VOLUME 24/6 – 2014 • €6
The world of European manufacturing
APPLY LEIRVIK DELIVERS INTELLIGENT OFFSHORE SOLUTIONS HYPNOS – THE WORLD’S MOST COMFORTABLE BEDS PROFILGLASS TAKES ALUMINIUM INTO THE FUTURE
EUROPE’S CHEMICAL INDUSTRY
INNOVATION IS THE KEY
Cameron’s charge War is the continuation of politics by other means, said Clausewitz. The British Prime Minister seems to have it the other way around.
’est magnifique mais ce n’est pas la guerre,” observed the French General Pierre Bosquet of the Light Brigade’s charge against the Russian guns at Balaclava. Kindly disposed observers of David Cameron’s equally determined and reckless campaign to stop Jean-Claude Juncker becoming the next president of the European Commission might likewise conclude that it was a magnificent display of courage and determination but it was not diplomacy. It will do nothing to improve the standing of the British Prime Minister or the interests of his country in all the difficult negotiations on Britain’s role in the EU that lie ahead. And there are plenty of observers who are not at all kindly disposed. A leading member of Germany’s CDU has said that Cameron has acted “incredibly clumsily” and Juncker himself has observed coolly that ‘common sense is very unequally distributed’ among the leaders of the EU. And, of course, Poland’s foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski has been widely reported as having earlier accused Cameron of “stupid propaganda” and “stupidly trying to play the system.” It’s certainly not obvious why Cameron chose to make a stand that would so isolate him and his country in the EU. Juncker may indeed be an unreconstructed federalist who has been a fixture in Brussels since the dawn of time, but what conceivable president of the Commission would not be a federalist? Ever closer union is the defining faith of the entire project. You could hardly expect the European Council to send for Geert Wilders or Marine Le Pen. It’s true that the British Foreign Secretary has been spending a lot of time lately with Angelina Jolie…but surely not. Mr Cameron did manage to enlist the support of Hungary’s Victor Orban but the latter’s objection to Junker raised more questions than it answered. “Hungarians cannot support a Luxembourger” he apparently declared,
sending us all back to our history school books to see if we had carelessly overlooked some ancient argument between Hungary and Luxembourg – it couldn’t be about territory surely; maybe an adverse vote years ago in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Unreliable allies Actually the mystery is not why the British objected to Juncker but why Cameron chose to do a Light Brigade about it all. He was not alone among Europe’s leaders in thinking that the Luxembourg veteran was not the right man to lead the reform that the EU so clearly needs. And neither were the Brits the only ones to oppose the acceptance of the European Parliament’s candidate for the Commission job. Probably most of the heads of government would have preferred the appointment to have been made through a consensus among themselves, as it had always been before, and saw the Parliament’s claim to nominate its candidate as an unwelcome shift of political power. So Cameron clearly thought he had allies, certainly in Sweden and the Netherlands. And, above all, he thought that Chancellor Merkel shared his concerns. But Merkel did a U-turn when she was accused in Germany of not supporting her own party’s candidate (the CDU is part of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament which chose Juncker as its candidate for the Commission presidency) and the pressure was piled on by German newspapers insisting that to ignore the EPP’s candidate was to ignore its result in the European elections and thus to display a scandalous contempt for democracy. This argument was also put forcibly by Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann: “The will of the voters is as legitimate in the EU election as it is in any other elections. To ignore the results would damage European democracy.” Clearly the European Parliament is not seen in Germany and Austria as it mostly is in Britain – as an expensive irrel-
evance whose pretension to be the democratic representation of Europe’s peoples is absurd. The Prime Ministers of Denmark and Holland may have expressed sympathy with Cameron’s campaign as they rowed across that Swedish lake – a small boat is no place to have disagreements – but their positions soon became studiously vague. The Italians were busy seeing if support for Juncker might pay off in promises of a let-up in austerity and more growth-boosting EU policies while the French were keen to appear to be above all this politicking – ‘France has no problems with Juncker’ – while plainly hoping too for more flexibility in the EU’s fiscal rules. In fact, the French take on the issue was nicely put by a Le Monde headline – ‘Juncker, l’ennemi de nos ennemis’. Someone who has such visceral adversaries as the British Eurosceptic David Cameron and the Hungarian ultranationalist Viktor Orban, said the newspaper, can’t be altogether a bad chap (un mauvais bougre). Of course, by British standards, Cameron is not particularly Eurosceptic at all – even if he calls a referendum he hopes to be able to persuade the British to stay in the EU – so it’s hard to see how he has helped himself by beginning with a situation where almost all his fellow heads of government agreed (privately) that they did not want to have the Parliament’s candidate forced upon them and ending in a position in which he alone is spoiling the party at Ypres by refusing to accept what everyone else sees as unavoidable. Mind you, all that may say more about the uselessness of EU decision making than it does about the British Prime Minister. If the Council did not want to cede nomination powers to the Parliament they should not have allowed the Lisbon Treaty changes to article 17 which made the Parliament’s power grab possible. Given the Parliament’s track n record, what did they expect? Industry Europe 3
CONTENTS Editor Peter Mercer
Production Manager Kamila Kajtoch
Deputy Editor Victoria Hattersley
Administration Anna Chamberlain Amber Dawson Kayleigh Harvey
Profile Writers Abigail Saltmarsh Felicity Landon Piotr Sadowski Emma-Jane Batey Barbara Rossi Philip Yorke
Art Administration Tania Balderson Advertising Manager Andrew Briggs Sector Managers Matthew Howe Milada Preslova Massimo Ragazzo Helen Leisi Anthony McClintock Ben Snowing Anna Dudek Stephen Moore Martin Gisborne Victoria Pease
Art Director Gareth Harrey Art Editor Rob Czerwinski Designers Leon Esterhuizen Paul Abbott Claire Bidle Web Development Neil Robertson
Above: Chemical Industry p6
Comment 1 5
Chemical Industry 6 9 12
IT Support Jack Everson
Opinion Cameron’s charge Bill Jamieson Eurozone’s zombie recovery
Facing global realities Growth shifts to the US and Asia Chemical news The latest from the industry Fertiliser out of thin air A century of ammonia production at BASF
News Industry Europe Alkmaar House, Alkmaar Way, Norwich, Norfolk, NR6 6BF, United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)1603 414444 Fax: +44 (0)1603 779850 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Web: www.industryeurope.net
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Reports 22 23
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Focus on Germany Allan Hall reports from Berlin Focus on France Ian Sparks reports from Paris
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Automotive 28 32 36
Changing up BMW Recognising outstanding performance Ford Made in Italy Vimi Fasteners
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4 Industry Europe
39 42 45 48
New-world Atlas Atlas Cranes Success cubed Haga Metallbau Low energy windows and frames NorDan Tarkett Changing floors
Above: GOEPEL electronic p74
Consumer Goods 58
Perfect comfort Hypnos Limited
Electrical & Electronics Above: Bombardier Aerospace p24 Below: Haga Metallbau p42
63 66 70 74 78 83 88
Leaders in LED lighting technology Philips Defence electronics giant Aselsan Intelligent headsets GN Netcom Hi-tech testing GOEPEL electronic Safety, innovation and quality in everything we do
Above: Bitron Poland p78 Below: REC p96
Power products Trench Austria Powerful drive solutions Schabmueller
Energy 91 96 100
The intelligent offshore solution Apply Leirvik Scandinavian sunrise REC Pure, uninterrupted energy-efficiency Schneider Electric
Food 104 The frozen food giants Findus
Heavy Vehicles 108 The engine for success MAN Truck & Bus 112 Re-defining engine cooling TitanX
Above: Findus p104 Below: Profilglass p126
Material Handling Above: Tarkett p48 Below: Hypnos p58
116 Global airport logistics solutions Siemens
Logistics and Airports Solutions
Metals 121 126 132
Flexible roll-forming technology Dreistern International Profilglass developing the potential of aluminium Profilglass
Experts in glass moulds and casting Omco
Also in this issue... 135 A niche market leader Wintersteiger 140 Making it count Data Detection Technologies Industry Europe 5
Executive Editor of The Scotsman
Eurozone’s zombie recovery Whatever it takes to get the eurozone’s economy growing is going to be a lot more than it’s getting.
wo years after Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, pledged to do ‘whatever it takes’ to unfreeze Europe’s financial system and kick start growth, the words continue to resonate. Only this time the echo has a distinctly ironic ring. The mere prospect that the ECB would take action was sufficient to pull government debt markets back from the brink. Government bond yields in the eurozone’s stricken peripheral economies fell back, while the euro rose. That was arguably the last thing that countries trapped in recession wanted to see – a sharp devaluation would have been more appropriate. Most of the eurozone economies have now hauled themselves out of recession. Germany has recovered strongly. But across much of the eurozone, the recovery pace has disappointed: the 18-country zone grew by just 0.2 per cent in the first quarter – half the rate expected by economists. Some now query whether there is a meaningful upturn at all. It seems more like a zombie recovery – the eyes are open and there’s movement of sorts. But there’s a disturbing sense that little more else seems to be moving – or, if it is, not in a way ordinary mortals would recognise. Back in May the ECB finally responded with policy action. First, it announced that it would galvanise longer term refinancing operations – effectively making cheap loans available to banks in the hope that this would encourage them to lend more to companies. The move reflected similar policy action in the UK in the form of the Funding for Lending scheme. Unfortunately, it may be doomed to experience the same results. Much to the frustration of government spokespeople, lending to companies in the non-financial sector has continued to fall. The initiative may have helped to prevent a much more severe contraction which would
have sent the economy into a deeper downturn. But it has hardly worked to galvanise company borrowing for expansion. Here was a reminder that other factors were playing on the lending figures: a continuing reticence or distrust across business to rely on banks for additional finance, and a lack of ideas for new investment. Business confidence is a sine qua non for any expansion or new investment. And, as optimism across the eurozone is at a notably low ebb, it is doubtful whether this move by the ECB would, on its own, have a significant effect. But the action that attracted greater attention was the cut in official interest rates. A magnifying glass would have been needed to spot the 0.1 percentage point reduction. More notable was the move to negative interest rates on deposits with the ECB to act as an incentive to spending.
Some now query whether there is a meaningful upturn at all. It seems more like a zombie recovery – the eyes are open and there’s movement of sorts. But there’s a disturbing sense that little more else seems to be moving Cancelled out But how much of a boost to growth might come from lower interest rates? Hang on to that magnifying glass. Economists suggest that, for every one percentage point cut in interest rates, GDP is raised by between 0, 9 per cent and 3 per cent. Even taking the higher estimate, the ECB rate cuts, says
economist Chris Dillow, would raise GDP by just 0.3 per cent after 18 months – barely discernible amid the surrounding statistical noise. And even this is unlikely to prevail against the downward push of fiscal policy across much of the eurozone. Economies are having to pursue deficit reduction policies to bring billowing debt under control. Tight fiscal policy, says Dillow, is likely to wipe 0.9 per cent off GDP. Put another way, fiscal policy will work to depress output by around three times as much as the ECB’s rate cuts will raise it. ‘Whatever it takes?’ When it comes to economic stimulus the effects of the ECB’s actions may be invisible. It’s hard to see how the eurozone will be able to improve on current modest estimates of growth for this year. For example, economists at accountancy giant Ernst & Young forecast eurozone growth of just 1.1 per cent this year – this after two years of GDP decline and assuming no spill-overs from the Ukrainian and Middle East crises. For 2015 it foresees growth improving to 1.5 per cent. But this would be a pallid performance compared with expected growth rates in the US and the UK. And the problem of divergence within the eurozone looks set to remain. This suggests a growing gap between the performances of Germany and the Baltic states and those of Greece, Spain and Italy. Countries that have been slow to respond to the need for change will, says E&Y, continue to lose competitiveness and face sluggish growth. And the threat of deflation has not gone away, with eurozone inflation at just 0.5 per cent. Growth of money supply is still weak and slowing in much of the region. Deflation, or even a period of very low inflation, would add to the problems of sluggish growth by raising real levels of debt and by delaying spending and investment decisions. More aggressive ECB action almost certainly will n be needed. Industry Europe 7
Headquarters of the BASF Group - Ludwigshafen
FACING GLOBAL REALITIES After two years of declining output, the European chemicals industry looks likely to return to growth in 2014. But there are deep doubts in the industry about how long the recovery will last in the short to medium term. Sean Milmo reports.
2010 the chemicals sector seemed to have bounced back after the 2008 financial crisis with production soaring by close to 11 per cent. But the upswing quickly faltered with growth slipping to only 1.9 per cent in 2011 and then disappearing altogether in 2012 and 2013 with drops in output of 2.3 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.
Kurt Bock, BASF chairman and CEFIC president 8 Industry Europe
This lack of confidence in the growth prospects of the sector is being shown by its chemical multinationals which are switching investment into the rapidly expanding economies of Asia and into the US to take advantage of its shale-gas boom. “We have to face reality,” Hariolf Kottmann, chief executive of Clariant, one of Europe’s leading international speciality chemicals companies, told a press conference in Frankfurt in June. “Europe is a key region for us but its economy is not performing as well as it should. We are expecting only flat or low level growth in Europe. We have to invest in areas of high growth like Asia. The future of this company lies in Asia.” Europe at present accounts for around 40 per cent of its sales with Asia’s share being about 30 per cent and the remainder mainly comprising sales in the US and Latin America. But the company expects that within a few years the largest proportion of its sales will be in Asia.
While Europe’s major international chemical companies have been broadening their operations across the world, new visions have been emerging of ways to give the European industry a stronger platform for long-term growth. These mainly involves making greater use of the sector’s strengths in R&D and upstream-downstream integration to establish new supply chains, some of them in collaboration with other process industries.
Weak growth While the sector reorganises itself, however, it looks set for several years of static output or at best relatively small average increases in production. In its mid-year forecast issued in June, the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), the region’s chemicals trade association, upgraded its predictions for growth in chemicals output in 2014 from 1.5 per cent, made last October, to 2 per cent. This was due to rising demand from some of its big customer
Clariant Innovation Centre
Photo: HGEsch, Hennef / Nutzungsrechte / Clariant
industries such as automobile manufacturing and greater stability in the construction industry. “However, the recovery is volatile,” warned Kurt Bock, CEFIC’s president who is also chairman of BASF, not only Europe’s but the world’s largest chemicals company. In the first quarter of 2014 output went up 3.1 per cent year-on-year, its biggest quarterly increase for two years and the fourth consecutive quarterly increase. For much of the first half of this year, chemicals production has been growing faster in western than central and eastern Europe (CEE), which is the reverse of growth rates in recent years in the two parts of Europe. The western European countries showing the strongest chemicals growth have been Belgium, where it averaged 8.5 per cent in the first four months, Germany, Italy and the UK, according to figures from American Chemistry Council (ACC), Washington, which tracks global chemical production trends. “There are some signs that output growth in chemicals may slow with confidence in the sector, outside of pharmaceuticals, tailing off,” says Amit Sharda, chemicals analyst at Oxford Economics, Oxford, England. “We believe a steady recovery in chemicals output will continue. But beyond 2015 we expect European chemicals production as a share of total global chemical output to decline as companies look at producing closers to markets, particularly high growth market such as those in Asia.”
CEFIC reckons that the high increase in chemicals output in the first quarter of 2014 will slowly diminish throughout the rest of the year . By the fourth quarter and first quarter of next year it will only be rising by around 1 per cent before picking up again. The 2015 growth rate is predicted by CEFIC to be only 1.5 per cent. Oxford Economics is also forecasting that chemicals growth in the core 15 EU countries, including Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK, will slip from 2.3 per cent in 2014 to 1.9 per cent next year.
Energy costs European chemical industry leaders, particularly those in western Europe, believe that it is handicapped too much by high production costs, particularly with energy supplies, which are making it increasingly uncompetitive in global markets. “The pace of expansion (of the industry) is being held back by high energy prices, which put European producers at a severe disadvantage compared to those in North America and the Middle East,” says Mr Bock. In energy intensive chemical segments, like petrochemicals and chlor-akali products based on chlorine and its derivatives, European producers are having to compete with competitors in the Middle East using gas 8–10 times cheaper and in the US, due to shale gas, 2–3 times less expensive. Consequently investment in new or expanded capacity in Europe for bulk chem-
icals production has been severely reduced, especially in petrochemicals. Instead a lot of investment funds from Europe is going into shale gas projects in North America. BASF, which is among Europe’s biggest petrochemical producers, has, for example, recently announced several bulk chemical projects in the US which will be based on low-cost shale gas feedstocks. One of these, using a new technology for converting methane to propylene, an essential building block for a range of downstream chemicals, will be the company’s largest ever investment in a single-plant project. Partly as a result of low investment, plant closures and outdated equipment, Europe’s petrochemicals sector has had the most difficulty among the region’s chemical segments in returning their production levels to those before the 2008 crisis. At the end of the first quarter of this year, petrochemicals output was 7.7 per cent lower year-on-year while being over 15 per cent lower than 2008 levels, according to CEFIC figures. Due partly to the poor performance of petrochemicals, total European chemicals production continues to be around 6 per cent below pre-crisis figures.
Losing competiveness The chlor-akali segment has been steadily losing international competiveness especially against US producers. This has been mainly due to high energy costs which can Industry Europe 9
Clariant Innovation Centre
account for as much as 60 per cent of total production costs. In the 1990s the European and US chlorakali sectors had similar profit margins on a electrochemical unit (ECU), the measurement of chlor-akali output. By last year the ECU margin of US producers was around six times higher, Andrew Brown, inorganics director of IHS, a consultancy, told a recent conference of Euro Chlor, Europe’s trade association for chlor-akali producers. In addition to the disadvantage of high production costs, the European chlor-akali industry has the challenge of having close to a fifth of its 11 million tonnes-a-year of chlorine capacity using the environmentally hazardous mercury process. Under new EU environmental restrictions this capacity, the largest amount in the world, has to be phased out over the next 3–4 years. AkzoNobel, a leading Dutch-based chlorakali producer, has just opened a state-ofthe-art membrane chlorine plant in Frankfurt, Germany, to replace a mercury facility. But other companies with mercury units may decide not to invest in replacements..
Investing in innovation For the European chemical industry a clear priority is the maintenance of Europe’s position as a world leader in innovation in process technologies and chemical products. 10 Industry Europe
BASF is committed to maintaining as a global R&D hub its large corporate research centre at Ludwigshafen, Germany, which has a staff of over 5000 and absorbs currently around 20 per cent of its annual research budget. Clariant opened last year an innovation unit in Frankfurt with a staff of 500, which will act as both a worldwide centre for R&D coordination and for leading-edge laboratory-based research. The EU’s new seven-year research programme – Horizon 2020 – is allocating more funds to chemicals research and innovation than any of its other previous programmes. “Europe does have a relatively strong R&D background,” says Mr Sharda. “Some chemical companies would rather produce chemical products, which require longterm R&D investment, in Europe because it is easier to get highly educated staff and Europe also has strong patent protection.” A key objective is to use R&D to establish new supply chains for chemicals and related process industries. One means of doing this is to link research centres and institutions closely to integrated chemical sites and clusters. Horizon 2020 includes a €1 billion publicprivate partnership covering eight process industries – chemicals, cement, ceramics, engineering, minerals, non-ferrous metals, steel and water – to develop renewable feedstocks,
closed-loop processes, greater energy efficiencies and other collaborative optimisations. In the UK, a chemical industry study group reported last year that gross value added (GVA or total sales less purchased raw materials and services) in the sector could be increased by 50 per cent by 2030. This could be achieved by developing new feedstocks and supply chains with the help of the more efficient use of R&D resources through closer cooperation between academia and industry. Recent statements by the UK government about its wish to create an economic powerhouse in the north of the country where most of its chemical clusters are located has been applauded by Chemical Industries Association (CIA), the UK chemicals trade body. The regeneration would depend a lot on the region’s universities working closely with industry. “Science here in the north should be turned into growth here in the north,” Steve Elliott, CIA’s chief executive, told the association’s annual awards event in Manchester in late June. “If we do this, then the country will have the best chance it has ever had to rebuild our supply chains and sustain manufacturing’s recent recovery and growth through more UK chemistry.” A similar message about the potential for chemistry to provide a basis for a manufacturing revival is being made by the chemical n industry across Europe.
New developments in the Chemical industry
AkzoNobel opens SIBUR increases BOPP-film Imperatriz Chemical production in Novokuybyshevsk part of SIBUR Holding, has launched “The launch of the new production facility will Island in Brazil BIAXPLEN, a new biaxially-oriented polypropylene (BOPP) enable SIBUR to increase the production of high
kzoNobel’s new €80 million Imperatriz Chemical Island in Brazil is now operational and has started supplying the Suzano Maranhão Pulp Mill in northern Brazil. Operated by the company’s Pulp and Performance Chemicals business, the state-of-the-art Imperatriz facility represents AkzoNobel’s second major investment in the Brazilian pulp industry within a two-year time frame. It will supply, store and handle all chemicals for the 1.5 million tons per year Suzano mill under an agreement which runs for the next 15 years. “This investment strengthens our leading position in Bleaching Chemicals,” added Niek Stapel, managing director, AkzoNobel Pulp and Performance Chemicals. “Being our fourth Chemical Island in this region, it emphasises our long-term commitment to this increasingly important market.” Visit: www.akzonobel.com
BASF to build new PAG plant in Ludwigshafen
ASF has announced the construction of a new plant for polyalkylene glycol (PAG)-based lubricants at its Ludwigshafen site. The manufacturing facility will start operations by the beginning of 2016 and produce PAG lubricant base stocks and formulated blends.
film production line in Novokuybyshevsk. Due to the barrier, optical, physical and mechanical properties of BOPP films, they are widely used for packaging various products in the food and tobacco industries, manufacturing PET bottle labels, packaging industrial and consumer goods, as well as for lamination processes. Following the launch of the new 30.5 ktpa production line manufactured by Brückner Maschinenbau, a German company, BOPPfilm annual nameplate production capacity of BIAXPLEN’s Novokuybyshevsk branch increased to 55.5 kt. Investment in the project exceeded RR 1.9 billion.
value-added products for import substitution, reinforcing the company’s position in one of the most rapidly-growing markets of packaging materials,” said Leonid Mikhelso, chairman of SIBUR Holding’s board of directors. Visit: www.sibur.com
IVL acquires PET resin in Turkey
Solvay completes sale of European PVC compound business
ndorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL), the world’s leading vertically integrated polyester value chain producer, has acquired 100% of Artenius TurkPET, based in Adana, Turkey. Artenius produces PET resin and has 130,000 tonnes of capacity. Group CEO Aloke Lohia said, “Indorama leadership in the PET value chain will provide significant synergies to TurkPET in order to deliver above average returns. Turkey and its encompassing region is a fast-growing market and our investments in Turkey are part of a well-defined strategy to bolster our global leadership and competitive advantage. We expect to make further follow-on investments in this thriving economy of 76 million consumers to replicate what we have built in Thailand, as we see a similar opportunity to fully leverage on all our product portfolios.” Visit: www.indorama.net With this double-digit million euro investment BASF continues to support the global growth of synthetic lubricant formulators who use these BASF products in their final formulated lubricants. Through the integration in BASF’s largest Verbund site in Ludwigshafen, Germany, the new production unit will have full backward integration into all key raw materials.
olvay has completed the divestment of its polyvinyl chloride (PVC) compound business Benvic Europe to US investment company OpenGate Capital. Benvic Europe mixes PVC and additives, pigments and stabilisers to make innovative plastic compounds used in markets including construction, cars and packaging. Revenues last year reached about €160 million. Its three PVC compounding production sites are in France, Italy and Spain. Headquartered in Los Angeles, OpenGate Capital is a global private investment firm specialising in the acquisition and operation of businesses throughout North America, Europe and Latin America. Visit: www.solvay.com
“With the new plant we are consequently following our strategic path as a world-class leading supplier for synthetic lubricant solutions,” said Martin Widmann, senior vice-president of BASF’s business unit Fuel and Lubricant Solutions. “The investment represents another significant step for us as well as our customers.” Visit: www.basf.com Industry Europe 11
New developments in the Chemical industry
Provence Technologies acquires Synprosis
rovence Technologies Group, a specialist fine chemistry research group, has announced its acquisition of Synprosis, a company specialis-
ADT to provide Borouge with packaging services at Khalifa Port
bu Dhabi Terminals (ADT), the manager and operator of Khalifa Port Container Terminal, has signed a contract with Borouge, a leading provider of innovative, value creating plastics solutions, through which ADT will design, construct and operate a state-of-the-art packaging facility for Borouge’s export products at Khalifa Port. Borouge produces 2 million tonnes of polyolefins at its petrochemical plants in Ruwais and is currently expanding its industrial complex that will be resulted in increasing its total production capacity to 4.5 million tonnes in 2014. The new packaging facility set to be built at Khalifa Port is expected to be completed in early 2015 with a total capacity of 385,000 metric tonnes. Visit: www.borouge.com
Clariant and Siemens to introduce New Technology for coal gasification
lariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, has signed an agreement with Siemens Fuel Gasification Technology to cooperate in the commercialisation of a new, jointly developed sour gas shift (SGS) technology for coal gasification. The agreement appoints Clariant as the exclusive catalyst supplier
12 Industry Europe
ing in the chemical synthesis of peptides and proteins for therapeutic use. Synprosis is based in Aix-en-Provence, France. The deal opens up new development opportunities for the Provence Technologies Group in the area of biologically active pharmaceuticals. Synprosis has a ten-year history of producing active principles in the field of vaccines under development (for malaria, cancer and allergies, etc.) as well as in other therapeutic fields (for neurogenerative diseases and the treatment of pain). For Provence Technologies Group, the acquisition is consistent with the management team’s strategic objective to strengthen its core business of therapeutic chemistry. www.provetech.com
INEOS Enterprises acquires Sasol Solvents Germany
ollowing clearance from the European Commission, INEOS Enterprises has successfully completed its agreement to purchase one of Europe’s leading solvent manufacturers, Sasol Solvents Germany. The acquisition includes production facilities at Moers on the Lower Rhine, and Herne in Germany’s industrial Ruhr district. The addition of Sasol’s German based European Solvents businesses provides a complementary fit with the portfolio and expertise of INEOS and opens up new opportunities within its existing manufacturing sites in Germany. Both sites and their products will now be integrated into the new business to be called INEOS Solvents, itself a part of INEOS Enterprises. Ethanol and isopropyl alcohol are produced at Herne and oxygenated solvents isopropyl alcohol (IPA), secondary butyl alcohol (SBA), and methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) are produced at Moers. Visit: www.ineosenterprises.com for all Siemens gasification integrated SGS projects. While the collaboration covers all global projects, commercialisation will focus on China – the region with the highest growth rate of coal-to-chemical projects. The advanced SGS technology from Clariant and Siemens significantly decreases total capital cost for coal-to-chemical and IGCC applications through optimisation
SABIC and Kringlan developing world’s first thermoplastic carbon composite wheel
ABIC, Kringlan Composites and other industry partners are working to further advance the development of the world’s first thermoplastic composite wheel. This ground breaking innovation leverages SABIC’s proprietary ULTEM™ resin and Kringlan’s proprietary three-dimensional composite design capabilities to create a material solution that can be used to replace traditional materials, such as metal and aluminum alloy, helping reduce weight and emissions, and potentially save manufacturing costs across industries from aerospace to automotive, and consumer goods. Thierry Materne, vice-president, Technology & Innovation for SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business, said, “Combining SABIC’s high-performance ULTEM resin with Kringlan’s proprietary three-dimensional manufacturing technology for carbon composites offers OEMs the opportunity for reduced weight, lower production costs as well as material recyclability. When compared to other thermoplastic materials, the ULTEM resin composite concept offers superior strength at high temperatures, dimensional stability as well as resistance to chemicals.” Visit: www.sabic.com
and simplification of total plant concepts. The entrained-flow Siemens Fuel Gasifier (SFG) is able to produce syngas from a wide range of fuels – even for low ranks of coal. Clariant’s new ShiftMax® 821 catalyst enables a simple, once-through process without further adjustment of the exit gas from the gasifier. Visit: www.clariant.com
INDUSTRYNEWS LEHNKERING wins Evonik operates a bubble WACKER expands column test plant in Germany production capacity order from Bayer vonik Industries has been operating a bubE column test facility in Marl (Germany) MaterialScience AG sincebleMay for dispersible 2014 with the aim of optimising this process technology, which is very important for Evonik. With this facility, the speciality chemicals polymer powders company is accumulating additional knowledge
ACKER Chemie AG is expanding its production capacity for dispersible polymer powders in Germany. The Munich-based chemical company is currently building a new spray dryer with an annual capacity of 50,000 metric tons at its Burghausen site, investing an amount of around €20 million. The facility is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2015 and will be one of the largest of its kind worldwide. “Worldwide, demand for high-quality dispersible polymer powders is rising particularly in residential construction and infrastructure measures,” explains Arno von der Eltz, president of WACKER POLYMERS. “We started to extend our dispersible polymer powder production at our Nanjing site at the end of last year and now want to push ahead with expanding our capacities in Burghausen, too – and thus strengthen our global position as a leading manufacturer of dispersible polymer powders.” Visit: www.wacker.com
EHNKERING GmbH has won a tender procedure with Bayer MaterialScience AG and will in future handle the operating logistics for a large Bayer facility at the CHEMPARK Dormagen. Bayer MaterialScience AG is currently investing more than €250 million in a new high-tech facility for producing TDI (toluene diisocyanate) at its Dormagen site. TDI is needed when producing flexible foam, a material that is used in car seats or mattresses, for example. The tasks, for which LEHNKERING GmbH will be responsible at the major TDI facility in Dormagen, include extensive logistics activities like filling units, warehousing and loading packaged goods, handling bulk consignments in tankers and railway tank wagons and blending activities. Visit: www.lehnkering.com
about hydroformylation, a process used in the company to synthesise aldehydes, a starting product for speciality chemicals. Bubble columns are one of the most important pieces of production equipment in the chemical industry. As well as aldehydes, Evonik also uses the reactors to produce hydrogen peroxide, an oxidising and bleaching agent. Throughout the world, the chemical industry produces about 50 million metric tons of materials in bubble columns. “Our goal is to speed up the planning of large production plants and facilitate the development of new processes and methods,” says Prof Robert Franke, who is responsible for research into hydroformylation in Evonik’s Advanced Intermediates Business Unit. Visit: www.evonik.com
Kemira completes acquisition
emira Oyj has closed the acquisition of BASF’s global AKD emulsion business. AKD is an alkyl ketene dimer based sizing agent, which impacts paper and board hydrophobicity or water resistance. The acquisition strengthens Kemira’s position in offering sizing products for the paper industry especially on the continental European market. Visit: www.kemira.com
Dow makes new investment in KSA
he Dow Chemical Company has awarded Fluor Corporation the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for its Reverse Osmosis (RO) manufacturing facility in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Located in Jubail Industrial City II at the Sadara Chemical Company complex, the facility will locally
manufacture high-tech RO elements that purify water for both drinking and industrial uses. This is Dow’s first facility of its kind built outside the United States with an expected date of completion by the end of 2015. Over 100 jobs will be created at the facility, which will manufacture a range of Dow RO products including Dow
FILMTEC™ brackish water RO elements and seawater RO elements. The facility will supply the local Saudi Arabian market as well as the wider Middle East and Africa (MEA) region and markets with similar critical water needs, including eastern Europe, India, China and South East Asia. Visit: www.dowwaterandprocess.com Industry Europe 13
FERTILIZER OUT OF THIN AIR In September 1913, the first industrialscale ammonia production plant came on stream at BASF in Ludwigshafen and the age of mineral fertilisers began
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ven a hundred years after the celebrated beginning of the industrial production of the basic chemical ammonia, a visit to BASF’s two ammonia plants in Ludwigshafen still impresses. Standing in front of the approximately 20 meter high reactor of the older plant and reflecting upon the elemental forces that cause nitrogen and hydrogen to react and produce ammonia brings home the importance of this scientific and technical breakthrough. The Haber-Bosch process for ammonia synthesis, which was first successfully operated here in September 1913, was the decisive step into the age of mineral fertilizers. This innovation became a key driver in the development of the industrialized society and is still securing the nutrition of billions of people today. The older high pressure reactor at Luwigshafen is a great-grandchild of the apparatus developed by Carl Bosch, much larger of course but of similar design. The newer plant next door with its more advanced process technology exhibits less visible historical simi-
larities. The two ammonia factories together produce more than 2,000 metric tons per day of the much sought-after compound NH3. “The realization of industrial ammonia synthesis involved high entrepreneurial risks and demanded great staying power,” explains Production Manager Michael Mauß. “Processes and equipment for this pioneering technology had to be developed from scratch.” This audacious approach provided the growing chemical company BASF with a second important mainstay: the manufacture of dyestuffs, previously the company’s main activity, was augmented by the production of fertilizers. “The experience gained with the high pressure technology and the advances achieved in catalysis research in the following decades enabled the development of further innovative production methods such as methanol synthesis,” adds Mauß. And the close cooperation between chemists and engineers in developing complex processes, the symbiosis of science and technology, became the guarantor of BASF’s continuing success.
