Industry Europe – Issue 27.3

Page 1

Volume 27/3 – 2017

Steel maker Feralpi expands in new markets New Czech facility for Molnlycke Diversification powers growth at MVM OVIt

Fully-electric and hybrid vehicles on the rise



OPINION

PETERMERCER

|

On the move The migrant crisis is back in the news. Europe may not have long to find a solution.

‘WE

can do this’ (‘Wir schaffen das’) said Angela Merkel as she threw open the doors of Germany to more than one million migrants (probably far more) in August 2015. Maybe some of her countrymen were not so sure; maybe some worried that as a British Foreign Minister had said 60 years before (of Europe’s first attempt to break down borders with the Coal and Steel Community) it was to risk opening ‘a Pandora’s box full of Trojan horses’. Or maybe they don’t do mixed metaphors in Germany. Anyway the box is open again and the Trojan horses are back, this time in the ports of southern Italy, as ships from the EU’s Frontex force, the Italian coastguard and assorted charities offload thousands of migrants from Africa. Over just two days recently more than 12,000 came ashore. They joined more than 80,000 so far in 2017 and at least 200,000 are expected by the year’s end. Probably far more. And this time the message from Italy is clear – ‘We can’t do this’. Italy’s interior minister has said that the country is ‘under enormous pressure’ and might have to close its ports to charity ships saving migrants from the Mediterranean unless other EU states take some of the burden. That would mean landing some of the boat loads in Marseilles or Barcelona instead. So far France and Spain have shown little enthusiasm for that idea. Indeed the French are already using dogs and drones to deter migrants trying to slip across the Italian border and Austria is deploying armoured cars at the Brenner Pass. Of course, it was Italy that felt the first impact of the huge surge in refugee and migrant numbers that began in 2011. Hundreds of thousands passed though the island of Lampedusa and many more through Sicily and Malta, most to be quietly

assisted to move on to northern Europe. The pressure eased only when the great migration of 2015 began through the Balkan routes from Greece to Germany, Austria, Denmark and Sweden. Now, after the EU’s deal with Turkey to block that flow, the boats are back. And this time they don’t even have to try to make it to Italy. An armada of vessels from self-appointed rescue organisations (some estimates put the number at nearly 30) are patrolling off Libyan waters to try to save as many people as possible from disaster. But the obvious problem is that these efforts make it much easier for the immigrant smugglers of Libya – they don’t even have to sell their desperate clients a reasonable chance of surviving the voyage to Europe. They can stuff them into any old boat and assure them that they will be picked up in a few hours by the rescue ships while the smugglers head back to shore for the next load. Except, of course, for the ones who drown. There is much outrage in Europe at the suffering of so many being exploited for profit but, short of laying on free ferries for anyone who wants to come, what are the Italians supposed to do about it? In fact there is talk already about seizing the charity ships for aiding and abetting illegal immigration.

Demographic explosion But in fact everyone knows that the essential problem is not how to interrupt the supply (the people smugglers and their wellmeaning charity accomplices) but what to do about the demand. Because the demand is endless. The numbers for population growth in sub-Saharan Africa say it all. Nigeria’s population is expected to grow from the current 187 million to more than 300 million by 2050, making it the third most populous

country in the world. In the Republic of Congo the projected growth is from 80 million to 214 million; in Ethiopia it is from 100 million to 168 million; in Tanzania it is from 54 million to 134 million and for Uganda it is from 36 million to 101 million. That is around 460 million more people in countries that can hardly support the number they have now. Where are they all supposed to go? The obvious answer is where they are already going. But while there may be politicians and even people in Europe who believe it to be our duty to humanity to welcome the wretched of the earth (or those just hoping for a better life), that Europe can be a home for the world, it is not a view commonly shared by most Europeans. Or by China or Russia or Japan or India or the fabulously rich Gulf states. Or indeed by the peoples of central Europe – the Czechs had no appetite even for sharing a country with the Slovaks. Europe may be congratulating itself that it has seen off the ‘populists’ in recent elections, particularly with Macron’s victory over Le Pen, but the threat to political stability of continued immigration has not gone away. Maybe not everyone in France has read ‘le Grand Remplacement’ or not many outside Germany are familiar with ‘Deutschland schafft sich ab’ (Germany is Abolishing Itself) but the problems of cultural identity are in plain sight in the streets of every city from Palermo to Stockholm. Italy’s Northern League is warning that ‘the invasion of illegal immigrants is becoming epochal’. And, clearly, that goes not just for Italy. If Europe does not find an answer to this problem – and so far it has not the beginnings of an answer – it may find itself facing the gravest crisis since millions of its people were displaced after 1945. And, thanks for the suggestion, Mr Trump, n but it’s going to take more than a wall. Industry Europe 1


CONTENTS Editor Peter Mercer

Production Manager Tania Balderson

Deputy Editor Victoria Hattersley

Copy Manager Andrew Briggs

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

Administration Amber Dawson Kayleigh Harvey Advertising Manager Stephen Moore Massimo Ragazzo Sector Managers Matthew Howe Milada Preslova Anna Dudek Eniko Kovacs Marc Lewis Michael Hudson Oliver Clements Szidonia Hajdu

Art Director Gareth Harrey Art Editor Rob Czerwinski Designer Leon Esterhuizen IT Support Syed Hassan

Comment 1 Opinion On the move 5 Bill Jamieson Euro zone: Just how robust is the recovery?

Automotive Industry 6 Electric shock time is set for 2019 Volvo calls time on

petrol and diesel cars

9 12

Automotive news The latest from the industry France leads the way in automotive robotics The IFR’s World Robotics Report 2016

News 14 Winning business New orders and contracts 16 Linking up Combining strengths 18 Moving on Relocations and expansions 19 Industry people Appointments 20 Technology spotlight Advances in technology 21 Notice board New products and processes

Reports 22 23

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

Swissmem

Industry Europe

24 28 32 38

Alkmaar House, Alkmaar Way, Norwich, Norfolk, NR6 6BF, United Kingdom

Automation & Robotics

Tel: +44 (0)1603 414444 Fax: +44 (0)1603 779850 Email: photos@industryeurope.net adcopy@industryeurope.net Web: www.industryeurope.net

Brevetti Stendalto

50 54 56

Sparking success BRISK Tábor Raw Material Selection for UV/LED RAHN Changing the world through innovation

Schneider Electric

42 46

Strength in unity Swissmen Quality tested AESA Think about your kitchen... Franke Future-proof water systems Franke Water Systems

Continued international growth Aweta Cable chains for dynamic applications

60 Over a century of expertise TOS VARNSDORF © Industry Europe 2017 No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form for any purpose, other than short sections for the purpose of review, without prior consent of the publisher. INDUSTRY EUROPE LTD.

A Square Root Company

2 Industry Europe

Automotive & Heavy Vehicles 64 68 72 76 80 84

Surpassing expectations Dacia Performance plus Daimler In full gear EKOVA ELECTRIC Harvesting success Linamar Corporation A cause for celebration Officine Vica Sequential, customised success

Schwarzmeuller Group

88

Painting a greener future Geico


VOL 27/3

Above: Hungerit p114

Construction & Engineering 91 94

A single supplier for end-to-end ceramic production SITI B&T Group Combining success and sustainabilty Çimsa

Energy & Utilities 98 Excellent transmission MVM OVIT 103 Gas under control Spectron 106 Pioneering higher energy-yield technology

Woodward Kempen

110 Global valve specialists Vexve

Above: AESA p28 Below: BRISK Tábor p50

Food & Beverage 114 Perfecting poultry processing Hungerit

Above: Çimsa p94 Below: KCM 2000 Group p138

Home Electronics, Appliances & HVAC 118 Firm foundations for progress NOSKE-KAESER 122 Innovation in refrigeration Vestfrost

Metals, Metalworking & Mining 126 Investing to grow Forgital Group 130 Shaping stainless steel Inoxforma 134 Precision tooling WEISSER 138 Combined strengths KCM 2000 Group 142 Metal masters Omco Metals 146 Combing strengths Sitem 150 The steel specialists Rubiera Special Steel 152 Caring and growing Feralpi Group

Paper, Packaging & Printing 159 The forest family Sodra 162 Innovation at its core Sonoco Alcore

Above: Feralpi Group p152 Below: Lumene p176

Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Above: Dacia p64 Below: Geico p88

164 Major investment in advanced healthcare performance Mölnlycke

Textiles, Home & Personal Care 173 Looking ahead Drylock Technologies 176 Nordic radiance Lumene 180 Flexible and innovative Chemosvit

Also in this issue… 184 World’s first fitness-tracking technology Jabra 188 One step ahead Lloyd 192 Building on advanced construction technology Sika Group 196 Resounding success GN ReSound Industry Europe 3


COMMENT

BILLJAMIESON

|

Executive Editor of The Scotsman

Eurozone: Just how robust is the recovery? Suddenly the eurozone clouds have parted and blue skies are above. Or are they?

IT

was less than three years ago that a bleak front cover of The Economist magazine proclaimed: ‘Eurozone: The world’s biggest economic problem’. But how times have changed. Earlier this summer the OECD forecast that growth in the eurozone would hit 1.75 per cent this year and next – not that impressive by global standards but a marked improvement for a regional bloc that has struggled to show growth much above one per cent for years. The OECD says domestic demand would continue to lead the recovery, benefiting from accommodative monetary policy and, more recently, from signs of mildly expansionary fiscal policy. Exports are projected to strengthen, but at a moderate pace, in line with global growth. Unemployment will keep falling, but will remain high at around nine per cent. Inflation will pick up on the back of higher energy prices and narrowing slack, but will remain below the ECB target. Further evidence of the more upbeat tone on prospects were bullish comments from Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank. He expressed tentative confidence in meeting its inflation target, sparking what was quickly dubbed a ‘minitaper tantrum’ over the prospect of the ECB taking away two years of extraordinary stimulus measures. That the euro bloc is growing again – and meriting signals of an end to the bank’s emergency support measures – is a remarkable turnaround. But the big question now is how robust and sustainable this upturn will prove. Has the 19-nation bloc permanently turned a corner? Unemployment across the eurozone has already fallen below 10 per cent this year to 9.3 per cent – the first time it has been below 10 per cent since the 2008–09 crisis. Nor has the recovery been restricted to the traditionally stronger northern economies. Spain 4 Industry Europe

and Portugal — two of the hardest-hit countries — have experienced a sharp fall in unemployment since the low point of the region’s financial crisis and the traumas in Greece that threatened to break up the single currency.

Part-time jobs But according to the Financial Times Frankfurt correspondent Claire Jones and other staffers around continental capitals, big question marks persist about the strength of the upturn and the quality of the jobs being created. “Wage growth remains poor, even in

“The ECB seems to think the problems in the labour market are temporary. But it’s all a matter of definition.” stronger economies such as Germany. There is evidence of high rates of under-employment, with many part-time employees wanting to work far more hours than they are given. And much of the work being created remains precarious, with temporary contracts the norm in many member states.” The report cited some experts as saying the jobs crisis has gone on for so long that many would-be workers have given up and left the labour market for good. And while policymakers at the ECB have welcomed signs of a jobs recovery, concerns remain about the sluggish nature of the rise in wages — a key indicator of whether the economy is strong enough for them to begin winding down those extraordinary stimulus measures. Even the ECB’s Mario Draghi has fessed up to doubts. “There is definitely a very significant increase in [the size of] the labour force,” he said last month. “At the same time, we have evidence that many of these new jobs are so-called ‘low-quality’ jobs.

We’re talking about temporary employment, we’re talking about part-time employment.” Economists at the bank recently came up with a way to gauge underemployment, which includes part-time workers who would like more hours and those who have left the labour market altogether. By this measure, the FT reported, the rate of underemployment is as much as 18 per cent, or almost double the official unemployment rate. The prevailing view for now at the ECB is that the damage inflicted by the financial crisis and its long aftermath will be made good and that the jobs market will further strengthen over time. But that is conditional on various factors such as strengthening global growth, no disruption to EU-US trade, and eurozone trade unions exercising a massive degree of patience. And the upbeat mood is especially contingent on France’s new president, the 39-year-old former investment banker Emmanuel Macron. The hope is that, after all the lofty rhetoric, he can succeed in driving through labour market reforms that have eluded previous presidents for decades. France is the eurozone’s second largest economy but is burdened by persistent high unemployment. And the country’s powerful unions have maintained a truculent opposition to previous labour market reform attempts. For now a more confident tone is evident, both in France and across the eurozone. But economic performance needs more than sentiment. Not all believe it will be that easy. Carsten Brzeski, an economist at ING-DiBa, is among those who doubt here will be a rapid recovery. “The ECB seems to think the problems in the labour market are temporary. But it’s all a matter of definition. “Temporary problems could remain temporary for quite a while,” he adds. UK observers n will find that all too painfully familiar.


Industry Europe 5


Plug-in power: Volvo’s T8 chassis adds electric power to combustion engine

Electric shock

time is set for 2019 Volvo’s recent announcement that it would no longer launch diesel- and petrol-only models came as a surprise to the auto industry, a business that rarely delivers the totally unexpected. Tony Lewin looks at the implications for the sector.

T

he effect of Volvo’s decision is to call time on petrol and diesel as automotive fuels and to mark out a glidepath towards fully carbon-neutral electric and hydrogen power by the middle of the century. The development was given added impetus when France’s new environment minister expressed the intention of weaning French motorists off these liquid fuels by 2040. In practice, at least as far as Volvo is concerned, the move means that from 2019 every Volvo will be electrified in some way – either as a pure battery model, or a hybrid with either a petrol or diesel main engine. Full details of how much electric range will be on offer have not yet been given, but with even the mildest of the hybrids operating with the new 48-volt technology, useful electric autonomy can be expected. 6 Industry Europe

The likelihood, then, is that from 2019 the Volvo brand will see a steadily declining proportion of petrol and diesel hybrids in its sales mix as battery and pure-electric technology improves and more customers come on board. In parallel, the Swedish company is re-purposing its Polestar performance sub-brand as a standalone marque for pure electric cars – a clear move to counter the all-electric success story of California’s Tesla, and evidence that Volvo has a clear view of which way the market is shifting. Five fully-electric models will be launched by 2021, three under the Volvo label and two as high-performance Polestar designs. “This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” said Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson. “Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a

total of 1m electrified cars by 2025. When we said it we meant it. This is how we are going to do it.” Other leading groups are converging on a consensus expectation that by 2025 one quarter of all production will be electric, though definitions of what constitutes electric do vary from brand to brand and past predictions have often been wide of the mark. But whatever the eventual figure, it is clear that with today’s electric share still below 1 per cent a major shake-up is in the offing – not just in the industry’s own engineering supply chain but also on the retailing side. There could, for instance, be major opportunities for other activities such as shopping, sport and cinema- and theatregoing to be linked in to the recharging of customers’ electric cars.


Volvo XC60: best-selling candidate for electric power

Volvo’s pioneering move must be a wake-up call to the rest of the industry, at least in the mature markets of Europe, North America and eastern Asia. Despite the outpourings of President Trump, climate change is a deadly serious issue, denial is no longer a valid response, and automakers must begin engineering electric power into their future product plans right now.

Volkswagen’s alternative route The giant Volkswagen group has also been propelled into electric territory, but by an altogether more powerful and more malign force – the after-shock of the diesel emissions scandal that erupted in September 2015. This, too, came as a complete surprise even to the canniest of corporate insiders: the industry’s biggest and most technically respected player suddenly exposed as a cheater and a manipulator. Now VW and its associated marques are downplaying diesel as a future solution and talking up the prospects of a broad range of electric – and electrified – models, all the way from Skoda and SEAT to Bentley. On a broader level the VW diesel emissions scandal lifted the lid – in Europe, at least – on another problem that had been bubbling under for many years. In industry circles it had been privately acknowledged for some while that almost every new car was failing to perform as cleanly on the open road as in the officially sanctioned lab-based emissions tests. This affected almost every brand and model and came as a major shock to the buying public once the scale of the deficit became clear.

The effect was two-fold and immediate: firstly, public trust collapsed in the supposedly objective vehicle testing regime and suspicions of collusion between automakers and testing authorities began to circulate; secondly, the shockingly high nitrogen oxide emissions figures revealed for diesels (though, ironically, not for recent VWs) prompted a wholesale reevaluation of how we power our cars. Diesel, once the miraculous solution that would save our climate, was suddenly branded the bad guy, cities rushed into banning diesels, and the normally around 50/50 split between diesel and petrol has swung significantly in favour of the latter. Citroen’s CEO, Linda Jackson, recently conceded that her brand’s diesels had plunged from 70 per cent of sales in 2013 to just 50 per cent now.

