit East Metal’s production facilities and monitor the manufacture of their products first hand. Clearly, the formula for success developed by East Metal over the years will continue to drive their sales forward in the n years ahead.


NEW SENSORS AT THE

HEART OF PUMP EFFICIENCY

224 Industry Europe


Grundfos is the global leader in circulating pumps and related equipment. Philip Yorke talked to Dr Klaus Kattenhoej, the company’s managing director, about its new sensors division and the strategy behind its formation and innovative range of new pressure sensors.

G

rundfos was founded in Denmark in 1945 and is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of circulator pumps for the heating and air conditioning industries, as well as for other key sectors such as water supply, sewage and dosing. Today Grundfos is the world’s largest manufacturer of circulator pumps, with more than a 50 per cent share of the global market. It is inevitable, therefore, that with the ever increasing demand for greater energy saving and overall efficiency the company has set up a new division to satisfy these significant market challenges. Today the Danish Grundfos Group is present in over 55 countries and has more than 17,500 employees worldwide. In 2011 it recorded sales of more than €2.8 billion.

Setting new standards in micro-sensor technology With one of the biggest dedicated, in-house R&D departments in the industry, Grundfos sensors division has already developed some innovative and ground-breaking new products. The Grundfos Sensor Division produced its first chip for micro-sensors at its state-of-the-art sensor production facilities for semiconductors located at Farum near Copenhagen. This is the very first facility in Denmark to manufacture semiconductors on an industrial scale, and one of the first of its kind in Europe. The new Grundfos semiconductor chip is made from silicon wafers – the favourite material for making sensors being steady-state, which provides the highest quality at the lowest cost – and a

proprietary coating originally developed as a Ph.D project at the University of Aarhus before subsequently being patented by Grundfos. This unique coating process makes the chip highly resistant to water as well as other liquids. Unlike traditional sensors, the Grundfos micro-sensor is so tiny that in principle it can be integrated into even the very smallest pumps and applications on the market. In the short term the production of these micro-chips has been sold internally as well as externally, before being integrated into the bread and butter of the Grundfos business – centrifugal pumps. However, in the longer term the micro-sensors will be made available for many other segments and products, as they are ideal for measur-

Industry Europe 225


ing pressure, flow and the temperatures of liquids in general. Kattenhoej said, “We are an entirely new entity and through the steering group, we retain responsibility for all global activities and at the same time take advantage of the Group’s global network in R&D, sales and production. We represent the driving force in this area and our strategy is designed to accelerate sales in this particular sector of our operations. Our strategic goal is to generate sales of more than 600,000 units this year rising to more than 1,000,000 in the next few years to come. In order to help achieve this goal we are setting up distribution channels in Europe, North America and Asia. We plan to have local capacity for assembly and our approach to production is that we start by

226 Industry Europe

having local variants and if it becomes big, then we establish manufacturing facilities to meet the growing local demand.” Kattenhoej added, “We have the competitive edge as a result of our advanced technology, lower packaging costs and our sensors have no moving parts so maintenance is minimal. We work closely with leading Danish universities and German institutes to develop new products and we see our customers not just as clients but as partners, and we help them to develop their products for the global market. We also have a tried and tested system approach so that our customers can save energy and increase efficiency in all their areas of manufacturing. In fact, we are almost at a point where more than half of our products are sold with controls designed to save


Sand Industries is among the leading suppliers in metalworking and plastics. We deal with both one-off production, batch production and fully assembled products for customers. We make everything from prototypes to large series production.

Henning Sand Maskinfabrik A/S Agerskellet 6, 8920 Randers NV Phone: +45 8642 7177 (contact person: Alex Sand) www.sandindustries.dk

energy. As well as producing energy-saving pumps and sensors for ‘ground-source’ heating systems and thermal solar heating, we also are seeing growth in air-to-water heat pump systems, where the control of the speed of the pump can make a big difference to efficiency and energy saving, which can be displayed to the customer, and we plan to expand from these two key applications for the present time. Temperature control – including chillers – for industry is next.”