Still working at the limits “Even today, the industrial production of ammonia is still operating at the limits of the possible. The challenges for the material and technology of the production plant are enormous under these high pressure synthesis conditions,” explains Dr. Jürgen Korkhaus, Head of Materials Engineering, comparing present with past practice. “Even minor variations in the process can subject the materials to immense stresses. The apparatus therefore has to be designed and constructed with extreme care.” The reactor of the newer ammonia production plant in which the synthesis gas mixture reacts over a catalyst bed at above 400 degrees Celsius and more than 150 bar pressure to produce ammonia, has a 15 centimeter thick wall of high-strength steel. Its advanced alloy resists the pressurized hydrogen, making the legendary casing unnecessary today. The raw material used to generate the synthesis gas is also different today. In the first
few decades of the Haber-Bosch process, a large number of employees prepared a bed of glowing coke and passed steam over it. Today, ammonia plants use natural gas as a feedstock and energy source, which also makes up the lion’s share of the production costs. At the Ludwigshafen site, the ammonia production is the second largest natural gas consumer after the company’s own power generating plants. As in the early days, the necessary nitrogen is obtained from the air supply and, for a change, costs nothing at all. The industrial synthesis of the basic chemical ammonia has become an essential part of the production Verbund. At BASF in Ludwigshafen, this material is now used mainly to manufacture urea-based glues and impregnating resins for wood-based materials, but also various amines and caprolactam, the starting material for polyamide plastics. Worldwide, however, three quarters of the generated ammonia is still used for n the production of fertilizers.
Pressure problems The foundations for the “synthesis of ammonia from its elements” were laid by Professor Fritz Haber from 1904 onwards with his work at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. The industrial upscaling of ammonia synthesis entrusted by BASF to Carl Bosch in 1909, however, initially raised unforeseen problems, mostly because the high-pressure process required pressures and temperatures considerably exceeding those that had so far been technically possible. The first plants couldn’t stand the strain and the steel reactors burst. Bosch the chemist, who was experienced in metallurgy, closely studied the metals that had been used and finally identified the cause: the hot, highly pressurized hydrogen was taking the carbon essential for strength out of the steel walls, making them soft and simultaneously brittle. Bosch overcame this challenge by fitting the inside of the apparatus with a thin lining of low-carbon soft iron and drilling holes in the pressure bearing steel wall. This allowed the hydrogen that had penetrated into the material to escape without causing damage. This innovative high pressure technology required further components that were not available anywhere, and had to be designed and tested within the company. BASF established the chemical industry’s first material testing facility for this purpose in 1912.
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New contracts and orders in industry
Voith receives record order from South Africa
etween now and 2025 Voith will deliver a total of 4800 Scharfenberg couplers for 600 new passenger trains in South Africa. This is the largest single order for the delivery of Scharfenberg Couplers in the company’s history. The trains in question belong to the new model
series X’Trapolis Mega from Alstom, which is also being built in South Africa. The Voith couplers will be delivered over a period of 10 years starting in autumn 2014. Apart from 3000 semi-permanent couplers and 600 transitional couplers, the contract also includes 1200 automatic couplers type 10. This type stands out for its high strength and a wide horizontal and vertical gathering range. Since 2002 it has become the standard for highspeed trains, and it is also used in nearly all state railways in the world. This order is an opportunity for Voith to further extend its location in South Africa and to localise its products. Visit: www.voith.com
Technip to extend subsea infrastructure on the North Sea Alvheim field
echnip has been awarded a contract by Marathon Oil Norge for the extension of subsea infrastructure on the Alvheim field, located on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The scope of work includes installation engineering, procurement, fabrication, installation and tie-in of spools and protection covers as well as the installation of one manifold. The subsea operations will mainly be performed with divers at a water-depth of approximately 120 metres in this area. Technip’s operating centre in Stavanger, Norway, will administrate and execute the project, which is scheduled to be completed in the first half of 2016. The offshore campaigns will take place in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and will utilise Technip’s state-of-the-art diving support vessel Skandi Arctic, capable of working efficiently through winter in both construction and diving mode.
Züblin awarded large building construction contract in Denmark
üblin AS, a Danish subsidiary of the publicly listed European construction group STRABAG SE, has been awarded the contract to build the ‘Axeltorv, AT2’ project, a 14-storey multi-use building in Copenhagen city centre. The turnkey agreement with a contract value of about €103 million has already been signed.
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Odd Strømsnes, managing director at Technip in Norway, explains: “This award confirms our leading position as contractor for diving operations in the North Sea. This project will be the second one awarded to Technip for the extension of the existing infrastructure on the Alvheim field, the first one having been executed in 2012 and 2013.” Visit: www.technip.com
Leading the consortium of investors is Denmark’s largest public pension fund ATP. “This is the second building construction contract of such magnitude for the STRABAG Group in Denmark after signing the contract for the ‘Bryghusprojektet’ just seven month earlier,” comments Thomas Birtel, CEO of STRABAG SE. The design by the Danish architects Lundgaard & Tranberg
Schuler press used to build ‘Soyuz’ rocket
chuler Waghäusel plant has produced one of its biggest-ever hydraulic lines for state-owned Russian company. The ‘Soyuz’ rockets built by TsSKB-Progress take astronauts and tourists to the International Space Station (ISS), supply them with oxygen, food and spare parts and fire satellites into space. The Russian state-owned company now plans to produce its launch vehicles on a Schuler press as of 2015. The pre-acceptance for the hydraulic line with a press force of 2600 metric tons has already occurred, and is due to be delivered in the end of May. The triple-action press will be used, for example, to produce aluminum tank lids. These must be extremely robust in order to withstand the extreme loads – especially during takeoff. “With bed dimensions of five by six metres, the line is one of the largest hydraulic presses we’ve ever built in Waghäusel,” says Dr Martin Habert, managing director of Schuler in Waghäusel. Carrier rockets are steadily increasing in size in order to transport ever-greater payloads into space. This has led to a growth in the size of components used to assemble the rockets – and the lines on which they are produced. Visit: www.schulergroup.com calls for a 42,000m2 combined office and retail building with public recreational areas, restaurants, cafés and multi sub-level parking facilities on one of Copenhagen’s most frequently visited spots just in front of the main entrance of the internationally-known Tivoli. The project is to be handed over to the client by the end of 2016. Visit: www.strabag.com
BT helps connect the De Beers Group BT has won a significant new contract with The De Beers Group of Companies. The six-year agreement, worth US $37m, sees BT orchestrate a wide range of IT services across 70 De Beers Group sites, including exploration and mining locations across the world. Established in 1888, De Beers is the world’s leading diamond company. Its diamond
exploration, mining and marketing operations directly or indirectly employ more than 20,000 people globally. De Beers and BT teams are bringing together a full range of BT Connect networking technologies including fibre, microwave and satellite. These will give De Beers staff, whether they are located in the frozen Northwest Territories of Canada, the Bushveld regions of southern Africa or the cities of Europe, Middle East and Asia, access to business applications and data storage as well as voice and conferencing services. BT is also helping De Beers to tune its network to its business needs. BT Connect Accelerate allows De Beers to prioritise its critical business applications accessed across its global network to ensure a better and more productive user experience for all employees. Visit: www.btplc.com
FLSmidth receives third large order from Mongolian customer
LSmidth has received orders worth approximately USD 43 million from the Mongolian company, Mongolyn Alt (MAK) Group, to supply engineering, procurement and site construction services for the Tsagaan Suvarga copper-molybdenum concentrator project. This greenfield plant, with a capacity of 40,000 tonnes per day of ore, will be located in the central part of the proven Oyu Tolgoi south
Gobi porphyry copper belt in southeast Mongolia. FLSmidth is currently supplying all the main process technology for the project under a separate, previously-awarded contract announced in 2011. MAK is the third largest company in Mongolia with diverse business activities, including coal and gold mining operations. This will be the group’s first copper concentrator. In February 2012, FLSmidth was awarded an order from MAK for supply of a greenfield cement plant. “We are very happy to receive this third major order from MAK for their Tsagaan Suvarga copper-molybdenum concentrator project. It confirms our strategy of working closer with our customers, providing the support and services they need as a key to developing long-term partnerships,” says Peter Flanagan, president of the Mineral Processing Division. Visit: www.flsmidth.com
AREVA to supply solution to monitor nuclear reactor fluid systems
The accumulation of air and gas may compromise the proper operation of these systems essential for safety, such as the Emergency Core Cooling System. A one-of-a-kind solution, the NGAT continuously monitors the accumulation of fluids and automatically removes them before they can enter the key reactor piping. The system eliminates the need for periodic venting and ultrasonic testing inspections,
REVA has signed an agreement with the American engineering firm NUCCORP Inc. to be the exclusive supplier of the Nuclear Grade Air Trap (NGAT™) technology to the nuclear industry. This device passively monitors and regulates accumulated air and gas in certain nuclear plants’ safety systems.
Volvo to deliver three electric hybrid buses to Hamburger Hochbahn
agreement has been signed on the delivery of three Volvo Electric hybrids to Hamburger Hochbahn AG. The plug-in technology enables fuel consumption and CO2 emissions to be reduced by up to 75% and total energy consumption to be reduced by 60%. The electric hybrids will enter into traffic in Hamburg towards the end of the year. Hamburger Hochbahn AG has for years been a successful and important partner of science and manufacturers in the field of ‘innovative drive technologies’. The company has now entered into a development partnership with Volvo Bus Corporation for electric hybrid buses, and will operate three vehicles on regular service routes in the hanseatic city from the end of the year. “The goal is clear: from 2020 we will only order buses with pollutant-free drives. That is ambitious and we have therefore decided to participate even more intensively in the development of innovative drives. In entering into this development partnership we will now move from being an observer to being the driving force in the field of battery bus technology as well,” said Hochbahn chairman Günter Elste. Visit: www.volvo.com
which can increase cost and impair operational efficiency. “Becoming the exclusive worldwide distributor of this innovative technology reinforces our leadership in nuclear plant safety-related systems,” said Philippe Samama, AREVA’s Installed Base Business Division executive vice-president. Visit: www.areva.com Industry Europe 17
Novoferm acquires Molex acquires the heavy-duty connector business of Westec European Holdings BV, a subsidiary of ing technical expertise in the automation and Alpha Deuren Molex Molex Incorporated, has recently acquired commercial sectors along with competitive
ovoferm, one of the bigger European system providers of doors, gates, frames, and drives, takes over the Dutch company Alpha Deuren International BV, one of the renowned sectionaldoor-producers in Europe. This acquisition strengthens Novoferm’s international position, particularly in the area of industrial doors. “Through this acquisition, we are expanding our product portfolio and sustainably reinforcing our profile in the international market. Alpha Deuren is a perfect fit for Novoferm, both operationally as well as strategically. Both companies share the same corporate philosophy based on innovative power, uncompromising quality, and reliability. Additionally, this strategic move offers numerous synergistic benefits, especially in the field of industrial doors,” commented Rainer Schackmann, CEO of the Novoferm Group. Alpha Deuren International BV, based in Didam, has about 150 employees. It is particularly strong in countries such as Germany, France and in the Netherlands, and distributes solely via specialist distributors. Aside from ISO- and aluminum sectional doors for industrial buildings, the company’s product range also includes garage doors for residential construction. Visit: www.novoferm.de
Sika acquires Swiss adhesives manufacturer Klebag
ika is acquiring the business of Klebag Chemie AG, a manufacturer of adhesives for the sealing, bonding and flooring markets. The takeover strengthens Sika’s position in the Swiss interior finishing sector. Klebag Chemie AG has developed a comprehensive range of adhesives, coatings
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the heavy-duty connector business of Westec Srl, an industrial connector manufacturer based in Milan, Italy. Westec’s business consists of the manufacturing of more than 6000 products, including a wide range of junction boxes, multi-pole connectors and connector assemblies designed for automation, robotics and other harsh-duty industrial applications. According to Tim Ruff, Molex senior vice-president of business development and corporate strategy, the acquisition expands the Molex industrial connector offering to customers worldwide. The Westec portfolio aligns well with Molex robust Brad® Power and MicroChange® M12 Interconnect Solutions designed to simplify machine builder design, installation and maintenance processes. “Westec has earned a strong reputation for engineering innovation. Their team of experienced professionals brings to Molex outstand-
lead times to more efficiently serve industrial customers,” adds Ruff. Visit: www.molex.com Tim Ruff
INglass acquires the French company ERMO
Nglass SpA, a global plastics industry leader in lighting application moulds and hot runner systems, has announced the acquisition of ERMO, a French leader in the manufacture of multicavity high precision moulds. INglass made this decision in order to create a leading supplier of moulds and services with high technological content for the plastic moulding process, ranging from automotive lighting to personal care, cosmetics, medical and closures. This transaction will lead INglass to the further diversification of its activities. The two companies will continue focusing on their own key activities, capitalising on the synergies arising from this transaction. ERMO will benefit from the global presence of INglass with its two production plants in Italy and in China (Hangzhou) and a third opening soon in the US, as well as its strong presence in the Asian market. Furthermore, the deep experience of ERMO in high precision multicavity molds will allow INglass to achieve a broader customer portfolio, improving the supply of mould products with a wider variety of solutions. Visit: www.inglass.it and fillers for the interior finishing market in Switzerland. The company has a strong customer base and is known to provide a high standard of customer service, technical support and training. After the acquisitions of Akzo Nobel’s Building Adhesives business, Everbuild Building Products and Optiroc in 2013, as well as Technokolla in 2011, this takeover represents
another step in the strengthening of Sika’s position in the interior finishing sector. Paul Schuler, regional manager EMEA, said: “This acquisition will provide Sika with a solid platform from which to expand our interior finishing business in the Swiss market, particularly with regard to professional contractors.” Visit: www.sika.com
LINKINGUP ABB sells Thomas & Betts HVAC business to Nortek Beijer Electronics
divests US Vehicle division
BB, the leading power and automation technology group, has completed the sale of Thomas & Betts’ heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) business to Nortek, Inc. The transaction closed for $260 million in an all-cash transaction. The acquisition of Thomas & Betts in 2012 advanced ABB’s strategy of expanding the reach of its Low Voltage Products division into key geographies, sectors and products. By combining ABB’s lowvoltage protection, control and measurement products with Thomas & Betts’ electrical components, ABB has created a broader low-voltage offering with significant market access. ABB has divested this business because of limited synergies with ABB’s core portfolio. ABB will continue to supply its high efficiency electrical motors and industry leading drives as well as its low voltage products range to the HVAC industry. Visit: www.abb.com
eijer Electronics has divested its American Vehicle business – the supply of panels to various transportation segments – to Israeli company Micronet. The Vehicle business was originally a part of QSI Corporation that was acquired by Beijer Electronics in 2010. Beijer Electronics will continue to develop its US business by focusing on the sale of HMI panels to the industrial market. The size of this business is estimated to 150 MSEK in 2014. The divestment is a consequence of the strategy to focus more resources on the global core business of Industrial HMIs. The Vehicle business had in 2013 revenues of 70 MSEK. “Divesting the Vehicle business is the right thing to do from a strategic perspective. We want to focus our resources to drive the development of our core business within Industrial HMIs. Micronet has their core business in the Vehicle area and will be able to integrate the business and benefit from several synergies,” says Fredrik Jönsson, CEO and president of Beijer Electronics AB. Visit: www.beijerelectronics.se
European Commission clears proposed Solvay/INEOS joint venture
olvay and INEOS have obtained European Commission clearance for their proposed 50/50 chlorvinyls joint venture. Commission clearance is subject to implementation of an agreed remedy package comprising divestment of the following INEOS owned assets: the membrane chlorine plant and EDC/ VCM plants at Tessenderlo, Belgium; the PVC plant at Mazingarbe, France; the PVC plant at Beek, the Netherlands; the PVC and VCM plants at Wilhelmshaven, Germany; and the EDC plants at Runcorn, UK.
In addition, the Commission requires the membrane chlorine plant at Runcorn to be placed in a joint venture between the INEOS/ Solvay joint venture and the new owner of the aforementioned plants. The required remedy package must be implemented before the joint venture can be formed. INEOS and Solvay will continue to run their businesses separately until completion of the transaction, which is expected in Q4 2014. Visit: www.solvay.com
Advent International sells Vinnolit to Westlake Chemical Corporation
Dr Josef Ertl, managing director of Vinnolit, comments on behalf of the management board: “We have transformed Vinnolit into the leading speciality PVC manufacturer and remain dedicated to further growing the company’s business. We thank Advent for their support and strategic advice in developing Vinnolit and facilitating its successful transformation. We as a man-
dvent International has signed an agreement to sell Vinnolit Holdings GmbH, the worldwide leading manufacturer of speciality PVC, to Westlake Chemical Corporation. Westlake is an international manufacturer and supplier of petrochemicals, polymers and building products.
agement team look forward to beginning a new chapter in our company’s history and continuing our successful growth path together with Westlake.” With 1400 employees, Vinnolit now operates six state-of-the-art production platforms and in 2013 generated sales of €917 million. Visit: www.vinnolit.de Industry Europe 19
Relocations and expansions across Europe
ODU strengthens presence in Denmark Fronius UK opens new facility in Scotland
ronius UK Welding Division has opened a new facility in East Kilbride, Scotland. This is its second site, expanding its presence throughout the UK and providing a more localised service to Fronius’ Scottish customers. The new facility, part of a growth strategy for the global technology leader, houses offices, a service/repair centre, warehouse and a demonstration area. Fronius International GmbH consists of three divisions: Perfect Welding, Solar Energy and Perfect Charging. The company has been operating with its own subsidiary in the UK, based in Milton Keynes, since 2010. The UK Welding Division was introduced in January 2012. Fronius provides the UK welding market with solutions for MIG/MAG, TIG, electrode, laser hybrid, plasma and resistance spot welding. Visit: www.fronius.com
ith the opening of its own subsidiary in Denmark, ODU group is strengthening its presence on the European connector market. ODU Denmark ApS in Copenhagen warrants best service and competent consulting for ODU standard products as well as for the implementation of individual application-specific solutions. The product range comprises all connector solutions from the ODU group of companies. The company is represented on site by Mads Haastrup. As regional sales manager Denmark, he has been developing sales and service since early 2013: “I am happy about the decision to found a subsidiary in Denmark and thus support the importance of the strategically important Danish market.” Denmark offers ODU still-unutilised potential in medical, industrial, measuring and testing, military and security, and energy technology. Visit: www.odu.de
Cosworth starts construction of Advanced Manufacturing Centre C
Hiab investing in Swedish product development and test centre
iab, part of Cargotec, has decided to invest nearly €2 million in its product development and test centre in Hudiksvall, Sweden. The aim is to further broaden and deepen Hiab’s ability to develop and test technologies, materials and concepts as well as components and products by expanding its product development operations and extending the existing test centre. “For 70 years, Hiab has been the world’s leading provider of on-road load handling equipment. Product development is one of our focus areas and the decision to invest in it is strategically important in order to guarantee our future technological competitiveness,” says Gert Larsson, executive vice-president, Products, Hiab. Visit: www.hiab.com
osworth, the world-renowned UK performance engineering and manufacturing group, has marked the start of construction on its new £12 million Advanced Manufacturing Centre in a ceremony at its Northampton site. The new state-of-the-art 38,000ft≤ facility represents the next phase in a period of growth and development for Cosworth with support and backing from the UK government. The first of its kind in the UK, it will manufacture components and assemble some of the world’s most advanced engines for global automotive manufacturers. Visit: www.cosworth.com
Solvay opens Research & Innovation Centre in Korea
olvay has opened its new Research & Innovation (R&I) Centre at Ewha Womans University in South Korea, putting the group in a prime position to work closely with key Asian customers and universities to develop products for the booming battery, electronics and car markets. The R&I centre will harbour
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Solvay’s new electronics laboratory to develop Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED) display and lighting technologies, following its recent acquisition of Plextronics. Research will also target materials for the high-growth, high value-added markets of lithium-ion batteries to enable optimal energy storage, and the development of new materials that reduce energy use of cars.
“Solvay’s ambition to become a global, innovative leader will clearly benefit from exchanging and enriching know-how with researchers and industries here in South Korea,” said Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, CEO of Solvay. “Our world-class R&I centre and unique partnership with such a top university as Ewha, are key in strengthening Solvay’s position in Asia.” Visit: www.solvay.com
ATR appoints new CEO T
he ATR Assembly of Members has appointed Patrick de Castelbajac (43), as CEO of ATR. He succeeds Filippo Bagnato, whose four-year mandate according to ATR’s statutes expired at the end of May 2014. Patrick de Castelbajac started his aeronautical career at MBDA (previously Aerospatiale Missile) before spending three years as a lawyer at Baker & McKenzie, in Paris. In 2002 he joined the Legal Affairs Direction of Airbus, where in 2007 he became vice-president Legal Affairs for Purchasing and Intellectual Property. At the end of 2010, Patrick de Castelbajac joined the Commercial Direction of Airbus as head of Contracts Negotiations.
New CEO for Schenck Process
ndreas Evertz has taken over as CEO of Schenck Process, a global leader in industrial measuring technologies. He will lead the company in close coordination with the two other managing directors, Mike Petkovich and Wolfgang Kleinschmidt, and succeeds Dr Jochen Weyrauch, who has shaped the image as well as the development of the company based in Darmstadt for 11 years. Andreas Evertz has many years of experience in industries relevant to Schenck Process, most recently as an executive board member of the Swedish industrial group Sandvik and many years as CEO of Walter AG, a manufacturer of precision tools based in Tübingen, Germany.
New managing director for Siemens UK plant
VSTEP strengthens its Sales & Business Development team
ollowing the strong international growth of VSTEP over the past year, the company has appointed Joost van Ree as its new head of Sales. Van Ree will be heading up the company’s global sales force for all its simulator products, including the NAUTIS maritime simulator and RescueSim Incident Command departments. Becoming an integral part of VSTEP management, van Ree brings a career of over 10 years in senior sales, business development and management positions with a maritime background to the company. Van Ree will also lead further expansion of the global sales & business development team and the VSTEP partner network.
Sonova announces appointment of group vice-president Phonak
onova Holding AG, the world’s leading provider of hearing solutions, has appointed Martin Grieder to the position of group vicepresident Phonak. In this newly created role Mr.Grieder will oversee Phonak’s business worldwide, along with P&L responsibility. To further drive and grow the Phonak busi-
ndrew Peters has been appointed managing director for the award winning Siemens Motion Control Plant in Congleton, north-west England. He is replacing Finbarr Dowling, who is to become project director for the new wind turbine manufacturing facilities at Green Port Hull and Paull in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Andrew has worked within the electrical and electronic engineering industry for over 25 years, covering a wide spectrum of roles within manufacturing, research & development, sales, marketing and training. He has also spent time as a strategic consultant to Cap Gemini.
ness globally, Sonova decided to create a new role, including P&L responsibility. Previously P&L was under CEO supervision. “Drawing on his impressive track record in the FMCG sector, Mr Grieder will be extremely valuable in helping us to achieve our business goals and provide innovative perspectives to Sonova’s sustainable growth strategy,” says Lukas Braunschweiler, CEO of Sonova Holding AG. Industry Europe 21
An end to clumsy robots A
way of ‘teaching’ robots to pick up unfamiliar objects without dropping or breaking them has been developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham. The research paves the way for robots to be used in more flexible ways and in more complex environments. These could include manufacturing and packaging industries where a wide variety of different tasks have to be undertaken, and especially where humans and robots need to be able to work together. “Current robot manipulation relies on the robot knowing the exact shape of the object,” explains Jeremy Wyatt, Professor of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence at the University. “If you put that robot into an unstructured environment, for example if it is trying to pick up an object amongst clutter, or an object for which it doesn’t already have an exact model, it will struggle. “The programming we have developed allows the robot to assess the object and generate around 1000 different grasp options in about five seconds. That means the robot is able to make choices in real time about the best grasp for the object it has been told to pick up and it doesn’t need to be continually retrained each time the object changes.” Visit: www.birmingham.ac.uk
Advances in technology across industry
Bauhaus Luftfahrt unveils ‘Propulsive Fuselage’ concept
this year’s international Berlin Air Show Bauhaus Luftfahrt presented the concept study of a so-called ‘Propulsive Fuselage’. The centrepiece of the concept is a special engine design which is fully integrated into the aircraft’s tapered rear fuselage. The latter is encircled by the so-called ‘Fuselage Fan’ powered by a gas turbine in the tail cone. The main advantage of this ‘distributed’ propulsion architecture is the effective ingestion of the so-called ‘Boundary Layer’ in order to re-energise its decelerated airflow in close proximity to the fuselage and to re-accelerate its wake to free-stream velocity. In doing so, the ‘Fuselage Fan’ compensates for a significant percentage of the fuselage’s viscous drag. Due to the reduced thrust demand, propulsive efficiency may be increased, and the concept’s two conventional engines producing the largest part of the overall thrust could be scaled down in order to reduce weight and drag. Initial studies conducted by Bauhaus Luftfahrt indicated that, despite the additional engine, the ‘Propulsive Fuselage’ concept could, through cascade effects, enable fuel savings of up to 10% over and above projected technology improvements targeting the year 2035. www.bauhaus-luftfahrt.net
Strong-as-steel fibre made from wood cellulose
esearchers at Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology have developed a way to make biodegradable cellulose fibres that are stronger than steel or aluminium when weight is taken into account. The technique draws on the cellulose fibres that make up a tree. Each single fibre is composed of as many as 40 million smaller fibres, or ‘fibrils’. While these fibrils have been separated from each other before, the KTH researchers and their collaborators in Germany succeeded in doing what no one else has. Fredrik Lundell, one of the researchers, says 22 Industry Europe
the team bound these fibrils together into filaments as strong as the original fibre in the tree. “We have taken out fibrils from natural cellulose fibres,” Lundell says. “Then we have assembled fibrils again into very strong filament. It is about 10 to 20 microns thick, much like a strand of hair.” The research offers potential for creating natural clothing textiles based on wood instead of cotton, or even replacing fiberglass in cars, trucks and boats. Lundell says that that unlike existing processes for making strands of cellulose, such as rayon, their composition process is environ-
mentally friendly and sustainable. The only other ingredient in the process is sodium chloride for binding the fibrils together. Visit: www.kth.se
NOTICEBOARD New food conveyor belts from Ammeraal Beltech
he new Peak PTFE and silicone-coated belts from Ammeraal Beltech feature excellent release properties, and are capable of conveying bakery industry and other food products through ovens at working temperatures up to +260°C or via freezing chambers at cryogenic temperatures as low as -70°C. The Peak belt range is suited not only for use in traditional baking with flour-based products such as croissants and biscuits, but also for press-baking products, such as tortillas and pizza bases, as well as open-flame baking items, including pita and piadina breads.