Which is the way ahead? While Citroen’s issue of falling diesel sales is, in common with most other brands, relatively easily addressed on an industrial level by stepping up the production of petrol engines, that is at best only a stop-gap strategy. Petrol engines are some 20 per cent less efficient than diesel, knocking a large hole in automakers’ carefully crafted strategies to hit the tough legislative targets for corporate average CO2 emissions beyond 2020–21; breach of these targets will result in massive fines that are related to each brand’s total output, thus hitting the biggest producers hardest. Automakers are in a bind: improve corporate average CO2 performance, fast, or face the bank-busting fines. Yet petrol engines on

their own are unlikely to provide the necessary quantum jumps in efficiency in the next decade: small improvements, such as the variable compression ratio of Infiniti’s VC-T engine, may help, but they won’t be game changers. Diesels, already out of favour, can be made a lot cleaner but will burdened by the very high cost of emission-control equipment – something which would constitute a prohibitively high proportion of the cost on big-selling small cars, though more feasible on premium models and larger SUVs. Either way, though, none of these foreseeable developments will be the ‘get out of jail free’ card that the big automakers have been hoping for. Only one solution presents itself: sell enough zero-emission and near-zero emission models to compensate for the missing diesels and bring down corporate average CO2 emissions to the legislated values. And that, as we have already seen, means large numbers of electric and hybrid vehicles. And these, in turn, mean large-scale reorganisation of the established manufacturing and supply chain base, as well as in transitioning from a refuelling to a recharging infrastructure. It promises to be the biggest upheaval the car industry has ever seen – and it is about to begin.

Who’s best placed in the new energy race? China, already the largest car market in the world, has also become the biggest buyer of electric and hybrid models thanks to its aggressive promotion of so-called New Energy vehicles – a useful blanket term covIndustry Europe 7


Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson: from 2019 all Volvos will be electrified

ering plug-in hybrids, pure electric vehicles and fuel cell models. Following Nissan’s trail-blazing Leaf, the world’s first volume production battery-electric car in 2009, landmarks in electric car popularisation have included the Tesla Model S, the BMW i3 and Renault Zoe; Volkswagen has all-electric versions of its Golf and Up, and in the US General Motors has caused a stir with its Bolt EV, again a pure electric. Inexorably, however, the centre of gravity of most things electric is beginning to shift to China, as symbolised by another Volvo announcement, that it will launch its electric car production through its Chinese facilities. Indeed, several fledgling Chinese companies have been showing highly ambitious battery powered prototypes on the international exhibition circuit, though the hyperbole of their promoters has yet to translate into on-the-road reality. But while western commentators are tempted to scoff at the extravagant claims of these China-inspired hopefuls, it would be unwise to bet against them in the long run. For the moment, however, and narrowing the focus to a European perspective, it is the Renault Nissan partnership that has made most of the initial running and which enjoys the greatest public awareness of its electric models. Nevertheless, it could be the mammoth Volkswagen combine which stands to grab the lion’s share of the market thanks to its carefully planned modular components strategy – a system of construction which allows almost any combination of engine (diesel, petrol, hybrid, electric) to be installed in a wide range of models simply and economically. In this way, Volkswagen 8 Industry Europe

Volkswagen Golf: will be supplemented in 2019 with the all-electric I.D. hatchback

has the potential to flood the market with vehicles for all possible requirements, and its modular systems even extend into the automotive stratosphere in the shape of Bentleys, Porsches and top-line Audis. In common with its German premium competitors, Volkswagen has taken the precaution of establishing a sub-brand, I.D., for its new-wave electric models; several concept models, including a Golf-sized hatchback and two studies for a Microbus-type leisure van, have already been displayed at motor shows, and the first production model is set for 2020. For Audi, the electric appellation is e-tron, with a launch model due in 2019, while Mercedes-Benz’s EQ series of dedicated vehicles, also previewed with a 2016 show concept, will reach production within a similar timeframe. BMW is of course already established with its i3 hatchback and i8 sports car: its big bet will be an ambitious all-new electric model in 2021, provisionally labelled iNext. This model is tipped as a big leap forward, not just in terms of its carbon-neutral powertrain but also in advancing another major trend, the move towards partial and eventually total autonomous operation. In the meantime, however, it could be Jaguar that is first to market with a new type of car – a fully-electric, medium-sized i-Pace crossover that is both sporty and fashionable in an urban style. Even Aston Martin has confirmed plans for a production electric luxury sports saloon, the RapidE.

Driving – and charging – range extended What all of the above models will be sure to offer is sufficient battery capacity to provide

a driving range of around 500km or 300 miles: this is widely seen as the minimum figure necessary to pull in a broad range of buyers. But some engineers contend that more powerful charging systems will make costly long-range batteries superfluous. If drivers can add 60 miles’ worth of range in a charging session of just five minutes, long waits at the charging station may become a thing of the past and the extra weight and expense of a very large battery may no longer be required. Improvements in the convenience as well as the speed of recharging are also on the way. Messy cables are awkward to hook up and store away again, so engineers are looking at inductive charging where the vehicle parks over the charging plate and the current is transferred through a magnetic field. This is already being trialled on electric buses, allowing opportunistic recharging at bus stops as passengers enter and leave the vehicle. Renault is even taking the idea as step further and experimenting with mobile recharging: the car drives along a special section of road fitted with inductive loops and picks up charge as it travels. The recharging road opens up major possibilities that could dramatically boost the case for electric vehicles. Yet it will be some while before they become the dominant force on our roads: the next decade will see a three-way struggle between efficient standard hybrids, plug-in hybrids with lower CO2 emissions, and battery electric models offering true zeroCO2 performance. Who will emerge on top will depend as much on the shape of future legislation as on the skills of the engineers who n put the cars together.


NEWS

New developments in the Automotive industry

INDUSTRYNEWS

Audi and Johannes Kepler University of Linz to establish centre for artificial intelligence

A

udi and the Johannes Kepler University of Linz (JKU) are to conduct joint research into the intelligent car of the future. For this purpose, the university and the brand with the Four Rings will now establish the ‘Audi.JKU deep learning centre’ in Linz. Through cooperation with the Institute for Bioinformatics headed by Prof. Sepp Hochreiter, Audi plans to promote the use of artificial intelligence in automobiles. Prof. Sepp Hochreiter is one of Europe’s leading experts in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). He has made major contributions with fundamental research into deeplearning technologies – a methodology that is based on the learning processes of the human brain. The long short-term memory (LSTM) that he developed is used for speech recognition software in all smartphones all over the world. Hochreiter’s Institute for Bioinformatics at the Johannes Kepler University of Linz (JKU) has long been held in high regard by AI experts. “The application of AI has enormous potential for self driving cars, not just for speech recognition, but even for predicting passengers’ intentions and needs, and reacting to them,” stated Prof. Sepp Hochreiter. “Thanks to LSTM networks, drivers in the future will feel safer in their cars than in their own living rooms.” Visit: www.audi.com

Porsche invests in Israel

P

orsche is establishing an ‘innovation office’ in Israel. By setting up the office in Tel Aviv, the German sports car manufacturer intends to guarantee access to technology trends and talent. As the first step, Porsche has invested an eight-figure sum in the Magma and Grove venture capital funds. Further investments in start-ups and funds are planned. “Israel is a key market for IT experts and engineers. It has more start-ups per capita than any other country in the world. This talent and technological know-how coupled with the great expertise offered by our employees creates the ideal breeding ground for future business models,” says Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chair-

man of the Executive Board and Member of the Executive Board for Finance and IT at Porsche. He adds that close collaboration with Israeli experts is necessary so that the company can quickly assess new technologies, develop good relationships and pilot appropriate solutions. Visit: www.porsche.com

Henkel partners with Fiat Chrysler to improve material performance on Alfa Romeo’s Giulia

to the processes applied in body and paint shops. Lighter car bodies manufactured from mixed steel and lighter metals like aluminum are requiring new approaches to surface treatments. The new processes are providing car makers not only with the opportunity to use lighter metal structures, but are themselves using materials that are lighter than previous generations of treatment products.

H

enkel and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) are closely cooperating in the development of ground-breaking new treatment processes applied to the latest version of the Alfa Romeo Giulia. Weight reduction in car bodies is causing significant changes

Volvo Cars to start assembly operations in India this year V

olvo Cars has announced that it will start vehicle assembly operations in India in 2017. This positions the company for further growth in the fast-expanding premium car segment in India. The assembly operations will be located near Bangalore in southern India and focus on models based on Volvo’s SPA modular vehicle architecture. The first Volvo model to be assembled there is the XC90 premium SUV. Additional models slated for local assembly will be announced at a later stage. “I am pleased that as of this year we will be able to start selling Volvos that are Made in India,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars. “Starting vehicle assembly in India is an important step for Volvo Cars as we aim to grow our sales in this fastgrowing market and double our market share in the premium segment in coming years.” Visit: www.volvocars.com

Processes and procedures are changing significantly as new materials and application technologies are launched. The new Giulia has a body that is 90kg lighter than a comparable all-steel body. This was achieved by the use of light metals in combination with new process materials and application technologies. Visit: www.henkel.com Industry Europe 9


NEWS

New developments in the Automotive industry

Mercedes Benz passenger car plant for Russia

M

ercedes-Benz is starting construction work on a new fully flexible passenger car plant in Russia, where it has hitherto concentrated on commercial vehicle production. “Establishing passenger car production in Russia is a strategic investment in an important sales market for Mercedes-Benz. We are extending our local footprint and, at the same time, strengthening our global competitiveness,” said Markus Schäfer, member of the divisonal board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, during the groundbreaking ceremony. The new passenger car plant in the Moscow region is scheduled to start local production in 2019 beginning with the E-Class Sedan. The SUV models GLE, GLC and GLS will follow subsequently. In total, the company is investing more than €250 million in the location. Production will be managed by the newly founded company Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing RUS (MBMR), headed by Axel Bense. “With the fully flexible production of the E-Class Sedan and the SUV models, we will produce our bestsellers for the regional market at the Moscovia plant. I am convinced that Axel Bense, who has many years of experience in the Russian market, will implement the project very successfully,” Schäfer continued. Visit: www.mercedes-benz.com

ŠKODA delivers 99,000 vehicles to customers in May

Š

KODA’s deliveries increased by 2.4% to 99,000 units in May (May 2016: 96,700 vehicles), making it the best May in the company’s history. The traditional Czech brand made significant gains particularly in Europe and India. ŠKODA promises further growth impetus from the current SUV campaign: The ŠKODA KODIAQ – the brand’s first new SUV model – has been successfully launched on the market; 7500 units were delivered to customers in May. The new compact ŠKODA KAROQ SUV will follow in the fourth quarter of 2017. “ŠKODA continued along the path to success in May,” says Werner Eichhorn, ŠKODA board member for Sales and Marketing. “Despite the challenging market conditions in some regions, we were able to sell more vehicles last month than in any May in our history. We are particularly pleased with the successful market launch of the ŠKODA KODIAQ. The first vehicle of our SUV campaign has been very well received.” Visit: www.skoda-auto.com

A new Magneti Marelli Automotive Lighting plant inaugurated in China

A

utomotive Lighting, the Magneti Marelli division dedicated to car lighting, and Changchun Fudi Equipment Technology Development Co. LTD. (FUDI), a Chinese investment company with activities in the automotive component industry, have inaugurated the new plant of their joint venture Changchun 10 Industry Europe

New Liquid Crystal Display headlight from Hella

IN

the context of the research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) regarding the fully adaptive light distribution for intelligent, efficient and safe vehicle lighting, lighting and electronics expert HELLA has developed and constructed a

Magneti Marelli Automotive Lighting System Co., Ltd, established in December 2015. The plant is located in the Emerging Industrial Park, Economic and Technological Development Zone in Changchun, capital of the province of Jilin, in the north-east of China, and covers an area of 30,00m2, 17,000 of which are dedicated to the production of LED headlights and rear lights.

headlamp on the basis of a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) in collaboration with project partners Merck, Institut für Großflächige Mikroelektronik IGM, Stuttgart University, Porsche, Elmos Semiconductor, Schweizer Electronic, and the University of Paderborn. This technology is for example already known in the home entertainment field. “For the first time, we have integrated Liquid Crystal HD technology in a vehicle. Thanks to its great resolution and sharpness of detail, it opens up very new paths in automotive lighting technology,” says Dr Michael Kleinkes, vice-president Development Lighting & Innovation at HELLA. Overall, the new LCD headlamp projects 30,000 pixels onto the road. This allows adjusting the light pattern in an intelligent and continuous manner to various driving situations in real time. Visit: www.hella.com “The new Changchun plant,” said Pietro Gorlier, CEO of Magneti Marelli, “represents the ideal completion of the wide-ranging footprint of the lighting business in China, also covering the north-east of the country, a strategic region for the automotive industry, where important clients focusing on high technological value are located.” Visit: www.magnetimarelli.com


INDUSTRYNEWS

‘The Great Eight Phantoms’ – new Rolls-Royce exhibition AT

the end of July, ‘The Great Eight Phantoms’, a Rolls-Royce Exhibition, will gather together the greatest Phantoms from the last 92 years in Mayfair, London. The Exhibition will also welcome the next generation of this most celebrated luxury item, the new eighth generation Phantom. In the lead up to the opening of the Exhibition, Rolls-Royce is announcing which Great Phantoms will journey to London from around the world, telling the stories of these motor cars, their fabled owners and the historical events they witnessed. It has already been announced that the Rolls-Royce Phantom III of British Field Marshal Bernard Law Mont-

gomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, will join the Exhibition. The ‘Butler’ Phantom III, which will be present at the Exhibition in London, was Montgomery’s favourite. This particular Phantom was commissioned for Alan Samuel Butler, chairman of the De Havilland Aircraft Company, with bodywork by HJ Mulliner of Chiswick. The ‘Butler’ Phantom III was Montgomery’s main official mode of transport for many years, visiting such eminent addresses as 10 Downing Street, the War Office on Whitehall, the British Prime Minister’s country residence Chequers, and military operations centres such as Northwood in Hertfordshire

and the NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers-Europe in Rocquencourt, France. Visit: www.rolls-royce.com

Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works opens in UK’s original motor city

J

aguar Land Rover Classic Works is an all-new facility in the British Midlands dedicated to offering a range of products and services designed to fuel the passion of owners and enthusiasts for classic Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles. The opening of Classic Works in Coventry is an important milestone in the rapid development of the Jaguar Land Rover Classic brand, which was launched in

March 2016. This is the first purpose-built site for Jaguar Land Rover Classic, which brings all sales, servicing and restoration operations under one roof. The brand’s global expansion continues later this summer with the launch of a new facility at Essen in Germany. Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations managing director, John Edwards, said: “Classic

Works is hugely important to Jaguar Land Rover. It’s much more than a building – it’s the heart, and soul, of Jaguar Land Rover Classic for our clients worldwide. Being able to support owners and enthusiasts of our two great brands with a full suite of services for classic vehicles is a fantastic opportunity.” Visit: www.jaguar.com

Volkswagen to enable vehicles to communicate with each other as of 2019

C

onnectivity between different vehicles as well as between vehicles and transport infrastructure in the vicinity is another important step towards connected motoring that aims to reduce road accidents or minimise their consequences. As from 2019, Volkswagen will therefore start fitting its first models with pWLAN as standard in order to serve as an additional communication technology for the exchange of selected information relevant to traffic between cars made by different manufacturers.

SC Uzavtosanoat and Groupe PSA to produce light commercial vehicles in Uzbekistan

G

roupe PSA and SC Uzavtosanoat have decided to jointly create an equally owned Joint Venture (JV) – Uzbekistan PCA. This partnership aims at building a production plant in the Free Industrial Zone of Jizzakh, located 200km from Tashkent, in Uzbekistan,

to produce Peugeot and Citroën LCVs, for passenger and freight carriage. The Charter capital of the new JV will represent circa €30 million, with equal shareholding. Groupe PSA will provide new technologies, intellectual property, and contribute to the implementation of modern production processes and organisation of training to employees. The plant will operate in accord-

This will involve information being exchanged both between vehicles (car-to-car), as well as between vehicles and the transport infrastructure (car-to-X). This will, for example, enable information about the current traffic situation, accidents and other situations relating to traffic conditions to be shared with the local environment, within a radius of approx. 500m, even faster than has been possible in the past. Visit: www.volkswagen.de ance with the Group’s modern systems in production, quality, purchasing, supply and sales. Furthermore, the joint venture considers at least 50% of parts localisation in the first year of production, by attracting domestic component parts manufacturers – 30 large factories owned by SC Uzavtosanoat and more than 160 small and medium enterprises. Visit: www.groupe-psa.com Industry Europe 11


France leads the way in automotive robotics

The automotive sector is one of the main driving forces modernising the French economy: with a robot density of 940 units per 10,000 workers, France currently ranks 2nd within the European Union, while the UK ranks 10th with 606 units. These are the latest results of the World Robotics Report 2016 published by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

IN

France, investment in machinery and equipment are accelerating at a faster pace than the overall economy. The frontrunners here are the dynamic showcase industries, such as automotive: annual robot sales to the automotive industry as a whole increased by an average of 7 per cent per year between 2010 and 2015. During the same period, the motor vehicle sector ordered on average 6 per cent more robots per year and the demand from automotive parts suppliers increased by 9 per cent. The number of robots installed by the French car industry rose 22 per cent to 1400 units – compared with 700 units in the UK (+ 7 per cent). Since 2010, governmental initiatives to strengthen production in France have resulted in significant investments by the automotive industry. The two French 12 Industry Europe

automotive suppliers, PSA and Renault, will further invest in new car models, energy efficient cars and common platforms, as well as modernising their factories. Both companies have already successfully restructured to ensure increased productivity in order to meet demand. Automotive parts suppliers will benefit from investments by the automotive industry in France as well as from the improving car market in Europe. Automotive companies face up to Brexit It is not unfair to assume that the decision to leave the EU will influence investment decisions by foreign car companies on production sites in the UK. For example, Japanese auto makers such as Toyota, Nissan and Honda export more than three quarters of their vehicles built in Britain, and most of these exports go to other European countries. Were they to have to pay duty on the

shipments of goods, they might decide to move out of the UK. The IFR assumes, however, that the UK government will develop regulations and supporting measures to avoid this. In any case, there are currently frequent announcements on investment plans concerning capacity expansions and modernisation by foreign and local automotive companies. Investments in the general industry sector should also gain momentum: The development of robot installations in the next few years depends on the question of ‘if and when’ these planned projects will actually be implemented in the country. This said, it can be assumed that investments planned by domestic manufacturers will most likely go ahead and that modernisation, as well as a strengthening their overall competitiveness, will continue unabated.