Putting sustainability first Grundfos has always taken its responsibilities very seriously in relation to the environment and believes that although industry is part of the problem, it is also part of the solution. Therefore a global response to climate change will create a greater demand for solu-

tions that will significantly reduce water and energy consumption worldwide. In its position as a global leader in its field, Grundfos is in a unique position to meet these demands with its advanced products, services, partnerships and organisational voice. Grundfos plans to be part of the ‘sustainable’ solution by focusing on innovation and new product development and applying a broad range of initiatives that will work together to propel it into a more sustainable future. When it comes to producing innovative products and the manufacture of semiconductor chips, the company sees this development as a strategically important basis for sensor integration into the overall Grundfos pump company. Whereas the microchips are produced in clean-room facilities at Farum, the pressure sensors in which the chips are integrated are

produced at the Grundfos Electronics headquarters in Bjerringbro, Jutland being the main strip of Denmark stretching up as a peninsula from the borders of Germany going north. In order to achieve its goals, Grundfos has invested more than €100 million on research and development in the last five years. In addition, the mass production of its sensors has already begun with the company predicting that it will achieve an annual production of over two million pressure sensors before the end of this decade bringing the facilities to the economies of scale they are designed for. Micro Electrical Mechanical Systems / MEMS has already changed the automotive industry fundamentally with more than 150 sensors in the latest German cars providing unseen efficiencies and safety – now the time has come for pumps, heating and cooling systems. n

Industry Europe 227


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Articles inside

New sensors at the heart of pump efficiency Grundfos

9min
pages 226-232

Winds of change East Metal

6min
pages 220-225

Keeping it cool Norpe

5min
pages 205-207

Customer support Tech Data

5min
pages 214-219

Modular marine furniture – safer by design Norac

4min
pages 208-210

Poised for growth JOTKEL

7min
pages 211-213

Yarns and threads from Hungary Coats Hungary

9min
pages 194-199

Pioneering hygienic, sustainable disposables

5min
pages 200-204

Expanding fibre technology Buckeye Technologies

4min
pages 190-193

In the pipeline Wavin Ekoplastik

5min
pages 186-189

Made of steel Alfa Acciai

5min
pages 166-170

Heaping up riches Talvivaara

5min
pages 180-185

A high technology focus Emmegi

5min
pages 171-173

A global service provider Gruppo Piantoni

6min
pages 174-179

Aero dynamic Aeromet International

4min
pages 158-161

Complex castings Luitpoldhütte

4min
pages 162-165

Responsible steel-making Acroni

4min
pages 154-157

Making it better Atlas

4min
pages 133-135

Driving linear technology forward Schneeberger

6min
pages 136-141

Nordic Brass Nordic Brass

4min
pages 146-148

All tied up Bridon International

4min
pages 149-153

Masters of construction machinery Hidromek

5min
pages 126-129

A healthy level of growth Nestlé

6min
pages 122-125

Increasing payload performance

5min
pages 130-132

The eyes have it Tobii Technology

4min
pages 142-145

Transforming power supply parameters ABB

6min
pages 114-117

The taste of success JOWA

4min
pages 118-121

Clean, lean, power machine Budapest Power Plant

4min
pages 102-106

Taking UPS technology to a new level Piller Group

5min
pages 110-113

Generating higher output and greater flexibility NEM

4min
pages 107-109

Specialists in energy optimisation Apator

5min
pages 98-101

Customised high quality solutions

5min
pages 94-97

First in advanced PCBs Aspocomp

5min
pages 90-93

Setting new standards in robotic power products Honda

5min
pages 86-89

Spinning with success Hajdu

6min
pages 82-85

Special in silicones CHT R Beitlich

4min
pages 78-81

Innovation in speciality chemicals Rhodia

6min
pages 69-73

Specialist in water-based additives Coatex

4min
pages 74-77

Ready for the recovery Cosmo

5min
pages 66-68

A strong partner Handler Construction

4min
pages 62-65

Lighting the future Tecnomeccanica

4min
pages 59-61

Sound investment Alpine Group

5min
pages 52-58

Seeking new partners TS Tech

5min
pages 48-51

High pressure solutions

6min
pages 35-39

Aesthetic value – design and performance Ostnor

6min
pages 40-43

Investment in precision Linamar

5min
pages 44-47

Keeping cool EPTA Group

6min
pages 25-31

Flying high Mettis Aerospace

4min
pages 32-34

Technology spotlight Advances in technology

4min
page 22

Bill Jamieson

4min
page 6

Steel news The latest from the industry

10min
pages 11-13

Linking up Combining strengths

6min
pages 18-19

James Srodes A thankless task

4min
page 7

Innovations in high strength steel

4min
pages 14-15

Winning business New orders and contracts

7min
pages 16-17

Challenging times for steel

8min
pages 8-10

Moving on Relocations and expansions

3min
page 20
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