The lower set-up costs and improved flavourretention quality of cryogenic freezing over mechanical freezing have increased the demand for technology capable of performing efficiently at extremely low temperatures. Ammeraal Beltech Peak PTFE and silicone belts function exceptionally well in the conditions of intense cold encountered in cryogenic freezing systems. With the addition of this versatile new product range, Ammeraal Beltech further expands its long-time reputation as a ‘one-stop belt shop’ for food processing and packaging, as in other processing industries. Visit: www.ammeraalbeltech.com
NSK expands creep-freeTM bearing series lineup
SK Ltd has expanded its Creep-Free™ bearing series lineup. These bearings are widely used in fan and pump motors to prevent creep. This series of bearings is designed with exceptional creep resistance, which helps improve motor maintenance and assembly performance. Due to the constraints of assembly, motor bearings are often used with a clearance fit between the outer race and the housing. Depending on the usage conditions, if rotational load is exerted on the bearing, a slip phenomenon called creep can occur between the housing and the bearing, which results in wear that can reduce the life of the bearing. In 2007, NSK launched its Creep-Free™ series of bearings of an inner diameter (ID) of 45 mm or smaller. In response to the needs from its customer base for the same kind of bearings for larger, higher output power motors, NSK has expanded its lineup to an ID of 100mm. Visit: www.nskeurope.com
Lightweight high-speed train concept developed
Bauer Gear Motor launches world’s first modular, stainless steel IE4 geared motor B auer Gear Motor, part of Altra Industrial Motion, has launched the world’s first modular, stainless steel, IE4 super premium efficiency geared motor. Building on the tried and tested Bauer permanent magnetic synchronous motor (PMSM) and aseptic drive technologies, the new stainless steel model combines the benefits of both and is ideal for use in hygiene critical applications where high footfall and frequent washdowns could damage specialist coatings. PMSM synchronous motors offer considerably improved efficiency when compared to induction motors, even under partial load conditions. In real life application examples they have been shown to offer energy savings of over 40% when compared to a standard, asynchronous motor. Like its industry leading IE4 Asepticdrive™, the stainless steel modular geared motor from Bauer
is designed with surfaces which slope by at least 3° to prevent the formation of dirt deposits and allow the run-off of cleaning agents and water. The stainless steel construction eliminates the risk of the hygiene rating becoming compromised in the event of an impact or over prolonged periods of use in heavy washdown environments. Visit: www.bauergears.com
team of researchers in Germany has come up with a new manufacturing technique for high-speed train components that could lead to significant weight and cost savings. The concept, which replaces conventional materials for aluminium foam in the manufacture of the train’s traction unit, is 20 per cent lighter than traditional glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) or aluminium. The lightweight model has been developed by Voith and the Fraunhofer Institut für Werkzeugmaschinen und Umformtechnik (IWU). The model was presented at the Chemnitz Trade Fair. While GFRP was used for the model’s nose, aluminium foam in a ‘sandwich construction’, with the same stiffness and temperature resistance, was substituted for the traction unit. By using embossing tools instead of deep drawing, the team believe they have come up with a viable mass production process. The research was funded by the European Regional Development fund (ERDF) and the Free State of Saxony. Visit: www.iwu.fraunhofer.de Industry Europe 23
Germany Allan Hall reports from Berlin on Germany’s success in attracting foreign investment.
ermany is now the best place to invest in Europe – official. A global survey of investors and managers from Ernst & Young placed the nation at the top in Europe – and fourth best place in the world to invest in – behind China, the USA and Russia. Managers worldwide said Germany, which had climbed two places in the rankings since last year, was “particularly attractive due to its stable and transparent political and legal environment.” Other factors included the country’s solid and refined infrastructure, well-qualified workforce and access to global markets, according to the study carried out by the London-based professional services firm. Four German cities were in the top ten European cities to invest in with Berlin third – behind London and Paris – Frankfurt am Main fourth, Munich fifth and Hamburg ninth. Eighteen per cent of the managers asked said Germany would be in their top three places to invest – up from 10 per cent in 2010. And it would seem the nation’s perceived popularity is also translating into real investment. The number of foreign investment projects in Germany rose last year by 12 per cent to reach a record number of 701 – up from 305 projects in 2007, the year before the financial crisis hit. American investors were more likely to take their money to the UK (seventh in the global ranking) the results suggested, whereas investors from the rest of the world preferred Germany if heading for western Europe. Despite the Eurocrisis, 49 per cent of those asked said they believed Germany would continue to increase in attractiveness, as opposed to 13 per cent who said the opposite. “Germany is clearly the most robust and competitive of the large economies in Europe and has an excellent reputation among foreign businesses,” said EY partner Peter Englisch. Meanwhile, four German cities made it into the a separate survey of the ‘hottest 24 Industry Europe
retail markets’ also released on Tuesday by US real estate multinational CBRE, with Berlin beating London and Moscow (joint seventh place) to place fifth. The number of foreign entrepreneurs setting up new companies in Germany has also risen, from 90,000 in 2005 to 145,000 last year, despite an overall fall in the number of people setting up on their own.
“Germany is clearly the most robust and competitive of the large economies in Europe and has an excellent reputation among foreign businesses.” A study released at the end of May by a think-tank for medium-sized businesses, Institute für Mittelstandsforschung (IfM), showed three-quarters of new foreignfounded companies were in the construction (45 per cent), trade (18.2 per cent) and hospitality (10.2 per cent). While the number of foreigners starting new businesses in Germany has risen almost every year since 2003, the number of Germans doing so has been falling since 2004. This trend has boosted the proportion of foreigners among new entrepreneurs in Germany. Immigrants in Germany were responsible for founding 42.7 per cent of all new businesses last year – more than double the share recorded in 2005 (18.8 per cent), said the Bonn-based IfM in a statement. The IfM believes the reason for the sudden surge is relaxation of employment rules in Germany for citizens of eastern European countries which joined the EU in 2004.
Wealth gap But such figures seem meaningless to a population so hard pressed that one in five of them can’t even afford a holiday. A survey from the federal statistics office Destatis in May found that more than 20 per cent of Germans can’t afford a week’s holiday, and 30 per cent said they were unable to cover ‘unexpected expenses’ such as house repairs or big purchases. It also found around eight per cent of respondents felt they could not afford to eat a meal including meat, poultry or fish at least once every two days. Yet discomfiting though the disparity is between rich investors and poor consumers, the 2012 report’s results for the general public still place Germany well above the EU average. In the EU overall, around 40 per cent said they could neither afford to pay for unexpected costs, nor spend a week away each year. And 20 per cent of EU citizens said they were unable to afford to eat a meal with meat or fish every two days – a full 12 per cent more than in Germany. But specifically among those ‘in danger of poverty’ – defined by Destatis as anyone earning 60 per cent or less of the national median wage – Germany’s figures increased significantly. Around 58 per cent of these low-earners said they could not pay for a holiday, while 25 per cent could not afford a meal with meat or fish, just one per cent shy of the corresponding number for poverty-endangered people at the EU level. Claude Jockel, a Frankfurt based sociologist, said: “This is the dichotomy of Germany: rich, trading well, tax money flowing into coffers – and a fifth of its people can’t afford a week away somewhere. The balance is still not right between creation and consumption. We have to be careful that we dont become so ‘successful’ for entrepreneurs that we cannot afford anything anymore.” n
France Ian Sparks reports from Paris on efforts to persuade the French to be less rude to visitors.
rance has unveiled its latest master-plan to boost the nation’s tourist industry – by once again urging the ‘surly’ French to be nicer to foreigners. The government wants to increase visitor numbers from around 83 million a year today to 100 million a year by 2015, a national tourism conference in Paris was told. But in order to do so, the nation needed to shake off its reputation for being unfriendly and learn to be more hospitable, commerce minister Fleur Pellerin said. Speaking at the June event attended by ministers and more than 1000 tourist industry professionals, Ms Pellerin said: “Tourism is not an amusing or secondary matter. The stakes are the same as exports. Too often we mistake service with servility. The country needs to recover a sense of hospitality.” And French finance minister Laurent Fabius said at the conference: “The logic is simple, an unhappy tourist is a tourist that never comes back.” Sunday trading laws also needed to be changed to attract more visitors, Mr Fabius said, adding: “A tourist who finds the shop closed on Sundays will not wait until Thursday.” And the tatty Gare du Nord station where Eurostar trains arrive from London must be given a facelift, he told the conference. He added: “The Gare du Nord is Europe’s leading railway station and it must be able to stand comparison with Saint Pancras.” The nationwide tourist action plan comes after repeated international surveys have found that the French capital is one of the world’s most hostile places for foreign visitors. Last year after the Paris Tourist Board issued a ‘politeness manual’ to service industry workers in a bid to change the city’s reputation for being the rudest place on earth. The manual states that British visitors like ‘personalised service’ and have breakfast between 7.30am and 8.30am. The Chinese seek out luxury goods and like to be smiled at, while the Americans enjoy quick service and fluency in English, it
said. The Spanish try to get things for free and eat dinner at between 9pm and 11pm, the Germans like cleanliness and a handshake, the Belgians prefer budget hotels and Wi-Fi and the Brazilians like physical contact and taxis, the guide said. The Italians like exploring and welcome attention towards their children, the Japanese are insecure, never complain and bow a lot and the Dutch – like the Spanish – like things for free, it told tourist industry workers. Paris attempted a similar campaign three years earlier, hiring ‘smile ambassadors’ to be friendly to visitors at the city’s main attractions. Paris Tourism spokesman Daniel Fasquelle said at the time: “If an Englishman gets lost while driving, we must not get impatient with him by honking our car-horns. Being impolite to outsiders is going to send them away to spend their money somewhere else.” A survey two years ago by Paris transport operator RATP revealed that 97 per cent of Parisians believed their fellow citizens were ‘ill-mannered and lacked civility’. A separate study by the Tripadvisor website also found foreigners visiting Paris voted it the rudest city in Europe. Researchers found tourists thought the French capital had the least friendly locals, the rudest taxi drivers and the most hostile and aggressive waiters.
Summer strikes Meanwhile, Irish low-cost airline Ryanair has demanded that the European Union take away the right of French air traffic controllers to strike. The call came after French air traffic controllers began a six-day strike in June that plunged European passengers’ travel plans into chaos. Hundreds of flights were cancelled as French unions closed down French airports and paralysed routes to elsewhere in Europe that crossed French air space. After having to cancel over 100 flights on the first day of the strike, Ryanair’s chief market-
ing officer Kenny Jacobs said it was time the European Commission took action to prevent the French strikers causing ‘repeated misery’ for his company’s passengers. He said: “French air traffic controllers are going on strike every single year. It’s time to say enough is enough. We are fed up, our customers are fed up and everyone around Europe is fed up. We are calling on the EU commission to be braver and follow the example of the US and take away air traffic controllers’ right to strike across Europe. The controllers play a vital role and every summer they are holding passengers to ransom. People have worked hard all year and they see their only holiday affected by this strike. That’s not fair. “People’s right to travel is a higher priority than the controllers’ right to strike. We need to respect that this is causing travel disruption to a lot of people.” He added: “Every now and then air traffic controllers in other European countries go on strike, but that pales into insignificance when you compare it the number of times the French have gone on strike in the past decade.” Ryanair say that if the EU Commission is against taking away the right to strike, then an alternative solution would be to allow air traffic controllers in neighbouring countries, such as the UK or Germany, to ‘run the skies over France’ during a strike. Mr Jacobs added: “That would be entirely possible and we think it should be looked at.” Air traffic controllers said they were protesting at what they say is a lack of sufficient funding allocated for their sector, which they say is in dire need of modernisation. A spokesman for the SNCTA air traffic controllers union said: “For instance, all radar screens in the Aix-en-Provence control centre in southern France were recently urgently changed after around 20 screens suddenly went blank over the space of 18 months. Some parts of the system date back 20 years n and must be replaced.”
TAKING FLIGHT From design and manufacture to after-market support, Bombardier Aerospace Belfast specialises in major aircraft structures. Abigail Saltmarsh looks at the largest manufacturing employer in Northern Ireland.
hen Bombardier Aerospace opened its new wing facility in Belfast last year it not only created another 250 jobs in the region, but once again it cemented its commitment to the aerospace industry in both Northern Ireland and Europe. The company, which is the largest manufacturing employer in Northern Ireland and produces a considerable proportion of Northern Ireland’s total manufacturing exports, specialises in major aircraft structures, from design and manufacture to after-market support. Part of the global Bombardier group, which is headquartered in Montreal and is the world’s only manufacturer of both planes and trains, it operates from four sites in Northern Ireland – Queen’s Island, Dunmurry, Newtownabbey and Hawlmark, Newtownards. With first-class
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capabilities and some 5000 highly skilled employees, the operation plays a pivotal role in all of Bombardier’s families of commercial and business aircraft.
jet 85, Challenger 300 and 350, Challenger 605, Challenger 850, Global 5000 and 6000 and Global 7000 and 8000.
A leading manufacturer
The new 600,000-square-foot Belfast facility, which produces the wings for the CSeries aircraft, has been awarded a prestigious LEED® green building certification. Wings on the plane are made using an innovative carbonfibre composite technology developed by Bombardier engineers in Northern Ireland. This technology enables both material and aircraft weight savings, which contribute to reduced manufacturing cycle times and reduced fuel burn. Michael Ryan, vice-president and general manager of Bombardier Aerospace Belfast,
Bombardier Aerospace Belfast manufactures fuselages, wings, engine nacelles and flight control surfaces in metal and advanced composites. It produces nacelle components for Rolls-Royce, Airbus and General Electric, and has an extensive supply chain in the UK, Ireland and beyond. In commercial aircraft, its programmes include the CRJ700 NextGen, CRJ900 NextGen, CRJ1000 NextGen, Q400 NextGen and CSeries aircraft family. In business aircraft, its projects include the Learjet 70 and 75, Lear-
said: “We believe that our advanced composites process enables a step-change in the way aircraft wings are made. The benefits of weight reduction compared to conventional metal wings, and reduced inspection and maintenance activities, are making an important contribution to the CSeries aircraft’s success. “Bombardier’s major investment in the CSeries aircraft programme continues to bring significant benefits to the 200 companies in our UK supply chain as well as to the Northern Ireland and wider UK economies.”
High-performing suppliers Indeed, according to Bombardier Aerospace, maintaining its world-class performance, competitiveness and track record of excellence
WIS Group WIS Group has enjoyed a close working relationship with Bombardier in Northern Ireland for many years, providing a wide range of services and projects. These include instrumentation calibration services, paint booths, automated chemical treatment lines and bespoke automated machinery such as hot drape formers, hot ply debulkers, reticulators, vacuum drop test systems and resin transfer injection and moulding systems. Our close collaboration with Bombardier on projects which are often very technically challenging, has produced innovative machines and systems to help them manufacture aircraft parts of the highest quality and we are proud to be associated with them as a key supplier.
and innovation requires strong collaboration across its value chain. As a result, it works with high-performing suppliers to build rewarding partnerships based on trust, respect and recognition, and has created the Bombardier Achieving Supplier Excellence (BASE) recognition programme, which acknowledges suppliers that support its strategy of delivering high levels of customer experience through superior performance. “Our suppliers focus on delivering superior engineering, quality and supply chain excellence. They are driven to be the best in their field. Their rigour allows us to concentrate on what we do best – design-
ing and manufacturing leading-edge aircraft at optimal life-cycle cost, while providing an amazing customer experience. “Our suppliers add real value to our aircraft solutions and our customers’ services. Together, we share a commitment to excellence and innovation, and focus on surpassing our customers’ expectations.”
Growing the sector At the Paris Air Show in June 2013, Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast, announced that it had placed new business worth more than £25 million with Northern Ireland suppliers in the last few months alone.
The new business comprised work on the CSeries and other programmes, and includes component supply and provision of production-related equipment and services. Suppliers included the likes of JW Kane, Moyola Precision Engineering, Maydown Precision Engineering, Dontaur Engineering, Vulcanium Metals, Williams Industrial Services, Datum Design, H&J Martin, UPVC of Belfast and Nulife of Dunmurry. Speaking at the Paris Air Show, Michael Ryan said: “We are delighted that many local companies continue to benefit from Bombardier’s investment in Northern Ireland, including from our investment in the CSeries aircraft programme. “Northern Ireland has a solid aerospace cluster and we believe this can be developed further by companies taking advantage of opportunities now being made available through the recently launched joint industry and government Aerospace Industrial Strategy. The strategy will enable companies to develop the new technologies, manufacturing processes and skills necessary for them to compete and win more new business, helping n to grow the local aerospace sector.”
NULIFE ENGINEERING LTD
Unit 101, City Business Park, The Cutts Dunmurry, Belfast BT17 9HU Tel: +44 (0)28 9062 3196 | Fax: +44 (0)28 9060 2884 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SPECIAL PURPOSE MILD STEEL, STAINLESS STEEL AND ALUMINIUM FABRICATIONS. PRECISION HIGH DEFINITION CNC PLASMA CUTTING, NC GUILLOTINE AND PRESS WORK. Proud supplier to Bombardier Aerospace Belfast.
BMW is arguably the most successful luxury performance car manufacturer in the world and is changing up a gear with the launch of a host of new high-tech models. Philip Yorke reports on the increasing pace being set by this iconic global brand and takes a closer look at its futuristic and energy-efficient technology.
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MW rules supreme in the luxury performance car market. Its domination of this automotive sector is the result of its constant commitment to product excellence and the company’s continuous investment in new technologies. Very much customer focussed, BMW is able to tailor the needs of its clients to each individual order placed, to provide a unique combination of customised performance and energy efficiency. BMW has enjoyed it highest number of vehicle sales in the first quarter of 2014 ever, with sales 11.2 per cent up on the same period last year. In fact, sales of all BMW models have seen a sharp increase during the first quarter of 2104. For example, the BMW X Series continues to see strong growth with sales of the BMX1 growing by 11.8 per cent in the first quarter with over 55,000 units sold and the BMW X3 seeing a similar rise. The new BMW X5 also showed strong sales rising by 20.8 per cent in the first four months with almost 43,000 vehicles delivered. Sales of the new
BMW i3 reached over 1000 vehicles in the first quarter and this number is set to rise significantly in the second quarter of 2014 when the BMW i3 model becomes available in the USA, the biggest market for electric and hybrid cars.
including the X3, X5 and X6 models and is set to start production soon on its shortly-to-beunveiled X4 model. In addition, the company plans to introduce its all new, and much larger, X7 model in the near future which will also be produced at the Spartanburg plant.
Major on-going investments
Efficient dynamics driving growth
To underscore its investment in new technology, BMW has made one of the world’s biggest investments in a new plant in the USA. This is being constructed in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where BMW has announced a €1 billion investment in a state-of-the-art facility that will increase its manufacturing capacity by a massive 50 per cent. When complete, it will be the company’s flagship plant and the biggest BMW passenger car factory in the world. The automaker has also said that it plans to employ a further 800 skilled staff at its Spartanburg factory, thus increasing the workforce there by 10 per cent. The plant already makes BMW’s luxury crossover SUV X series
With a diverse product portfolio covering 35 models that range in price from around €20,000 to more than €100,000, BMW has more to offer its customers than anyone else in its automotive sector. These products range from its BMW 1 series and 3 door sports coupe, to its best-selling 3 series, and other models such as its 4 series and 5 series saloons. The current BMW portfolio extends further, up to its top-of-the-range 7 series and sleek 6 series coupes and convertibles. The fast growing SUV market is also served with its X1, X3, X4, X5 and X6 luxury models. In addition, increasing demand is also being seen for BMW’s optimal performance
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‘M’ Motorsport series, “where driving pleasure meets perfection” and its dream car the BMWi8, which all set new standards in performance and energy-efficiency. In the hybrid and electric passenger car sectors, BMW also leads the field and continues to win countless awards. This remarkable ability to stay ahead of the field is enhanced by its ‘Efficient Dynamics’ technology, which is a package of intelligent technologies that significantly reduces fuel consumption and emissions, whilst increasing the driving pleasure experience. BMW’s ‘Connect Drive’, whose innovative functions are able to provide optimal integration between the driver, the vehicle and the outside environment, are yet another example of its leading technology in this field. In another example of its innovative capabilities,, BMW’s all-wheel-drive system, the XDrive, offers driver’s additional safety, control and agility in every conceivable motoring situation, even on difficult road surfaces. The development of ever more innovative and energy efficient technology is an on-going process at BMW.
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New models deliver effortless efficiency The company’s new 3 series saloon epitomises modernity and like all other new models from BMW, offers effortless efficiency. This sixth generation of the BMW 3 series saloon is now more powerful, more efficient and more individual than ever before. The smooth, effortless drive is provided by its powerful six cylinder and four cylinder petrol and diesel engines, all of which benefit from the latest BMW ‘EfficientDynamics’ systems. The new BMW 4 Series coupe also takes a bow and represents a completely new BMW vehicle generation that combines sportiness with advanced styling and aesthetics. The new and stunning BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe perfectly complements this model range with its unrivalled natural elegance. Thanks to their low centre of gravity, ideal load distribution and rigid chassis, enhanced with BMW’s unique twin-power turbo technology, these cars are able to offer a unique driving sensation. The BMW 4 Series Convertible also introduces a new dimension of exciting sportiness blended with its own stylish elegance. The
retractable hard-top provides an exhilarating open-air experience and a unique driving experience all year round. Today the world is full of possibilities and the new BMW X models offer the perfect way to explore them. With high seating positions and economical engines, there is a BMW X model for everyone. The BMW X1 is the perfect vehicle for combining practicality with pure driving pleasure whilst the BMW X3 is the sports activity vehicle that is the founder and leader in its class. This vehicle also impresses with its highly efficient and economical, twin-power turbo diesel and petrol engines. And just like the X3, BMW’s X4 model also cuts a striking figure with its bold design and ‘X-typical’ power train. Even in its third generation, the new BMW X5 manages to surpass its own exacting standards and as an SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) it offers outstanding performance in every area where the toughest demands are made both on and off the road. At the very top of the X range is the BMW X6, which has a presence that sets it apart as a Sports Activity Coupe. This unique SAV also offers the versatility and high-seating position of an SUV.
Born to be electric The eagerly anticipated, all new BMW i3 represents an exciting and innovative proposition for the fleet marketplace. With fuel prices continuing to rise and tighter emission targets being set by the world’s governments, running a fleet in today’s market is more challenging than ever. The new BMW i3 meets all the requirements for an ultra-low emission vehicle and is designed to sit alongside the traditional combustion engine cars on company fleets. Not only will this e-car have a positive effect on the environment, but it will also financially benefit both the fleet companies and the fleet company drivers. The new BMW i3 goes far beyond environmentally conscious and agile driving, its innovative drivetrain was inspired and developed by BMW’s ‘EfficientDynamics’ technology. Furthermore, company car drivers also benefit from its totally emission-free characteristics while still achieving 0-62mph in just 7.2 seconds. In addition the BMW i3 is also exempt from road fund licences and
inter-city congestion charges. With its highvoltage lithium ion battery and intelligent energy management system, the BMW i3 offers an impressive range of 80-100 miles. The new BMW i3 has also been honoured with the title of UK car of the year 2014, while the new BMW5 Series came out top in the ‘Executive’ car class.
The M5 story It was back in 1982 that a legend was born, when the BMW M535i was launched and established the beginning of the M5 story. With an engine capacity of 3.5 litres the original model achieved 218hp and 310Nm, whilst delivering 0-60mph in 7.2 seconds. Today, in its 5th generation, and to celebrate 30 years of progressive technology, the BMW M5 and the M5 30 Year Edition has been created. With only 300 units being created, the M5 30 Year Edition is poised to become a rare collectors’ item with a price tag of more than 110,000 euros on the road. This car features the largest power output of any production BMW, at a searing 600hp,
which is 40hp more than the standard M5 Series and it achieves 0-60mph in a worldbeating 3.9 seconds, which also represents the fastest time of any production BMW car. n For further details of BMW’s latest innovative, high-tech models and customer services visit: www.bmw.com
Femalk In the past five years, Femalk participated in several development projects for BMW, like the I12, the LK or the 35up projects. During this collaboration, almost 60 different parts were developed and designed at Femalk. After the Prototype and Tooling phase, these parts are supplied for BMW out of series production, up till now with 0 ppm.
ALL COMPETENCIES IN ONE COMPANY. • Full Part Design (2D, 3D and FEM) • Tool Shop for Die Casting Molds and Equipments • Sand or Die Casting for Prototype Phase • Die Casting, Machining and Assembly in Series Production • High Class Testing Laboratory for Static and Accelerated Life Tests Aluminium HPDC Foundry
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RECOGNISING OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE
32 Industry Europe
The Ford motor company has enjoyed its best performance in recent years with European sales up by 6.6 per cent in April. This marks the fifth consecutive month of market share improvement and the eleventh straight month of sales improvement for the company. The vital contribution made by Ford’s key suppliers makes the difference and the company has rewarded its suppliers’ outstanding performance at a gala award event: the annual ‘World Excellence Awards’. Philip Yorke reports.
he Ford Motor Company is a global automotive industry leader based in Michigan, USA, and distributes vehicles across six continents. With around 200,000 employees and 65 manufacturing facilities worldwide, it remains a major driving force in the global automotive industry. In Europe, Ford sales continue to surge ahead, with sales to the fast-growing BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India & China) countries rising even faster. Overall sales in Europe in April alone amounted to around 100,000 vehicles. Ford values its dedicated global suppliers and these are recognised annually at its special ‘World Excellence Awards’ ceremony, which this year is held at the company’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, USA.
Achieving mutual growth Ford’s World Excellence Award scheme was first introduced in 1998 in order to recognise suppliers who not only achieve the highest level of cost-competitiveness, quality and delivery and to acknowledge the diverse cultures, values and ideas of the thousands of individuals that they employ. Mark Fields, Ford’s chief operating officer said, “Congratulations to all our supplier partners who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence as we work together to achieve mutual growth. Our suppliers are key to the success of our ‘One Ford Plan’, including our commitment to accelerate our pace of progress and deliver even more of the great products and innovations that will
create even more growth and define our company going forward.” In May this year, 51 global suppliers were honoured at a special ceremony for their exceptional contribution to the Ford Motor Company in 2013. Top-performing suppliers were recognised for achieving excellence in key areas including quality, cost performance and delivery. In all, 18 countries were represented at the company’s 16th annual World Excellence Awards. This year’s gold and silver awards were presented to supplier manufacturing sites that demonstrated superior quality, delivery and cost-performance. The coveted awards were given to suppliers who improved customer satisfaction by providing significant contributions in such key areas as new consumer-focused technology, durability and reliability performance, as well as corporate responsibility, diversity development and community service.
OEM of choice Recently Ford was recognised by the supplier community for its continued emphasis on being the suppliers’ OEM of choice. As part of the Society of Automotive Analysts 2014 Planning Perspectives Survey, suppliers acknowledged Ford as one of the top domestic automakers in supplier relations. This year’s gold award winners of the 2103 World Excellence Awards, which represent the top 5 per cent of all qualifying suppliers, included the side-airbag manufacturer,
Autoliv, La Pobla de Vallbona of Spain, Dee Zee, Des Moines Iowa for running boards, EWI Worldwide, Livonia, Michigan for Auto Shows, Flex-N-Gate Seeburn, Ontario, Canada, for its door hinges and check-arms and NHK Spring, Shiga-ken, Japan for its suspension stabiliser linkages. In addition, Summit Plastics of Nanjing, China won a gold for its instrument panel components, and U-Shin Europe of Hungary for its steering columns. Another gold medal winner was Webasto Roof & Components of Germany for sliding roofs. Among the winners of Silver awards, which represent the top 10 per cent of qualifying suppliers, there were 26 winners in this category. These included Arge of Cologne, Germany for total waste management, Borg Warner Automotive of Korea for transfer cases, Comstar Automotive technologies of Tamil Nadu, India, for starter assemblies, Hella Slovakia for rear lamps and Huf Espana of Spain for plastic door handles. In addition, there was Kostal Ukraina of the Ukraine for window switches and Thyssen Krupp Presta of Germany for camshafts. For a full list of winners, visit Ford’s corporate website: www.ford.com In the special achievement category the diverse supplier of the year award went to Dakkota Integrated Systems of Michigan and the award for durability and reliability to Dayco Power Transmissions of Sao Paulo, Brazil. In other special categories, Laird Technologies of the UK won an award for
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corporate responsibility and Grupo Antolin of Spain were granted an award for excellence in their business framework principles.
Global supply-base expansion For the fourth consecutive year Ford has exceeded its sourcing goals for its ‘Supplier Diversity Development’ programme. Ford aims to source at least 10 per cent of its US purchases from minority, women and veteranowned businesses. In 2013 Ford purchased $6.5 billion in goods and services from minority-owned suppliers. Ford encourages its diverse suppliers to expand their business operations globally and enhance their competitiveness in the global marketplace. “For over 35 years, Ford has been committed to growing and strengthening its relationships with its diverse suppliers,” said Carla Preston, Supplier Diversity Development Director. “Through our Supplier Diversity Development programme, we are contributing to the greater good, leading to new opportunities for economic expansion and job growth globally.”