Robots support growth in Europe “The positive impact of robots on European competitiveness and employment can be seen in Germany,” said Joe Gemma, president of the International Federation of Robotics. “The country’s automotive sector, for instance, holds the top position for robot density in Europe, with about 1150 industrial

robots per 10,000 employees. As a result of the ongoing trend to automate production, employment in the German car industry rose by about 93,000 jobs to 813,000 during the period 2010 to 2015.” In France, modernisation and digitalisation of production systems is increasingly likely to involve small and medium enterprises over the

coming years. The country’s main strength lies in industrial software and networking objects which could positively impact the implementation of new production concepts and create scope for employing innovative machinery and equipment, as well as likely creating new opportunities for skilled labour. For more information visit: www.ifr.org

Industry Europe 13


NEWS

New contracts and orders in industry

Serneke signs agreement with Trollhättan Tomt

Kalmar wins order from Ports America Chesapeake

K

S

erneke Construction has signed a contracting agreement with Trollhättan Tomt AB for the Sylteskolan School in Trollhättan. The order is valued at about SEK 485 million. Since September 2016, Serneke Construction has been working in cooperation with municipal property company Trollhättan Tomt AB to prepare systems documentation for the Sylteskolan School project in Trollhättan. This work has now resulted in a final contracting agreement, entailing the order sum from the initial phase of the project being set at about SEK 485 million. “Over the years, Trollhättans Tomt AB and Serneke have had several projects together, and we are extremely proud and inspired to have been entrusted with this coordinated contracting project. It will be a comprehensive and interesting project, in which all involved will contribute substantial commitment, knowledge and cooperation to create something unique for Trollhättan as a whole,” says Christer Larsson, president of Serneke Construction. The project’s implementation period extends until the autumn of 2021. Visit: www.serneke.se

Alimak Group signs new construction order for Canary Wharf

almar, part of Cargotec, has signed a contract with Ports America Chesapeake LLC for the delivery of six Kalmar Rubber Tyred Gantry (RTG) cranes. The cranes will be delivered to Ports America’s Seagirt Marine Terminal in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Ports America is the largest terminal operator and stevedore in the United States, operating in more than 42 ports and 80 locations in North America. Ports America Chesapeake’s Seagirt Marine Terminal is currently handling an annual volume of approximately 800,000 TEU. The delivery includes Kalmar SmartPort process solutions: Kalmar SmartProfile, Kalmar SmartRail, Kalmar SmartStack, and Kalmar SmartFleet. Kalmar SmartProfile uses advanced laser technology to detect collision risks in a stack and automatically stops the trolley when a risk is detected. Kalmar SmartRail automated gantry steering system automatically controls the gantry within centimetre-grade accuracy on the travelling path, improving the terminal’s operational efficiency and ease of use by the operator. Kalmar SmartFleet remote monitoring allows the terminal to troubleshoot and analyse the status and maintenance needs of the equipment. Visit: www.kalmarglobal.com

A

limak Group, market leader in vertical access solutions, has been awarded the contract to provide equipment and services on the flagship 57-story residential skyscraper in the new Wood Wharf development in Canary Wharf, London. The project will run until 2020 with most of the equipment being delivered during 2017. The order includes high performance construction hoists with related services for the vertical access systems during the project. “This is the third large order we have received from the Canary Wharf Group recently in London and we are proud to extend our partnership on this project. The new Wood Wharf development of office and retail space is very exciting and we are very pleased to see a continued interest in our solutions that are built to support safe and reliable vertical access during the construction period,” says Tormod Gunleiksrud, CEO, Alimak Group. Visit: www.alimakgroup.com

CELLINK signs new distribution agreements

C

ELLINK has received an up-front order of SEK 1 million in conjunction with the signing of distribution agreements for the German and Chinese markets. The agreements include distribution of the company’s products in parts of Europe and China. The two will distribute the company’s entire

14 Industry Europe

product range, focusing on the new Bioprinter BIO X and bioink. The distributors have over 15 years of history and are well established in their respective markets. The German distributor, I & L Biosystems GmbH, has branch offices in Germany, England and France, but is also active in large parts of central Europe. Its main customers are pharma companies, cosmetic companies, and research institutes. The

Chinese distributor Labsun GmbH is headquartered in Germany, but sales are conducted on the Chinese market. The distribution agreement with the Chinese company opens for new customers in a yet unexploited market. The agreement with the German distributor will enable rapid expansion in Europe. Visit: www.cellink.com


WINNINGBUSINESS MYCON supplies new snow blasting equipment to WAFA

A

new order from WAFA for MYCON comprised equipment for the pre-treatment of plastic parts before painting. WAFA decided in favour of an automated IceMaster snow blasting equipment from MYCON, which has been built into the existing production line as a flow-through system. During the implementation of this order MYCON was responsible for planning, construction, production and commissioning of the equipment. In particular, the sound insulation guidelines had to be taken into account as they had to be complied with despite the limited available space. Alexander Zeiger, head of WAFA’s part production department, said: “The cooperation with MYCON has absolutely not caused any problems to us. Consulting, planning, execution and commissioning of the plant were carried out exactly according to schedule and within the agreed budget. The equipment meets all our commitments and fulfils all expectations regarding the operating procedure and the cleaning results.” The IceMaster equipment is efficient, costeffective and entirely automated, with operating costs of less than five euros per operating hour including compressed air consumption based on adequate CO2 quantities. Furthermore, the equipment needs no maintenance. Visit: www.mycon.info

thyssenkrupp receives China’s largest TWIN order

t

hyssenkrupp has secured a contract for 41 transportation units, including 8 TWIN elevators, for the Sunshine Insurance Group’s new headquarters in Beijing, China. This is the largest TWIN order the company has received in China. As China’s leading insurance company, Sunshine Insurance is

SMD to build trencher for CCC UE S oil Machine Dynamics (SMD) has signed a contract with Consolidated Contractors Company (Underwater Engineering) for the manufacture and delivery of a hard ground subsea trenching machine. SMD will design and build a BT500 Burial Tractor (500hp) complete with a full power and control system. The trencher is due for delivery to Abu Dhabi in 2018, where it will be used for the installation of power cables and flexible products for the oil and gas industry. This is the first investment in a subsea machine of this kind for CCC UE, who are also said to be looking to increase their capability in the installation market. “SMD have a long history of successful business relationships in the Middle East,” remarked Paul Davison, managing director of SMD trenching, mining and renewables. “We have enjoyed working in this region. Adding a new client like

CCC UE is a strong testament to our reputation as the key supplier of trenching equipment in this area. We are delighted that CCC UE have approached SMD directly for assets and support as they expand their operations.” Visit: www.smd.co.uk

Concentric AB awarded hydraulic systems business

A

leading global manufacturer of heavy trucks has recently nominated Concentric AB to manufacture motor pump units for the steering system on their next generation commercial vehicles. Production commenced during the second quarter of 2017 and is expected to reach mature volumes in 2018, generating annual revenues of approximately SEK 13 million across Europe.

building its 243-metre-high headquarters in Beijing. Space efficiency was the client’s key concern, and thyssenkrupp’s innovative TWIN solution, capable of space savings up to 30%, offered the required space efficiency along with the benefit of separate elevator cars. The TWIN elevator system enables one cab to be parked while the other stays in operation. When passenger volumes are low, no

Concentric’s motor pump units have been introduced on the emergency steering circuit of all of this OEM’s heavy trucks with twin front axle steering. The product has been specifically developed to protect the units against both dust and high-pressure water ingression, which allows them to be mounted on the under carriage of the vehicle without the need for a separate water tight enclosure. The unit can be coupled with a variety of Concentric gear pump types, including the CALMA series pumps with low noise characteristics. “Concentric has continued to deepen relationships with key strategic customers in this end-market sector and we anticipate these relationships to develop further on the next generation of commercial vehicle platforms,” said Oliver Percival, vice-president of Sales. Visit: www.concentricab.com energy is consumed by empty moving cars. Thus, TWIN helps save energy and with two cars in one shaft, and can transport up to 40% more passengers than conventional elevators. In 2017 thyssenkrupp will begin the installation of 8 TWIN elevators, 17 conventional elevators and 16 escalators within the 49-storey building. Visit: www.thyssenkrupp.com Industry Europe 15


NEWS

Combining strengths

UNITED CAPS purchases Dewit Plastics’ Toyota completes acquisition of caps, closures and handles business CAPS, an international producer of innovative caps and closure solutions and a global Vanderlande UNITED industry reference for the design and production of high performance plastic caps and closures, has acquired from Dewit Plastics its caps, closures and handles business. This includes screw, tamper-evident (TE) and child-resistant (CRC) closures as well as handles for large containers. Dewit Plastics will continue operation of its remaining injection moulding and thermoforming businesses. This acquisition expands the range of offerings UNITED CAPS can provide to customers. “We are pleased to be able to expand our already-broad portfolio to include these new product offerings,” said Benoît Henckes, CEO. “Our clients turn to UNITED CAPS for innovative solutions to their closure needs, including bespoke solutions. By adding this new technology and expertise from Dewit Plastics, we better position ourselves as a single source for clients for their caps, closures, and now handles, requirements.” Visit: www.unitedcaps.com

Indorama Ventures becomes sole owner of Trevira GmbH

T

oyota Industries Corporation’s acquisition of Vanderlande – the global market leader for value-added logistic process automation at airports and in the parcel market, as well as being a leading supplier for warehouses – has been completed. Vanderlande is now a part of Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO). The acquisition signifies TICO’s strategic ambition to increase its presence in automated material handling, and it further cements the group’s global leading position for total solutions within the sector. Vanderlande will retain its name and corporate identity, as well as continue its operations as a standalone entity from the same locations worldwide. Toyota Material Handling Europe is the European headquarters of Toyota Material Handling Group, which is part of Toyota Industries Corporation – the global leader in material-handling equipment. It provides businesses of all sizes, in more than 30 European countries, with a full range of counterbalanced forklift trucks, BT warehouse equipment/ services, added-value solutions and innovations. Visit: www.toyota-forklifts.eu

L

eading European fibre manufacturer Trevira GmbH has become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Thailand based Indorama Ventures PCL Group (IVL). IVL has consolidated its ownership by acquiring the remaining 25% shareholding of Trevira from its earlier joint venture partner Sinterama SpA. “Trevira with its renowned brand is an integral part of our speciality portfolio strategy,” explains Mr Uday Gill, CEO of IVL’s Fibres Business. “We see further growth potential especially in the hygiene and automotive segments, as well as in the high-end home textiles business.” According to Trevira CEO Klaus Holz: “For Trevira and its customers and suppliers, this consolidation reflects Indorama Ventures’ commitment to investing in the company and ensuring a continued strong and reliable partnership. IVL has supported us from the very beginning in all our activities and has integrated us in its global network. We cooperate in joint projects and benefit significantly from the synergies within the IVL group.” Visit: www.trevira.com

Inwido acquires Bøjsø Døre & Vinduer

I

nwido, Europe’s largest supplier of windows, has acquired one of the most exclusive Danish window manufacturers, Bøjsø Døre & Vinduer. Originally a small carpentry company, Bøjsø Døre & Vinduer was founded by Bøje Sørensen in 1972. Today the company employs some 40 people and has a production facility located near Bil-

16 Industry Europe

lund in Denmark. In 2016 the company had a turnover of DKK 49 million. “We’re very pleased that the acquisition has now fallen into place. In Denmark, Inwido focuses on supplying high quality, Danish made products. Bøjsø complements this position well as a supplier of exclusive products for the renovation market, mainly targeting private consumers. This is a relatively new

market niche for us and is a perfect supplement to our other brands,” says Håkan Jeppsson, president and CEO at Inwido. With this acquisition, Inwido continues to expand its portfolio of Danish window brands, which already includes KPK Døre & Vinduer, OUTLINE Vinduer, FROVIN Vinduer & Døre and Outrup Vinduer & Døre. Visit: www.inwido.dk


LINKINGUP OR LASER & Heraeus collaborate on metal materials development

OR

LASER has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Heraeus. The main remit of this agreement is for these two German companies to collaborate on the development of optimised metal powdered materials for additive manufacturing applications with the ORLAS CREATOR platform. Headquartered in Hanau, Germany, Heraeus has built a solid reputation for developing powdered materials for additive manufacturing systems. The new ORLAS CREATOR metal 3D printing platform offers a new paradigm for the high quality, economic 3D printing of metal products and parts with a powder bed process that utilises a high quality laser and a proprietary recoater blade that promises speeds up to 30% faster than comparable systems. The collaboration agreement with Heraeus involves Heraeus obtaining an ORLAS CREATOR system, which the company will operate to fully test it with a wide range of its powdered materials. The aim is to qualify Heraeus powdered materials for the ORLAS CREATOR and subsequently develop specific 3D printing parameters and guidelines for its powders. Visit: www.or-laser.com

Dassault Systèmes acquires majority stake in Outscale

D

assault Systèmes has acquired a majority stake in Outscale, a global leader in enterprise-class cloud services, thereby strengthening its position as one of the fastest growing cloud companies in the world that is helping industry innovators to digitally transform their business.

Atlas Copco takes over Mobilaris MCE A

tlas Copco has agreed to acquire part of Mobilaris MCE AB, a Sweden-based company that provides advanced software that optimises underground mining operations. Mobilaris MCE’s software solutions offer situational awareness of the mines, real-time positioning and detailed status information on vehicles, equipment and personnel, presented in a sophisticated 3D user interface. The software is used for underground mining, tunnelling and other civil engineering. The business has about 20 employees and had revenues in 2016 of about MSEK 30 (MUSD 3.5). “The innovative team at Mobilaris will play a key role as Atlas Copco further advances its digital and automation solutions, providing mining and civil engineering customers with increased safety, enhanced operational excel-

lence and improved productivity,” said Helena Hedblom, president of Atlas Copco’s Mining and Rock Excavation Technique business area. “This is the future in mining.” Mobilaris MCE will operate as a separate company partly owned by Atlas Copco. Visit: www.atlascopco.com

Halton Group acquires Diffus’Air

H

alton Group has agreed to acquire the French Diffus’Air company, a provider of turnkey indoor air solutions. The privately held company was established in 1996, and has long-term experience particularly with French chain restaurants. “Diffus’Air is a successful and efficient supplier of comprehensive indoor air solutions for its chosen customer base. In addition, the philosophies of the companies are in line, as both emphasise energy efficiency, good planning competence and high quality solutions for the customer. The companies’ business models and operating areas complement each other, creating interesting opportunities for synergy,” says Kai Konola, CEO of the Halton Group. The operations of Diffus’Air are currently focused on Paris and northern France. The company’s annual turnover is approximately €4 million and its premises are located in Gondecourt, near

Founded in France in 2010, Outscale is an ISO/IEC 27001:2013 security certified company that provides enterprise-class cloud computing infrastructure services (IaaS) to customers through its 10 data centres in Europe, North America and Asia. Outscale cloud solutions are certified according to the highest industry standards: Cisco CMSP Advanced, 100% Intel Cloud Technology and NetApp AltaVault.