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Mustang heralds new models for Europe One of the most eagerly awaited events in the motoring calendar this year was the launch of the all-new Ford Mustang, which was showcased in Lisbon, Portugal, at the Champion’s football league final in May this year. The first 500 of the 2015 Ford Mustang Models destined for Europe were reserved in just 30 seconds. This is the first time in Ford’s long history that the Mustang has been sold across Europe. “We knew that there was huge excitement building for the new Ford Mustang coming to Europe, but the response during the UCL cup final was overwhelming,” commented Roelant de Ward, Ford’s vice president in Europe for marketing, sales and service. The latest Mustang offers an impressive line-up of engines, including the Shelby GT500, which is the most powerful production V8 engine in the world. This supercharged 5.8L engine is capable of more than 200 miles per hour on the track. There is also a 305 horsepower V6 and a 5.0L version that pumps
out a potent 420 horsepower and 390lb-ft of torque. All these advanced engines are mated to Ford’s advanced six-speed transmissions. Other European ‘trail-blazers’ include the new Ford Fiesta ST with its aggressive styling and a performance to match that achieves 0–62 in 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 139mph (224km/h. Another newcomer is Ford’s Ecosport, which is a smart, powerful and fuel-efficient vehicle that features SYNC with AppLink that enables you to access your smart-phone’s apps on the move. It’s an entirely new type of SUV.
Smart solutions Smart technology solutions are to be found throughout Ford’s extensive product range and the most recent of these innovative, high–technology products is its ‘advanced steering technology’ which improves ‘steering feel’ at all speeds, making the vehicle easier to manoeuvre and more enjoyable to drive. The new steering technology is housed entirely within the steering wheel
and offers a smart solution that benefits drivers in all driving conditions. This new generation of Ford smart steering technology helps to make vehicles easier to manoeuvre at slow speeds and in tight spaces. At higher speeds, the new technology will help to make the vehicle more agile and more fun to drive. The new adaptive steering device from Ford will be available on selected vehicles from early next year. This unique system was developed for production by Ford in collaboration with Takata, a leading supplier of automotive steering and safety systems, which is a Ford Aligned n Business Framework partner. For further details of Fords latest innovative products and services visit: www.ford.com
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MADE IN ITALY Sophisticated technology, reliable quality, a wealth of experience, lean production, continuous improvement and organisational excellence, all of this is encompassed by Vimi Fasteners SpA, which, as Barbara Rossi finds out, is a global leader in the production and sales of mechanical fasteners.
ith its 190 employees, €35 million turnover and 18,500m2 site in Novellara (near Reggio Emilia, northern Italy) Vimi Fasteners is a leader in the production and sales of mechanical fasteners (special screws and double-end stud bolts) for a broad range of high technology industrial applications for engines, turbo compressors, exhaust systems, rockers and transmission and braking systems (used in the automotive, industrial, marine, aviation, agricultural and construction sectors). Vimi Fasteners is a solid player in its industry. In fact, in over 40 years of activity in Italy and abroad the company has accrued a wealth of experience and skills which make
it one of the most qualified producers in the fasteners sector. It is an undisputed leader at the global level, thanks to its production specialism, continuous technological innovation, organisational excellence and deep knowledge of application sectors. During its long business life the company has established a deep bond of trust and collaboration with both its suppliers and its clients. Vimi Fasteners looks after the latter by fulfilling all their service, innovation and quality needs, so as to meet, together with them, the competitive challenge of the global market. In 2008, Vimi enlarged its plant with a modern and innovative department for thermal treatment; this is equipped with belt
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conveyor furnaces for finishing and chamber furnaces for the dissolving and ageing treatment of screws made of high nickel content super steel alloys, employed in the fastening of turbo compressors, exhaust systems, manifolds and hot engine parts. All of this enables Vimi to have complete control of the production process, thus ensuring the reliable quality demanded by clients.
Certifications and VPS Vimi Fasteners is continuously engaged in improving its quality, safety and environmental systems, whose procedures are quickly updated so as to comply with all legal requirements and the changing organisation of the company. In 1994 the company set up a quality system compliant with UNI EN ISO 9001 requirements to ensure the high quality levels demanded by the market. In 2001 it achieved the ISO TS 16949 standard for the automotive sector and in 2011 the UNI EN ISO 9100 certification for the aviation industry, a field of great potential for Vimi Fasteners. Furthermore it obtained the UNI EN ISO 14001 environmental standard and the OHSAS 18001 safety certification in 2004. Vimi Fasteners believes in operational excellence and its aim is the continuous improvement of its performance by adopting
standards and practices complying with the EFQM model, a company management integrated system used by the most important European industrial players. The company’s fasteners are specifically designed for the most complex manufacturing needs and are produced with the most sophisticated processing technologies. The products combine a high technical content with superior reliability, both in terms of the materials used (special steels, super alloys, high temperature resistant steel) and processing precision. Vimi Fasteners has developed the Vimi Production System (VPS), an integrated model of company process management for the purpose of continuous improvement and the achievement of organisational excellence. The VPS methods have brought important innovations to the offices and production department. A flux production
system to reduce lead times and minimise waste has been implemented (following the Muda concept); and an intense programme of Kaizen workshops to improve the reliability of the plant, the safety of workstations and to increase the overall efficiency of production processes has been set up. The company has been able to rise up to the challenge of change, implementing VPS in all its departments so as to become ever leaner and more agile in the global n market competition.
NEW-WORLD ATLAS Atlas Cranes are technology leaders in the design and manufacture of industrial cranes and excavators. Today the company continues to expand into new markets and out-perform its competitors. Philip Yorke takes a closer look at how Atlas is moving forward with a range of exciting new products and achieving its ambitious goals.
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tlas cranes and excavators was founded in 1919 by Henrich Wyhausen, who began by selling construction and agricultural machinery from his local village near Bremen, Germany. He soon discovered that the machines that his customers needed were not available, so after listening to their requirements he set about building the machines himself to the precise specifications that they required. In this respect the culture at Atlas has never changed and today the company continues to produce tailor-made, robust equipment, which is designed to optimise efficiency and to meet today’s modern market needs. Following its initial success and as the company’s reputation grew, so did its
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dealer and service network. Today Atlas Cranes can be found at work not only throughout Europe but also in the growth markets of the Middle East and North America. The company has also established an important subsidiary: Atlas East to cater for the eastern European market and in particular Russia.
Growing market share Being strategically located only a short distance from Bremen Airport and with excellent road and rail connections, the company is able to offer express delivery services to Europe and beyond. In addition, its three state-of-the-art manufacturing plants are all situated within a 50km radius of each other and within a short distance of the airport
and the main container terminal at Bremehaven. This is a big advantage when it comes to achieving short delivery times and competitive pricing structures. Atlas has three modern production plants, two of which are located in Delmenhorst and Vechta. Recently the upgraded Vechta plant took over the production of the company’s “V-boom” cranes in order to relieve the production demands on the Delmenhorst plant and to provide more room for the manufacture of its individual cranes. The increasing global demand for its brick and block cranes also played a part in influencing this strategic decision. Today the Atlas portfolio of cranes and excavators covers a diverse variety of products which range from its small, 1.2 m/t boom
crane, up to its massive 62m/t folding crane. Furthermore, thanks to a special arrangement with a leading Italian crane manufacturer, Atlas is now able to deliver even larger cranes and excavators, as a company spokesman explained, “An example of the flexibility created by the recent strategic alliance with our Italian partners is that we have just installed a very large 96m/t folding crane in the UK, which is a truly impressive truck/crane combination, and this unique product has already captured the imagination of many other European operators. We therefore see a lot of new business opportunities coming from this unique truck/ crane Atlas combination product. “Currently our biggest sellers are our E-Crane series cranes, which come with radio remote control as standard and offer a very attractive cost/performance ratio package. Our special V-boom cranes for brick and block handling are designed for operations mainly in the Middle East where the environmental conditions can be quite challenging. We are proud to say that in this region we are the market leaders with our 250V and 300V crane models.” The Atlas V-Crane series cranes offer long reach and fast working cycles and are equipped with a unique brick and block clamp, making them particularly efficient and effective special purpose machines. Atlas is also seeing a big increase in demand for its V-boom cranes in the Canadian market where they are mainly used for foundation work and the handling of large dry-wall sections. One of its latest models is its 440 VCS, which has been designed for the North American market. It offers an unparalleled outreach of up to 22 metres, at which point the crane is still capable of lifting 1000kg. This model is the most powerful and effective long-reach V-boom crane ever produced by Atlas, and stability is guaranteed via its 7.4m-wide stabiliser beam configuration.
lengths and it has a wide variety of equipment designed to enable the operator to obtain the optimal combination for any specific task. The company’s innovative solutions are not confined to its top-selling cranes but also to its truck-mounted and stationary-mounted products. These are mostly used in industrial plant applications. For example, they are used to feed conveyer belts or to pick up obstacles from crushers. However, the greatest growth opportunities according to Atlas are to be found in its products designed for recycling and waste handling, as recycling becomes a more important feature of everyday life. At the IAA Commercial Truck Show, taking place in Hanover, Germany, later this year,
Atlas will be showcasing many of its latest innovative products. The IAA show is the most important trade fair for material handling, transportation and logistics, and Atlas are preparing to launch a new addition to one of its ‘3 crane series’ with some ground-breaking technical improvements in terms of safety and stability monitoring. On its extensive stand at Hanover, Atlas will also be showing its latest trucks and a minimum of six cranes, in addition to some stand-alone cranes and a range of new, hightech accessories. n For further details of Atlas Cranes’ innovative products and services visit: www.atlasgmbh.com
Hörmann Automotive Eislingen (HAE) GmbH focuses on the design and manufacturing of reservoir and flap systems for the automotive industry. At our 8,000 square meter factory, a skilled and specialized workforce of approximately 60 people performs highly precise work manufacturing fuel tanks and hydraulic reservoirs, body parts for buses, construction machinery, agricultural machinery, and flap systems for touring coaches. Using cutting-edge technology such as punching/nibbling, laser cutting, bending, pressing, robot welding, and our in-house powder coating system enables us to produce high-quality products in small to medium batch sizes and according to specific customer requirements. Delivery is made just-in-time or just-in-sequence into the customer’s production line. HAE also provides comprehensive design and development consultancy. Products are designed either in co-operation or in consultation with our customers, or HAE manages the entire process; our customers benefit from design and cost optimization. HAE’s high-performance culture has made us one of the leading system suppliers for many renowned utility vehicle manufacturers. HAE. We manufacture the components you need.
Innovation and reliability driving sales In keeping with its reputation for innovation and reliability, Atlas has recently launched its latest 186.3V model crane to the German market. This is available in a variety of boom
Hörmann Automotive Eislingen GmbH Industriestr. 5, 73054 Eislingen / Fils, Germany T: +49 (0) 7161 98448-0 | F: +49 (0) 7161 98448-76 | E: email@example.com www.eislingen.hoermann-automotive.com
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SUCCESS CUBED Haga Metallbau is a leading European fabricator of aluminium, glass and steel for the construction industry. Philip Yorke talked to Mario Haepp, one of the company’s CEOs and technical director about its latest projects and re-launch into the UK market.
aga was founded in 1976 by Christian Haepp and Norbert Rumpel who started to fabricate window frames in aluminium in Germany. This was at a time when the trend to move away from wooden window frames was in its infancy. They quickly captured their local market with the quality and services that they were offering and within just three years had established the company’s first custombuilt fabrication hall in Hofheim, Germany, which remains its headquarters to this day. By 1990 Haga had expanded dramatically and was now operating four state-of-the-art fabrication plants. Two of them in Bavaria and two in eastern region of Germany. Remarkable, 2002 HAGA established its own primary steel fabrication in Fuchsstadt, Bavaria. Today the company employs more than 400 people and in 2013 recorded sales of more than €50 million.
Individual, innovative solutions There are many reasons why Haga is so successful in its niche markets. The com-
pany offers individual, cost-effective solutions for projects in industrial construction, steel construction, engineering and metalworking. By placing its customers’ requirements at the top of its priority list and meeting tight deadlines, the company has earned an enviable reputation throughout Europe and in particular in Germany. Major contracts for large construction projects have been completed in Denmark, Luxembourg, Spain and the UK in recent years and the company continues to extend its global reach. Haga’s three key areas of expertise are the manufacture of key elements in aluminium, steel and glass. In aluminium, Haga specialises in facades, curtain walls and unitised system windows, as well as a in a wide range of special doors for fire and burglar resistance and for shop fronts. In steel, Haga produces roof lights, canopies and in particular structural steel, whilst in glass it manufactures photovoltaic solar reduction glass and frameless glass doors. All Haga products are made to the same exacting
standards and are given the same degree of expertise and priority whether they are for just one individual window or a major project.
Focus on the UK market Germany remains the company’s biggest European market but it has also been involved in some of the UK’s most prestigious and innovative projects in the recent past. This has led to the strategic decision to build upon its reputation in the UK and establish a sales office there in the near future. One of the recent high-profile UK projects was its involvement in the building of Birmingham’s most distinctive modern façade, that of the commercial building known as “The Cube”. This 23 storey city centre land-mark building was completed in 2010 at a cost of more than £100 million and was designed by Ken Shuttleworth, the architect renowned for his design of the “Gherkin” in the city of London’s financial district. Haepp said, “The Birmingham “Cube” project was a major UK contract for us
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where we worked in close collaboration with German systems supplier for our extrusions. We specialise in contracts which can range up to €20 million and this one was close to €15 million, although many of our projects range between €500,000 and €5 million. Our company is also unique in that we are happy to produce individual, one-off items too such as special doors, windows and canopies. “The UK is an attractive market for us and the construction industry is now seeing signs of strong growth in the sectors in which we specialise, which includes residential, industrial and government projects such as municipal buildings, schools and hospitals. We pride ourselves on the breadth of services we offer. These result in our clients getting better engineering standards and the most efficient installation, which can also mean the shortest installation periods. “Another unique aspect of our work is the fact that because of our diverse steel fabrication facilities and expertise, we have an interface between primary steel and glass. These two elements have very different tolerances and normally a contractor will retain two separate companies to manage each element. We are unique in that we manage both
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and have all the facilities under one roof. We also have our own highly qualified engineering department and installation teams which are dedicated to each individual project so that we maintain overall control of the schedule and the quality of the work involved. Again, most of our competitors will sub-contract this work to other companies, which can be a risky business if lead times are critical. “This ‘one-stop-shop’ philosophy also worked very well for us during the building of the “Cube” in Birmingham and also in a major residential project “Milliners Wharf” in Manchester recently. We are not tied to our European markets; in fact we are currently involved in a major project in Kuwait City. Whatever or wherever the contract might be, we attach the same level of importance to personal service, innovation and quality. Haepp added, “We are currently rationalising our manufacturing processes and investing heavily in fully automated systems. We are also streamlining our production facilities so that our individual fabrication plants will be designed to specialise in one product range only rather than have the capability to manu-
facture our entire range of products. Savings achieved through this rationalisation process will be passed on to our customers. We see a bright future ahead and we are already recruiting façade specialists sales staff for our new move into the UK market”.
Value added services Haga sees the UK market as playing a significant role in the company’s growth in the years to come. Furthermore, the valueadded services that are available also help to differentiate the company from its competitors. One important aspect of these services is its comprehensive maintenance contracts, which significantly extend the service life of any systems that the company installs. This in turn can provide major long-term benefits and savings for the owners of the buildings concerned. Haga also takes its environmental responsibilities seriously with all its waste materials being 100 per cent recycled and energy saving systems installed throughout its five n fabricating plants. For further information about Haga Metallbau’s innovative products and services visit: www.haga-metallbau.de
LOW ENERGY WINDOWS AND FRAMES N
orDan AS was founded in 1926 by Johannes Rassmussen 1st, a master carpenter who began by making staircases, windows and doors. Consistent growth followed his enterprise and as building methods changed Rassmussen made the strategic decision to focus exclusively on the manufacture of windows and frames and set about designing one that would be versatile yet be completely secure against
the elements. The result was the world’s first ‘tilt and turn’ window, which became an instant success in the Nordic region. Today NorDan is one of Europe’s most successful window manufacturers with stateof-the-art factories in Otta, Egersund and Arneberg in Norway and Varnamo, Kvillsfors and Tanumshede in Sweden as well as in Wolsztyn in Poland. The company employs more than 1300 people.
The Norway-based company NorDan is a global leader in the design and manufacture of windows and frames, with a particular focus on low energy solutions. Industry Europe looks at the latest from the company.
Innovation backed by quality From the very outset NorDan has been committed to investing heavily in research and product development and this culture remains today. For more than 80 years NorDan has led the field in cutting edge window technology and design. The most recent examples are its ‘N-Tech concept which produced the world’s first ‘Swan’ window and its ground-breaking Passive
Window and insulated sash and frame. These advanced window systems both offer big energy savings, as well as providing unparalleled environmentally friendly and other user benefits and features. NorDan’s unique ‘N-Tech’ range provides up to 50 per cent reduction in heat loss from buildings. A traditional, single glazed window has a typical ‘K’ value of around 5.0 W/m2K, whereas NorDan’s N-Tech windows have a ‘K’ value of just 0.7 W/m2K, making them the most efficient, insulated windows in the world. In order to achieve this remarkably low value, NorDan’s in-house R&D department redesigned the thermal surround of the window sash and substituted it with special aluminium spacers and with super-spacers made of silicone. Unlike typical aluminium spacers, which permit heat transfer through the
perimeter of glazed units, this super-spacer provides an extremely effective barrier against heat transfer. The result is that the temperatures at the edges of the glass remain several degrees warmer and in turn greatly reduces the risk of condensation and the subsequent heat loss. Furthermore, to enhance the quality still further NorDan also uses the highest performing coated glass and fills the void in its glazed units with Argon gas in order to ensure minimal heat loss outage.
Supporting the Commonwealth Games The continued demand for NorDan’s products is evidenced in the number of contracts it continues to win. For example, the year (2014) it supplied the timber windows and doors for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games’ Athletes Village.
The homes in the village were designed to the stricter U-values and air tightness demanded by the 2013 Building Regulations for which NorDan’s timber windows and composite door products were ideal. NorDan supplied high quality high performance tilt and turn timber windows and fully reversible windows from its NTech 1.2 range. External doors were from the NorDan factory at Bor in Sweden, with glazed doors for the ground floors and balconies manufactured at Egersund Norway.
Increasing demand for ‘Passive Window’ insulation When NorDan launched its low-energy windows with Passive Window insulated sash and frames, building companies and architects alike applauded its many attributes.
The remarkable success of this NorDan patented product has led to increasing demand and the company’s further investment in production capacity. A company spokesperson said, “We realised that our latest ‘Passive Windows’ would be well received as they tick all the boxes concerning existing and forthcoming EU legislation. However, we were surprised at just how popular these products have become. We are different in many ways from our competitors and we offer a wider range of products that combine innovation with the highest possible quality. Passive Windows offer low, low U values and excellent quality sound insulation, ideal for use in noisy city environments. They also offer significantly reduced UV exposure. Furthermore, we are involved in every step of the value chain from pest-controlled forestry
and the design and manufacturing of all components ourselves, even the special glass. “We are also strategically located in 22 different places which means that we are close to our key markets. We also place a high priority on our key accounts and we do that by offering a truly dedicated and professional service. We are the clear market leaders in Norway and Sweden and deliver our products to private home builders and end users. What we like to say is that “We are large enough to lead and small enough to care”. All our products are tailor-made to suit the specific needs of our customers and they can rely on our ability to deliver the highest quality products – and on time. We have over 3,000 types of products and series customisation means that there are no limits as to what we can produce.” n
ROC School, Sneek, Netherlands
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CHANGING FLOORS Tarkett is one of the world’s largest producers of flooring products but its aim today is also to become the leading agent of change in the global flooring industry, creating sustainable and inspiring flooring solutions that will enhance its customers’ quality of life. Peter Mercer meets Tarkett EMEA president, Remco Teulings’ at the company’s Nanterre headquarters.
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Wood plant, Hanaskog, Sweden
arkett is a global leader in innovative and sustainable solutions for flooring and sports surfaces. The France headquartered company, which posted record net sales of €2.5bn in 2013, serves customers in more than 100 countries across the world. With some 11,000 employees and 30 production sites in four continents, it sells 1.3 million m2 of flooring every single day for housing, hospitals, schools, hotels, offices, retail stores and sports fields. Its products include flooring in vinyl, wood and laminate, linoleum, carpet and rubber as well as synthetic turf and athletics running tracks. Despite the size of the company today, Tarkett claims that it is still driven by the same deeply rooted entrepreneurial spirit that inspired its founders and it is indeed still in the majority ownership of the Deconinck family, whose involvement goes back to1942, when Bernard Deconinck took over the management of Allibert, the French company that was to merge 30 years later with Sommer, a major French producer of modern floor coverings. The flooring division of Sommer Allibert then merged in 1997 with Tarkett AB, the Swedish company that had been producing high-quality wooden flooring since the 1880s. After ten years as a public company, Tarkett, as it was then called, delisted, and in 2007 the US venture capital company Kravis Kohlberg Roberts (KKR) acquired 50 per cent of the shares with the Deconinck family holding the other 50 per cent. Under the new ownership structure, there were significant changes in the senior management, and experts were brought in to accelerate the development and further rationallise the organisation. Then, in
November 2013, the company was listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange, with the Deconinck family now holding a controlling share of 50.1 per cent and KKR reducing its holding to 21.5 per cent. Commenting on the Group’s record results in 2013, Tarkett CEO Michel Giannuzzi said, “Thanks to its balanced worldwide presence, diversified flooring products portfolio and efficient industrial base, Tarkett has been able to capture growth in the most dynamic regions of the world. 2013 was also a historic year for Tarkett with its listing on Euronext Paris. We remain confident that the Group can pursue its dynamics of sustainable and profitable growth in the coming years thanks to its commitment to innovation, its focus on operational efficiency and its strategy of selective acquisitions.”
Global expansion Smart acquisitions have certainly been a major part of Tarkett’s global expansion strategy, with more than 12 companies having been successfully integrated into the Group over just the last five years. Today Tarkett has 30 production sites in the world, located in Europe, North America, as well as in the CIS region, Brazil and China. Most of these plants operate relatively autonomously, although they certainly draw on each other’s strengths and share best practices. Tarkett’s global flooring operations are divided into three regions – North America, EMEA and CIS & other countries and in addition, there is a globally managed sports division. “In the EMEA region, we have 10 plants across France, Germany, Sweden, Luxembourg, Italy, Poland and the UK,” explains Remco Teulings, president of Tarkett EMEA.
Major acquisitions over the last decade have included FieldTurf, the specialist in artificial turf for sports and Beynon for tracks; the UK’s Marley Floors; and in North America, Johnsonite, the flooring and accessories specialist, Centiva in high end vinyl tiles and more recently Tandus in commercial carpets. The acquisition of Sintelon based in Serbia opened the Russian market to Tarkett, as well as markets in other CIS countries and in the Balkans. The Group’s most recent announcement of an acquisition, in April 2014, is of Gamrat Flooring, the Polish specialist in high-performance vinyl flooring for professional applications such as healthcare, aged care and education. Gamrat operates a flooring plant at Jaslo, in south-eastern Poland, with some 220 employees, and Tarkett sees this bolton acquisition as significantly strengthening its market position in central Europe as well as improving its manufacturing footprint in this region.
The luxury of wood Tarkett claims that the company offers one of the broadest flooring ranges and has the most diversified geographic exposure. These include heterogeneous and homogeneous vinyl, wood, laminate, rubber, carpet tiles and linoleum, as well as sports surfaces. The original company, Tarkett AB, began producing high quality flooring in 1886 in Ronneby, Sweden and the company can claim to have invented the structure of engineered wooden floors which continues to be the standard across the industry today. “Around 10 per cent of our global sales are in wood and laminate but wood products make up a much larger proportion of our
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Atelier – Seasons
European sales, predominately in Scandinavia, central and eastern Europe,” says Remco Teulings. ”We have wood plants in Sweden, Poland, France and Serbia. All of these plants use almost 100 per cent FSC and/or PEFC soft wood. We believe it is vital to maintain component production close to our raw material sources and equally to keep production of the finished product close to our customers. That is why Tarkett imports none of its components from Asia, and continues to produce everything in Europe. This is not only an important element in our sustainability strategy but also ensures the optimisation and cost-effectiveness of our production operations. We have invested significantly in our plants in Serbia and Poland so that they can supply semi-finished products, for example, to the Hanaskog plant in Sweden where wood flooring products can be finished exactly to customer requirements using stateof-the-art equipment.” Current conditions in the wood floor market in Europe are, however, challenging. Lower-end wood products in particular are suffering severe competition from Asian imports and from laminates, and the decline in the market that began in 2007 shows no sign of easing in the short term. “Demand for higher-end wood flooring products, however, is holding up quite well and this is where we are concentrating our production and marketing activities,” explains Mr Teulings. “Having wide and long wooden planks in different species of wood (besides oak), is very much in fashion among luxury retail stores, hotels and restaurants as well as in domestic housing.” Tarkett’s current wood portfolio is focused on the Atelier collection, aimed at upper end markets, and the Classic collection; each of these collections include multiple ranges and designs, from the Atelier solid oak range made in France for the traditional vintage look to the Classic Tango range of Ash White and Ash Ivory that bring a serene touch of white to the natural wood surfaces. The portfolio features both solid wood and engineered wood in different wood types in three-strip, two-strip
and one strip formats and covers the entire market, from entry level to upper price. “Tarkett wood floors are renowned as high quality products with a competitive price and an exceptionally long life,” says Remco Teulings. “They also benefit from our Proteco lacquer which offers the industry’s strongest surface protection against wear and tear, stains and micro scratches; this coating is available in semi-gloss, matt lacquer and hardwax oil. The trend in the market for wood floors is moving more and more to wider and longer planks (one strip) with a rustic or vintage look and in a variety of colours. Our floors are easy to install, with a range of gluefree locking techniques and come with an extensive range of accessories. “All the wood used in Tarkett flooring is sourced from sustainable suppliers. Almost all the softwood we use is FSC or PEFC certified and the ratio of FSC certified hardwood we use is increasing year by year.”
Solutions in vinyl In late 2012, Tarkett launched two new ranges of modular high-end vinyle tiles (LVT – luxury vinyl tiles), iD Inspiration 55-70, mainly for shops and stores, hotels, offices and homes, and iD Selection for residential premises. LVTs are relatively new to the global flooring industry; they have a heavyduty wear layer on the surface and can look very much like natural stone, wood and many other textures. The new Tarkett Inspiration and Selection ranges offer more than 200 different designs between them. The iD Inspiration range alone offers 60 wood effect designs, 42 stone designs and 13 different surface effects – a total of 75,000 potential combinations – to architects, designers, retailers and companies. Both ranges contain around 50 per cent recycled materials and both are 100 per cent recyclable. “The luxury vinyl tile market has enjoyed a massive growth – in just ten years LVT has gone from zero to become one of the largest flooring products globally, especially gaining market share against laminate and ceramics,” explains Remco Teulings. “It is strong,
Style Outlet San Sebastian de los Reyes, Spain Copyright: Nani Guttierrez Industry Europe 53
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Saint Nazaire Hospital, France
Medical Park, Gebze, Turkey
very durable, waterproof, with good acoustic properties and easy to maintain, and it is a modular product that comes in tiles or planks rather than in the rolls that ordinary vinyl is sold in. The latest generation LVT is even easier to install since the tiles just click together, making it as popular with the DIY homeowner as it is with professional fitters. “As with our wood business, Tarkett produces its commercial LVT locally, in Germany, to ensure the benefits of a short supply chain and to be able to respond quickly to the demands of architects and designers with different combinations of formats, colours and surface effects. In fact, far from looking to reduce material costs by importing from Asia, Tarkett intends to increase its LVT production in Europe also for the residential segment to remain close to and sensitive to the changes in market demand.” Tarkett’s iD Inspiration 70 was chosen for the renovation of the Madrid Shopping Centre of the Spanish clothing chain Outlet Factory; this project was part of the Spanish retailer’s programme to renovate all its centres in Spain and to rebrand itself as The Style Outlets. The designs from Tarkett were selected to help convey a more sophisticated and high-end image to the store. More than 11,000 m2 of LVT tiles were laid in the Madrid project and the shopping centre did not lose a single day’s trading. Tarkett’s iQ range of homogeneous vinyl flooring also offers outstanding durability and ease of maintenance for demanding applications in healthcare, education, offices and public buildings. The range is available in sheets and tiles and uses a phthalate-free plasticiser as well as being easily recyclable. Very few detergents and water are required for cleaning since the product requires only dry buffing to restore its original appearance throughout its lifetime. Tarkett’s iQ Granit homogeneous vinyl was selected for the new Saint Nazaire health complex in France. In 2012 a total of
66,000m2 of Granit flooring was laid in nine different colours to match the colour codes of each department of the hospital and health centre. “With an average life of 60 years, hospitals must be flexible and durable in terms of materials used, and flooring is no exception to this,” said Noel Moriceau, head technician at the hospital. “The quality of Tarkett’s iQ Granit PVC perfectly satisfies our main selection criteria – durability. It’s an extremely tough product that copes with all the wear and tear that flooring here must be able to withstand. And with simple daily floor mopping, iQ Granit discourages the growth of micro-organisms – a vital asset in a hygienic environment.” iQ Granit was also chosen for the flooring of 10,500m2 of patient rooms, hallways and polyclinics at the Medical Park Hospital in Gebze, Turkey. iQ Toro SC was also installed in 1,500m2 of operating rooms. As at the Saint Nazaire facility, hygiene and easy maintenance were key considerations in the choice of flooring, and the wide range of colours of the iQ range also facilitated the colour coding of departments. Tarkett also continues to produce the most traditional of modern floor coverings, linoleum. A great contemporary attraction of this product is that it is made from entirely natural raw materials such as linseed oil, jute and cork flour. Tarkett has used the same original recipe at its Narni site in Italy since 1898, while continually improving the performance of its linoleum products. Its new Linoville xf range offers a total of 112 colours and meets all the requirements of education and healthcare premises and offices. It is a 100 per cent natural product made from recyclable material with a homogenous construction (the colours and patterns go right through the material); it is also naturally fire-resistant and naturally bacteriostatic. In fact, the linoleum Veneto Essenza 100 per cent Linen is the first in the world to be Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM Gold, in addition to the linoleum range already
Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM Silver since 2011. The C2C certification is one of the more rigorous and in-depth environmental certifications that exist today evaluating criteria such as content, reuse and environmentally responsible production.
Eco-innovation At the beginning of 2011 Tarkett signed a partnership with the international scientific institute EPEA to deploy the Cradle to Cradle principles although the company had already been engaged since 2009 in an ambitious sustainability strategy aimed at not simply minimising the environmental impact of production and products but also designing products for reuse with a positive impact.
In 2012 Tarkett was awarded the Cradle to Cradle Silver Certificate for its multi-layer parquet flooring ranges; this made it the first wood flooring producer in Europe with Cradle to Cradle certified products. “Tarkett is in fact the first Fench flooring company to promote and adopt the Cradle to Cradle concept in both its approach to new materials and in terms of product certification but sustainability has for long been the key to our innovation strategies,” explains Remco Teulings. “Our most recent eco-innovations include lowering the total VOC (volatile organic compounds) level of our vinyl range to 10 to 100 times below the European standard and developing new vinyl ranges that are based on phthalate-free plasticisers.
“We also take water and energy stewardship in our production processes very seriously. For example, the sawdust that we produce is used to generate energy for our plants or sold to third parties for energy production. Even the ashes are taken back to the forests and spread as fertiliser. Our strategy is to maximise the environmentally responsible character of our production and our products without slowing our growth or reducing our efficiency and profitability, nor compromising performance and aesthetics benefits for our customers. Getting that balance right requires a lot of investment and a lot of ingenious innovation but that’s what Tarkett is doing and will n continue to do.”
Repsol – provides Tarkett EVA for flooring Flooring solutions for the automotive industry Tarkett also has a specific line of flooring solutions for the automotive industry. For these solutions the company has been working with innovative high quality materials such as Repsol’s Alcudia® EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) copolymers for soundproofing floors. Repsol has been Tarkett’s supplier for more than 17 years. Over these years the relationship has evolved into a true partnership. Repsol is a well-established global supplier in the chemical industry, offering a wide variety of products that range from base petrochemicals to derivatives. Repsol, as part of an integrated oil and gas company with presence in the whole energy value chain, benefits from a high degree of integration with the group’s oil refining division, which allows the company to develop products that provide value and improve their customers’ productivity and competiveness. Tarkett’s flooring solutions for the automotive industry are marketed from the company’s plant in Lentzweiler (Luxembourg) to all the automotive industry throughout Europe, as well as outside Europe.
PERFECT COMFORT Award-winning makers of hand-crafted beds and mattresses, Hypnos Limited, is a family-owned business that takes deep satisfaction in providing customers worldwide with a relaxing and rejuvenating night’s sleep – by Royal appointment! Emma-Jane Batey spoke the to managing director, Stephen Ward, to learn more.
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amed after the god of sleep, Hypnos Limited knows that a good night’s sleep is the cornerstone to a happy and healthy life. Founded in the UK over 100 years ago and now preparing for the fifth generation of the Keen family to take control, Hypnos Limited manufactures hand-crafted, made-to-measure beds and mattresses for both the hotel and retail markets worldwide. The Managing director, Stephen Ward, spoke to Industry Europe about how “The Hypnos Way” enables the company to keep to its promise of offering “the most comfortable beds in the world”. Mr Ward said, “Hypnos Limited featured in the very first edition of Industry Europe, 25 years’
ago and we were already very well established as the leading name in high-quality handmade beds and mattresses in the UK. I am happy to say that we are still very much at the forefront of manufacturing bespoke beds and mattresses both in the UK and beyond, thanks to our on going focus on ensuring that our end users wake up completely refreshed and revitalised!” Mr Ward explained how Hypnos Limited has progressed significantly in recent years, with its clarity of thought and strategic development during the economic downturn proving to be a successful move. He continued, “Like many companies we struggled in the recession, but through expert analysis and
consolidation we are now on a successful growth path that really capitalises on our point of differentiation in the market.”
Comfort is king That point of differentiation is well known in the UK and increasingly across the world. Hypnos Limited has long been associated with luxury mattresses and designer beds available in high-quality retailers so, during the consolidation process, Mr Ward and his team clarified the brand’s core values. He explained, “As a family business, we can take a long-term view that is in perfect harmony with the company’s ethos and the opportunities in the market. In 2007/8 we reduced
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THE UK’S NUMBER 1 QUALITY TIMBER FRAME AND COMPONENTS SUPPLIER. Our quality timber products include all styles of divan frames, headboards, sofa beds, tub chairs, dove tailed drawers, huge selection of hardwood legs and feet for furniture and much more. All of our timber is FSC and PEFC from sustainable forests. Weston Products are proud suppliers of quality timber to Hypnos. Phone: +44(0)1364 642118 | Fax: +44 (0)1364 642121 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | www.westcon-products.co.uk
SBT has a well-established track record of customer satisfaction, exceptional service and competitive prices with no compromise on quality. We provide logistics to manufacturers of high value goods in the Midlands and deliver to the UK and Europe. We have an extensive fleet and satellite tracking in all our vehicles. Tel: +44(0)1217837400, 24 hours, Email: email@example.com
Leggett & Platt As the UK arm of America-based Leggett & Platt, a diversified manufacturer, L&P Springs UK has approximately 25% of the UK bedspring market. And that market is thriving. As the national economic recovery continues, consumers are purchasing more mattresses, leading to an overall 22% increase in spring sales in 2013. L&P Springs UK was ready for the turnaround after having invested £6 million in its vertically integrated Barnsley facility, providing increased production, employee growth, and product innovation. The main focus at Barnsley is pocket springs, and in particular coil count and comfort, leading to developments such as variable-rate geometry and ultra-lowheight coil technology.
Marpak are a specialist polythene extrusion and conversion company operating in the UK and Europe. By working closely with our customers and suppliers, we have established ourselves as market leaders in pallet protection and blown film extrusion. Marpak are also able to manufacture and supply a vast range of bespoke polythene mattress and furniture covers for use in storage and transportation. • Pallet covers • Polythene film & sheeting • Food grade polythene & dolav liners • Mattress & Furniture covers
Tel: 0843 289 0237 International: +44 (0)113 277 5518
costs and really looked at the profitability by product and customer. We took a proactive approach to each sector and realised that we needed to move our product offering upwards in each market, even though we were already producing beautiful, bespoke beds.” Mr Ward continued, “There was no point in us competing at the lower end of the market, as our beds and mattresses are not manufactured in an automated manner, so the middle/upper segment of the market was far more suited to our quality product and its price point.” This strategic assessment has worked well ever since, with the company’s retail sales growing by 52 per cent in the past three years and its contract division, which is dedicated to beds and mattresses for hotels, maintaining its position as the market leader. Hypnos Limited has two clear areas of growth expected in the coming years. In the UK, it predicts continued success in both the retail and contract markets, with its understanding of the trends affecting each market key to its achievements. Mr Ward said, “Our aim is always to help our customers – the retailers and the hoteliers – to help their customers to have a wonderful night’s sleep that lets them wake up completely refreshed and revitalised. We use natural and sustainable fillings like wool, cotton, cashmere and silk to help regulate the body temperature and provide comfort and support.” Sustainability is integral to the “The Hypnos Way”, the company’s philosophy that governs 62 Industry Europe
its short- and long-term decision-making. Not only are all beds and mattresses manufactured in the most sustainable, environmentally-respectful manner, but all are designed to be recyclable at the end of their lives. Hypnos also provides a unique landfill-avoidance disposal and recycling service, where the company happily collects any old and used beds, then de-constructs them, creating recycled raw materials for reuse in other industries. Working alongside customers to create bespoke beds and mattresses is an important area of growth and differentiation for Hypnos Limited. In the UK, it has a very successful partnership with hotel chain Premier Inn, for whom it developed a unique bed, which is the key feature of their current advertising campaign.
Better sleep worldwide For export growth expectations, Hypnos Limited is also focused on the two areas of retail and contract. As many hotel chains that the company already has a strong partnership with in the UK continue to expand both in Europe and worldwide, it has formed exciting licensing and supply chain partnerships in countries such as India, Dubai, China, Indonesia, USA, Russia and Canada. Mr Ward added, “Outside of Europe, we have carefully chosen manufacturing partners that can make our hotel beds and mattresses to our very exact, high-quality specifications. We keep a very tight quality control and have a team that travel all over the world to work with our partners to
maintain our standards. We’ve got two areas of activity here too, with both the bedroom refurbishment and bed replacement business every seven or eight years, as well as all the new hotels that are being built in emerging markets. Shipping is not an issue as products are manufactured locally.” Hypnos Limited also has a rapidly expanding worldwide retail business, with all the beds and mattresses for this unit authentically manufactured by hand in workshops in the UK. Mr Ward continued, “We have a terrific UK-based export sales team with multilingual staff currently selling to 35 retail outlets outside of the UK. We expect this division to double within the next three years as the demand for our British-made, bespoke beds n and mattresses is incredible.”
LEADERS IN LED LIGHTING TECHNOLOGY Philips is a global leader in lighting technology and complete lighting solutions. Philip Yorke takes a closer look at the world’s foremost lighting company and how its latest cutting-edge LED technology is benefiting consumers and retailers worldwide whilst helping to protect the environment.
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hilips has led the world in lighting technology since it was founded in 1891 by Anton and Gerard Philips in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The company began by manufacturing carbon-filament lamps, and by the turn of the century had become one of the largest producers in Europe. Stimulated by the growing industrial revolution in Europe, Philips set up its first research laboratory which was responsible for ground-breaking innovations such as X-ray and radio technology. Over the years Philips has continued to be responsible for many innovative technological breakthroughs that have enriched people’s everyday lives worldwide. Today Philips is an innovative global leader in its many business disciplines, and employs more than 120,000 people in over 60 countries. The company is also a global leader in energy-efficient lighting solutions in areas such as road lighting, office and industrial applications as well as in hospitality and home environments. Currently Philips employs more than 53,000 people in its lighting sector and remains committed to creating a sustainable future with exciting, new lighting technologies.
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Leading the world in LED technology Philips Lighting is the leading provider of lighting solutions and applications for both the professional and consumer markets. The company addresses lighting needs across the full spectrum of living environments from homes, shops, offices, schools factories and hospitals, to residential areas, sports arenas and street lighting. In addition Philips Lighting delivers light-inspired visual enhancements through architectural and city beautification projects. The company’s lighting is also used for specific applications, including horticulture, refrigeration lighting and signage, as well as heating, water purification and healthcare applications. The company is known for its innovative lighting solutions, and regularly introduces new products. For example, at the Euroshop 2014 show, it presented a new LED lighting solution that offers brands bespoke light signatures to help project their brand image and differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market. Philips’ Customised Light offers brands complete freedom to choose throughout the whole light spectrum and determine the exact
light signature – or color tone – of light that best represents their identity. Brands want different things from their interior lighting in order to convey different messages to their customers, whether intimacy, value for money or luxury. The light signature will still offer the perfect light for merchandise, meaning that whites are intense and bright whilst colors are vivid and rich.
Recent partnerships In February 2014, Philips Lighting announced the establishment of a joint partnership with Ericsson to launch an innovative new connected LED street lighting model. The partnership solves two major issues that cities are facing today: providing citizens with improved network performance in dense urban areas as well as high-quality public lighting that is energy efficient. Philips and Ericsson combine the benefits of mobile connectivity and LED lighting in a ‘lighting-as-a-service’ model for cities. It allows city authorities to offer space within their connected lighting poles to network service providers for mobile broadband infrastructure.
Philips will now offer cities LED street lighting that can include mobile telecoms equipment from Ericsson. Mobile operators working with Ericsson for mobile broadband infrastructure will be able to rent space in the poles. In this way, mobile network operators will be able to improve data coverage and capacity for citizens, resulting in enhanced mobile broadband services. The model also accelerates the payback time for city infrastructure, by making the up-front costs of installing and managing these systems more affordable, so reducing the strain on city budgets. Philips LED street lighting can generate energy savings of 50 to 70 per cent, with savings reaching 80 per cent when coupled with smart controls – as validated by a study conducted by The Climate Group in 12 of the world’s largest cities. Also in February, Philips announced a partnership with Desso – the global leader in carpets – to develop solutions that combine LED lighting with light transmissive carpet. This innovation will further unlock the potential of LED integration into surfaces and adds a new dimension to interior design and space planning. The solution is designed for high traffic areas and comes in different colors, shapes and
sizes – enabling highly flexible application of the new technology. Ed Huibers, the marketing and sales director at Philips Lighting, said at the time: “This light transmissive carpet solution is designed to engage directly with people’s senses and the eyes’ natural inclination to seek out light. The technology takes advantage of people’s tendency to be guided by the floor when moving through and interacting with space. It brings information, direction, inspiration and safety via the carpet you walk on. This partnership of market leaders is focused on bringing meaningful innovations to the market.”
Focus on sustainability Philips Lighting has made the issue of sustainability a core part of its strategy. In the USA alone fluorescent lighting consumes around 200 terawatts-hours of electricity annually. If all of these lights were replaced with Philips Lighting’s 200 lm/W TLED’s, the USA would use around 100 terawattshours less energy, which is equivalent to the output of 50 medium-sized power plants. This would represent a saving of more than US$12 billion and prevent about 60 million metric tonnes of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.
In order to meet the growing global demand for sustainability, the Technology Foundation STW and Philips have taken the initiative to form a new ‘sustainability’ partnership. With eight key research project proposals already approved, the programme was officially launched on 16 April 2013. The aim of these projects is to develop innovative, efficient lighting that will also be available for entirely new applications. This important five-year programme has had €3 million allocated to it and each party will contribute 50 per cent each to the research fund. Global lighting continues to increase significantly worldwide, partly due to the shift to a 24-hour economy, and by the year 2050 global lighting consumption is expected to be almost three times higher than it is today. Therefore much more energy-efficient lighting needs to be developed. This adds to the vital research being carried out by the Advanced Sustainable Lighting Solutions partnership, which is working towards high-efficiency attractive and affordable lighting that is also developed in an environmentally responsible way. Such optimised lighting systems can contribute considerably to the solutions for social change in a variety of key areas such as food production, n health and well-being.
Turkey-based Aselsan can lay claim to being the market leader in defence electronics in the domestic market. In recent years it has been taking its hi-tech knowledge and electronics expertise to a similar level on the global market, as Industry Europe discovers.
DEFENCE ELECTRONICS GIANT A
selsan is one of the leading enterprises in the Turkish electronics industry. This is a company that has a rich history of offering innovative solutions as a component level manufacturer, but now also provides its customers with total system solutions. And in a bid to fully exploit its position to offer its markets innovative comprehensive systems solutions, it has been undertaking a number of modernisation and integration projects that require system engineering. For example, in April this year (2014) Aselsan announced the opening of a new facility for the production of infrared detectors for thermal cameras. The company has been designing and producing thermal cameras for the past 20 years. In its new facility it will be producing the infrared detectors that are often known as the ‘eye’ of the thermal cameras.
Firm foundations in the military Aselsan was founded in 1975 by the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation to produce tactical military radios and self
defence electronic systems for the Turkish army. Today it is the leading multi-product electronics company in Turkey that has expanded its field of expertise to now include designing, developing and manufacturing modern electrical systems for professional customers alongside its traditional applications in the military. Today, the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation continues to be the main shareholder in this exciting hi-tech company as it holds 84 per cent of the shares, with IMKB maintaining a 15 per cent stake in the business and the remaining one per cent being owned by the insurance company AXA-Oyak. The company employs over 3000 people, with its team of highly skilled engineers making up a third of the workforce. In fact, such is the company’s focus on investing in knowledge and information – which it believes are two of the most vital components of achieving sustainable growth – that no less than 700 of its 1333 engineers are dedicated to working in research and development.
Production structure Aselsan operates two main production facilities in Ankara. Its main site is still located at the birthplace of the company in Macunkoy, which hosts the company’s headquarters alongside its Communications, Microwave and System Technologies Divisions. The main facility has been the subject of expansion since the early days, with Aselsan now operating on a site measuring some 186,000m2 with 86,000m2 of the site covered. Its third division, the Microelectronics, Guidance and Electro-optics division is located at the Electro-optics Technology Centre in Akyurt, which began production in 1992. In the same year the company also added radar systems to its portfolio of products and services.
Advanced electronic systems Aselsan competes on a global sales platform with a range of advanced electronics systems. Its portfolio includes military communication systems – defence and weapon systems, radar systems, navigation and guidance products and command control systems – together with mobile radios for
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its professional communications customers. It has also designed and developed a range of traffic systems, which includes its highway manual toll collection and professional electronic systems, together with TV transmitters, siren and public announcement equipment
and central alarm systems, which is sells to its many customers in this division. However, its main product areas continue to be its C4ISR systems, airborne electronic warfare self-protection systems, air defence systems and electro-optical systems.
Aselsan expects these same products to offer the most potential for growth in the ensuing years.
Major collaborations This year Aselsan has signed Memorandums of Understandings for two important collaborations. The first of these was with Rolls-Royce, and involves the exploration of potential collaboration opportunities in the area of engine control systems. Bob Stoddart, Rolls-Royce president of Customer Business – Defence, said: “Having had some very positive initial discussions with the team at Aselsan we believe that there are some exciting opportunities around the areas of engine control systems and engine health monitoring that may help us both to grow our business in the Turkish market. This MoU enables us to have a more meaningful discussion and explore potential future collaboration. “Turkey is an important market for RollsRoyce and offers several exciting collaborative opportunities for our defence business in the areas of combat aircraft, helicopters and transport aircraft and the provision of support to our expanding engine fleet powering the Turkish Armed Forces.”
In May this year, Aselsan signed a framework agreement with Airbus Group to mark the first step towards future collaboration on civil and avionic systems, satellite communication systems, electrooptic and laser systems, and secure radio communications. By joining forces through this agreement, both groups aim at gaining a distinct competitive edge in accessing new markets and further consolidating their position as leading avionics and aeronautics manufacturers. Airbus Group international senior vicepresident Marco Miklis stated: “We are very happy that our collaboration with Turkey’s leading defence electronics company is evolving in a positive manner. We strongly believe that both companies have competitive products and solutions which can be applied to the Turkish and export markets.” ASELSAN chairman of the board Dr Hasan Canpolat said: “In addition to its leading role in the Turkish electronics industry, ASELSAN will achieve greater access to global markets
through its partnership with Airbus Group. We believe that the synergies generated through this long-term collaboration will deliver innovative solutions and contribute to the worldwide success of both our companies.”
Increasing global presence Within the scope of the projects already undertaken by the company, Aselsan is not only active in its domestic market, but is currently making great efforts to compete in the international arena. In fact, nowadays it is exporting its products to customers located in more than 25 countries including the likes of Germany, USA, The Netherlands, Pakistan and Malaysia. And indeed one of the main objectives of the company is to increase the amount of global sales. Therefore one of its strategies for the coming years is to continue to exploit additional opportunities in its global markets aside from those that exist in Europe. Aselsan has identified 30 countries that have certain needs and requirements
that it believes it can meet with its years of electronics expertise and product portfolio, and the company is now directing its efforts to penetrate the markets in these countries. These strategies appear to be paying off: in April 2014 Aselsan received the ‘Exporter of the Year’ award at the Export Stars event held in Istanbul, Turkey. These awards have been established for the past 12 years to promote the activities of Turkish exporters.
Customer specific engineering As a systems integrator and total system provider, Aselsan works with its customers on various specific engineering projects. That is to say it designs, develops and manufactures specific systems as per a customer’s exact requirements. The customer and its individual needs define the specifications of a final product or system depending on their requirements, so as a result many of Aselsan’s systems and products are unique n to the marketplace it serves.
INTELLIGENT HEADSETS GN Netcom is part of the GN Store Nord group, supplying headsets and other equipment under the Jabra brand. Industry Europe looks at the latest from the company, including recent awards, appointments and the launch of the Jabra MOTION Office™ wireless headset.
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N Store Nord’s history goes back to 1869 when the Great Northern Telegraph Company was founded. Initially functioning as a telegraph company, it today focuses on headsets, through GN Netcom, and hearing instruments and audiological diagnostics equipment company, through GN ReSound. GN headsets are marketed globally under the Jabra brand whereas GN’s hearing instruments are marketed under the ReSound, Beltone and Interton brands. All products are largely manufactured in China. The total work force comprises around 4100 employees of which approximately 900 are in Denmark. The group’s headquarters are in Ballerup, just outside Copenhagen. It sells its products worldwide and is seeing particularly strong growth in Asia.
Developing the Jabra brand One of the big developments for GN Netcom in the areas of music and sports is that technology has moved much further in supporting music streaming. And as demand has grown and technology improved so the company has developed more complementary consumer products.
One product is the Jabra Halo and another is the Jabra Clipper. For music and sport, there is the Jabra Sport, which is ideal for running or riding a bike. The Jabra Halo connects easily to a mobile phone through Bluetooth and enables the user to stream music and to take calls wirelessly. A corded option can be used if the player of choice doesn’t support Bluetooth Stereo/A2DP. The Jabra Clipper gives the wearer wireless stereo music and calls in one small Bluetooth clip. Its in-ear headphones block external noise, which enhance its clear, vibrant music and calling quality. It also automatically switches between music and incoming calls to the phone. In 2013 the Jabra Mobile division strengthened its portfolio by launching additional models of successful products. The distinct Jabra headsets, Jabra Revo Wireless and Jabra Vox, were launched to target more preferences and users. With these launches, all of Jabra’s headsets that are targeting the attractive fast-growing segment where voice communication and music are integrating are available in both black and white to match the standard colors of smartphones.
Meanwhile the popular Jabra SPORT was launched in a Wireless+ edition with enhanced wireless performance and new innovative features. It offers users more flexibility with an adjustable behind-the-head cord and four sizes of ear gels to improve sound experience. All Jabra SPORT products come with special features when used with the Endomondo Sports Tracker app, which is offered as a free download with Jabra SPORT products.
Introducing the Jabra MOTION Office™ The office products side of the business continues to expand as well. In April this year (2014) the Jabra line was extended still further with the introduction of the new Jabra MOTION Office™ wireless headset. Building on Jabra MOTION™ and its innovative use of sensors, Jabra MOTION Office™ will be the ultimate wireless Bluetooth headset solution for the mobile office worker. Jabra MOTION™ Office is among others enhanced to offer unique triple connectivity for both mobile, softphone (IP telephone) and desk phone through Bluetooth technology. The connectivity to all types of devices increases the suitability for corporates which
are deploying UC but at the same prefer to maintain part of their traditional desk phone solution on a short- or longer term basis. Jabra MOTION™ Office thereby provides an excellent solution for the modern office worker who needs the flexibility to transfer calls from the office desk to the car or home office without taking off the headset. Using the latest motion sensor technology, the headset adapts volume to fit the changing sound environment and allows the user to move from the office to the open road in
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one smooth transition, connecting and transferring calls from all phones to Jabra MOTION™ Office. It is a high-end solution launched to address the Mobile and Unified Communications (UC) market where the current installed base of traditional desk phones need to be supported. Holger Reisinger, GN Netcom vicepresident of Marketing, Products and Alliances, has been quoted as saying: “The main objective with the Jabra MOTION Office has been to let knowledge workers
and team members in remote areas gain the full benefits from their mobile devices and collaboration technologies. The Jabra MOTION Office is the headset which bridges the gap between the users and the promise of productivity and innovation, allowing free flow of information.”
Unified communication Another area of continued success for GN Netcom is Unified Communication. Today office communication takes place via differ-
ent devices and media types. These include telephone land lines, mobile phones, video conferencing, email and soft phones – and employees can feel stressed and overwhelmed trying to juggle all the different channels and still work effectively. Unified Communication brings together all these devices and interfaces into one single integrated application. It makes it easier for people to connect, communicate and work together. The result is more productive employees and smoother interactions. This is another big growth area for GN Netcom and will continue to be so. It also sees the convergence of professional and mobile products, as people increasingly work in different places. Looking ahead, there is still a great deal of scope for development in GN Netcom’s existing markets: According to a company spokesperson: “I think the overall shape of the company will remain the same in the
coming years but hopefully we will have gained a bigger market share with our new products. We are still focused very much on our professional users, developing wireless products for call centres, but I do believe expansion over the next years will come in these areas of sport and music for the consumer market. And Unified Communication n for the office market.”
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HI-TECH TESTING GOEPEL electronic has been a pioneer in test technology for PCBs and electronic components for more than 20 years. Peter Mercer reports on its continuing innovation in a city that was home to Carl Zeiss’ revolutionary developments of optical instruments over 150 years ago.
OEPEL electronic is a world leader in innovative electronic and optical test and inspection systems. Headquartered in Jena, Germany, GOEPEL electronic leads the market in professional JTAG/Boundary Scan solutions for Embedded Access Systems, Automated Optical Inspection systems (AOI) and Automated X-ray Inspection Systems (AXI). The company is also a vendor of intelligent Automotive Test Solutions, from bus communication and ECU test up to functional test systems for vehicle control units. With three production facilities at its Jena HQ, GOEPEL electronic serves its worldwide customers through a network of branch offices in the UK, France, China, India and the USA. Together with its international distributors and service partners, these offices provide on-site support to several hundred system installations. GOEPEL electronic currently has more than 200 employees, and in 2012 generated revenues of €27m. The company has been continuously ISO9001 certified since 1996 and has been honoured with TOP-JOB and TOP-100 awards for being one of the best medium-sized companies in Germany. Today leading companies in telecommunications, automotive, space and avionics, industrial controls and medical technologies rely on its award-winning products.
Since the first business was set up in Jena in 1992 – Digital Image Processing, known today as AOI Systems – GOEPEL electronic has enjoyed constant growth. “Since we moved to our first new company building in 1995, we have added two more facilities, in 2003 and in 2009, and last year we bought a new 3000m2 site on which we will build dedicated production lines for our latest AOI and AXI products,” says GOEPEL electronic managing director, Thomas Wenzel. “With our recently opened offices in India and China we are extending our global reach and continuing on the path of organic growth that we set out on more than 20 years ago. We are constantly introducing new technologies to our portfolio, such as our 3D automated PCB Inspection system, and by allocating nearly 20 per cent of our turnover to R&D we aim to ensure that we stay on top of technology development in a highly competitive market. “But while we have become a truly global company we remain firmly rooted in Germany and specifically in the city of Jena which, of course, is world famous for the work of pioneers such as Carl Zeiss in revolutionising the manufacture of optical instruments. We intend to keep all our production here in-house and so maintain not just the reputation for the highest quality that comes with the ‘Made in Germany’ label but also the vital close links between R&D and production.”
Boundary Scan and Embedded System Access GOEPEL electronic was one of the industry pioneers of JTAG/Boundary Scan, the innovative electrical test technology for electronic components and PCBs that was introduced in the 1990s. JTAG/Boundary Scan tests within the circuit and detects structural fault locations by setting thousands of test points, even under Ball Grid Arrays, with only four test bus lines. Boundary Scan essentially means ‘testing at the periphery (the boundaries) of a circuit’. In order to implement this sort of testing, GOEPEL electronic has developed the principle of interaction of the hardware components – controller, I/O module, TAP transceiver and UUT – that make up the company’s SCANFLEX JTAG/Boundary Scan system architecture. These hardware products are supported by the SYSTEM CASCON software platform. Modern PCBs typically provide more and more functionality on less and less space, and are equipped with a lot of components whose pins are increasingly harder or even impossible to access by traditional In-Circuit Tester nails. In particular, the old strategy of invasive probe access cannot be used for modern system assemblies equipped with Ball Grid Arrays and Chip Size Packaging. So, in 2012, GOEPEL electronic introduced Embedded System Access (ESA) technology as a new business area. ESA technologies are currently the most
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modern strategy for validation, test and debug as well as programming of complex boards and systems. They can be used throughout the entire product life cycle, enabling improved test coverage at reduced costs. A key part of ESA are chip-embedded instruments, permanently integrated or temporarily implemented test and measurement functions in an integrated circuit, that are the counterpart to external T&M instruments but don’t require invasive contacting by probes or nails. To support its customers employing ESA, GOEPEL electronic has introduced the ESA Coach evaluation kit, which offers tutorials in ESA technologies such as Boundary Scan, Processor Emulation Test and Chip Embedded Instruments. “The advancing paradigm shift from intrusive test to Embedded System Access requires corresponding knowledge and technology transfer, which we are able to support through our ESA Coach,” says Jan Heiber, a GOEPEL electronic’s Application Support Manager. “Practical training in the newest test and programming strategies enables users to solve access problems caused by intrusive methods.”