Halton’s other factory in France, which facilitates close cooperation between these units. Diffus’Air will continue its operations after the acquisition as its own unit and under its current name. Visit: www.halton.com

With this investment, Dassault Systèmes is now able to adjust and control its cloud resources and services to manage peaks in activity, as well as to further diversify its industry segments, deploy new features, and provide advanced on premise, private and hybrid cloud solutions for its customers. Visit: www.3ds.com Industry Europe 17


NEWS

MOVINGON

Relocations and expansions across Europe

Schlemmer moves into new headquarters on the edge of Munich

A

t the beginning of July 2017, Schlemmer, the internationally operating technology group, will be moving into its new company headquarters in Aschheim near Munich. For the previous 37 years, the Schlemmer Group has had its head office in the neighbouring town of Poing, but space there was limited for the growing company. At the new location in the Aschheim district of Dornach, Schlemmer now has 4300 square metres of office space, including 400 for the newly created ‘Technical Centre Europe’. With the relocation from Poing to Aschheim, Schlemmer has responded according to plan to the strong growth of the company. At more than 60 locations worldwide, the technology group currently employs nearly 3000 people, more than 200 of which are based at the headquarters. Employee numbers continue to grow at all locations. The new headquarters at the Eight Dornach office complex now offers the company ample space in modern, generously dimensioned offices, appealing break-time areas and inspiring think tanks. Visit: www.schlemmer.com

Sodra invests in increased production in Orrefors

AT

its small-diameter timber sawmill in Orrefors, Södra is investing about SEK 35 million in a new boiler and drying facility, which will enable production increases in the future. The supplier is Fröseke Industriservice AB. “This investment is necessary for profitability. Currently, there is insufficient boiler capacity, which means we must sell some goods undried. The investment will enable us to increase production and also dry the entire sawn volume,” said Jörgen Lindquist, president of the Södra Wood business area. The limiting factors for the sawmill’s capacity are the boilers and wood dryers. The two existing biofuel boilers that currently serve the sawmill are to be replaced by a new, larger biofuel boiler of 6 MW instead of today’s 2.5 MW. “The change of boiler will also enable the simultaneous expansion of wood drying through the addition of six chamber dryers. Following the investment, the sawmill will go from a drying capacity of about 60,000 cubic metres to approximately 105,000 cubic metres,” says Jörgen Lindquist. The new facility will be put into operation in 2018. Visit: www.sodra.com

Major Expansion for Croda at Hull

C

roda International Plc, the speciality chemicals company that creates high performance ingredients and technologies relied on by industries and consumers everywhere, has announced the start of its major capital expansion project at its Hull manufacturing site in Yorkshire. Croda’s group chief executive, Steve

18 Industry Europe

Bühler builds first industrial-scale insect processing plant in Europe

B

ühler Insect Technology is to build its first industrial plant to process black solider flies for animal nutrition together with its partner Protix in the Netherlands. Bühler will deliver the technology, equipment, and process know how for the rearing and processing of the insects and the feedstock preparation. Start of operation is planned for the first half of 2018. Protein is an essential component of nutrition for both humans and animals. Agriculture produces roughly 525 million tonnes of plant protein a year, found in corn, rice, wheat or soybeans. However, today’s protein production is not sustainable: Only 25% of proteins land as vegetable proteins on our plates, while 15% are wasted and 60% are used to produce animal protein. Furthermore, with the growing world population, protein production needs to double by 2050. Experts agree this cannot be achieved using traditional farming practices and resources, which is why alternative sources for protein such insects or algae are becoming increasingly important. Insects offer a sustainable alternative: Grown on organic residues, they can recover up to 70% of nutrients, thus recycling these underutilised streams back to the food value chain. Visit: www.buhlergroup.com

Cressall opens second site in Leicester

P

ower resistor manufacturer Cressall Resistors has expanded its UK operations following an increase in demand for large scale, high power resistors and load banks. Cressall have taken a lease on a 8000 sq ft unit just five minutes from its UK headquarters in Leicester, allowing the business to work on significantly larger projects. “In the 23 years Cressall has been manufacturing in Leicester, we have significantly grown both our customer base and how many people we employ,” explained Simone Bruckner, managing director of Cressall. “Our site on Evington Valley Road has served us well during this time, but as the size of the projects we work on continues to grow, so must our facility.” Visit: www.cressall.com

Foots, officially ‘handed over’ the project to project manager John Batty for work to start on the investment that will nearly double existing capacity. It demonstrates the company’s commitment to UK manufacturing and will provide long term job security for the workforce at their facility in Hull and support the local economy during the construction phase. It is in line with the com-

pany’s strategy to invest in faster growth markets, enabling it to satisfy growing demand for its renowned polymer additives. This technology is used by global polymer manufacturers to address issues such as friction, scratch resistance and stability of plastic materials used in multiple industries including automotive and packaging. Visit: www.croda.com


NEWS

INDUSTRYPEOPLE

Forsee Power appoints new Bus & Truck director F

orsee Power, the expert in smart battery systems for urban mobility solutions, has appointed Laurent Gugumus to head up the Bus & Truck business segment of the company’s Smart Transport division. This business segment develops dedicated battery systems for public transport and industrial vehicles (buses, trucks and industrial vehicles). A recognised expert in industrial and public transport vehicles, Laurent Gugumus will take responsibility for Forsee Power business development in this electric mobility market. Laurent Gugumus is 48, and has held a very broad diversity of posts over his 30-year career with manufacturers such as Renault industrial vehicles, Iveco, Irisbus, MAN Truck & Bus France and Dietrich Carebus.

New Skanska senior vice-president Green & Community Investment

L

ena Hök has been appointed new senior vice-president Green & Community Investment (CI) at Skanska AB. Lena Hök comes from a position as the head of Sustainability at Skandia and as head of Skandia Research Foundation. She is also a board member of SIDA, the Swedish International Development Agency, and chairs the Swedish ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) Committee for Corporate Responsibility and Anti-Corruption. “We focus on areas of sustainability, such as Green and CI, where we can make the most significant positive contribution to society and fulfill our Skanska purpose, building for a better society. Lena has a proven and strong track record of successfully integrating sustainability into the business offering and I very much look forward to our collaboration”, says Christel Åkerman, executive vice-president, Skanska AB.

Advanced Plasma Power names Sir John Parker as chairman

L

eading UK advanced gasification technology pioneer, Advanced Plasma Power (APP), has announced the appointment to the board of Sir John Parker as chairman. The appointment of Sir John comes at a time when the company is seeking to develop a pipeline of large-scale projects for bioSNG

New Höganäs AB Business Area Industrial President R

une Magnusson, currently of Atlas Copco Construction Tools Division, has assumed a new position as President Business Area Industrial at Höganäs AB. “I am pleased that Rune has agreed to join Höganäs,” says Melker Jernberg, CEO at Höganäs AB. “Rune has the right experience and competence to take on the challenge of building Höganäs’ brand and expand our market shares in industrial applications.” Rune Magnusson has been employed by Atlas Copco since 2006, currently as vice-president Marketing for Light Construction Equipment at the Construction Tools Division. Prior to that he held two other senior positions within Atlas Copco. Rune Magnusson assumed his position at Höganäs on 1 July, 2017.

Magnus Hall new vicepresident of EURELECTRIC

T

he EURELECTRIC board of directors has elected Magnus Hall, president and CEO of Vattenfall, as vice-president and part of the presidency team of the association representing the electricity industry at pan-European level. “An increased use of electricity as energy carrier in transport, heat and industry is one of the key topics for my upcoming two years as vice-president. A stable investment climate in renewable energy sources, a strengthened EU ETS to deliver decarbonisation in Europe, as well as ensuring a cost-efficient, reliable supply through an integrated energy market are other key priorities,” says Magnus Hall. Before joining Vattenfall, Mr Hall was president and CEO of Holmen forestry group.

production across the UK in anticipation of the setting of an appropriate regulatory framework by the government in the coming months. Sir John Parker said: “Having chaired the advisory board of Advanced Plasma Power for a number of years now, I am delighted to be joining the main board as chairman. Thanks to the support from government and visionary shareholders, this is a perfect

example of how UK innovation can transcend the commercialisation chasm and ultimately provide a real boost to the UK economy.” Rolf Stein, the CEO of Advanced Plasma Power, said: “We are delighted to welcome Sir John, who is certainly no stranger to our development over recent years, and who will play a critical role in helping us achieve our potential.” Industry Europe 19


NEWS

TECHNOLOGYSPOTLIGHT

New Danish invention cleans water with sunlight

T

wo Danish students have developed ‘SolarSack’ for inexpensive and environmentally friendly water purification. The concept was tested in villages, refugee camps and slums in East Africa where it will be marketed. Anders Løcke and Louise Ullmann, who study Architecture and Design at Aalborg University (AAU), have designed a better and cheaper system for purifying drinking water in developing countries. SolarSack is a special bag that is filled with four litres of water and placed in the sun for four hours. Using UVA and UVB rays, as well as heat from the sun, the water is cleaned of pathogenic bacteria. The user can then drink the water and reuse the bag for water purification. The method was approved by the World Health Organization which estimates that between 99.9 and 99.999% of the pathogenic bacteria in the water die. The students tested SolarSack in Kenya

and Uganda with local users and organisations, and adapted it to their needs. And it’s cheap. “We estimate that a SolarSack can be produced for less than one and a half Danish kroner, transported and end up in the hands of the user for less than a dollar. The bag can be reused 150 times, making it significantly cheaper than the alternatives,” says Louise Ullmann, AAU. Visit: www.aau.dk

ABB drives the energy revolution with solar power in Singapore

L

and scarcity has severely limited Singaporeís adoption of solar power. Floating solar panels may be a viable alternative for the city-state surrounded by water. Floating panels could be eleven percent more efficient than solar panels placed on precious land. Pioneering technology leader ABB is providing critical components on a landmark one megawatt floating solar photovoltaic test-bed. It measures 1 hectare or 1.5 football fields. The energy generated will be fed into the national energy grid, providing electricity for up to 250 households. “We are proud to support this important project in Singapore with our technological expertise and domain knowledge,” said Tarak Mehta, president of ABB’s Electrification Products division. “This project is perfectly aligned with our Next Level strategy around the energy revolution and is an important step in collaborating with partners to bring more renewables into the future energy mix.” Located in the Tengeh Reservoir in west Singapore, the installation features multiple solar solutions from providers to study the performance and cost-effectiveness of floating solar platforms. ABB supplied 100kW of market-leading TRIO-50 solar inverters to Phoenix Solar, one of several system integrators for the project. These essential components convert the direct current produced in solar panels into alternating current for use in electrical grids. Additionally, ABB low-voltage molded case and miniature circuit breakers protect the electrical circuits on the water. Visit: www.abb.com 20 Industry Europe

Advances in technology across industry

Energy storing technology for cable-car transit system in Brest

S

ince 19 November urban mobility in the French city of Brest has been boosted by two cable cars carrying up to 60 people who travel more than 400 metres above the River Penfeld, with a power consumption that is potentially close to zero. Supported by Leroy-Somer, the companies Bartholet France and Seirel are behind this achievement which is a world first in terms of technology. One of the challenges posed by Brest Métropole involved implementing a solution with low power consumption. The idea was therefore to recover the braking energy, but the energy operators have not yet systematically developed the full potential for reinjection of current into their network. The solution therefore consisted in storing energy in super capacity batteries when the cable cars are descending, in order to then reuse this energy for the subsequent ascent. A DC converter from the Leroy-Somer range enables management of the operations for the M65V385F supercapacitors developed by Blue Solutions (Bolloré Group). The supercapacitors have been specially designed to meet the needs of industrial applications requiring high power ratings. Meeting the most demanding functional specifications, they charge and discharge in just a few seconds and provide service lives of several hundred thousand cycles. Visit: www.nidec.com


NEWS

NOTICEBOARD Prize-winning metal mesh in the Palace of Versailles

MasterMover refreshes range of all-terrain equipment

E

T

he international architecture platform ArchDaily has presented the Building of the Year Award for the eighth time: one of just 16 winners is GKD – GEBR. KUFFERATH AG. The company was recognised for the renovation of Pavillon Dufour at the Palace of Versailles, for which the French star architect Dominique Perrault used golden Escale metal mesh. In the Best Applied Product category, GKD picked up the Building of the Year 2017 award for the latest successful project by Dominique Perrault. For the renovation of Pavillon Dufour, the renowned architect once again used Escale mesh from GKD for the ceilings and walls on the first floor. Based on a design by Gaëlle Lauriot-Prévost, he thus created the golden ceiling in the entrance foyer, which floats above the entire room like a gigantic canopy with waves of different sizes. The supple and flexible metal mesh was also used over wide areas in the rest of the interior design, with metal fabric wall hangings underlining the subtle reference to the historic décor of the Palace of Versailles. Visit: www.gkd.de

Ros receives Brose Innovation Award Europe

W

ith its Innovation Award the international automotive supplier Brose honours the innovative strength, cooperation and implementation speed of its suppliers. Ros has been honoured for its excellent cooperation in the development and implementation its new LongGlass-Fibre-Direct-Compounding technology. Long-glass-fibre reinforced plastics are gaining in importance for mechanically stressed components, as well as mechatronic components from Brose. Long-glass-fibre-direct-compounded components offer high stability with a very low weight. With this innovation, Ros follows the design philosophy of lightweight construction and makes a lasting contribution to reducing CO2 emissions. “We are delighted that the innovative strength of our company and the forward-looking solutions of our employees have set standards again,” said Steffen Tetzlaff, managing director of Ros GmbH & Co. KG. The Brose Innovation Award is awarded once a year in the regions of Europe, North America and Asia. Thus, the company is able to distinguish the excellent performance of suppliers in the development and implementation of innovative ideas. Visit: www.ros-coburg.de

lectric tug specialist MasterMover is powering up its range of all-terrain load moving equipment with the new ATT400+, a powerful electric tug with a high performance hydraulic coupling. The ATT400+ allows plant engineers, maintenance staff and handling operators in industrial environments to move heavy loads of up to 5000kg on castors or 40,000kg on rails. The ATT400+ electric tug allows pedestrian operators to efficiently handle heavy loads on all surfaces, with the tug’s specially designed hydraulic arm transferring the load’s weight onto the wheels. This, in addition to the redesigned body of the tug and puncture-proof tyres, means that staff can handle up to five tonnes in any operating condition. “Many types of load handling equipment often struggle to get traction in industrial environments,” explained Andy Owen, managing director of MasterMover. “This is due to the abundance of dust, dirt and debris created during production. “To address this, MasterMover has redesigned the body of the tug itself to generate more traction. The main wheel has been moved forward and is now reinforced by a smaller supporting wheel at the back, which provides better balance so that operators can keep loads level on uneven surfaces. Visit: www.mastermover.com

Project INSIGHT: Autonomous low-speed vehicle for city environment

T

he innovative INSIGHT project will see an all-British consortium transform Heathrow Ultra-Pods into hi-tech autonomous vehicles. The Pods, which are designed to help plug the gap for short low-speed journeys, are described by project team as a ‘last mile’ transport solution, being ideally suited to moving people and luggage between local railway stations, hospitals and car parks. The Pods are equipped with sophisticated 3D-imaging systems and sensors, designed to enable them to navigate through pedestrian areas while ensuring the safety of passengers,

pedestrians, road users and other vehicles. Inclusivity is a key feature of the INSIGHT Pod, which includes several innovative features specifically designed to support visually impaired members of society use the Pod. Advanced indoor and outdoor positioning systems will allow blind users to know their exact locations using a smartphone app and will link to a cloud-based system which will allow nearby vehicles to be virtually requested or ‘hailed’. Academics and researchers at Birmingham City University will work alongside the public,

industry experts and Birmingham City Council to compile detailed safety cases for the use of the Pods and run trials in increasing complexity. Visit: www.bcu.ac.uk

Industry Europe 21


EURO-REPORT

FOCUS ON...

Germany Allan Hall reports from Berlin on the risks – and opportunities – of Brexit for German business.

H

alf of all German companies which trade with Britain are determined that no special post-Brexit deals be struck if freedom of movement of EU citizens is not guaranteed. The sentiment is an indication of hardening attitudes in the driving force nation of the European Union. In a survey conducted by the Deloitte audit and consulting group and released recently in Munich, 49 per cent of firms rejected any trade deal if the UK remains determined to control immigration on its terms. This view was expressed despite acknowledgement that no trade deal will also hit German firms hard. Twenty per cent said they believe German consumer confidence will be hit as a result if 2019 rolls around with no accord between Britain and the remainder of the EU bloc. A total of 90 per cent of German concerns say they have Brexit strategies in place and are rehearsing worst-case scenarios regarding supply chains and tax issues. Despite their early preparation, many entrepreneurs consider a lengthy British divorce from the EU to be possible. But one in five believes that the Brexit negotiations will fail completely and that there will be an uncontrolled departure without transitional arrangements. After the execution of Brexit, the risks for German companies include higher complexity and costs in doing business. Fifty-six per cent of those quizzed believe German cities like Frankfurt will benefit from an influx of companies leaving the UK – Frankfurt as the banking centre and seat of the European Central Bank, Munich as a location for the technology industry and Berlin as a start-up city. For the study, a total of 250 Germans which have trade relations with Britain were surveyed in April. These include exports (64 per cent), branches (51 per cent), imports (41 per cent), supplier relationships (37 22 Industry Europe

per cent), manufacturing (31 per cent) and finance (24 per cent). “The Brexit casts shadows ahead. Almost all companies are now dealing with planning for it, almost two-thirds intensively,” said Alexander Börsch, chief economist and head of research at Deloitte. “This is much more than a year ago – at that time it was just a third.”