Optical Inspection GOEPEL electronic has been developing its Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) systems since 1996 when the first OptiCon system was launched. It has since been developed into one of the most commanding test technologies in electronic production and the first of the new company buildings was opened in 2003 specifically to support these systems. Last year, GOEPEL electronic upgraded its OptiCon TurboLine AOI system, which is widely used for both top and bottom PCB inspection in production for automotive products. An additional integrated camera module for PCB bottom side enables inspection of pin-in-paste solder joints together with the SMD inspection – all in one system. 76 Industry Europe
Of course, however sophisticated an optical inspection system is it can see only what is actually visible. GOEPEL electronic has therefore taken its inspection systems a step further with the development of automated X-ray (AXI) systems which can inspect complex and double-sided assembled PCBs including all solder joints. At present only a minority of 3D AXI systems are fast enough to enable a complete PCB inspection within a production cycle because the magnitude of image capturing required and the large amount of data dramatically limits possible inspection speeds. But the revolutionary GigaPixel image capturing concept of GOEPEL electronic’s OptiCon X-Line 3D AXI system enables a complete 3D inspection of the entire PCB at speeds of up to 40cm2/s.
Solutions for the auto industry The development and production of Intelligent Test Systems for the functional testing of electronic assemblies and devices for the automotive industry has been a major part of GOEPEL electronic’s business for many years. Functional tests are carried out at the end of the production line, typically at the final assembly point of complex boards where multiple electronic and mechanical components ‘meet’ for the first time. At this stage it is possible that the wrong electronic components get into the housing or electronic components may even be destroyed during the final assembly. It is to recognise these and other faults that functional testing of manufactured products is carried out at the end of the line. A major order in this business area was carried out in 2013 when GOEPEL electronic’s OsCAR G3 functional test systems were put into operation at the production facilities of the worldwide Lear Corporation in Germany, USA, South Africa, China and India. The OsCar systems were installed for the functional testing of Lear’s BR205 series of car seats which
are supplied for the new Daimler C Class. The OsCAR system executes ECU tests and checks additional electronic components inside the car seats; it is a versatile functional car seat test system that can be configured for specific test requirements and ‘unit under test’ with minimal modification and reprogramming effort. Because of the systems’ automatic seat identification system it can be used to test each car seat of each automobile manufacturer. GOEPEL electronic’s solutions for the automotive industry include bus communication and ECU testing up to functional test systems for vehicle control units. GOEPEL electronic also offers solutions for acoustics analysis in vehicle manufacturing to enable noises such as squeaking or rattling to be detected and analysed through end-of-line testing. These include the SoundChecker mobile structure-borne sound analysis system and CARoLINE, an impact sound analysis tool that evaluates the acoustic quality of rotating, motor-driven components in the vehicle. “The automotive industry is a very important market for GOEPEL electronic but our testing systems are applicable in just about all industries that use PCBs or other electronic assemblies,” says Thomas Wenzel. “Telecoms, medical devices and the rapid development of the Internet of Things are increasingly important markets for us and will be major drivers of future growth. We are a very dynamic company and we put just as much work into strategic marketing – understanding changing market demands and global logistics flows – as into developing new technologies for ever-more-complex boards. We see a lot of opportunities for the applications of embedded systems and we are always alert to new testing technologies just over the horizon. “So I am confident that GOEPEL electronic can continue to grow, as it has for the last 22 n years, step by step and year on year.”
Teradyne Some in-circuit test systems are moving to support both invasive and non-invasive test techniques. A good example is Teradyne’s TestStation family of test systems which have an open architecture that supports augmentation of traditional invasive in-circuit tests with native and partner boundary scan, functional, and embedded system access solutions. Goepel has collaborated with Teradyne to design a specific SCANFLEX JTAG/Boundary Scan System card that plugs directly into the backplane of Teradyne’s TestStation test systems, which enables manufacturers to combine Goepel’s non-invasive boundary scan and ESA techniques with Teradyne’s comprehensive suite of traditional in-circuit tests. Teradyne’s multi-protocol support concept gives manufacturers maximum flexibility to select from a portfolio of invasive and non-invasive test techniques – to construct a test solution that best matches the fault coverage, test access and test throughput requirements of the product under test. “The benefits of using an open architecture manufacturing test system that is capable of supporting multiple test techniques”, reports Alan Albee, Product Manager for Teradyne’s Production Board Test Division, “ includes lower development costs (because tests can be re-used), reduced equipment footprint, handling and operator costs (because there are fewer test stages), and improved diagnostic accuracy /faster repair time (because faults can be detected sooner in the manufacturing process)”.
STEMMER IMAGING STEMMER IMAGING is Europe’s largest imaging technology provider with headquarters in Germany (Puchheim near Munich) and subsidiaries in many European countries. Our mission is to provide the users and developers of imaging technology with competitive advantage by adding value in the supply of quality components, expertise and support. Imaging or machine vision is used in many different application areas such as industrial automation, production technologies, the automotive industry, medical imaging and traffic technology but also increasingly in many other industries - as a powerful and cost effective way of implementing automatic quality assurance. Even at high speeds and with stringent accuracy requirements, machine vision allows 100% monitoring and thus strengthens the competitive edge of those companies using it. STEMMER IMAGING customers have access to a wide variety of imaging products from the world’s leading manufacturers and to a comprehensive support service, based on 40 years of imaging experience. STEMMER IMAGING are the developers of the independent, modular programming library for imaging applications, Common Vision Blox, and also manufacture application-specific products to enable complex solutions. Our unique service covers everything needed to solve your imaging task. STEMMER IMAGING – Imaging is our passion!
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SAFETY, INNOVATION AND QUALITY IN EVERYTHING WE DO
High quality, sophisticated electronics and innovative technology are the pillars of the success of Bitron Poland Sp. z o.o. and of the group to which it belongs. What is even more important is the human element behind this, as the CEO of Bitron Poland, Silvio Brignone, explains to Barbara Rossi.
ilesia-based (Sosnowiec) Bitron Poland is part of the privately owned multinational Bitron Group, whose headquarters are in the Turin area of northern Italy. The group is specialises in the research, development and manufacturing of mechatronics devices and systems for the automotive, household appliance, HVAC and renewable energy sectors, as well as in producing electronic components for other industries. The group, which was founded in 1955 as a manufacturer of household appliance components by three brothers – Enrico, Giovanni and Carlo Bianco – has a truly global presence, with thirteen manufacturing plants and development centres, nine sales and marketing facilities, one after-sales centre and one technical centre. In fact, over the years, the group has expanded both geographically and in terms of the market segments served. In 1968 it opened its first foreign site (in Spain) followed by its entrance into the electronics market the fol-
lowing year. Other milestones were reached in 1975, when Bitron started serving the automotive sector; in 1992 when its common corporate identity was created; in 1998 with the establishment of Bitron Poland; in 2002, with the birth of Bitron China; in 2008 with the launch of Bitron Turkey and in 2010, which saw the setting up of Bitron HVAC systems. A new addition to the Bitron family took place in 2013, with the inauguration of Bitron Mexico. Today the group is led by Giovanni Bianco, employs more than five thousand people worldwide (with more than three hundred staff dedicated to R&D) and has a €650m turnover. Bitron Poland plays a particularly important role with its 1300 employees and €100 million turnover. Furthermore, while most of the Group’s production plants produce only a part of the range offered by the group, Bitron Poland manufactures all the Bitron types of products. It is thus organised in five production areas:
automotive, household appliances, HVAC, renewable energy and electronics. While the first four of these carry out the production of electromechanical components for their respective market segment, the last one is engaged in producing electronics components for the market segments served by its counterparts, as well as for other industrial sectors. Some of the main products manufactured, at group and Polish level, are car window control switches for the automotive sector, electric solenoid water valves for household appliances (for which Bitron is a world leader) and boiler components and systems. Bitron Poland also manufactures smart energy meters for the biggest Italian energy distributor and the group is also developing products for, the renewable energy sector, such as solar and photovoltaic panels. Mr Brignone explains, “We have a very vertical activity. We take care of the whole production process, starting with design, thanks to our technical department, followed
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The ITIB Group was established in the 70’s and since then it has been owned by the Italian shareholders from the Brescia – Paderno Franciacorta region. We would like to invite you to have a closer look at the ITIB POLAND SP ZOO wide offer. Międzyrzecze Górne 403 43-392 Międzyrzecze Górne / Region Bielsko-Biała Phone: +48 33 488 88 44 | www.itib.com
ITIB Poland is a company that started its activities in 2001 in Bielsko - Biała. In June 2009, ITIB Poland moved its production to a newly built facility on the outskirts of Bielsko -Biała, where it increases its production further and strives to meet the needs of the most demanding customers in Poland and abroad. BITRON POLAND SP Z O.O. is one of such customers, with whom ITIB closely cooperates.
TECHPLAST Andrzej Szczeblewski has been supplying BITRON with a variety of injection moulded plastic parts for several years. It was in 2007 that we first demonstrated our reliability to BITRON after it relocated production for the first of its moulds to our company. At this time we even produced parts during Christmas and the New Year in order to ensure the company was able to keep to its production schedule.
The ITIB Group’s profile is divided on: The machinery sector - construction of complete lines (extruders) for the produce of corrugated pipes. Plastic product sector based on two technologies: 1 Blow moulding - various types of air distribution ducts, tanks, etc . used mainly by the automotive industry. 2.Extrusion - corrugated pipes for automotive, appliances and other industries.
In addition to supplying the moulds, we gave BITRON a number of suggestions regarding their functionality, which allowed it to make several modifications. These resulted in improved production efficiency and quality. This collaboration has been so successful that as of 29 January 2014 BITRON has relocated production of 65 of its moulds to our site, and plans to relocate another later this year. At TECHPLAST we have always completed our orders for BITRON on schedule. We also look after packaging and delivery, which ensures the parts are in perfect condition when they reach the company’s stockroom. To this end, we maintain a close relationship with BITRON’s logistics team in order to remain flexible and offer the fastest possible delivery times. Furthermore, we cooperate closely with BITRON’s quality control team throughout all stages of production. Through this partnership and others, TECHPLAST has built a reputation as a trustworthy, solid and reliable supplier that always honours its commitments.
YOUR SOLID PARTNER IN INJECTION MOULDED PLASTICS TechPlast offers a variety of injection moulded plastic parts. As we proved through our cooperation with Bitron and other companies, TechPlast has built its reputation as a solid and reliable supplier. Our advantages: • Knowledge and experience. • Modern technology. • Assistance during the entire production process. • Injection moulding machines with clamping forces from 35 to 1000 tons. • Injection volumes up to 3300cm3. • Own transport. • Family run business comprised of keen and enthusiastic people. TechPlast | ul. Sienkiewicza 1a, 57-320 Polanica-Zdrój, Poland Mobile: +48 509 086 585 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
by production and then assembly. We also have the additional specialism of producing rubber and silicone components for all of the group’s companies (as well as for our own production processes). These components are also sold to external clients. Furthermore we are the group competence centre for dishwasher dispensers and washing machine aqua-stop safety valves.” As well as being conducted at group level, with the involvement of prestigious universities and research institutes, including the Turin Polytechnic and Salerno University, R&D is also carried out at the local level. Bitron Poland has both a technical department and a laboratory, where research takes place and new products are developed. “We are mainly developing new products within the boundaries of our current product families. In particular, we are going to develop electronic components for electric vehicle charging stations We are also developing new truly revolutionary dishwasher dispensers.” Bitron Poland’s geographical product distribution markets are northern and eastern Europe, with Germany playing a particularly important role. However, there are no geographical boundaries with regard to the products for which it is a competence centre and these are supplied all over the world. Its clients include all major automotive and household appliance manufacturers (these 82 Industry Europe
are the two main sectors, with respectively a share of 38 per cent and 45 per cent of turnover at group level). Since 2004 Bitron Poland has been operating from a new plant, equipped with 24,000m2 of covered space. “We have outsourced some of our logistics and warehouse processes, so as to increase the space for our internal production processes. We have ambitious expansion plans. We invest a lot in research and in new production machinery, both at Polish and group levels. “Bitron Poland is very strong and competitive in electronics. I expect future growth to come from this business area, as well as from its automotive counterpart. In terms of the household appliance market segment I feel that our penetration is so high that we are almost at saturation point. HVAC and energy are growing, but they are new sectors for the group. Geographically we have plans for expansion in eastern Europe. The group is already present all over the world, so there are no plans for entering totally new markets.”
Human beings are central to our success While acquisitions were a strong feature in the past, there are no current or future plans for further purchases. Future growth will be achieved organically, with a focus on innovative products and high technology. “We are continuously trying to improve our
technology and products. The human element is vital to this and for this reason we are always searching for young engineers.” Because of the nature of the products offered (in terms of the automotive sector and safety valves, for instance) the quality is extremely high, with a ratio of defective pieces to overall output of 10 to 1,000,000. “Our suppliers are important for our quality and innovation. For this reason, we have implemented a benefit-sharing programme, whereby they are encouraged to supply us with new ideas and innovative products and are rewarded by being able to fully keep the increase in profit for the first year and then enjoy a 50:50 share the second year.” “I would also like to mention something which makes us particularly proud. Bitron Poland won the ‘Safety Culture Award 2013’, a national contest organised by Kirschstein & Partner of Krakow, the Central Institute for Labour Protection – National Research Institute in Warsaw and the European Agency for Safety and Health at work (OSHA). Seventy companies took part across Poland and we came first, ahead of some very prestigious names. This competition was part of the European campaign ‘Partnership for Prevention’, whose aim was that of determining the level of safety culture among manufacturing companies employing n more than one hundred workers.”
After 60 years in business, Trench Austria GmbH has made a name for itself as a global leader in the niche area of high voltage reactor and coil products. Julia Snow spoke to Senior Executive Manager for Marketing and Sales, Klaus Pointner, to find out more about the Austrian and global operations of the group.
POWER PRODUCTS T
he Trench Group is a world leader in power engineering and the design of specialized high voltage electrical products serving major customers in the utility and industrial markets around the globe. The product portfolio includes instrument transformers, bushings and coil products. Trench products are installed in every corner of the world and have proven their reliability over decades. The company prides itself on its extensive experience, a culture of innovation and a truly global perspective. As a member of the Siemens family the group is
well represented throughout the world with four manufacturing plants in North America, six manufacturing plants in Europe, two in Asia and one in South America. A worldwide sales network ensures efficient knowledgeable communications with all customers.
Austrian roots In 1954 Trench Austria GmbH was established by Alois Esslinger, an electrical engineer known beyond the borders of Austria. In 2014 the company therefore can celebrate 60 years of success in the chosen
field of development and production of reactors for electrical power systems. While in the 1950s the use of glass fibre reinforced plastic as part of the insulation of reactors was considered revolutionary, only ten years later Trench Austria gained significant reputation internationally when it started to supply high current and high voltage test reactors for international test laboratories like KEMA in Arnheim, the Netherlands, in the 1960s. Until 1990 the company traded under the name of Spezielektra Esslinger KG. Then
the merger with Trench Electric Ltd. Toronto/ Canada took place and marked the starting point for the formation of the Trench Group. Today 270 employees in the Trench Austria facility in Leonding near Linz exclusively produce coil products for medium and high voltage electrical systems, both in dry type as well as oil immersed technology. “For air core - dry type reactors we have four production sites, one in Austria, one in Canada and one in Brazil and Shanghai each.” explains Mr Pointner. “While we currently do not have concrete plans for the expansion of these capacities the group
has recently made a serious investment in our plant in Brazil. The site was moved from Contagem/Belo Horizonte to a new location near Sao Paulo and as part of this process the production and testing facilities were modernised and extended.” The Austrian plant is focused on a healthy sustainable growth at the current location.
Technology leaders Trench Austria offers a broad product range and solutions covering various applications and voltage levels in order to meet our customer`s expectations. The portfolio
includes Air Core Reactors, Line Traps, Arc Suppression Coils, Earth Fault Compensation Controllers and Earth Fault Detection Devices, variable oil insulated Shunt Reactors, Dry Type Iron Core Reactors and Capacitor- / Filter Protection Relays. “In Austria we have an even distribution of sales across air core - dry type reactors and oil immersed reactors.” says Mr Pointner. “This is a very favourable situation to be in, because the trends in both markets often move against each other, so that we have a higher demand for one just when the other one is dropping off and this evens out the fluctuations for us.”
The most important product groups for Trench Austria are the HVDC air core - dry type reactors up to ultrahigh voltage levels and the earth fault protection systems, because the company holds a technology leading position in both. There is much emphasis on research and product development activities, he adds: “Here in Linz we have a properly staffed Research and Development department – there is a regular exchange with the development partnership the group has going in Toronto, Canada. Our team here mainly works on material research, and on the reduction of noise emissions. Also, there are still more
Lumpi-Berndorf Draht –und Seilwerk GmbH, a traditional company in the ‘conductors for electrical energy transmission’ sector has been offering special solutions for the electrical uprating of existing overhead lines for years. Great significance is attached to electricity generation from renewable energies and the transmission and distribution of electricity today, due to constantly increasing energy requirements. Lumpi-Berndorf accommodates this development and offers tailor-made solutions for the cost-effective transmission of electrical energy on existing lines. The product and service quality of Lumpi-Berndorf is unconditionally geared towards customer requirements. Lumpi-Berndorf Draht-und Seilwerk GmbH Binderlandweg 7, A-4030 Linz Phone: +43 732 383 8480 - Email: email@example.com
Quality made of steel is our motivation. Welding specialists PREIS is a specialist in the production of high quality welded constructions. The company can call on many years of experience in construction of oil-tight containers – especially for the transformer sector. We create tailor-made solutions in close co-operation with our clients and we offer our services from the start of the design phase. Our expertise is not limited to welding: we also have specialists for assembly, corrosion protection and machining. Integrated management system In the interest of our customers we strive constantly to improve and continuously optimise our performance sustainably. The integrated quality management system fulfils all requirements for product quality, production processes and work flow in addition to health and safety at work and environmental protection. Our basis is exact oversight coupled with high quality standards, which are certified by multiple instates. ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2009, BS OHSAS 18001:2007, DIN EN 15085-2 CL1, DIN EN ISO 3834-2 Power transformer tanks PREIS has many years of experience as a producer of transformer tanks for power transformers. The common sizes range from small units through medium voltage transformers to the biggest and most complex systems. In addition to the standard steel tanks we have gained many years of experience in the production of specialized projects such as “Brückenmittelstücke” – compact high-power transformers for semi-autonomous rail transport, phase-shifters and,
more recently, transformers for off-shore applications. To round off the package we offer a range of extra services to our customers such as preparation of the production documentation, identification of cost-reduction potential and technical expertise in areas such as welding and corrosion protection. Traction transformer tanks Traction transformer tanks are used in locomotives, urban railways and high-speed trains. PREIS produces welded components for railed vehicles. Distribution transformer tanks PREIS supplies oil-tight corrugated tanks for distribution transformers and chokes to customer order and design and according to all relevant standards. The individual panel sizes and forms are defined by the needs of our clients. The surface finish and corrosion protection are carried out as given in DIN EN ISO 12944. If required we can also offer zinc coatings or hot dip galvanising. Welded constructions We produce steel components for other branches of industry in addition to our core business as manufacturers of transformer tanks.
PREIS & CO GmbH | Josef Nitsch-Straße 5, A-2763 Pernitz, Austria Tel.: +43 (0)2632/733 55-0 | Fax: +43 (0)2632/729 76 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | www.preisgroup.com
advances to be made in electronics, in particular in connection with the earth fault protection systems. ”
have for example the PPC in Frauenthal/Austria (Seves Group) as well as the Reinhausen Power Composites (RPC) in Regensburg
Solutions for energy networks
Sales boost due to green energy
“We work for all the big names in the utility supply field, with particularly high levels of activity at the moment in Germany and Scandinavia.” Mr Pointner says. “In terms of OEMs we have close working relationships with ABB, Alstom and of course other Siemens group members.” Trench Austria also works in a number of very strong development partnerships with suppliers, for example with a nearby manufacturer of wire cables in Linz, who is also active on a global basis. “In resins we work with Momentive and Huntsmen to name some of them, and when it comes to structures we
Trench Austria is already active on a worldwide scale, with an export share of >95 per cent. The share of Austrian business is minimal, instead the company reports major growth of sales in Germany due to the “Energiewende” – the government’s policy shift away from nuclear energy: “This creates considerable demand for HVDC that connects the offshore wind farms with the mainland and probably DC overlay networks to bring the renewable power to the load centres. But the boom in HVDC is not limited to Europe; we see this increase in demand worldwide, including the n BRIC countries and the Americas.”
POWERFUL DRIVE SOLUTIONS For 90 years, since the company’s foundation in 1924, Schabmueller has been supplying highly advanced electrical drive solutions on a global scale. Paul Snow reports for Industry Europe after speaking to Sales director Ralf Haag about plans ahead.
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chabmüller’s headquarters and main production facilities are located on an area of 12’500 m2 in Berching, South Germany. There has been a significant investment in the production plant recently: “We have just increased our capacity vastly through updating our winding equipment. Our new winding line cost us €2 million and is twice as fast as the line it replaced. We are also looking to expand our production plant in the near future,” says Ralf Haag. Supplying a varied range of industries and many high-profile clients (including Toyota, Nacco, Nissan, Mitsubishi, John Deere, and Polaris), Schabmüller’s fundamental goal is to supply the most advanced and high quality mobile equipment, building upon nine decades of experience. “Our products are used extensively in the material handling sector, for which we aim to produce highly efficient low voltage systems” Mr. Haag explains. “We also produce systems for construction machinery – developing high voltage motors – as well as serving the agricultural and truck/bus market.” Schabmüller supply steering motors and
units for the truck and bus industry – such as for Volvo’s Hybrid bus. Considering the company also serves the AGV market with specially equipped complete drives units this demonstrates a truly broad spread of application areas covered.
Innovative Solutions With a wide range of electrical drives and generators, the portfolio includes complete hybrid systems optimized for high energy efficiency as well as single traction, pump and steering motors alongside motors for propulsion and steering.
“Our future high endproduct will be our permanent magnet synchronous motor/ generator” explains Mr. Haag. The product is maintenance free, high protection class (IP69), oil cooled and has an impressively high efficiency rate exceeding 95 per cent. These new modular concept motor/generators have a high torque density and a current power range of 17 – 200kW - with higher power levels being in the development stage. This motor almost fits on an A4 sheet and yet delivers 200kW of power. Many people see the machine and think they might be lucky to get 30-40kW out of
it – they don’t believe their eyes when they look at the label!” This motor has several potential applications from power generation or propelling traction drives to other uses as an auxiliary function. Schabmüller is also driving forward the development of permanent synchronous motors for agricultural applications. Most implements in the agricultural market are still driven hydraulically but as Mr. Haag explains, “There will be a change from hydraulic to electric in the agricultural and construction market. A generator on the main machine would be useful as this would
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provide a source of electricity, enabling the electrification of e.g. a spreader or trailer. The developments may take another 5-7 years in my opinion, but I would definitely expect to see this change around 2020.”
Future Schabmüller’s plans for the future are confident and impressive. In their primary market - the material handling sector – Mr Haag expects sales to grow by approx. 20 per cent over the next 5 years. “Whether this is through gaining market share with new approaches or taking sales from our competition, in either case I see us growing substantially. We will also become more actively involved in the agricultural and construction machinery market”. Currently 60 per cent of the company’s sales are Europe based, with the remaining 40 per cent going to the US (30 per cent) and Asia (10 per cent). Becoming part of the Italian ZAPI group – a recognised leader in advanced and sophisticated controller technology throughout the world - in 2012 has given Schabmüller access to an even bigger international network, with distribution centres in China and the US, and sales offices in the US, Italy, UK, Korea and China. “We obviously have huge potential to grow in our home countries and in the Asian markets.” explains Mr Haag. “China is the most attractive market at the moment. We established a facility near Shanghai to better 90 Industry Europe
serve our customers in China. With first assembly we will increase production for the local market, and then start a fully-fledged production process in China.” And the company is not just looking to the East, ambitious plans also exist for another continent: “There are also very interesting developments in Brazil. In my opinion these will grow a lot in the future – I see a lot n of potential in the new markets.”
THE INTELLIGENT OFFSHORE SOLUTION After 28 years as a shipbuilder Apply Leirvik changed course. Today it is the world’s leading supplier of aluminium living quarters for offshore platforms. Peter Mercer reports.
pply Leirvik has been supplying living quarters modules for offshore platforms since 1974. In fact the Norwegian company has delivered most of the living quarters on the Norwegian shelf of the North Sea, many of them in aluminium, and in the North Sea as a whole, it has probably delivered more living quarters than all its competitors put together. Today Apply Leirvik is one of the leading Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractors for major offshore modules all over the world. From the beginning the company pioneered the use of aluminium in the construction of its modules. In fact, the living quarters module that it delivered to Saga Petroleum’s Snorre platform in the early 1990s was at that time the largest aluminium
structure ever built for the offshore industry and became the basis for the company’s ongoing research and development programme on the use of aluminium in offshore modules. “Before we moved into the offshore business 40 years ago we were a shipbuilding company with a lot of experience in constructing small fishing vessels in aluminium and we knew a great deal about its advantages,” explains Apply Leirvik CEO Lars Solberg. “A modern aluminium living quarters module is around 30 per cent lighter overall than a similar LQ module in steel structure and is much easier and cheaper to maintain. Imagine the difficulty of regularly sand-blasting and painting a steel structure that is as big as a nine storey hotel but is in the middle of the North Sea and battered by often appalling
weather. So we believe that the average price premium of aluminium over steel of around 8 per cent represents excellent value. “There was perhaps some reluctance to embrace aluminium solutions at the beginning but it is now accepted internationally as a proven technology. The fact that we have a current contract from ExxonMobil for the living quarters for an offshore platform in Canada, the upper floors of which are entirely constructed in aluminium, proves that even the largest operators now recognise the advantages of our solutions.”
Engineering and construction Apply Leirvik operates from two sites on the island of Stord, off the southwest coast of Norway. Its main construction site, covering around 112,000m2, and the second of 38,000m2 have the capacity to build and load-out constructions of more than 5,000 tonnes. The island location means that there are no restrictions on the sail-away route to the North Sea and to the rest of the world. The Stord sites employ around 330 people who cover all the in-house engineering, procurement, construction and project management processes required to complete a living quarters module. In the Engineering, Procurement and Project Management department some 140 people work with FEEDs and conceptual and detail design across all relevant engineering disciplines while 150 people in the Construction department work with both aluminium and steel constructions. “Even though the volume of our business in living quarter modules has grown very
fast we have not needed to move from our original Leirvik home,” says Lars Solberg, “because we now sub-contract out an increasing part of the actual fabrication. We began essentially as welding experts but today our expertise is really in engineering and procurement. Our business in the refurbishment and rebuilding of accommodation modules across the world is also continuing to grow. In fact, around 10 per cent of our overall business today is concerned with extending the life of older living quarters.” Customers who still prefer steel structures or who require structures in both aluminium and steel can be accommodated by Apply Emtunga AB in Sweden, another company within the Apply Group. Thanks to its standardised modular fabrication and assembly method, Apply Emtunga can deliver steel modular living quarters with considerably shorter lead times than with conventional construction processes. Apply Leirvik has also developed an operation based in Singapore to supply relatively low-cost aluminium solutions for living quarters modules. Apply Leirvik International specialises in developing and delivering modular aluminium living quarters to the Asia Pacific region using the Norwegian company’s aluminium technology and Apply Emtunga’s modular production technology. Also based in Singapore is another subsidiary, Aluminium Offshore, a specialist designer of aluminium helidecks, helipads and heliports for both offshore and landbased installations and buildings. Helidecks are transported from Singapore in knock-
down form for easy installation anywhere in the world, from the North Sea to Australia. “We are now the biggest provider of helidecks in the world and delivered 46 in 2013 alone,” explains Lars Solberg. “Currently 90 per cent of our helideck deliveries are in the Asia/Pacific region and in total this business now represents around 10 per cent of our revenue. We supply aluminium helidecks to vessels and terminals as well as to platforms and we are looking to expand this business in Europe too.”
North Sea experience Apply Leirvik delivered its first accommodation module, to the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, over 35 years ago. That module is still in use by Statoil on the Statfjord A platform. Since then the company has delivered a total of 20 living quarters to Statoil with the latest – a 2000m2 module with 40 single cabins – being delivered to the Gudrun platform in 2012. And this year saw the award of a contract to supply the 21st living quarters module to Statoil, for its Gina Krog field development in the Norwegian North Sea. The contract is from topside contractor Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and includes a new six floor aluminium living quarters module with a capacity for 70 single cabins, offices, recreation areas, change rooms, central control room and helicopter deck. The Gina Krog Living Quarters will be engineered and fabricated by Apply Leirvik at Stord. “We are honoured that DSME and Statoil have chosen Apply for delivery of the Gina Krog Living Quarters,” says Lars Solberg.
“DSME is a new client for Apply with a significant international field development portfolio. It is very motivating for us that they have chosen Apply and to know that delivery of a quality product on schedule will position us for winning future work.” Another recent project in home waters saw Apply Leirvik take responsibility for the living quarters outfitting and completion for Kvaerner Stord, the topsides contractor to ConocoPhilips for the Eldfisk 2/7 S Project. Eldfisk is one of the largest oilfields on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The contract was for the complete outfitting of a new ten floor living quarters module with an area of some 5000m2.