Opportunity for Frankfurt Germany remains deeply bemused by Brexit. It is viewed as an act of tremendous self harm and one which may, eventually, impact on Germany’s export market. The only upside: the lure of Frankfurt taking over from London as a global finance hub. Once Brexit is finalised, financial firms could lose so-called ‘passporting’ rules that allow them to sell financial services across the EU from London – prompting many to look to the remaining 27 states for a new base. In Frankfurt, public- and private-sector organisations are wooing banks to the city where construction workers and cranes are busily adding floors to new skyscrapers being built. Recently major Korean bank Woori announced it would apply for a German banking license, matching decisions from Japan’s Nomura, Daiwa and Sumitomo investment banks. Meanwhile, US giant Goldman Sachs announced in midJune that it would be doubling its staff in Frankfurt from the present number of 200. “Frankfurt’s chances of profiting from Brexit have significantly increased in the past few months,” said Michael Kemmer, general manager of the Association of German Banks (BDB). Advocates for Frankfurt say it has advantages over competitors like Amsterdam, Dublin, Luxembourg or Paris – beyond its status as Germany’s financial hub and the presence of top eurozone regulator the European Central Bank. “Bank chiefs visiting us here,

especially from Asia, are impressed by the variety of developed fields beyond finance, whether it’s high tech, IT, health or chemistry,” said Eric Menges, director of local business FrankfurtRheinMain, which offers information about the region to foreign financial players. He adds that there’s an ‘excellent’ level of involvement in the city’s self-promotion campaign, visible in a weekly telephone conference he leads with representatives from the city, the region, the chamber of commerce and others. “Other cities might press home very specific points, like taxes, while Frankfurt is attractive because it makes up a well-rounded whole – and has prepared answers on everything down to places at international schools for bankers’ children.” Foreign institutions already account for roughly 80 per cent of the 202 banks already present in the city, employing a total of about 10,000 people. The Association of Foreign Banks in Germany (VAB) estimated recently that Brexit could add between 3000 and 5000 to that figure. “Of about 20 firms looking closely at setting up here, at least a dozen will decide wholly or in part for our city,” said Hubertus Vaeth, head of Frankfurt Main Finance, a mixed group of public and private sector organisations lobbying for the financial centre. Vaeth expects newcomers from the United States, South Asia, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland and the UK among their number. “These successes are particularly down to politicians’ mobilisation, including at the federal level in Berlin,” said BDB chief Kemmer. National and regional leaders have helped boost Frankfurt’s profile, most recently when Chancellor Angela Merkel argued the city was ‘predestined’ to host the European Banking Authority (EBA), which must move away from London after Brexit. Brexit will certainly change the shape of Europe: Germans hope that shape will n benefit it in the coming years.


EURO-REPORT

FOCUS ON...

France Ian Sparks reports from Paris on the new president’s push for labour reform.

F

rance’s newly-elected president Emmanuel Macron is preparing to tackle ‘the mother of all problems’ that has frustrated every leader before him for the past 50 years – deregulating the nation’s tightly controlled labour market. After just 50 days in office, Mr Macron is girding himself to do battle with the unions, who are strongly opposed to the loosening of workplace laws. And before negotiations have even begun, France’s powerful CGT union is already threatening a general strike for September 12 in anticipation of changes they fear could erode the rights of employees. Macron’s cabinet approved a broad outline of changes to the labour code at a meeting in late June, and won the authority to negotiate the details of reforms over the summer with unions and business groups. The government would then introduce the new framework in September by presidential decree, short-circuiting the legislative process. Macron’s proposed changes focus on three main areas of labour reform. First, shifting some elements of labour contracts, including working hours, from the industry level to individual companies. Secondly, merging and unifying workers’ councils within companies. And thirdly, setting upper and lower limits on redundancy pay to provide security for both employees and employers. Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in an interview with Le Figaro on June 24: “The labour-market reform is the mother of all reforms, both from an economic and social point of view. While the context is favourable, we must not waste a minute.” Loosening France’s labour laws was a central campaign issue for Macron and he began negotiations with unions and business leaders as soon as he was elected on May 7. He said he wanted to ‘liberate France’s economic forces’ and transform it into a country of ‘risk-taking entrepreneurs’.

But when it comes to saving some of his country’s ailing industries, observers have noted that he is still relying on France’s timehonoured recipe of using taxpayers’ cash and state-run business to rescue struggling firms. The most prominent current example is the failing car parts supplier GM&S, which is about to go bust with the loss of 227 jobs in the department of the Creuse – one of France’s poorest regions.

After just 50 days in office, Mr Macron is girding himself to do battle with the unions... After weeks of seeking a buyer for GM&S, economic affairs secretary Benjamin Griveaux is now planning on bailing them out with 5 million euros of taxpayers’ cash, and a further 5 million euros each from carmakers Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroen. The solution has already irritated Macron’s free-market economy minister Bruno Le Maire, who said last week: “It’s typical of the French system. A company was set up in the 1970s in the middle of the boondocks to bring activity to a region.There is no industrial network around, there’s only a few big clients for a small company. It’s just not solid.” Several thousand jobs are also currently at risk at the auto supplier Nobel Plastiques, cigarette maker Seita, the Castmetals foundry in Feurs, and the aerosol manufacturer Aeropharm in Marseille.

Union resistance Meanwhile, France’s notoriously militant union movement are already warning the president he will face stiff opposition to his labour market changes – reforms which his government believes could have saved firms like GM&S car parts. CGT union boss Philippe Martinez told Humanite newspaper on June 25: “I call on

the president to be humble and prudent, and not to think that just because he was elected and has a big majority, he can do what he wants. The unions, including the CGT, are one obstacle he can’t get around.” Bus Macron does have the support of the employers organisation MEDEF, which is also pushing for companies to have the right to agree terms with their employees, rather than being governed by industry-wide deals. Pierre Moscovici, the European Union commissioner for economic affairs, said shortly after Macron swept to power in May: “France needs change; it needs reforms. It needs to be made more dynamic and that’s what we expect from the president.” There are only a handful of examples of successes in tinkering with the labour laws in France’s last three governments. In 2003 and 2005, Jacques Chirac managed to loosen the 35-hour cap on the working week, making it easier and cheaper for companies to add extra hours. In 2008, Nicolas Sarkozy made it simpler for individual workers to negotiate their own departure. And Hollande’s reforms of 2013 and 2016 made it easier to justify layoffs due to a downturn in business. Macron, as economy minister under Hollande, had worked on earlier versions of the 2016 law that went much further in easing restrictions on firing and negotiating own labour accords. After the bill was watered down, Macron quit the government to set up his own political movement. Now the world is waiting to see if Macron can achieve the kind of large-scale reforms that have eluded his predecessors. Philippe Waechter, director of economic research at Natixis Asset Management, said: “When I speak to foreign clients, the first question they usually have is whether France will reform its labour code. Sometimes we never get on to other subjects. France’s image is n really at stake in these talks.” Industry Europe 23


Focus on swiss industry

Strength in unity

The industrial organisation Swissmem unites companies from across Switzerland’s mechanical and engineering (MEM) industries, as well as from related technological sectors. Industry Europe interviewed communications manager Jonas Lang to find out how it helps its members achieve their goals and works to boost the industry as a whole.

24 Industry Europe


O

ne of the key objectives of Swissmem is to strengthen Switzerland’s ability to compete at international level as a hub of both manufacturing and research. By remaining a staunchly independent voice over more than a century of activity, it has been able to successfully represent the interests of its members in economic, political and public debates. Furthermore, the Association of Swiss Engineering Employers (ASM) – the most significant collective employment agreement within the industry – also operates under the Swissmem umbrella. Mr Lang gives a brief overview of how the organisation was born and how it has developed over the years: “It was founded in 1883 as the Swiss Association of Machinery Manufacturers (VSM) with an initial focus on questions relating to customs and trade policy and to safeguard and promote the general interests of the Swiss engineering industry. The beginning of the 20th century marked a time of rising social tensions which resulted in the founding of the Association of Swiss Engineering Employers (ASM) in 1905. Since 1 October 1999, VSM and ASM have been operating under the name of Swissmem.”

Promoting Swiss manufacturing Swissmem’s key mission has not changed substantially since its establishment over a century ago: to promote the interests of its more than 1000 members from the Swiss engineering industry, ranging from small SMEs to international holding companies.

But how exactly does it go about this? One of its most basic strategies is to identify the concerns of its member companies and provide efficient services and solutions tailored to their needs. These services include advice on export matters, assistance with employment law problems, sector-specific educational and training programmes and energy efficiency, plus custom-made activities for the individual divisions. Essentially, then, whichever area of the mechanical engineering industry a particular member operates in, Swissmem will have the infrastructure in place to provide them with the help they need. Alongside the above, it also encourages active networking between all its members. This involves, as Mr Lang tells us, “participation and professional dialogue in 27 specialist groups (sub-sectors).” When it comes to the industry trends currently having the biggest impact on Swissmem’s members, Mr Lang emphasises the growing need to adapt to the digital revolution and the emergence of Industry 4.0. Smart factories are the future and Swiss industry will have to adapt to this if it is to remain competitive. “Along with other partners, Swissmem has launched the ‘Industry 2025’ initiative, the aim of which is to facilitate companies’ access to digitisation and the networking approaches of Industry 4.0.”

Industry Day 2017 In order to reach out to key decision-makers from business, politics, science and government as well as to enable its members to Industry Europe 25


Focus on swiss industry

meet face-to-face, each year Swissmem holds its annual Industry Day. This year’s event took place in Lausanne on 20 June and explored questions such as: what is Switzerland’s recipe for success when it comes to innovation? What conditions favour innovation in the Swiss MEM industries and where is there potential that can still be exploited? There were presentations from prominent figures in Swiss industry who discussed the process of innovation from product idea to market launch and emphasised the importance of cooperation between companies, universities and research institutions. The

26 Industry Europe

speakers included, among others: Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, Head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS); Hans Hess, President of Swissmem; Steve Bolze, President and CEO of GE Power; and Aude Pugin CFO of APCO Technologies.

Award-winning innovation Owing to the strong Swiss franc, one of the challenges for Swiss producers moving forward is to ensure they focus strongly on innovation and lean production methods. Fortunately, Swissmem’s


members are well up to this challenge. One illustration of this can be seen in Ampegon, a relatively young manufacturer of high power systems for world-class research facilities. In November 2016 this company was presented with the Swiss Technology Award 2016 in the category of ‘Innovation Leaders’ – the most important prize for innovation and technology transfer in Switzerland. In cooperation with the Institute of High Power Electronics (HPE) of ETH Zurich, Ampegon has developed an innovative short pulse modulator used for research facilities such as SwissFEL (free electron laser) at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and for medical applications (cancer treatment) and industrial processes (liquid sterilisation). The jury recognised the company’s high level of technological innovation, which combined both economic and social benefits. Mr Lang informs us that boosting innovation will continue to be a major focus for Swissmem in the years to come, as will globalisation for its SME members and continued training to improve performance n across its entire membership base. For more information on the organisation, visit: www.swissmem.ch

Industry Europe 27


Focus on swiss industry

Quality Tested AESA based in Colombier, Switzerland, is a market leader in the metrology of electrical cables and wires. The company designs, adapts and implements innovative solutions with a competitive edge to all customers in terms of quality, efficiency and handling improvements. Romana Moares spoke to CEO Vincent Arbet-Engels about the company’s latest development and its plans for the future. Vincent Arbet-Engels

28 Industry Europe


A

ESA Cortaillod provides cable measuring solutions, testing and quality-performance services to clients worldwide. Established some 40 years ago, the company soon developed its niche specialism to the highest level and gained international recognition. In the late 1990s AESA became a private company owned by investors as a result of a management buyout and changed ownership again in 2007 when new investors came on board, acquiring MEA GmbH in Germany at the same time. “The company has been profitable since its inception, although 2011 and 2015 have been difficult years in terms of business,” says the company’s CEO, Dr Vincent Arbet-Engels, Ph.D., who himself came to the company in 2015, after holding various scientific and management positions at CERN, IBM and Abilis Systems both in the United States and Europe. The launching of Sales and R&D initiatives triggered positive changes with the return of solid financial performance in 2016. Today, with hardware specialists in Switzerland and software designers in Germany, AESA is a trusted technical partner in its sector for clients worldwide.

Four pillars Mr Arbet-Engels explains that the company develops four business lines, all of which are equally important. In the energy sector, AESA provides quality testing of the electrical properties of cables. The testing may be done either on samples in the laboratory with high accuracy measurements or directly on the production line using the ResTest813X product family. “Companies can make significant savings in raw material quantities thanks to the unique direct-on-the-line measuring equipment – no

other instrument available on the market today can offer such advantages,” Mr Arbet-Engels points out. “The ResTest 813X family, available in three versions, is used for conducting reliable measurements during manufacturing, ensuring optimum result accuracy.” The second product line is telecommunication and high frequency Automatic Test Equipment (ATE) for cable measurement, within which the company offers different products to suit different end applications. The fully automated solutions with a complete set of SW tools allows the user to measure up to 170 parameters within a few minutes only, according to international defined standards, and to generate complete numerical and graphical test reports. The third area of business is a quality management software (named CIQ), aimed at improving quality, processes, and product efficiency. It networks all measuring and testing devices into one common system and stores the acquired data in a centralised database. With the looming of Industry 4.0, this area of business is expected to gain more prominence in line with the demand for machine software. AESA is also proud of its ISO quality credentials – the fourth pillar. The company successfully gained accreditation for standard EN 45001 in 1994, and for ISO 17025, in 2002 – for its calibration laboratory. The laboratory is accredited by the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS), recognised by major international accreditation bodies (ILAC). “Our clients can therefore rest assured that all our testing instruments are calibrated to the most stringent standards,” says the CEO. “In addition, we offer a calibration service to clients. Not only can we re-calibrate their instruments, we can also provide certified standards for clients wishing to check instruments themselves.”

Industry Europe 29


Focus on swiss industry

Worldwide applications

New frontiers

Mr Arbet-Engels stresses that as AESA operates in a niche market the focus on R&D is strong. “To survive and prosper, we need to introduce new things on an on-going basis,” he points out, adding that the company has recently introduced a novel technique for conductivity measurement and new linear resistance equipment to address issues with aluminum large cross-section cables. Additionally, AESA is currently working on a research project supported by the Swiss government to address the testing challenges associated with the ever increasing data transmission rate of copper communication cables. AESA specialises in the high-end quality products made to order and closely works with suppliers for manufacturing. “We have almost no inventory. Our Swiss headquarters houses the product development, assembly and testing. Manufacturing of some parts for our equipment is outsourced,” explains the CEO. “We do not operate in the consumer market with high volume but concentrate on high end products with a focus on quality.” He admits the company has competitors but in this highly specialised niche market they are not numerous. Most of the output (~95 per cent) is sold to export markets worldwide. Europe constitutes a big part but AESA’s products also end up in the Middle and Far East, the United States and other corners of the world. “As a market leader in our field we cannot ignore China, clearly the fastest growing market and number one for cables. We have been active there for some time with great success – in 2016 we multiplied our revenues in the Chinese market by eight times,” says Mr Arbet-Engels.

“At the moment, we are looking at strengthening our presence there to be closer to customers and to provide services with local resources. We have a very active agent in China but it is necessary to have a physical presence to develop the market.” Other markets with rising potential for the company are India and Africa. In the coming years, AESA intends to consolidate its leadership position worldwide and grow steadily in line with global economic development. “If we want to smooth out economic cycles we need to think of adding new products and increase the volumes without compromising the quality,” says the CEO. He adds that the company is going to further capitalise on the good name that ‘Made in Switzerland’ has. “We do value this reputation. As I said before, we are not in the consumer market and our customers are prepared to invest on high quality, reliable products they can trust. We will never compromise on quality. It is one of our key USPs. “The way forward is to further concentrate on our R&D activities in partnership with universities to attack new frontiers. Innovation is a must in our sector,” Dr Arbet-Engels claims. He explains that unlike in the electronics sector, the cable market is not yet consolidated, with a large number of individual manufacturers, big and small. “When consolidation does take place, we want to be there. We want to be the preferred supn plier to the biggest players in the cable manufacturing sector.”

30 Industry Europe


Industry Europe 31


Focus on swiss industry

THINK ABOUT YOUR KITCHEN... What does your dream kitchen look like? Does it stand out with stainless steel? Or is it more reserved with a fine, stone finish? Will you be cooking for one, two or 20? Franke believes that every kitchen should be as unique as you are. It should be a place where you feel free to cook, eat, entertain, celebrate and more.

32 Industry Europe


I

magine a kitchen where everything worked together, looked great and had a purpose. A kitchen where all its components were designed to help you enjoy your day more. This is how Franke approaches the design of its kitchen systems: it works hard to ensure its solutions deliver the perfect balance of style, comfort and functionality to your kitchen. For over 100 years the company has been tirelessly improving and innovating its products and services. This history and experience has helped it design and create kitchen solutions and products that prove themselves day in and day out in more than 100 million households around the world. Franke is constantly developing innovative new products to make your kitchen a wonderful place to be. The company designs its products and systems to be just as beautiful as they are easy to use. And because it only uses carefully selected materials and state-ofthe-art production methods, you can be confident that your kitchen has been built to last. Choosing which material is right for your kitchen depends on what you need from your sink. Each precision-engineered material has an individual character and unique benefits. Franke Granite under mount sinks, for instance, are available in six nature-inspired tones and deliver gorgeous aesthetics. “Granite is just one of our ranges, so enjoy exploring the wonderful options you have with Franke. Incredible care and attention goes into every part of each product – from sinks to taps to water filters – helping you create the perfect kitchen solution for your home. “For customers requesting that special extra in refinement and detail, Franke as a Swiss heritage company has put together a collection of sinks and accessories, which are carefully designed and crafted in Switzerland,” says the Franke Group.

Hobs created with the heat of passion From the sleek surface of an induction hob to the classic cook’s choice of gas, a Franke hob will always deliver the exact control serious cooks need. Its Frames by Franke range also includes matching ovens, hoods, sinks and taps – allowing you to create your ideal look. At the heart of every Franke hob is cutting edge design and advanced technology built to last. Whether you prefer a gas or induction hob, it offers styles with matching ovens and more to give you perfect choice for your home. On selected models, turn on your hob and your hood automatically starts up. It’s the smart way to reduce unwanted kitchen odors. You’ll also find retractable hoods that pop up from the work surface, hoods that operate at a whisper and more. Cook with professional efficiency using Franke’s innovative burner designs. The company’s range offers a choice of burner layouts and black glass or champagne finish. Every hob is engineered to the highest standards for years of trouble-free performance. Nothing less than absolute precision in design, superb quality of finish and the highest standards of craftsmanship will do.

Hoods made beautifully practical With the sleek design and cutting-edge technology, Franke hoods bring style and sophistication to the art of keeping your kitchen free of unwanted odours. Its hoods ranges include features such as push button, electronic or sleek touch control systems. Whether it’s hoods that switch on and off automatically; hoods that pop up from your work surface; wall-mounted hoods; hoods for islands, in glass, stainless steel and a choice of colours – you’ll find just what you need.

Industry Europe 33


Focus on swiss industry

Posco ITPC

34 Industry Europe


Franke hoods offer either functional push button, electronic or touch control operation. Remote control is an option on many models. All models offer a variety of speed settings, from 3 up to 8. Some also include an intensive setting, for short, powerful bursts to remove unpleasant odours as quickly as possible. On selected Frames by Franke models, start using your hob, and your hood automatically comes on. You can even have an extraction rate that adjusts to the intensity of the hob so cooking smells are eliminated with the greatest efficiency. Whether it’s sound dampening comfort panels in some of our hoods or the silent kit cushions inside other models, you can be sure of unrivalled noise reduction performance.

Ovens that inspire delicious creations Life in the kitchen so often centres around the oven. That’s why Franke cares about every single, tiny detail. So you can be sure your choice of oven will cope with even the most intensive daily demands, year after year.

Franke has a magnificent choice to suit your personal style. The sleek minimalist exterior of the revolutionary Frames by Franke oven hides a wealth of clever features and cutting edge technology that bring professional quality to the home. Dynamic Cooking Technology directs the heat to let you cook different types of dishes – from fish to desserts – in the oven at the same time, without impairing any flavours. Three naked heating elements enhance the thermal exchange in your oven, improving efficiency and allowing for ultimate control of your cooking. Although the oven gets up to the desired temperature in mere minutes, the oven door never gets hotter than a safe 55 degrees. Selfcleaning programs, clear displays, touch controls, comfortable handles, detachable glass fronts for easy cleaning – these are just some of the details that make a Franke kitchen a joy every time you’re using it.

Waste disposal made wonderful Franke’s innovation doesn’t end with sinks and taps. Franke strives to make your life easier in every aspect of your kitchen with a range of convenient and practical kitchen solutions. Industry Europe 35


Focus on swiss industry

From dealing with unsightly household waste in a hygienic manner to effortlessly sorting waste for recycling, they are designed to save time and to incorporate kitchen essentials discreetly into kitchen units, so that you can maintain a clean, uncluttered kitchen. All Franke Waste Disposal Units offer easy operation, instant grinding speed and unbeatable guarantees as standard. The new Franke Turbo Elite waste disposer is a reliable appliance that will offer your household many years of trouble free use. A choice of five units designed to free the kitchen of unsightly and unhygienic organic household waste. Each unit is the essential addon for ensuring that all Franke appliances and work surfaces remain looking immaculate. Thanks to a unique, permanent magnet motor, Franke Turbo Elite Waste Disposal Units reach high speed in a split second, producing

36 Industry Europe

more torque per kilo than any other of its type. Whilst running water through the unit, food waste is instantly liquefied into fine particles that are easily flushed through the pipework system. Now includes antibacterial protection for odour control. Fitting neatly into most standard cabinets, Franke waste sorters feature separate plastic containers to sort domestic waste into different categories such as food, cans, plastic and paper. A lid closes over the bins to contain any odours. Franke Sorters are the convenient alternative to the conventional waste bin. The Franke Waste Bin is an inset stainless steel system with a standard 12-litre polyethylene container. This clever feature fits flush with the worktop, allowing you to scoop in waste with ease. Replace the cover and the unit is concealed with odours safely sealed inside.


Industry Europe 37


Focus on swiss industry New hands-in hand dryer by Franke

Future-Proof

Water Systems

Franke Water Systems, a division of the Swiss Franke Group, is a leading supplier of intelligent washroom solutions for customers worldwide. The superb quality, durability and futuristic design of its products are not the only attributes that have driven its success: a focus on innovations in line with environmental considerations is what makes Franke Water Systems stand head and shoulders above its competitors. Romana Moares spoke to the CEO of the division, Roger Basler, about the latest developments.

38 Industry Europe


F5E-Mix electronic pillar mixer

AS

the technology market leader and supplier of a complete product range for public sanitary facilities, Franke Water Systems offers both standard products and bespoke solutions, meeting the highest quality standards and customer requirements. The use of water-saving fittings and the newest finishing technologies underline the commitment of Franke Water Systems to developing the products of the future. Franke Water Systems is an integral part of the Swiss Franke Group, founded in 1911 as a sheet metal business that started producing sanitary equipment in 1925. The group, employing about 9000 people worldwide, is headquartered in Aarburg, Switzerland and operates four core businesses: Franke Kitchen Systems, Franke Foodservice Systems, Franke Water Systems and Franke Coffee Systems. In all four divisions, Franke Group is a leading supplier to the market. In 2016, the group generated a total turnover of about CHF 2 billion.

Unique bathroom experience Franke Water Systems has its own global sales operation and production facilities in Germany, the UK, Finland, Canada, Poland, South Africa, China and the United Arab Emirates. The company still makes 90 per cent of products in its own factories. The business stands on two legs, as Mr Basler explained: “On the one hand our water solutions for the public, semi-public and commercial sectors and on the other hand our taps for the residential kitchen and bathrooms. The washrooms include sanitary solutions and special solutions for a number of applications, such as healthcare, hotel and schools. Our taps are created mainly under the KWC brand, famous for its precision, innovation and aesthetics and lately under the Mamoli brand, a leading Italian manufacturer of taps for the private and commercial sector.” Although the products are further divided into several minor categories according to their use, Mr Basler insisted they are all equally impor-

tant as together they make a complete impression. “We do have a strong focus on taps and showers but the idea is to create a wonderful bathroom experience and every component plays an important role in this. We offer whole product systems.” Most products are mass-produced but Franke Water Systems provides a high degree of flexibility to accommodate particular customers’ needs. For example, it provides specific solutions with washbasins for hotels to fit their overall design.

Getting stronger What makes Franke Water Systems so unique worldwide is the fact that it offers a full range of products under a single roof – they all fit and work together. A second competitive advantage is, as Mr Basler explained, the ability to deliver a hygienic and sustainable solution that is energy efficient throughout the building. “Integration of products as well as the network is what sets us apart,” he said. Mr Basler confirmed that a lot has been happening in the past few years in both business lines. “Last year, we acquired a majority stake in Mamoli Robinetteria, founded in 1933 and a key player in bathroom and kitchen taps in the Italian and international market. The acquisition will both reinforce our production capacities and our research and development competence and generally strengthen the brands in the residential area. On the commercial solution side, we have divested a small part of the business making mobile sanitary systems for the airline industry to gain a full focus on the commercial applications and commercial washrooms.” In 2016, Franke Group also acquired a 25 per cent stake in Duravit AG, the German manufacturer of designer bathrooms and wellbeing systems and a leader in ceramics and residential bathrooms. Both companies have a complementary product portfolio and want to develop innovative product series for the bathroom and kitchen area under their respective brands. Industry Europe 39


Focus on swiss industry

40 Industry Europe


At the forefront “Franke Water Systems works along two trends – hygienic aspects in the washroom and energy savings,” said Mr Basler, adding that this has also been the focus of new product development and the basis of the latest, revolutionary products: “We have launched two fundamentally new tap lines called Franke F3 and F5 for the commercial washroom, based on a new core technology that we have developed,” revealed Mr Basler. The new F3 and F5 Generation is comprised of two lines which harmonise with different room and building applications. The F3 line has two technologies: self-closing technology (the tap stops automatically after a certain flow time, individually adjusted by the operator, without the need for a second touch) and touch free activation (suitable for washrooms in food processing operations, large-scale catering establishments or in the cleaning areas of hospitals and healthcare facilities). In addition to these two technologies, the F5 line also includes single-lever mixer technology. The new F5 tap generation is presented with the patent-pending FRAMIC self-closing mixing cartridge with ceramic disc technology – the first of its kind in the world and a milestone in terms of its long service life, function security and maintenance-friendliness. The innovative FRAMIC (Franke Modular Innovation Cartridge) ceramic selfclosing cartridge enables a stagnation-free, hydraulic control of water flow and thus contributes to ensuring perfect drinking water hygiene. The cartridge is an integral part of all of the self-closing taps for washing and showering of the F5 Line. It was first presented in March at ISH 2017 and will be launched onto the market in June 2017. The new lines will further reinforce Franke Water System’s leading position in its markets. “We certainly want to enhance our presence worldwide and expand geographically. The focus will be on organic growth,” confirmed Mr Basler. “We can see positive development in most of our markets and we will strive to capitalise on this growth with our traditional strengths – outstanding quality and a strong focus on innovation.”

F3S-Mix self closing pillar mixer

Industry Europe 41


Aweta: Continued

International Growth Netherlands-based Aweta is leading the way when it comes to the manufacture and supply of turnkey solutions for the grading and packing of fresh produce. The company is enhancing its global reputation thanks to its continuous dedication to technological development and sales network expansion.

“2

016 was a record sales year and 2017 looks set to be just as impressive,” says Mr Jean-Luc Delcassé, Aweta CEO. This growing success is the result of a variety of factors, including highly innovative projects such as turnkey plants for both round and cherry tomatoes, for the largest Spanish and French cooperatives as well as major growers in the US and Mexico. The company’s most modern customers in Italy (Rivoira) and France have been equipped with fully automated apple pre-sorting and packing lines. The most advanced sorting solutions for citrus fruits have also been implemented in South Africa and California, as well as a new sorting line in Spain for the coming season. Aweta also provides tailor-made sorting technologies for avocadoes and mangoes, internal scanning for peppers and advanced softness detection sensors for tomatoes, peaches and kiwis. 42 Industry Europe

Enhanced Sorting Performance Over the past few years, Aweta has been focusing on a new technique called ‘HyperSpectral’. This innovative optical sensor has been successfully tested on many types of fruit including apples, pears, tomatoes, kiwis, avocadoes and mangoes. PowerVision Hyperspectral® brings significant added value to any operation when it comes to selecting external defects. It is particularly useful for identifying defects that are almost invisible, such as internal bruising or punctures. A specific spectral vision technology has been developed for citrus fruits and Advanced Vision UV uses the ultraviolet spectrum to identify clear rot on citrus – a skin defect barely visible to the naked eye. With Inscan-Pulse®, Aweta has introduced a new version of the Internal scanning sensor, named Inscan®, in order to take the detec-


Automation & Robotics

tion of internal defects a step further. It can, for example, ascertain the amount of red flesh on new varieties of apples, as well as the sugar level, water core and percentage of internal browning. This sensor is also incredibly proficient at measuring the internal properties of fruit at high speed (10 pieces of fruit per second), including juiciness in citrus fruits and ripeness as well as internal decay in avocadoes.

“Our customers need specialists” Mr Delcassé goes on to explain the importance of offering a highly specialised service: “In this world of constantly evolving technology, it is crucial that our customers meet the right partner to keep abreast of the latest advances made in sensor capabilities and the large range of sorting solutions offered, combining breakthrough features, added flexibility, higher quality performance and cost-reduction options. We are adamant that the end application has to fit with the customer’s vision and operational strategy and our specialists are trained to respond quickly and efficiently to all challenges.”

Aweta’s specialists are: • Open-minded and flexible • Able to analyse and propose tailor-made models • Organised in teams to better cover different geographic markets and segments • Connected through the extensive Aweta network. Aweta teams are on-hand to respond to all questions related to sorting technology and to analyse the performance of internal and external quality sorting for any produce requirement the customer has. The team can propose templates, build models and demonstrate operating systems using real-time sorting samples, either at its in-house demo rooms or at customers’ premises. This team is in charge of solutions related to ICT, data management and traceability of products across the entire operating system. This offers customers the possibility to link operational and sales processes with their own client database and to synchronise orders with relevant packing plant, resource management, storage and excess.

Industry Europe 43


The supervision interface, FlowMaster®, is able to monitor the entire sorting system. To this end Aweta has developed its own unique tools, named Lysi® and Scada®, that control flow and order management within the plant.

An International Player Aweta’s specialists accompany its sales and service engineer teams around the world. They prepare and present sample sets in the showrooms in the Netherlands and Italy for the European market, and in California and Yakima for the US market. In addition, a sorting demonstration facility has also been established in Mexico. These specialists are highly qualified, holding either technical engineering degrees or PhDs. Each team member has been trained in a particular field, ensuring that every aspect involved in the engineering of Aweta’s sorting solutions is covered. “Aweta has grown constantly since our establishment and is now one of the leading suppliers of high quality sorting systems in the fruit and vegetable sector. However, our attention to customers’ needs has never changed; we always put customers first when it comes to business. We are working to: • Consolidate our achievements in the context of high-level competition • Develop our sales strategy to better serve the southern hemisphere regions – we are strengthening our local teams in Chile and Australia as we have done elsewhere by staying close and acces sible to our customers • Continue to innovate our technology by extending the application of Hyperspectral • Accelerate diversification with new solutions for pears and oblong shaped produce such as mini cucumber with MiniQPack® and a new version of Millistar® for small products such as cherry fruit.” 44 Industry Europe


Automation & Robotics

Flexibility, Safety and Hygiene Mr Delcassé adds: “We rely on our human capital and seek to empower our engineers to make customers’ wishes true. Every day we continue to learn and grow so we can deploy our knowledge in such a way that all customers ultimately benefit from our know-how. “Aweta has the responsibility to produce and sell quality machinery. Our approach with regard to hazard prevention and safety measures is unequivocal. Our machinery meets all labour safety regulations around the world. We approach fruit handling with the same regard and accuracy: We handle products with care and attention and our equipment meets all requirements defined by the hygiene regulations of the major countries including the USA and EU. He concludes with this message: “Sorting fruit is our passion. This year we celebrate 50 years in the industry: We remember where we n started from and we know where we are heading to.”

Industry Europe 45


Cable chains for dynamic applications

“Even if you are not aware of it, you encounter cable chains on a daily basis, because they are employed in a very wide variety of applications,” as Alessandro Saccani – Commercial Marketing Director of Brevetti Stendalto SpA, and Paolo Lovati, Marketing & Key Account Manager, explain to Barbara Rossi.

B

revetti Stendalto SpA was established by Giovanni Mauri in 1968. As well as setting up the company, Mr Mauri had the idea for the company’s flagship product: nylon cable chains. Although new versions and applications of nylon cable chains have been developed over the years, these are still the company’s core products and, furthermore, have become prevalent on the market, overtaking the previously leading steel cable chains. Headquartered in Monza, near Milan, the Italian company manufactures all its products in Italy, with a turnover of €20 million a year. In addition to this, it has commercial and service subsidiaries in France, Germany, the US and China, which generate their own turnovers. The flagship products are nylon cable chains, steel cable chains (for applications where nylon cannot be employed) and project solutions (in which the company starts working with its customers at the design phase, developing ad-hoc components with dimensions and other specifications tailored to clients’ needs). However, the Brevetti Stendalto range also includes robot chains, flexible cables, total chains and flexible sheathes. Brevetti Stendalto SpA distributes the Reiku flexible sheathes in both Italy and France. “We offer products with four different levels of customisation. The first level comprises catalogue products. The second level features products with minor customisation. For instance, we may be asked to produce a cable chain in a different colour or with pins of a different colour. Usually 46 Industry Europe

our cable chains are black and the pins yellow, but obviously we can modify this. The next level is that of customised solutions, either in terms of total chain solutions – in other words solutions which feature standard components, but with ad-hoc assembly to fulfil individual clients’ needs – or solutions with standard components, but bespoke accessories especially developed for the client. At the fourth and highest level of customisation we offer our ‘project’ solutions, for which we start working with the client from scratch, i.e. from the design phase. These solutions do not contain standard products. Their components are totally customised, for instance at a dimensional level.”