Global reach For projects further afield Apply Leirvik has developed invaluable experience in working with local partners. One example is its current partnership with Canada’s North Eastern Constructors Limited (NECL) to supply the
living quarters module for ExxonMobil’s Hebron Field, offshore of Newfoundland. The Norwegian company’s prime responsibilities are project management, engineering, procurement and construction supervision for the sevenfloor module, which will combine steel for its lower floors and aluminium for the upper floors. Some 20 senior personnel and specialists from Apply Leirvik and Apply Emtunga have been working in the St John’s project office of NECL and all construction work is being carried out at the Bull Arm yard in Newfoundland. Delivery is scheduled for December 2014. Lars Solberg says, “This contract has been a breakthrough in our international strategy, giving us a broad experience in international working and an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the quality of our employees. Being the preferred LQ provider for ExxonMobil is a great honour for the entire organisation.” On the other side of the world, Apply Leirvik’s Swedish subsidiary Apply Emtunga
has just been awarded an EPC contract for living quarters By BP Exploration for its Shah Deniz Stage 2 development in the Caspian Sea. Assembly of the $32m module will be carried out at the ATA fabrication yard near Baku and is due to be completed in 2017. This module will be the eighth living quarters module delivered to BP and its partners in Azerbaijan since 1997. “The key to our success is that we are experts in our field and we stay with what we know,” says Lars Solberg. “We are the only company that specialises entirely in living quarters and we take the business very seriously. We know that designing and constructing these facilities is complex and demanding; many companies that thought they were pretty straightforward structures have not survived. And our particular expertise in aluminium modules is increasingly valued as contractors and field operators all over the world come to recognise n their advantages.
With more than 15 years of experience, REC is a leading global provider of solar energy solutions. Its highperformance products and services are helping meet the world’s growing energy needs. Julia Snow spoke to Luc Graré, senior vice president for sales and marketing, to learn more about the fast-paced solar markets.
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EC’s high-performance solar panels are renowned for meeting the highest quality standards and providing stable power output over the lifetime of the product. Core products are multicrystalline solar panels and solar energy solutions, augmented by extra services around installation, planning and support. The company is listed on the Oslo stock exchange, and an operating headquarters in Tuas, Singapore, where the integrated production facility is located. Worldwide the company employs 1600 staff and showed revenues of USD 647 million in 2013. To establish a solar energy company located at the northern edge of Europe may sound like a contradiction in terms, but in
1994 REC’s founder Alf Bjørseth saw that hydro power in abundance and a long tradition in the metal industry would support his business case. His idea was that solar cells made from multicrystalline wafers would become the leading technology in a growing business field. A few years later Mr Bjørseth went into partnership with a local ammoniac production facility to produce solar wafers, and production started in 1997. In the beginning the main market was off-grid, but soon solar home systems were ordered for projects in South Africa, and later in Japan and Germany, where major support programmes for grid-connected solar energy were launched.
World-class facility in Singapore When REC wanted to build a world-class integrated solar panel manufacturing facility, over 200 possible locations were evaluated, before the decision fell to Singapore. In June 2008 REC committed to investing NOK 13 billion in the Singapore wafer, cell and solar panel plants in Tuas View, which opened in 2010. The fully automated factory ensures consistently high quality throughout all production steps from wafers and cells to solar panels. Production picked up quickly with 820 MW of solar panels in 2013, up from 647 MW in 2011. And expansion is already on the cards, as Mr Graré explains, ”Only last week our board took a decision to upgrade the
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plant to 1.3 GW by 2016 – together with the ongoing investments in technology and R&D this will future-proof our production.”
Commercial self-consumption study for Germany “The regulatory and general economic environments of each country are of absolute importance for the attractiveness of solar technology,” says Mr Graré. “Currently the UK shows high growth in demand, because of its reliable/stable ROCs scheme, but even after the end of the heavy subsidy schemes, Germany is still our biggest market.” REC recently published a detailed study on the viability of commercial self-consumption of solar energy in Germany, in order to raise
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awareness and educate potential customers. The main findings were that a solar installation with self consumption is most attractive for the retail segment, followed closely by manufacturing, with only small benefits for heavy industry. The payback periods range from 7 – 9 years for retail to 8 – 10 years for manufacturing, and 12 – 15 years for heavy industry. Similar studies were carried out for Italy and Turkey.
Going with the demand 53 per cent of RECs turnover is generated in Europe, followed by 37 per cent from Japan. “We went to Tokyo two years ago, because we found that our company’s values and qualities are really appreciated in this market. We are not keen to push into
markets with low prices and high competition; we would rather work with customers who see us as partners and who respect our quality approach,” explains Mr Graré. And there is also a lot of light on the horizon in Europe, he adds: ”We expect a big demand for large-scale plants in countries like Spain, Cyprus and France soon. Confidence in Europe is recovering, and banks will start to back investments – lower and lower system costs have started to make solar plants good investments, even without the need for government subsidies.” REC products enter the markets via partner channels, distributors and networks of installers; sometimes also directly via EPC contractors, explains Mr Graré. “Our
systems are suited for utility plants and rooftop installations on residential or commercial buildings. The biggest potential is in mid-sized commercial rooftops – these will benefit most from our technology.”
The future is bright “In our business we are proud to be the last man standing in Europe in terms of a positive net cash position,” says Mr Graré. “This success is due to a combination of our unique corporate strengths. We had a head start by moving our production to Singapore – close to the home markets for raw materi-
als. We also embraced the globalisation path, which maximised opportunities for us.” These strengths also provide a basis for future growth, because the solar business is an extremely fast-changing environment, or – in Mr Graré’s words: “In our business, six months ahead is light years ahead. And there are so many paths for us to take, because being debt-free, we can respond flexibly and independently to market opportunities. It is also a strong part of our identity to be committed and loyal when it comes to partners and customers, and to make no compromises in n terms of our own quality and value.”
FoturSol AG is a Europe-wide REC wholesaler and is listed as an official REC distribution partner at our Swiss headquarters. REC is a market leader in its price-performance ratio. Through its commitment to sustainable and environmentally friendly practices it provides a positive European business culture for its customers. FoturSol AG • unter Sagi 6 , CH-6362 Stansstad • Tel +41 41 - 6186 108 • Fax +41 41 - 6186 109 • Email: email@example.com
Schneider Electric is a global leader in energy management and automation technology. Philip Yorke spoke to Patrik Steiner, the company’s Nordic marketing director, about its launch of the world’s first ePAC controller and other ground-breaking new products, as well as its strategy for growth.
chneider Electric was founded in 1836 by the Schneider brothers in France who took over the Creusot foundries to make armaments and heavy machinery. From its earliest beginnings, innovation played a major role in the company’s fortunes and by 1891 Schneider had evolved and innovated in order to launch itself into the emerging global electricity market. In the years that followed, the company was closely associated with Westinghouse and continued to expand through a series of strategic acquisitions. 100 Industry Europe
By the early 21st century Schneider, in part through a number of key acquisitions, was leading the field in a number of new electrical market sectors including UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) Movement Control, and Building Automation. In addition, it strengthened and extended its lead in advanced, ‘Smart Grid’ technology with the acquisition of the distribution activities of Areva T&D. Today the Schneider Group is represented in over 100 countries and employs more than 140,000 people worldwide. In the first
quarter of 2014 alone the group recorded revenues of more than €5.7 billion – a growth of 7.7 per cent in total on the previous year.
Leveraging innovation and diversity Schneider Electric provides cutting-edge technology and integrated solutions that optimise energy usage and control in markets such as infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, data centres and commercial and residential buildings. With its unique and diverse portfolio in electrical distribution, industrial automation,
critical power & cooling, energy efficiency and building management, Schneider is the clear industry leader and the only global specialist in energy management. Innovation is a key driver for growth at Schneider and the company devotes more than 5 per cent of its worldwide sales to research and development. More than 7500 R&D engineers throughout the world are dedicated to making Schneider’s solutions greener, simpler and easier to integrate into the daily environment of its customers. Schneider Electric is also committed to putting sustainable development at the heart of its growth strategy. The company has been measuring its sustainability performance since 2005 in order to improve its eco-efficiency, business operations and social responsibility programmes. In addition, Schneider enhances its customer’s automation and connectivity capabilities by making them simpler to manage and thereby optimising many aspects of their everyday business operations. Mr Steiner said, “We are continuing to see consistent growth, which is being enhanced by our strategy to acquire companies that complement our existing portfolio and range of services. We are consolidating our gains
right now following some recent acquisitions and new product launches. Our main focus for the foreseeable future is to develop products that are smarter and more costefficient. This will be achieved through the changing architecture of our products and our advanced IT technology. “We are growing the market in a number of key areas, including power breakers and PLCs and matching these to IT networks. This means there is a sea change in the way that we allow our software compatibility to be integrated into third party systems and software. We have numerous state-of-theart R&D facilities, which are located all over the world and these are complemented by our development centres in key locations. Mr Steiner added, “When it comes to solutions, we utilise our own products and test them in our factories to make them more reliable and cost-effective. So this is all about increasing efficiency and reducing the costs for our clients. A helicopter view would be that through better technology and closer collaboration with our customers, we can do more to enable them to optimise their energy efficiency needs and enhance their manufacturing processes.
“Today the biggest markets for our energy management, automation and control products are metals, mining and the water management industries. Here our programmable PLCs and validated architecture makes it easy for them to be more energy efficient, and our environmental management programmes also add to our customers’ well-being as well as to that of our local communities. All our latest energy management products including the revolutionary Modicon M580 automation controller will be showcased at the next SCA-Automatic Trade Fair in Gothenburg in October 2014”.
Innovative building design, powerful energy control In Sweden itself Schneider Electric was recently able to provide the solution when Mackmyra Swedish Whisky wanted to build the world’s most environmentally-friendly distillery. Together with Gävle Energi, the local energy municipality organization, Schneider Electric™ incorporated breakthrough designs and helped to build a scalable, energy efficient six-storey facility that relies on gravity to produce world-class whisky. Industry Europe 101
Protection for utility installations with top quality concrete solutions. Scheidt serves a range of clients including power supply, public utility and industrial companies spanning the full range of the economy. Over the last years it has been the operators of wind power and biogas plants and, more recently, also operators of photovoltaic plants who have played an increasingly significant role and this is reflected in Scheidt’s portfolio. The Scheidt Group provides all its clients with a reliable partner benefiting from many years of experience in the field of top quality prefabricated reinforced concrete elements and great expertise in modern electrical, safety, operation, and measurement and control technology. Our buildings made from top quality reinforced concrete protect both power supply installations as well as equipment for: • • • • • • • • • •
Substations Walk-in substations Switchgear buildings Pump stations Gas control units Heat converter and heat transfer systems Control and signal systems on the railways E-coils buildings Operating and switching units in transformer stations Telecommunications installations
Please visit us at www.scheidt.de
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Steel Service Center, specialized on slitting of silicon Steel and production of Wound cores for transformers industry. Phone: +52 81 8196 3080 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
‘The groundbreaking idea of building an environmentally-friendly distillery was conceived at Mackmyra Swedish Whisky’, says Göran Pousette, Area Manager for Buildings at Schneider Electric. ‘But they knew their vision, which was completely new in the Swedish market, was only achievable with the help of an energy efficiency expert. So they turned to Schneider Electric to ensure a successful project from the very beginning’. Schneider Electric worked with the customer to present a holistic building and heating solution that automates processes and lowers power consumption. Because EcoStruxure™ is easy-to-implement and flexible, Mackmyra Swedish Whisky selected the solution to control and monitor energy consumption during all phases of whisky production. In addition, the building’s design enables gravity to pull malt, water, and yeast downward, making the whisky production process even more energy efficient. ‘The solution is designed for future requirements and is not limited by how the plant looks like today, but is designed to fit the needs of a growing company with all the
features available from day one’, says Linus Palmborg, Head of Automation Projects at Schneider Electric. ‘The solution is designed to help Mackmyra grow and realize its vision by streamlining process management, planning, and follow-up monitoring’.
New level of process transparency and flexibility In keeping with its reputation for the development of innovative products, Schneider Electric recently announced the launch of its revolutionary Modicon M580 automation controller. This is the world’s first ePAC device and ushers in a new era in automation control. The Schneider Modicon M580 is a pioneering automation controller, which is the key component of ‘PlantStruxure’, the company’s integrated automation architecture. This latest product from Schneider Electric is the world’s next generation PAC (Programmable Automation Controller) and is based entirely on the Ethernet. It provides industrial plant teams with the power to design, implement and run a process that actively employs all the benefits of open networking. This
includes benefits such as increased visibility to key process data and events, enhanced transparency and consistency of information, as well as large data traffic capabilities. The new Modicon M580 also offers an outstanding level of transparency and performance without the need for manual configuration of each connected device. As a result, many types of data can be aggregated seamlessly and made available to operators to help them rapidly diagnose and identify root causes of issues. The new product also provides consistent access and accurate data for timely decision making, as well as significantly reducing downtime.
The importance of suppliers Schneider Electric has long recognised the importance of maintaining strong supplier relationships and recognising those suppliers who have provided a consistently high level of service. Therefore, in July 2013, the company held its third consecutive Global Supplier Day. The visiting suppliers were welcomed by key members of the company’s management, who gave a detailed presentation on the group’s strategy with regard to innovation and collaboration. This event included an awards ceremony which honoured 11 suppliers in particular for their exceptional performance in areas such as quality, level of service, innovation and productivity. These 11 suppliers were: Mitsubishi Engineering, TONTEC, FCI, Radio Spare, Technico Steel Processing de Mexico (TSP), Fulong Plastics, Analog Devices, Veer-O-Metals, Atmel, UPS and G-Shank Enterprise. n For further information about Schneider Electric’s innovative energy management products and services visit: www.schneider-electric.com
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THE FROZEN FOOD GIANTS Global frozen food products manufacturer Findus’ Swedish activities have not only a long history in the region but also a clear focus on offering products that meet the demands of today’s consumers. Industry Europe looks at how this is achieved.
ounded in 1941 in Bjuv, Sweden, Findus Sverige AB is a key part of the global Findus Group, a leading frozen food and groceries provider with both retail and foodservice presence. Alongside other strategic Findus locations in the Nordics, UK and southern Europe, the Swedish operation is carefully developed to deliver a reliable local service that meets the needs of its local customers, while still adhering to the strict quality standards of the Findus Group. A company spokesperson told Industry Europe, “The Findus Group is based in London and the international offices work in clusters so that we can be targeting the local audiences. Findus Sverige is active within the Nordic region cluster alongside the UK cluster and
France/Spain and we can all share information that is relevant across the cluster and have our own locally-specific trends and profiles. As such, we can deliver a varied product range that addresses the individual tastes and preferences of our local audiences while still utilising the Group power of Findus, which gives our consumers the best of both worlds – wherever they are in the world!”
Plenty of choice The Findus product range includes frozen food such as ready meals, vegetables, fish and bakery, and groceries including mayonnaise, soup, pasta sauce and jams. Findus is perhaps most famous for its frozen fish, offering both fish portions and fish in various flavoured sauces and
coatings. A key part of its strategy is to ensure that it continues to offer freshly frozen fish and vegetables which can either be used for people to cook from scratch, such as individual portions of frozen fish or high-quality frozen peas, or products which have been carefully created to make cooking at home easier, such as fish in a tasty sauce. The healthy aspect of Findus’ products is a major ingredient in its sales and marketing communication, not least because frozen products often contain considerably more nutrients than poorly kept fresh products, particularly vegetables. The company spokesperson added, “Our fish is frozen as soon as possible, which retains all its nutrients as well as keeping it
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wonderfully fresh until the consumer wants to cook it. Here at Findus we are committed to sharing the benefits of frozen products as they are sometimes seen as ‘second to fresh’ whereas actually they can be tastier, healthier and often cheaper. Our corporate policy ‘Vision Zero’ also plays a part in this as it highlights our work towards delivering products without additives. Also, our frozen food is without preservatives since freezing is the natural way to preserve food. We’re
bringing this message to the consumer to make sure that frozen food products get the credit they deserve.” The cost-effective benefit of buying frozen food is also clearly evident when it comes to the reduced waste. With Sweden ahead of even the wasteful UK when it comes to throwing away food, the message from Findus is clear – frozen food is not only often cheaper to buy in the first place but it is also very effective in reducing food waste
as you only cook what you need and keep the rest frozen. “Frozen food represents great value – you can happily store food in your freezer for 12 months when you know it has been frozen as soon as it was caught or picked. We are also careful to manufacture our ready meals and ready-to-cook prepared frozen products just as you would at home – our mashed potato for example is just potatoes cooked in hot water with a little salt, then mashed with
butter and milk. So we help our consumers save time while giving them complete peace of mind that we’re giving them food that’s just as nutritious and carefully prepared as if they’d made it themselves.”
Positive outlook With Findus Sverige experiencing a challenging market during the global economic downturn, it is confident that the steady increase is set to continue, particularly as the company has a concerted effort in its marketing to highlight the cost and nutrition benefits of frozen products. While the FMCG sector in general has seen issues, the company’s more recent introductions to its portfolio address the current demands of its customers, such as more oneportion meals and additional lighter choices. n
THE ENGINE FOR SUCCESS MAN Truck & Bus AG is the largest company in the MAN Engineering Group, and a leading global provider of commercial vehicles and advanced transport solutions. Philip Yorke reports on a company that continues to excel in all aspects of its commercial operations, as well as in the recognition given to its global suppliers and partners for outstanding performance and service.
ounded over 250 years ago, MAN remains a potent global force in the development and manufacture of commercial vehicles, engines and automotive engineering solutions. The multinational group has a workforce of more than 53,000 people worldwide, and in 2013 recorded sales of over €15.7 billion. MAN is a leading global supplier of trucks, buses, diesel engines, turbo-machinery, special gear and power-train units. Today the company’s diverse corporate divisions hold leading global market positions throughout the world. The strategy pursued by the MAN Group aims to
create sustainable enhanced value in its fastgrowing business areas of commercial vehicles and power engineering products. MAN Truck & Bus AG is the largest company in the MAN Group and is based in Munich, Germany. It is also one of the world’s foremost companies in the supply of commercial vehicles and transport solutions. MAN produces trucks with gross weights ranging from 7.5 to 44 tons, as well as heavy-duty special-purpose vehicles with gross weights of up to 250 tons. In addition, it manufactures city and inter-city buses and coaches, as well
as diesel and natural gas engines. MAN Truck & Bus AG has four state-of-the-art production facilities in Germany, as well as other extensive modern plants in Austria, Poland, Turkey, Russia, South Africa and India.
In recognition of excellence In order to maintain its pole position in the commercial vehicle industry, the company relies upon its extensive network of efficient, innovative and reliable suppliers and partners. A company spokesman told Industry Europe, “Together with our suppliers and partners, we
are constantly seeking to improve our hightech products and services. By implementing new technologies and cost-effective management systems, we are laying the foundation for our future joint success with our suppliers and partners. In close cooperation with our suppliers we develop strategies for optimising compliance with environmental requirements
and energy efficiency, as well as embarking upon joint-innovation projects and the production of future ‘technology road-maps’. “Our ongoing success is based upon the collaborative efforts of our selected suppliers and partners. As a company operating on a global scale, we exploit the opportunities available on the global procurement markets
and we assume global social responsibility on a local level. This means that we comply with the applicable local laws, respect fundamental ethical principles and carry out our business operations sustainably at all times. In line with this strategy, we expect our suppliers and partners to behave responsibly at all times also, and adhere to the ‘MAN Code
of Conduct’, which is designed for our suppliers and business partners” Since 2003, MAN has been presenting the coveted MAN Truck & Bus Supplier Awards to companies whose products and services have made special contributions to the quality and reliability of its commercial vehicles. Recently its annual special supplier award ceremony was held at MAN’s global headquarters in Munich, where prizes were awarded to ten companies for their outstanding performance. In all more than 1200
suppliers contribute to making MAN’s trucks, buses and engines some of the most efficient and reliable in the world. Recent winners of the MAN Bus & Truck Supplier Awards come mostly from Germany and Austria and include Dometic WAECO GmbH, EFS Euro Forming Services GmbH, Kuster Automotive Door Systems GmbH and Thysen Krupp Steel Europe AG. In addition, other recent winners included Bozankaya Metall & Kunststoffe GmbH, Menden Johnson Controls Autobatterie GmbH, Garching
Mekra Lang GmbH & Co KG, Ergersheim Scherdel GmbH and HJS Emission Technology GmbH of Germany.
The zero-error principle Based upon its forward-looking zero-error principle – “Accept no mistakes, make no mistakes and pass on no mistakes” – together with its suppliers, MAN ensures it optimises its quality assurance measures and high standards of efficiency and reliability. In collaboration with its suppliers, the company sets the
standards for process variables such as quality, adherence to deadlines and inventory costs. A continuous improvement process and regularly certified quality management systems form the basis for swift implementation. Protection of the environment is also a priority at MAN Truck & Bus. The company has therefore created a management system that covers environmental compatibility, with particular regard to recycling, packaging and waste disposal and transport. The same high standards of environmental care are expected n from all MAN suppliers and partners. For further details of MAN Bus & Truck products and services visit: www.man.eu
ENGINE COOLING TitanX is a world leader in the design and manufacture of advanced cooling systems for commercial vehicles and industrial diesel engines. Philip Yorke talked to Stefan Nordström the company’s CEO, about its dynamic expansion strategy and latest high-tech cooling solutions.
itanX is headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, and is a leading global supplier of diesel engine cooling solutions for trucks, buses, off-highway equipment and industrial diesel engines. The company was formerly owned by the French automotive group ‘Valeo’ and was acquired by the Swedish private equity group, ‘EQT’ in 2008. The company has two plants in Sweden, one plant in the US and another newly started state-of-the-art facility in Brazil. In addition, new high-tech plants are currently being constructed in China and Mexico and these are planned to come on stream by 2015. Today TitanX produces a wide range of highly engineered heat exchangers, which are sold as single components or assembled in modules to meet the individual specifications of its big OEM customers. The company’s diverse product range includes frame-mounted radiators, ‘charge’ air coolers and condensers, as well as engine or transmission-mounted oil coolers. TitanX is unique in that it is the only manufacturer that focuses exclusively on the
commercial vehicle market and depends primarily on the growing global market for heavy trucks. The long-term outlook for this market sector remains positive and is supported by the high average age of current truck fleets, as well as a growing demand for commercial transport in the world’s expanding economies. In 2013 TitanX recorded sales of more than €150 million and currently employs over 800 people worldwide.
Innovation and investment driving sales Since TitanX was acquired by EQT in 2008, during the onset of the global recession, the company has been able to not only weather the economic storm, but has demonstrated consistent growth. When the new CEO, Stefan Nordström, who had gained top executive experience with major global commercial vehicle companies such as Volvo and leading power companies such as ABB, came onboard in August of 2010, TitanX started the work with transforming its three factories into one company. This meant the company centralised all its main business functions such as
R&D, sales and marketing but also rationalised its operating procedures and centralised its key support functions. This impetus was further enhanced in 2013 with a changed operating model and the appointment of a new Group Executive Committee. Constant innovation is at the heart of TitanX’s remarkable success story and its technological leadership is based upon the company’s passion for efficiency and care of the environment. It is well known that for many years the various ‘fluid loops’ have been designed independently, which has led to cooling systems that were not optimized, thus leading to system inefficiency and increased fuel consumption. With TitanX’s ‘Optimal Cooling’ solutions the company looks at the thermal management of the power-train as a whole, to create components that work together to optimise heat extraction. This advanced technology increases component durability whilst reducing the vehicle’s carbon footprint, the size of heat-exchange components and overall operating costs.
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Nordström said, “Our main focus is on the development of advanced cooling systems for heavy and medium-duty trucks as well as for buses and diesel engines designed for the world’s power-producing utilities. Going forward our strategy is to grow globally with our key customer’s such as Daimler, Volvo and Scania and to consistently increase fuel efficiency by developing advanced engine and oil cooling systems to meet the growing demands for cleaner and leaner engines. Harmonisation in terms of environmental standards is taking place even in the emerging economies such as South America where legislation today is equal to ‘Euro 5’, whilst in China they are
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already at ‘Euro 4’ stage. In Japan standards’ development is closer to the development of the NA legislation. Nordström added, “Innovation is a key driver for sales as is our ability to provide an unrivalled service for our customers. This has meant investing in new plants, close to our clients’ facilities in the world’s emerging markets. Today, given a normal market development, we anticipate growth of more than 40 per cent over the next three to four years and this will also give us a market share in the Western World (Europe, North and South America) of over 30 per cent. As a result of the world recession, operators have been unable to replace their ageing vehicles after the usual 5-6 years of service, which has resulted in a surge in demand for new vehicles as the world comes out of the longest recession in history. In addition, the development of the Asian truck markets create a demand for more advanced engine and oil cooling technologies. “The next step in emission regulations starting in North America and Europe from around 2020 will for the first time include targets on CO2-reductions which means a clear link to overall reduction of fuel consumption. This in its turn means increased demand for advanced heat exchange solutions as customers are seeking solutions for e.g. Waste Heat Recovery (WHR). Apart from application engineering, we are therefore also developing purpose-built systems and are
driving forward advanced engineering options to develop radical, new heat-exchanger solutions within e.g. the field of WHR.
On-going expansion programme In December 2013 TitanX made the strategic decision to expand its global industrial footprint to include China and Mexico and this decision was backed by a strong order book. The new state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities are scheduled to become fully operational by the second quarter of 2015. China is the world’s largest market and the new factory will provide attractive growth opportunities over the long term for TitanX. In North America the combination of the company’s new factory in Mexico and its existing plant in Jamestown, USA, adds further impetus to its growth potential by enabling TitanX to serve different commercial vehicle OEMs in the most efficient way. The future for TitanX looks positive with our order books looking very strong indeed. For example, we are ‘home-free’ when it comes to the advance orders for our new plants in China, Brazil and Mexico. Furthermore, we are attracting new business opportunities from the indigenous commercial vehicle manufacturers in these growing global markets. Long-term our efforts within Advanced n Engineering also look very promising”. For further details of TitanX’s innovative products and services visit: www.titanx.com
GLOBAL AIRPORT LOGISTICS SOLUTIONS The global giant Siemens’ Logistics and Airport Solutions Division provides its complete baggage handling, air cargo and mail sorting systems to clients throughout the world. But that is not all: the company also remains present after installation to ensure the smooth running of its clients’ facilities. Victoria Hattersley talks to Jörg Ernst, CEO of Business Unit Logistics and Airport Solutions, to find out more about its state-of-the-art systems and the major projects it has been involved in.
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eadquartered in Konstanz, Germany, Logistics and Airport Solutions Division (LAS) is active worldwide with its main locations the USA, Singapore, China and the Middle East. Its current comprehensive offering stems from the introduction of its first tray system for baggage handling in the early 1970s. Today its baggage handling systems and other products can be found in many of the world’s leading airports. Alongside this, it is a leader in the mail business, with about 23,000 mail sorting systems installed worldwide in more than 50 countries. Logistics and Airports Solutions (comprising both Airport Solutions and Postal and Parcel Services) currently employs more than 3000 people in R&D, production, installation and after-sales services. But it is not just the installation of baggage handling, mail sorting and parcel logistics systems that the company offers today: it is able to
assist its clients with the smooth running of their facilities long after its various solutions have been installed.
Complete solutions Siemens believes in the importance of offering clients a total service from installation to after-sales support – hence its strong global presence. As Mr Ernst says: “In this business it’s important to focus not just on manufacturing but also to be very close to customers. We have set up a global supply chain network for this purpose.” The ‘complete solution’ offered by Siemens covers every step of the processing chain. This includes: baggage handling technology; air cargo control systems; mail sorting systems; parcel logistics (from truck unloading to identification and sorting); optimised software solutions to oversee the entire logistical infrastructure; and post-installation customer services.
The company’s global IT team is particularly important for enabling its clients to manage their airports and increase productivity. For example, Siamos (Siemens Airport Management and Operations Suite) software is a state-of-the-art, modular IT solution designed to support airport operations. It includes applications for airport performance management, flight planning, resource management, statistics, reporting and billing and flight information display systems. The advanced system is highly customisable so it can be tailor-made to suit the needs of any client. Mr Ernst explains: “Our offerings comprise project management, design, simulation, engineering, IT and state-of-the-art mechatronics components and systems. Our systems and information technology solutions include software modules, material flow optimisation, supply chain management, e-business, warehouse and cargo management systems.” Industry Europe 117
Global leaders in mail sorting LAS has been operating in the mail business for over half a century: following the introduction of postal codes in Germany in 1960, it developed its first letter sorting system in 1962. Another milestone came in 1984 when the US Postal Service made an order for 406 of its OCR (optical character recognition) address letter readers. Today LAS is a world leader in this segment, with its activities covering parcel sorting, reading and coding, the production and installation of sorting machines, and the development of logistics software. LAS can provide its advanced solutions to its clients wherever they are in the world. For example, in 2010 it won a contract with Nanjing Air Hub to install 10 parcel sorting systems and a central control system. It also installed 12 loops of the Variosort EXB model
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cross-belt sorter, measuring 4800 metres over two levels. This was completed in 2012. In the area of mail sorting solutions, LAS has also recently received an order from Swedish Post for a culler facer canceller (CFC) and open mail handling systems to be installed. The former, for those of our readers not familiar with the term, is an automated system that faces mail into the correct position for date stamping or stamp cancelling. When the project is completed, four of these will have been installed to preprocess, sort and sequence standard letters and flats up to C4 format. The company has also been developing its customer services in this segment on a more general level. For example, its team is currently implementing several system enhancements worldwide involving reading, weighing and X-ray technology. Furthermore, it works on third-party hardware, for example the updating of proprietary control systems with Simatic PLCs. LAS has developed a number of new postal and parcel sorting solutions, such as the environmentally friendly Variosort parcel sorter it recently installed at the UPS Hub in Cologne/Bonn. This has increased the hub’s output from 110,000 to 190,000 parcels per hour. Another groundbreaking parcel sorting solution is its Variomove system for parcel bulk unloading – winner of a 2011 Postal
Technology award. Finally, it has introduced a new flexible flyer sorter in order to meet the demands of the growing market for small parcels and packets.