New and recent products Products developed in recent years include the new nylon chains ‘H’ series specifically designed for the most challenging applications. Its self-supporting capacity is remarkably higher than that of any other Brevetti nylon chain. Then there are the cable chains with rolling system for long-travel distance applications over one hundred metres: the 60R1 and 80R1 series. They have better friction-reducing features. We are also currently developing a third level of customisation product, which will feature multi-layer rotary solutions able to perform up to 1800 degree rotations.” The company has two facilities in Italy: Monza and Mesero (the latter is between Milan and Turin). Mesero is where nylon cable


Automation & Robotics

Industry Europe 47


chains production takes place, covering all processing phases from raw nylon to pre-assembly. The products are then stocked and assembled in Monza. In addition to housing the headquarters and the warehouse, this is where steel components bought by external suppliers are assembled to produce steel cable chains, and where

48 Industry Europe

Reiku products are stored. The size of the Italian production sites is such that production increases could feasibly be accommodated. “We are the leading Italian manufacturer of both nylon and steel cable chains. Our major competitors are at international level. To be successful we must distinguish ourselves from them by playing on our strengths, namely quality and flexibility. We have to offer a ‘best in class’ level of quality and service, in order to compete against the other European competitors and distinguish ourselves from low-cost competitors from the rest of the world. At the same time, we have to maintain our flexibility in terms of customisation and our focus on customers needs, something in which our competitors are somewhat lacking. In addition to all of this, we have to optimise our internal process and increase automation in production. “I have to say that our black cable chains with a yellow pin have become our trademark, although as previously mentioned we can modify this colour combination if a client asks us to. Our low-cost competitors have started copying this colour combination. In a way, this makes us proud, but I must say that it is also a source of worry, as we need to make sure that our solutions are easily distinguishable from theirs.” Due to the widespread use of cable chains in an extremely high number of applications (from cash machines to CT scanners, sliding


Automation & Robotics

doors to adjustable seats in cars) the company serves multiple sectors. These are mainly machine tools, port cranes, bulk handling, telescopes and antennas, drilling machinery (for offshore and land rigs), earth moving machinery, organic waste processing plants and 3D printers. Through partnerships and a network of distributors the company sells its solutions in several continents. Sixty-five per cent of turnover is generated through exports and, geographically, apart from Italy, the main markets served are France, Germany, the US and China. “We are also doing quite well in Spain, eastern European countries (including Russia) Scandinavia and the Middle East (particularly Dubai). Our future plans are centred around consolidating and increasing our presence in all of these markets. We usually try to do this through collaborations with new distributors, especially in new markets.

Looking ahead “In terms of future development, we are going to focus on service. Of course, we are also continuously going to develop new, ever better performing products. However, service is key, because the cable

chains are increasingly a commodity, and what makes the difference now is greater service (in terms of product availability, delivery time, ‘on-time delivery’ and the capability to match the customer’s applications needs) rather than product performance. We also want to improve our turn-key solutions, offering an installation service carried out by our technicians with an attached extended guarantee, exceeding the standard statutory terms.” Most recent investments have been channelled into marketing, to increase the company’s visibility at global level, and logistics, to improve the level of service offered to clients, especially in terms of quick deliveries. January saw the implementation of a totally automatised warehouse. The other area attracting investments has been R&D, both at research and testing levels. “Very soon we’ll launch our new website, with a product configurator facility for most of our standard products. Thanks to this, customers will be able to configure the design of their chosen product (and from 2018 check the price as well). “All the suppliers that we use are very well-renowned and offer a level of quality undisputedly recognised on the market. Reiku, whose n products we distribute, is one of these.”

n

Industry Europe 49


Sparking Success BRISK Tábor is a leading European spark plug and sensor manufacturer. What started as a small factory back in 1935 has become a major supplier to global carmakers with steadily increasing market share. In line with its new projects, the company is preparing for further investment. Romana Moares reports.

50 Industry Europe


Automation & Robotics

B

RISK Tábor is a 100 per cent Czech joint-stock company that is continuing the tradition of its predecessor established some 80 years ago. Today, being one of the six largest spark plug producers worldwide, the company’ s position in the European as well as global markets is strong and continues to improve. Brisk’s product portfolio includes spark plugs for cars, garden machines, aircraft and marine engines, car sensors, spark electrodes for gas appliances and technical ceramics. As a result of major investment in new technologies and increased capacity the company has become a trusted supplier to major carmakers with a growing global aftermarket share. Brisk has received many prestigious awards both in the domestic and export markets, including the Leading Edge Award (The Best Supplier of the VW Group), Exporter of the Year, Gentleman Pro and many others. The company achieved three particularly important milestone in Brisk’s history: entering the Russian market in 1996; creating its own product research and development base to serve all its markets; and the start of development and production of car sensors around 20 years ago.

Spark plugs and sensors Currently, about 35 per cent of total turnover is generated by the sensor division, which has achieved year-on-year growth of 25-30 per cent in the last five years. 99 per cent of the sensors are shipped directly to the production lines of carmakers such as VW, Škoda, Audi, Seat, Bentley, Volvo, Tatra, Zetor and others. “The sensors are always developed in close partnership with customers, so they reflect future car models, or common platforms of several models,” explains Mojmír Čapka, the Chairman of the Board and the owner of Brisk. “We signed several very important contracts in the first

quarter of 2017, guaranteeing for us sensor deliveries for the next ten years,” he adds. She further explains that the spark plug business line is slightly different as these are high-turnover spare parts, which may get replaced several times during a car’s service life - this fact alone determines its biggest use in the aftermarket. The company delivers the spark plugs to factories of global carmakers and garden technology manufacturers (OEM), as well as to their original equipment supplier (OES) networks and global independent aftermarket (IAM).

Ready for the next generation “The development of new engines is strongly affected by environmental requirements, leading to changes in the spark plug specifications as well. They must be smaller and of a different shape, resistant to much higher temperatures and pressures and their ceramics must have enhanced properties. Engine manufacturers require the spark plugs to have a longer service life, which requires a modified design and use of precious metals such as platinum and iridium for electrodes. All these are already reflected in our product development,” Mr Čapka. In terms of traditional combustion engines the attribute that is currently being monitored is enhanced combustion and more efficient fuel use to reduce emission of harmful substances. To address this issue, Brisk developed in 2014 the Brisk Premium Evo, a new line of spark plugs with a unique, patented technology. Mr Čapka says: “We are ready to embrace the challenge of the new hybrid engines as well as electrical engines and hydrogen driven engine. Hybrid and electrical engines will still require both spark plugs and sensors. Therefore, we see the new trends in engine development as a great challenge as well as a promising potential for Brisk. Industry Europe 51


“The product development and testing benefits from our collaboration with motor racing teams around the world. Technical information and measurements carried out during races, when our spark plugs must perform in the most demanding of circumstances, are important for further research, development and improvement.”

52 Industry Europe

Prospective Russia Brisk’s current production facility in the Czech Republic, employs over 600 people and has an annual capacity of 50 million of spark plugs and 5 million sensors. As a result of new technical requirements, new projects and increasing volumes, the capacity has been gradually increased on an annual basis. In 2017, three new automated Flex lines for spark plug assembly have been installed, designed and erected by in-house engineers. “We have been investing in new technologies and projects with a fast return on an on-going basis and will continue to do so,” says Mr Čapka. A milestone investment has been the new plant opened in Russia in 2016, at a cost so far of five million euros. With an annual capacity of five million units this plant has now reached its limits and the company plans to commission an extension, increasing annual production capacity to 9-10 million spark plugs. The largest customer for the plant is the company’s long term partner, Avtovaz, a member of the Renault Nissan alliance, which opens the door for Brisk to participate in the alliance’s global projects. “The Russian automotive industry has a huge potential. There is another large investment considered in Russia, namely in a new line for the production of sensors for the same customer (and other carmakers in Russia), planned to be implemented in 2019,” says Mr Čapka.


Automation & Robotics

Increasing market share About 96 per cent of Brisk’s production is sold in export markets in 77 countries on all five continents. A key market remains Russia, where Brisk each year exports about 20 million of spark plugs and has a 20 per cent (and increasing) market share. However, the company strives to strengthen the Brisk brand in other parts of the world too. “The markets where we have a stable performance such as the US, South America, Europe, the former states of the Russian Federation, the Middle East, Australia and north and central Africa are each year supplemented by new opportunities in countries such as Mauritius, Zimbabwe or Botswana. In 2017 we have signed contracts for shipments to Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and China” says Mr Čapka. He explains that the management sets clear and well defined goals for each year and is focused, together with all the com-

pany’s staff, on securing long-term prosperity and a stable position amongst the leading world suppliers to the automotive and garden machinery sectors. “We work intensively to promote the Brisk brand worldwide and to increase our market share in key territories. We are also actively preparing for the Industry 4.0 era and for the connectivity of technology and information systems. Brisk is thus well n prepared to meet the challenges of the future.”

Industry Europe 53


Raw Material

Selection for UV/LED Until recently, UV curing applications required the use of high power mercury (Hg) lamps to provide the energy and wavelength distribution necessary for effecting complete cure of UV formulations (e.g., inks, coatings, adhesives and composites). Traditional photoinitiators work well with mercury lamps due to many peak wavelengths in a typical Hg spectrum being matched to the many possible photoinitiator choices available commercially and these lamps continue to do the bulk of work in the industrial UV world.

O

ver the past ten years, development of high power UV/LED lamps has provided another option for UV curable applications. UV/LED lamps are more energy efficient, quieter and easily repositioned, provide ‘instant on/off’ capability and last much longer with little decay of the lamp output. They are different from mercury lamps in one key respect: spectral output is very narrow and centered on the specific LED chosen, most commonly 395, 385 or 365 nm lamps. Work continues to move toward other high intensity wavelengths, but for now, UV/LED requires careful formulation with fewer photoinitiator choices. Significant work in RAHN’s UV laboratories has quantified, and optimised to some extent, both photoinitiator and oligomer choices that will work with commercial UV/LED lamps. (This work has been limited to 395 and 385 nm lamps.) It is the purpose of this communication to summarize the highlights of that work in order to guide material choices for use in UV/LED curing. Of critical importance is to understand the assessment paradigm within which evaluations were done. The majority of work was completed with high power 15 W/cm2 lamps. Emphasis of this work was on speed of cure, i.e., how fast printed or coated substrate could move under the lamps while still achieving full cure (mar-free surfaces). Work was done in two phases, one emphasising photoinitiator choice and levels and the other focused on oligomer choices. The ‘lock and key’ nature of photoinitiators – i.e., creation of adequate free radicals only occurs when a PI absorbs light of specific wavelength(s) – limits PI choices when the lamp output spectrum is narrow. Based on a 395 nm UV/LED lamp, DETX/ITX, TPO, EMK, TPO-L, BAPO and BDMM are the most logical photoinitiator candidates, but the quantum efficiency of those products is not addressed simply by choosing absorption spectrum. Combinations of photoinitiators can participate in radical transfer reactions that sometimes prove more efficient than one PI alone, but the efficacy of those combinations can change from formula to formula. Furthermore, required PI levels can vary significantly from clear coatings, where 3-4 per cent PI may be adequate, to black or white inks where 15-20 per cent PI may be required. 54 Industry Europe

RAHN oligomers were tested in a clear formulation that was held constant across all experiments and applied to white card stock at a film thickness of 12 microns. Photoinitiators were TPO at five parts and DETX at 0.1 part. Drawdowns were assessed for cure by both ‘thumb twist’ and ‘fingernail scratch’ qualitative assessments to determine the maximum speed at which full cure was reached. Nearly all products cured faster at 385 nm versus 395 nm and lamp distance, while possibly optimal around 25-35 mm, accounted for little variation in cure response. Among the several dozen oligomers assessed, results clearly followed one specific trend: greatest curing efficacy is realised when oligomers combine moderate to high amine value with moderate to


Automation & Robotics

high (3-6) acrylate functionality. Mercaptan functionality also contributes significantly to robust cure, but stability considerations can be challenging with mercaptans. In general, typical oligomer reactivity is slow, particularly at 395 nm, and is greatly influenced by the diluting monomer. (Photoinitiator was held constant at 4.9 per cent total, since the test formulas were clear coats and many of them were sufficiently reactive at that PI level.) Among products tested, oligoamines were the most reactive,

followed by amine-modified polyether acrylates (or mercaptancontaining formulas), highly functional urethane acrylates then lower functional urethane acrylates and epoxy acrylates. Summarising the study results, the top 10 RAHN LED oligomers are: GENOMER* 5695, GENOMER* 5275/5271, GENOMER* 2253, GENOMER* 3414, GENOMER* 3457, GENOMER* 3497, GENOMER* 2235, GENOMER* 4590/PP and GENOMER* 7302. The full version of this n new Lab Report is available from RAHN company website.

Industry Europe 55


Changing the world through innovation

Schneider Electric is a European multinational corporation that specialises in electricity distribution, automation management and the manufacture of installation components for energy management. Industry Europe looks at some of the company’s latest high-profile partnerships, and at how it is working to change the world through sustainable innovation.

S

chneider Electric was founded in France in 1836 by the Schneider brothers, who acquired the Creusot foundries in order to make armaments and heavy machinery. Innovation played a key role in its fortunes and by 1891 Schneider had become a major player in the emerging global electricity market. Today the group leads the field in its key market sectors including UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) Movement Control and Building Automation. Furthermore, it has continued to strengthen its lead in advanced ‘Smart Grid’ technology. Schneider is headquartered in Rueil-Malmaison, France and is also based at the World Trade Centre in Grenoble, Switzerland. Today the company’s biggest markets are energy management, automation and control products for the metals, mining and water management industries. This is where Schneider’s programmable PLCs and validated architecture makes it easy for it to be much more energy efficient. All Schneider’s latest energy management products, including its revolutionary Modicon M580 automation controller, were showcased recently at the SCA Trade Fair held in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Sustainable innovation Schneider’s huge investment in R&D is designed to sustain its programme of innovation and differentiation, with a strong commitment to sustainable development. Innovation drives the company’s strategy for growth and dictates the research and development 56 Industry Europe

priorities designed to solve the planet’s energy dilemma and to make the IoT (Internet of Things) and the Smart Grid a reality. Having a deep understanding of its customers’ needs the company’s R&D teams create comprehensive, scalable and flexible solutions for both energy and operational efficiency. Every year Schneider invests around 5 per cent of its revenues in its various R&D programmes. One result of this continued innovation was last year’s introduction of the Water Network Optimisation (WNO) Suite, a Water and Wastewater industry solution powered by Aquis 7.0 and built on Wonderware System Platform. Water network operators can use WNO to acquire and centralise real-time data from network critical points for complete visibility and control of their water distribution network. ClearSCADA users can continue to leverage existing HMI/ user interfaces to gain direct access to this new industry solution, helping to accelerate deployment and time-to-value. The water industry, among others, faces the challenge of doing more with less. Infrastructure asset lifecycles must be extended, drought conditions have created significant sourcing and demand forecasting difficulties, and increasingly stringent regulations must now be adhered to. At the same time, greater focus on sustainability, energy cost and carbon reductions are putting new pressure on operations. Water Network Optimisation Suite is a new industry solution from Schneider Electric that delivers both real-time and ‘future-time’ vis-


Automation & Robotics

ibility into Water and Wastewater networks. This offers operators the ability to perform ‘what-if’ analysis of potential maintenance actions (e.g. isolate a section of the network for maintenance and simulate the impact on delivery pressure through the next 48 hours). “Water Network Optimisation Suite brings the complexity and specialisation of advanced hydraulic modeling/analytics into a simplified operations environment that is familiar to water utility personnel,” said Doug Warren, Vice President, Industry Solutions at Schneider Electric. “This helps Water Utilities to address workforce transformation challenges, while at the same time lowering maintenance costs and avoiding service disruptions to water consumers.” WNO is supported by Customer FIRST, Schneider Electric’s software maintenance and support program, which is a flexible portfolio of services that help protect and extend the value of a Schneider Electric Industry Solution across its entire lifecycle. A Customer FIRST Agreement establishes a formal service relationship with Schneider Electric, enabling access to the latest software upgrades while providing expert technical assistance, optional services and self-help tools to help improve operational effectiveness.