Innovative baggage systems As can be seen from the above, R&D has always been a strong focus for LAS, with activities in this area mainly driven by customer demands and feedback. For example, it is constantly working on new solutions to improve the overall performance of its airport baggage handling systems. Many of the new products have been developed and tested at the Siemens Airport Centre in Furth, Germany. The company showcased many of these products at Passenger Terminal Expo which took place on March, 25. - 27 2014. Mr Ernst gives us some recent examples of this: “We have been running our new tray system for baggage handling which is the heart of an airport. Furthermore, we have developed a new self-check-in bag drop solution which has got great feedback. It’s an all-in had one system that allows passengers do the self-service check-in and bag drop at the same location, as opposed to other systems that involve at least two steps.” LAS has also developed early bag store systems, such as the one it has installed
at Dubai Airport Terminal 3 where around 5000 luggage trays can currently be stored. “This is like a small warehouse that allows passengers to store their luggage safely and enjoy their time at the airport.”
Major airport projects In the Airport Solutions segment, LAS continues to win high-profile contracts for some of the world’s biggest airports. In early 2014, together with the South Korean company Posco, it won a contract to install a baggage handling system at the new Terminal 2 of Incheon Airport. This will cover the layout, engineering, assembly, commissioning and integration of the system, as well as connecting it to the existing baggage handling system. The entire project, which will allow for throughput capacity of more than 22,000 items of baggage per hour, is due to be completed by 2018 in time for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Mr Ernst says of this contract win: “Incheon is a masterpiece – one of the highest quality airports in the world. It is expecting more than
40 million passengers per year and it will be served by more than 88 airlines.” The company has also just completed, on time, a huge air cargo project at Hong Kong airport. It was designed for a throughput of 2.6 million tonnes of freight per year, thereby increasing the annual capacity of the airport’s existing terminals by 50 per cent to 7.4 million tonnes. The contract involved the installation of modern storage and conveying systems. The handling processes were specially adapted to the requirements of Hong Kong International Airport because particularly large quantities of transit and export cargo are handled there in comparison to other hubs. Furthermore, LAS has recently received an order from Emirates SkyCargo to expand its cargo capacity with a new terminal for its freighter operations at Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International Airport. The company’s brief is to equip the new cargo terminal with modern storage and conveying systems to achieve a throughput of 700,000 tonnes of freight per year. By 2015 this is
expected to increase by a further 300,000 tonnes. Work will commence on this project at the start of May 2014.
Temporary terminals Another growing aspect of Airport Logistics offering is the installation of its CapacityPlus temporary terminals. Mr Ernst explains what this involves: “If airports are going to be han-
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dling unusually large amounts of passengers, for example for a major sporting event, then they may want a temporary capacity increase. Our systems are highly flexible and perfect if a client has limited money and only wants a terminal for a certain period. The solutions come with high security features, air-conditioning, screens and everything needed for smooth check-ins. We have already had excellent feedback on this and it has huge future potential.” To use one example, Siemens recently installed four modern temporary terminals in Angola in a very limited time frame. These were in the regional airports of Soyo, Dundo, Saurimo and Luena.
Positive outlook Looking ahead, Mr Ernst sees strong prospects for growth in both the airport and logistics sectors. “This is a good business to be in long-term. If you just look at the order books for the two biggest airline builders – Airbus and Boeing – you can see how full they are so, there are going to be a lot of goods and people transported around the world in the coming decades. This means the airports are going to need ever-more sophisticated systems of the kind we can provide, as well as increased capacity.” But this will not be its only focus for the future. The aim is to be close to its customers wherever they are in the world, providing them with a total solution. Mr Ernst concludes: “We want to be responsible for the systems we deliver throughout their whole lifetime. We work closely with our clients on each project, to tailor it to their needs and help them make the right decision for the future. We don’t just want to complete a project: we also want to leave a good name behind us. This is what n makes us stand out in our field.” 120 Industry Europe
German company Dreistern International is recognised as a leading provider of roll-forming systems to companies throughout the world. Dedicated to remaining at the forefront of technology in this sector, this year it has introduced yet another brand-new machining concept: multifunctional roll-forming. Victoria Hattersley spoke to the sales director, Heinrich Weber, to find out more about this family-owned company.
reistern’s technological leadership in roll-forming technology has been built up over more than 60 years of continuous operation. Established in 1949, it is a family business currently managed in the third generation by Thomas Krückels, the grandson of the original founder. The company’s production plant is based in Schopfheim, Germany, where it operates on an area of over 33,000m2 and continuously invests in the latest machining centres and production processes. It currently employs over 230 people who work on developing innovative solutions for its clients, based on the specific needs of their industry sectors.
Flexible production profile Dreistern’s comprehensive range of rollforming machines are offered for a diverse range of applications, including automotive, building, electricals, logistics, furniture manufacture, tubes and indeed any other sectors where roll-formed products might be required. For Dreistern, flexibility is the key when it comes to innovating to meet its clients’ needs. Mr Weber explains: “Design is oriented to the application, so we have dedicated machines for certain applications. However, one of the things they have in common is that they have an ‘open profile’ so that, for example, they can
produce many different kinds of automotive parts using several different processes. “We also have many major clients in the racking industry. The major trend these days amongst the major players in this field is for brand-specific applications. Customers need different profiles to produce different systems. We can offer highly flexible machines for our customers to make whatever they want quickly and efficiently.” So much for the benefits these machines bring for Dreistern’s direct clients – but these benefits also filter down to the end users, as Mr Weber tells us: “For our clients’ clients, the main advantages of our products are reduced
costs and lead times for them. It means our clients can provide tailor-made solutions to their customers. It also means they can offer smaller runs of products which more and more companies are demanding these days. The flexibility we offer allows them to switch quickly between different kinds of products.”
A unique new concept Continuous innovation is one of the keys to Dreistern’s continued growth. This year has been a particularly important one for the company in this regard, as it has recently introduced an entirely new technology, ‘multifunctional roll-forming’, which it will be demonstrating at an innovation forum in May this year. This involves the integration of additional processes such as piercing, notching, embossing, bolt fixing and so on into one tube mill or roll-forming machine. Mr Weber explains exactly why this technology represents such a breakthrough for
the industry: “A roll-forming machine will typically consist of a roll-former and a press. You will then go on to the final shaping, cut-off, and sometimes for technical reasons there will have to be some punching and welding too. In a typical machine, all parts of the process will have to happen in this order and all from fixed positions, which can be limiting. Processes such as cutting and turning would have to go to external handling facilities. “Our idea was to make the entire machine more flexible with each step available to be completed in any order to best suit the demands of the product. All the customer has to do is to change Work Modules. If they have several lines they can even move a laser cutter across or use it in different positions so they can keep several lines running all at the same time.” All this is obviously far more efficient when it comes to both cost and time saving. Furthermore, the footprint of these machines can
be up to 50 per cent smaller compared to conventional technology, so the user can also make the best use of their production space.
Lightweighting and customised solutions The issue of lightweighting is a major one for all industry sectors today. For example, Mr Weber points out that almost all major car makers use roll forming technology today in order to cut CO2 emissions and reduce the weight of the car body. He tells us: “Anyone working with highstrength steel is affected by the increased pressure to reduce the overall weight of their products. With roll-forming we can achieve the highest strength steels at a lighter weight without excessive wear on the material. You could maybe achieve the same strengths of material using hot stamping but this creates high energy costs. Roll forming, on the other hand, is more cost effective for both light and high-strength parts.”
Dreistern engineers can work with a wide range of materials to meet its clients’ functionality demands both reliably and cost effectively. Whether it is steels of varying strengths, aluminium alloys, copper, titanium or gold, almost any material suitable for forming has been developed into a product on a Dreistern machine. Even when working with particularly challenging materials, which have heavily fluctuating properties, its machines are flexible enough to adjust to any changes. Furthermore, the company’s use of rapid prototyping technology means it can work with its clients right from the conception of an idea to create a totally unique product to meet their needs. “At our facility we have 10 testing machines to produce prototypes. For example, if a client is looking to develop a new bumper they will often come to us to create their initial parts because we can do this quickly on a machine which is very
close in execution to those used in later roll-forming processes. In this way, the customer doesn’t need to pay for roll-forming at this time, just the tooling. Then they already have the tool set ready if they decide to go ahead with full production. It’s much for cost effective for them.”
Global sales strategy Dreistern supplies its products globally, although the majority of its customers are still in Europe – particularly eastern Europe. Elsewhere, the USA and China are major growth markets. As Mr Weber explains: “In Asia the automotive industry is particularly important. We also have some very specific partners in China. One of the reason for this is the huge number of high-rise buildings there are in this market. This means we have customers who ship parts every year for more than 50,000 elevators.”
The company’s strategy for growth is to develop steadily rather than making any acquisitions or sudden advances. It aims to achieve an average 5 per cent growth rate each year. Mr Weber believes that the key to its continued success will be the solid reputation it has built as a total solutions provider. “Dreistern is known as a company that develops new processes. If a company has an idea for a product that could be roll formed they should talk to us at a very early stage. We have the capabilities to produce what they want in a cost-effective way.” n
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Industry Europe spoke to Profilglass Aluminium SpA a couple of years ago. Since then rolled products have further grown in importance and the company has commenced aluminium hot rolling (alongside its cold rolling and profile production activities), as Mr Petrucci - sales director - explains to Barbara Rossi.
PROFILGLASS DEVELOPING THE POTENTIAL OF ALUMINIUM P
rofilglass is based on the Italian Adriatic coast (specifically in Bellocchi di Fano, central Italy) and is still an Italian family company (owned by the Paci family). At the same time it is very innovative, featuring a truly young and dynamic character and a staff of 600 whose average age is 35. Performance is particularly striking. In 2013 the company achieved a 13 per cent increase in the number of tonnes sold compared with 2012, reaching a total of 125,000 shipped tonnes.
In terms of activity, Mr Petrucci explains, “Just like two years ago, we are still engaged in manufacturing spacing and decorative profiles for double glazing and flat rolled products in the following alloys: 1xxx, 3xxx, 4xxx, 5xxx and 8xxx.” The company, which is unique in the aluminium sector for having implemented vertical production, is a world leader in the production of spacing and decorative profiles for double-glazing. This is its original activity, which since the beginning of the millennium has been undergoing a very
successful process of diversification, starting with the acquisition of a rolling foundry. The result is that today rolled products are the core business and the sectors served include a wide range of industries. Currently Profilglass is investing a lot upstream, in scrap management and processing, with a specific area dedicated to scrap milling, separation, division, selection and packing. It is also considering investing in new machinery in order to be able to use painted scrap, including aluminium cans and
painted profiles. The company is strongly focusing on using recycled aluminium of all types. A new slab caster will become active in September 2014, increasing the Profilglass production capacity to 130,000 tonnes a year (60,000 tonnes thanks to the six continuous casting lines and 70,000 tonnes thanks to the two slab casters). “Investments are an ordinary activity for us. As well as the upstream investments, we are considering the acquisition of a new specialised slitter for ’soft material’ cutting, as well as other investments which I cannot yet reveal.” In addition to using recycled scrap, the company also sources primary aluminium. “For 20 years we have been working with Egyptalum, the largest producer of primary aluminium in Egypt. Every year we buy about 40,000 tonnes of primary aluminium from this partner, in the form of ingots, billets, roughturned pieces and plates, among others.
F.lli VEDANI srl, one of the few Italian manufacturing companies, is celebrating 32 years in business. It comprises staff, technicians and management with a deep technical knowledge and a long metallurgical process experience in aluminium smelting. The company is UNI ISO 9001:2000 certified. Currently it is classified as a class A supplier according to AVSQ94 standards. The company has a wide range of: OWN PRODUCTS FOR NON FERROUS ALLOY METALLURGICAL PROCESSING: • Purifying, scorifying and protective fluxes for Alluminium; • Degassing tablets; • Master alloys for alloy modification (TABLEX); • Semi-finished products of any alloy or dimension. PRODUCTS FOR MANUFACTURERS OF ALLUMINIUM PLATES AND BILLETS: • Ceramic sprues; • Ceramic hot-tops and graphite rings; • Refractory, protective and insulating paints, etc...
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Moreover, we supply Egyptalum with technical and engineering support for their plant, with a whole section of our technical department dedicated to this task.” When asked about new products and technologies Mr Petrucci replies, “We are increasingly focusing on magnesium alloys for the automotive sector, high thickness metal sheets and other similar products.” Profilglass is developing ever more products for the automotive sector because this segment offers the greatest expansion and growth opportunities for the aluminium industry, and will do even more so in future. “For instance, we are in direct contact with the Fiat Mirafiori plant, testing and sampling new alloys in the 5000 series.” Although the company has subsidiaries, as Profilglass it operates from a sole production site, covering an area of 250,000m2. Important innovations have been implemented here in the last couple of years, especially in terms of environmental friendliness. Roof areas has been equipped with a photovoltaic panel system,
producing fourteen megawatt of clean energy. Furthermore, health and safety is regarded as an absolute priority. Work safety training courses are conducted on a regular basis and over half of the company employees have recently completed a course of this kind, which they had attended during working hours for 18 months. The motivation of the employees was so high that they managed to maintain the same productivity levels, despite the fact that part of their working day was dedicated to this course. “We are implementing continuous improvement in all our processes.”
Fresh and young While the company is keeping its renowned name, it has a new, younger and fresher logo, now mainly centred on rolled products rather than profiles (the latter now generate 15 per cent of turnover). “We will be at the next biannual Dusseldorf aluminium trade fair next 7–9 October, where we will present our new company image and will launch a new motto “R2R – Ready to Run”
Export stands at about 75 per cent and is mainly generated in Europe, with Germany and Spain being particularly important markets (as well as Italy, which accounts for the remaining 25 per cent of turnover). Rolled products have opened up new geographical markets in Arab countries, Russia and especially Brazil, where a commercial subsidiary has been opened in Sau Paolo and Profilglass d.o. Brazil has been set up. The Brazilian market features strong growth, especially in the construction sector. As the Profilglass facilities offer further potential production capacity, the current target is that of reaching an output of 150,000 tonnes in the next two to three years. Linked to this, there is the objective of achieving sales volume growth in both EU and non-EU markets. Still talking about future development and strategies, Mr Petrucci adds, “We are increasingly focusing on product and internal process quality. We are ISO 9001 certified and we are in the process of acquiring the UNI EN ISO 14001 n environmental certification.”
EXPERTS IN GLASS MOULDS AND CASTING Omco is a global leader in the development and manufacture of tailor-made glass moulds for industry. Industry Europe looks at how the company has achieved its enviable position in the sector.
June this year (2014) Omco celebrated 50 years of operations in Belgium where a division of the Overmeyer Mould Corporation was established in Aalter in 1964. Initially the company outsourced its requirements to third parties but by the early 1970s the demand for its products had increased to the point where it was necessary to establish its own foundry, and when the Bekaert foundry in Hamme, Belgium, came up for sale, Omco purchased it without delay. Difficult trading conditions in 1984 led to a management buy-out and from that time onward, Omco became a Belgian company. Following 20 years of consistent growth, Omco NV merged with BMT NV and subsequently became a publicly traded company. In the year 2000 a second foundry was acquired
in Slovenia, which was then geared to produce industrial glass moulds for Croatia and Austria whilst the company’s main foundry in Hamme became increasingly focused on manufacturing moulds for customers outside of the group.
The pillars of success Omco’s global success is built around five key steps: engineering, foundry, manufacturing, quality assurance and moulds. Each of these business units is supported by a multinational group of engineers who are available to service its customers worldwide. The company’s foundry division has strategically located facilities in Belgium and Slovenia from which it can guarantee flexible supplies of high-quality cast iron and aluminium
bronze castings. In addition, the company’s manufacturing group has been equipped with the latest state-of-the-art CNC and robotic machinery. These modern and comprehensive facilities mean that Omco is able to offer a diverse range of precision equipment and welding techniques that are able to meet any challenge and in turn offer significantly increased mould life. Omco offers products for the hollow glass industry based upon specially developed castings in both grey and nodular iron and aluminium bronze. Throughout its many facilities the company has established the required level of expertise to enable it to manufacture any mould for any machine, whatever its shape or size. The company specialises in the production of glass
moulds for a diverse range of industrial applications including food, beverages, spirits and pharmaceuticals. The company’s ongoing success is also enhanced by its highly specialised expertise in the manufacture of pieces with complex geometry, including core-intensive mould production techniques. Furthermore, Omco’s foundries offer aluminium bronze castings as well as machining, painting, galvanising, pressure testing and many other value-added customer services. The fine quality of the metals used by the company is assured by ISO-TS standards certified by Lloyds. In a new move to provide better logistics support for its customers, Omco has recently invested in new logistics systems including a fully automated
warehouse, which improves the efficiency and accessibility of its products which are primarily destined for the automotive markets worldwide.
Energy-efficiency The increasing international pressure for greater sustainability has resulted in a surge in the demand for Omco’s glass products, which are 100 per cent recyclable. This has enabled the company to increase capacity at three of its main European facilities. A joint venture with Hindustan National Glass of India added significantly to the company’s global manufacturing capability. This company operates under the name of Omco HNG Engineering Ltd, and has a modern plant which is equipped with the latest CNC machines and foundry equipment. Industry Europe 133
In addition, the company has also made significant investments in new technology at its Romanian, Croatian and UK production sites in order to meet the growing demand for energy-efficient, recyclable glass containers. As well as saving energy costs, Omco is also able to manufacture its precision moulds with unparalleled speed and efficiency. The company’s Individual Sector (IS) is capable of producing more than 600 hollow glass products per minute from a single mould, and each mould has the ability to manufacture up to one million glass containers. Omco also
applies a special nickel coating to protect the edges of each mould, thereby ensuring that there is no break-away.
Diverse market segments Omco has seen exceptional growth of more than 20 per cent per annum in the last few years despite the global economic downturn. This has been attributed not to a major increase in volumes of products manufactured, but through achieving a better focus on serving its individual market sectors, which includes shorter, low and ultra-low series that
employ more complex casting and special composite alloys. One of the company’s biggest market sectors is the automotive industry where the focus is on glass moulds and metalbased products. However, the company also delivers special alloys and castings tailored to satisfy the direct needs of key customers in other sectors of industry, such as agriculture, earthwork machinery, pumps and incinerators. Omco consistently looks to the world markets to identify new industry trends and consumer needs and it responds to these with tailorn made, optimal solutions.
DSB Twinhead NG XM thin-cutting band saw
A NICHE MARKET LEADER The Austria-based Wintersteiger AG comprises a number of business units producing machines and related accessories as diverse as ski service, agriculture, wood processing and levelling. It has been able to maintain its leading position thanks to its decision to position itself as a highly specialised niche supplier to all the sectors it serves. Victoria Hattersley reports.
riginally established in 1953 as a producer of agricultural machines, Wintersteiger has grown through the years among others also via a number of strategic acquisitions in several different sectors. The common thread linking them together, as we shall see, is that for each sector the group focuses on providing specialised, individual machine solutions for niche markets as opposed to mass production. Headquartered in Ried, Austria, the Wintersteiger Group today comprises 20 different subsidiaries worldwide across five
Easystore Flex rental, depot and drying systems
key business areas – Seedmech (Agriculture), Sports (Ski service & Rental Solutions); Woodtech (Wood Processing); Levelling (Kohler Maschinenbau GmbH) and Plant Solutions (VAP Gruber Automations GmbH). These subsidiaries are spread across Europe (including Russia), North and South America and the Far East. Altogether it employs 850 people, with the majority of these (550) located at its headquarters. Constant innovation is the watchword for Wintersteiger. Each year it invests more than
Mercury fully automated ski service station
7 per cent of its turnover in R&D and aims to introduce a brand new product for one of its business areas every year. This year, as we shall see below, it was the turn of its business unit Sports with its new ‘Omega’ product line. According to CEO Reiner Thalacker: “We have a ‘patent road map’ to help us decide when each new product will be completed and released. To aid this, we have more than 100 engineers across the group working to keep our product development and launch plans to schedule.”
CEO Dipl.-Ing. Reiner Thalacker
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Assembly of harvesters
Strong agricultural tradition Wintersteiger’s agricultural business unit, Seedmech, concentrates on the production of harvesters and planters for agricultural field research purposes. According to Mr Thalacker: “Our specialist agricultural machines are not mass-produced for normal farmers but are for plant breeding researchers such as government organisations, universities and international companies, who are working to improve the efficiency of food production worldwide.” For example, using state-of-the-art CAD systems the company’s engineers at Ried might be working on machines which offer more efficient ways to plant or harvest corn. It produces machines for cereals, maize, green fodders such as clover, and rice. This is perhaps the biggest growing market for Wintersteiger today because of the growing importance of bioenergy, or the pressing need to produce more food on a global scale.
Growth in sporting products Wintersteiger’s Sports business unit is another very important area for growth. Here it offers a diverse range of products mainly for the winter sports market. These include manual and fully automated machines for the repair and servicing of skis and snowboards, as well as special
Assembly of ski grinding machines
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race service machines for professional applications, related accessories and spare parts. Alongside this is its range of complete rental, depot and POS solutions including all the necessary software, storage and lockers needed for both individual and large-scale use. It was within this business area that Wintersteiger achieved one of its most highprofile contract wins in recent years, for the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. According to Mr Thalacker: “Over the past three years this contract has earned us five million euros. We supplied absolutely all the key machinery for Sochi, such as ski service and rental systems, lockers and anything else that was needed.” When asked how Wintersteiger managed to secure this prestigious contract over so many of its competitors, its CEO explains: “We are the global leader in this niche so we can offer complete solutions, from machines to software and rental systems, all from one place. This is highly attractive for clients. As an example: for ski rental you need racks for storage, software, lockers, driers and so on. Then you need the corresponding after sales service after the ski service machinery has been installed. All of this we were able to do. In addition, the fact that we already have a subsidiary in Russia also worked in our favour.”
The start of 2014 saw the introduction of a brand new product line, ‘Omega’. Launched at the ISPO trade show, this is a new ‘family’ of stone and belt grinding machines for manual ski servicing. The most significant feature of this new product line is that it gives clients the flexibility to order a machine according to their precise needs. “It is this flexibility factor,” says Mr Thalacker, “that makes it different to everything else on the market and we have already had great feedback from it.” In fact, the year 2013 saw the highest turnover yet for the group’s Sports business unit thanks to the sale of a record number of ski service automats. This is only set to grow as Wintersteiger continues to diversify its interests in this highly lucrative market. For example, in 2011 it acquired the company Bootdoc, which offers insoles and compression socks for sports shoes. This was followed in 2013 by the purchase of Hotronic – a producer of foot warmers and drying systems for feet and boots. Both of these companies are part of the group’s Sports products area. And what was the strategic reason behind these purchases? Mr Thalacker says: “Both these companies complement our existing winter sports business area but may ultimately help us to move away from
Dynamic Disc precision planter
winter sports to summer sporting areas as well. There is also the possibility of expanding more in the sporting consumer accessories market in the future.”
New addition to wood processing family Woodtech is Wintersteiger’s wood processing arm, and produces a number of thincutting machines, saw blades, customised
process solutions as well as wear parts. An important step forward for this business area came in 2012 with the purchase of the company VAP Gruber Automations GmbH, which allowed it to add a new line of products to its wood portfolio – Timber Repair & Cosmetics (TRC). These machines are used for repairing holes and other imperfections in wood floors.
Delta plot harvester
The CEO talks about the importance of this purchase: “There is a quite a lot of potential for TRC. Without this kind of technology you need very skilled people to perform the task of wood floor repair so it’s usually done by hand. We can now offer automatic machinery for this so it’s an area in which we expect to see growing demand.”
TRC 3000+ fully automated timber repair and cosmetics machine
Investments in levelling The Levelling business area is one of the more recent additions to Wintersteiger’s portfolio. It entered this market through the acquisition of KOHLER Maschinenbau GmbH in 2011 – a company based in Friesenheim in southern Germany. It produces a wide range of levelling technology including strip leveling, part-levelling and drag levelling lines as well as coilers, roller feeds and strip washing machines. KOHLER’s engineers have the long-term know-how to design and build machines according to the most exacting customer demands. For example, it recently won the largest order in the history of the Wintersteiger Group so far when it was contracted by ThyssenKrupp in Duisburg to install a 110m strip levelling plant at a cost of 9 million euros. In order to increase its ability to meet
such significant orders in the future, Wintersteiger is currently in the process of building a new KOHLER plant at Lahr in Germany, expected to be operational by Autumn this year (2014). The building site is on an area of 50,000 square metres and the plant itself will cover 10,000 square metres.
What next for Wintersteiger? Wintersteiger’s products can currently be found in over 130 countries throughout the world, although the importance of each of these in terms of sales varies according to each business unit. For example, for the Sports sector the European and US markets are vital because of the large number of skiing areas. In terms of Seedmech, the US is key because this is where the largest percentage of the food research is carried
out. More generally, in terms of geographical expansion, the group sees China, Russia, Brazil and India as being the markets offering the strongest prospects moving forward. In conclusion, Mr Thalacker highlights where Wintersteiger’s future growth is likely to come from, and how the group will continue to maintain its strong position across all the sectors it serves: “We are privately owned and the owner’s intention is that the company should grow both internally and through further acquisitions when it makes sense for us to do so. The fact that we do small series production for special niche markets is key to our success: we are a special machine producer and don’t try to compete with the mass producers. We offer our clients individual solutions tailored to their needs, and n we will continue to do so.”
WINTERSTEIGER Headquarters, Ried im Innkreis
139 Industry Europe
MAKING IT COUNT Data Detection Technologies develops, manufactures and distributes equipment for counting, filling and packaging of various objects such as seeds, diamonds and gems, electronic parts, capsules and tablets.
New Generation of Research Seed counter (SEED Count R-25 PLUS)
Presenting the seed counting machines at the ISF Congress, Bejing, China
Data Detection Technologies nothing counts quite as much as speed and accuracy. The hi-tech company is a pioneer in the technology of bulk counting, explains chief technology officer and founding member Yuval Lichi. For more than 12 years the Israel-based operation is leading the way in solutions for advanced counting and packaging. Following a major breakthrough resulting in a highly accurate solution for bulk counting as fast as weighing, its equipment is now demanded by some of the best-known names in the diamond, seed and pharmaceutical industries. “We are a high technology company that has brought together experts in electro-optics, electronics, software and mechanical engineering,” he explains. “We are able to design
Yuval Lichi - Chief Technology Officer, DATA
Visiting Customers in Europe (Enza Zaden)
from scratch and to offer a complete solution because we cover all these fields in-house. “We develop our software ourselves, making sure all our processes are clear and our systems are user friendly. At the same time we offer high speed and accuracy. As a result of our hard work we have over 1,000 customers worldwide, either through direct sales or valued partners.
therefore, we had two choices – we could separate them and count them one by one or we could come up with an innovation for counting them all together.” The innovative solution the team came up with is based upon rapid real-time image processing of multiple objects as they fall. These breakthrough technologies enabled 100 per cent accurate and reliable bulk counting and packaging of object as small as 0.3 mm up to 25 mm without the need of tooling and in rates that are close to weighing. “This was a major breakthrough – for the first time thousands of small objects could be counted in bulk at very high speeds,” he adds.
A shining example Data Detection Technologies was formed in 2002 to develop products primarily for the diamond industry. “There were often problems when dealing with diamonds in bulk, problems with overfill and diamonds sticking together. Counting machines that counted the diamonds one by one were just too slow" says Mr Lichi. “For us to come up with a solution,
Seeds of thought Initially, Data Detection Technologies worked with the major players in the diamond industry in India but with the economic changes of
Yuval Lichi & Sorin Nucham presenting pharma machine at the Interpack 2014
Gil Rosenfeld - Chief Commercial Officer, DATA
2008 there was a slow down and the company decided to turn its attentions elsewhere. “We began to focus on the vegetable seed industry, which was interesting as there were many of the same problems with counting, especially when it came to hybrid seeds, which were very expensive. We realised it could be a very promising & exciting market for us.” Further investment was made in research and development and after two years the company had a concept that could be integrated into production and packaging lines.
Going global The equipment resulted in increased yield and cost reduction by eliminating the overfilled items often added when measuring by weight or volume. It also led to configuration time and delivery time reductions and
enhanced process management, as the seed counters were developed to record all packaging data. “We are leading in the market since then. We have collaborated with Wintersteiger over the Seed Research Plus and our customers are now based across Europe and the US, and include all the leading operators in the industry, such as Syngenta and Monsanto.” Wintersteiger is a global leader in the production of machines for agricultural field research and has a world-wide distribution network. Data Detection Technologies’ counting machines are available through Wintersteiger’s global network of sales offices and agents.
Universal solutions While existing solutions are constantly being upgraded, research and development is
ongoing searching out other markets where speed and accuracy in counting are essential. The pharmaceutical industry has therefore also been an area of intense interest. “When counting tablets and capsules it is obviously essential to approach 100 per cent accuracy,” Mr Lichi points out. “This is a field in which we expect to see significant growth in the future.” He continues: “We feel the next step will be to create a solution for the universal market, something that can count all sorts of small parts, where quality control is also essential. This is something that could happen soon. “In fact, I believe that by the end of 2015 we will be bringing something very exciting to the market – something that will offer a breakthrough to other industries requiring n accuracy and speed in counting.”
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