A responsible approach Sustainability and social responsibility are at the top of the Schneider Group’s agenda today. Represented in more than 100 countries and employing more than 140,000 people worldwide, it is working to make a real difference through helping businesses meet their energy goals while at the same time increasing operational efficiency. In new

economies, this corporate responsibility model translates into fostering solutions to provide reliable energy to the 1.1 billion people that do not have access to energy; in mature economies it is addressing the hundreds of millions of people living in fuel poverty by developing more efficient, greener solutions. To give just one example: through its Access to Energy programme in, Lafenwa, Nigeria, Schneider is providing residents with portable solar LED lighting and power systems, giving them safe, green and reliable access to energy for the first time. Meanwhile, in collaboration with Golden Key Company (GKC), a Myanmar agribusiness firm, it has co-developed a project to bring access to electricity to rural populations in Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady region.

Forging strong partnerships Finally, this year (2017) Schneider has continued its dedication to forming mutually beneficial partnerships. May alone has seen the formation of two important collaborations for the company which should help it further cement its position as one of Europe’s foremost players in energy provision. The first of these was with EXHEAT, the world leading manufacturer of electric process heaters and CoreX Controls, through which it will provide the companies with full support in machine automation thanks to its machine integrator partners across the globe. Within the programme, EXHEAT and CoreX Controls will be part of a network of informed machine designers who have access to essential training, exclusive networking events and a wide range of scalable products and solutions. As Schneider Electric partners,

Industry Europe 57


both companies will have the flexibility, efficiency and visibility to provide customers in the hazardous controls space with more productive, safe and sustainable control systems. “Our machine integrator partner programme highlights our continued commitment to support organisations industry-wide to innovate at every level and compete on a global stage. We’re delighted to see a significant number of product orders already being placed across existing and new markets,” said Martin Walder, VP Industry at Schneider Electric. The second of these collaborations is a framework agreement with Neoen, the leading French independent power producer. The two companies have signed a 750 MW Conext SmartGenTM multiyear framework agreement on three continents. The scope includes: conversion stations composed of 1500V inverters, medium voltage switchgear, transformers, and complete monitoring and control system, as well as lifecycle maintenance services. “With a global footprint and long-term commitment in Solar, Schneider Electric delivers projects and long-term service contracts for solar power plants worldwide in an efficient way, which will continue to bene-

58 Industry Europe

fit international solar businesses such as Neoen. We decided to set up a dedicated service team to support Neoen and their EPC partners to increase reactivity and support in this very dynamic market,” explained n Robert Immele, Solar Business CEO at Schneider Electric.


Automation & Robotics

Industry Europe 59


Over a century

of expertise

TOS VARNSDORF, based in the northern part of the Czech Republic at the German border, is the world’s leading manufacturer of machine tools, specialising in the production of medium class horizontal milling and boring machines and machining centres.

60 Industry Europe


Automation & Robotics

T

OS VARNSDORF was founded in 1903, and its products, operating in all industrialised countries of the world, reflect the knowhow and experience of generations of technicians and skilled workers. The company specialises in the machining of components for the transport, mining, construction and energy industries, as well as for general mechanical engineering in all developed markets including Europe, Russia and China. “The product portfolio has not changed in the last few years: our core business still consists of the horizontal milling and boring machines, floor type horizontal boring mills, machining centres and special tools,” says sales director Milos Holakovský. “We also continue to offer a wide range of accessories such as milling heads, milling attachments, facing heads, add-on tables and clamping equipment. What has changed, however, is the innovative shift toward more productive, multi-functional and sophisticated machine tools with a wide range of add-ons.” In 2016 the company achieved slightly lower sales than in 2015 – the result of several factors, such as a delay in drawing the EU funds and the decline of the Russian market due to continuing sanctions. “However, since early 2017 we have been experiencing a significant market revival and an increased volume of orders. We can thus expect better financial results than in the last two years. We are doing really well in most of the 40 territories where we supply our products,” says Mr Holakovský.

Unparalleled parameters In early 2017 the company increased its production capacity by purchasing a new Japanese Yasda machining centre, used for the production of precise components for milling heads. The total investment was worth CZK 35 million. In March, TOS VARNSDORF introduced its new WHT 110 C multifunctional machining centre. This is a horizontal machining device suitable for the most demanding operations that require accurate drilling, thread cutting, boring and turning or milling. The machines in the WHT line can be designed as machining centres with a wide range of additional devices, such as the automatic exchange of technological pallets, tools, special accessories, additional boring and turning machines and several other accessories that will satisfy the needs of even the most demanding applications in areas such as the aerospace industry, power industry, mining industry, oil and gas industry and engineering industry. These ‘multi-tasking’ machines are suitable for single-part as well as series production. “A parameter that is unparalleled in the world is the achievement of 6000 rpm with a 112mm diameter of travelling spindle. The machine frame is equipped with temperature sensors to monitor the machine’s behaviour during operation and to compensate for potential effects of temperature deformations,” explains Mr Holakovský. “A complete novelty is the TOS CONTROL machine management system that reflects the current industry trends and the Industry 4.0 requirements.

Industry Europe 61


TOS CONTROL includes not only a machine control system, but also allows for the viewing of machine documentation, machined part drawings as well as machine diagnostics. Furthermore, it serves as a monitor for cameras located both on the inside and the outside of the machine.” He reveals that the company is now working on a new line of WHT machines with a 130mm traveling spindle to be introduced at the beginning of 2018.

Re-established territory The sales director explains that today’s markets require bespoke solutions, i.e. deliveries of machines, technologies, clamping devices, tools and programs. “This development is the result of lack of engineering expertise in many companies. In this context, our valued long-term business partner has been WALTER CZ – its engineers and technical experts are able to support our sales worldwide. One of our largest joint projects of recent years has been the delivery of our largest machine, WRD 180 H, to the Indian state-owned company COFMOW for the machining of engines for diesel locomotives,” he reflects. TOS VARNSDORF exports its products to more than 40 countries. “It is very difficult to find new territories; the list of the countries which buy our products remains almost unchanged,” Mr Holakovský points out. “Still, there is one country where we were very successful in the past, and where trade stopped completely as a result of an imposed embargo: I am talking about Iran, a country with more than 80 million inhabitants, to which our company used to sell dozens of machines in the past. Since last year, we have been stepping up our efforts to re-open this market.”

In line with Industry 4.0 He confirms that the main issue currently driving the market is the new industry revolution, Industry 4.0. “The need for comprehensive solutions evokes new changes, and the main themes of today are automation, robotisation and digitisation. Industry 4.0 can be described as a never-ending series of innovations,” he says. TOS VARNSDORF duly applies these innovations in its product range. The company has already introduced its TOS CONTROL machine management system when it launched the new WHT 110 C. “A significantly higher added value for the customer will be achieved 62 Industry Europe

by the In-Process Measurement. We are talking about measurement that is immune to machine inaccuracies. Together with WHT 110 C, the In-Process Measurement will be introduced at the EMO Hannover Exhibition in September 2017,” explains Mr Holakovský. With its strong position in global markets, new innovations and a solid network of sales and service subsidiaries in key markets, the sales director is confident that TOS VARNSDORF will continue its n 115-year engineering tradition for years to come.

Mr Holakovský, commercial director


Automation & Robotics

Industry Europe 63


Surpassing expectations Dacia is a leading automotive manufacturer that was founded in Romania in 1966 and today is at the forefront of the European automotive industry. Philip Yorke follows the strategic path that led to the company’s remarkable success and also explores the innovative engineering strategy that has led to its growing market share, currently enjoyed by its award-winning new models that have surpassed all expectations.

D

acia is the main car maker in Romania and in 1968 the first Dacia1100 car was produced under licence from Renault. The company’s consistent success has resulted in Renault purchasing 51 per cent of the company’s share capital following its privatisation process. Today Renault holds 99.43 per cent of Automobile Dacia’s equity. Recently the company was subject to a thorough modernisation programme that upgraded its industrial installations in Romania, reorganised its supply chain and rebuilt its commercial network. This comprehensive modernisation programme resulted in the company being awarded three top quality management standards including one in the area of environmental management and protection. To date the total investments made by Renault at Automobile Dacia in Romania exceed €2.2 billion, which has contributed greatly to its position as one of the major companies in the Romanian economy. In 2014 Automobile Dacia became the company with the highest turnover in Romania. Dacia’s mission is to produce an excit-

64 Industry Europe


Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

ing range of robust, reliable and accessible vehicles for the domestic and overseas markets to the highest Renault quality standards. The quality of Dacia products enjoys international recognition: according to surveys carried out by specialised institutions and trade magazines, Dacia clients also declare themselves particularly pleased with the quality of Dacia Cars and this has made a significant contribution to improving Romania’s image abroad. Dacia’s success can be explained by its unsurpassed ratio of innovation, price, quality, modern facilities and reliability. More than 93 per cent of the output of the Mioveni Vehicle plant in Romania is exported to over 30 countries worldwide.

Four of the best In the fourth quarter of 2016, Dacia launched its four much heralded new models at the Paris Motor Show. This meant the unveiling of the new Sandero, the Sandero Stepway, the Logan and finally the Logan

MCV models. All these distinctive models have been significantly redesigned to meet the express desires of its customers’ expectations. The design of the front-end panels on all four models was reconfigured to give them a more ‘same family’ look. The front bumper, grille and air vents go further in order to confirm the robust nature of Dacia’s latest vehicles. The new lighting utilises smart LED technology and conveys a more elegant and modern look. They form four triangles, which come together to underscore the new Dacia lighting signature. The rear light clusters on the Sandero, Sandero Stepway and the Logan have all been redesigned in the same spirit. On the interiors there have also been major changes to design features on these four models, including the use of new materials, improved ergonomics and increased storage areas. In addition the company’s new entry-level three-cylinder petrol engine – the 1.0 litre SCe75 – is a modern, more economical and Euro 6 compliant unit. Furthermore, for the first time Dacia is offering

Industry Europe 65


66 Industry Europe


Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

its Efficient Dual Clutch (EDC) automatic transmission on the Duster model for an even smoother and more enjoyable ride. At the end of August 2016 Dacia set a new sales record with over 550,000 vehicles sold worldwide.

Innovative engineering Thanks to its ground-breaking and innovative engineering the TCe90 unit weighs 15kg less than a motor of equivalent power. This ensures supple and energetic re-starts and accelerations, thus blending together the pleasure of driving with low fuel consumption and emissions. Dacia’s mechanical and chassis plant covers 18 hectares on the Mioveni industrial platform and together with the Dacia vehicle plant is the first mechanical plant within the Renault Group worldwide in terms of its manufacturing diversity. The huge Mioveni plant in Romania has almost 4000 employees, of which 27 per cent are women. The four modern production plants at this site manufacture aluminium parts,

motors and gearboxes. In addition, the front and rear bridges, axles and frames are installed for other vehicles in the Dacia, Renault and Nissan ranges. In another move to increase investment in production capabilities, improve efficiency and respond to the on-going success of Dacia’s Global Access Range, the Renault Group will start producing the Logan MCV in a second plant. The Mioveni plant has had to respond to the resounding success of the Duster model, for which the volume of orders is only second in its segment in Europe. In order to make more room for its Duster model, the Renault Group will also assemble the Logan MCV in its Tangier plant. The group’s manufacturing forecast is confidential, however today the manufacturing capacity of the Mioveni plant is being utilised at its n highest level. For further details of Dacia’s latest range of innovative passenger vehicles visit: www.daciagroup.com

Industry Europe 67


Performance plus

Daimler AG is known worldwide for its unrivalled standards of excellence and cutting-edge technology. Today the company’s undisputed global lead in design and manufacturing capabilities are complemented by the dedication and commitment of its key suppliers. Philip Yorke takes a closer look at Daimler’s continuing progress as a brand leader and the suppliers behind the scenes who have gone that extra mile for the company.

W

hile other major automotive manufacturers struggle to maintain their market share, Daimler has been posting doubledigit growth for the last 12 months with sales increasing in all regions of the world. Today the company is seeing particularly strong growth in Europe, the US and China. The global demand for its passenger cars and commercial vehicles continues to set the pace and the standards for others in the automotive industry.

Partnerships driving innovation In Stuttgart, Germany on 23 February 2017, Daimler AG recognised the remarkable performance and dedication of its key suppliers, who were honoured for their commitment, collaboration, partnership and innovative contributions to the company. Dr Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management at Daimler AG and head of Mercedes cars: “We recognise the changes confronting our industry for what they are: great opportunities. Together with our suppliers we 68 Industry Europe


Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

will use them!” At the special award ceremony event, more than 450 high-ranking representatives from Daimler’s most important suppliers were guests at the Mercedes-Benz Centre in Stuttgart. The 2016 Daimler Supplier Awards went to ten outstanding suppliers who excelled with their extraordinary performances in the past year. This covered the categories of Quality, Partnership and Innovation. The top members of the Daimler board of management and heads of procurement presented the awards in front of a large audience of guests from the supply industry, where the event’s motto was: ‘Focus on excellence’. Once a year, Daimler presents the Daimler supplier awards for exceptional performance and partnership collaboration with its suppliers. Working closely with its direct suppliers, Daimler employs its unique supplier cooperation model, the ‘Daimler Supplier Network’. Daimler measures performance in terms of quality, cost, delivery reliability and innovative strength. In his opening speech, Dieter Zetsche

stressed the importance of the Daimler Supplier Awards. “We celebrate a winning team – the world’s best supplier network – and we thank our suppliers for their loyalty and dedication.” The winners and additional nominees for the Daimler Supplier Award 2016 included the following companies: Hella KGaA Hueck & Co was nominated for Quality. Also nominated were JTEKT Europe S.A.S and Wagon Automotive Nagold GmbH. Awarded for being flexible and reliable contract manufacturers were Schmidt Automotive GmbH and Brembo SpA, while Dr Schneider Uternehmensgruppe was also nominated. LG Chem Ltd and Marquardt GmbH were rewarded for their high innovation standards in the area of air vents. In the category Global Procurement for Trucks and Buses was Bharat Forge Limited. Also nominated were: Bridgestone Europe NV in the Global System Partnership category; WABCO Holdings Inc.; Neue Halberg-Guss GmbH; Hema Endustria A.S. and Zonar Systems Inc. Industry Europe 69


Awarded for making savings in time and money were FKM Sintertechnik GmbH and Vinracoustic GmbH. In addition, in the category of International Procurement winners included Seruves, Rhenus SE & Co. KG as well as Keiner Maschinenbau GmbH and MapalFabrik. Also nominated was Trumph Laser-und Systemtechnik GmbH. Further nominees included was Plug & Play Germany GmbH and JSL S/A Geico SpA for Innovation. A special award for Outstanding Innovation went to Tencent Technology (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd.

Major investment programme Following yet another record year for sales, Mercedes Benz Vans are set to invest more than €2 billion in new products and services. 2016 has proved to be the most successful year on record with sales and EBIT far exceeding Daimler’s targets. Most of the major investments in 2017 and 2018 are to be directed towards new product development and cutting-edge, innovative solutions, as well as purpose-built state-of-the-art production facilities. Last year the Mercedes Vans division handed over a total of around 360,000 vans and multi-purpose vehicles to its customers, which represents growth of about 12 per cent, with revenues increasing to €12.8 billion. Mercedes Benz Vans is making full use of its strong market position and plans to invest over €2 billion in the expansion and renewal of its product portfolio and into new customer services. New investments include the new Mercedes Benz Pick-Up and the next generation of the Sprinter large van, as well as innovative overall concepts surrounding all Mercedes Benz products. As one of the first concrete results of the strategic initiative for the future, ‘adVANce’, Mercedes-Benz Vans Mobility GmbH will launch the first products in mid-2017 with its range of new rental, sharing, leasing and fleet management services from one source. It is also planning to double the number of ‘advance’ employees to 400 by n the end of the year. 70 Industry Europe


Industry Europe 71


In full gear EKOVA ELECTRIC is a dynamic company providing tram and trolleybus maintenance, repairs and production for a number of European public transport operators. Two years ago the company launched its own successful product, Ekova Electron, an electro bus which has since been deployed in public transport in a number of European cities. Romana Moares reports.

72 Industry Europe


Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

E

KOVA ELECTRIC provides tram repair for both its owner, Ostrava Public Transport Company, and many other major European public transport operators. The company also manufactures and modernises trams, suburban track vehicles and trolleybuses to customers’ documentation and, within its complementary programme, provides the production of tram and trolleybus components, welding courses and varnishing of vehicles and parts. “The company was established in 2011 as a 100 per cent owned subsidiary of the Ostrava Public Transport Company by divesting its tram repairs business,” says Ondřej Karpita, EKOVA’s Marketing and Sales Manager. “That means that we are a direct successor of a long and successful tradition started in 1894 in the industrial Ostrava region, and we are following on from the central workshops in Ostrava-Martinov built in 1969 – one of the largest repair premises in the Czech Republic.”

In line with customers’ requirements The company’s facilities in Ostrava-Martinov are equipped with modern machines and technologies and are soon to be extended in line with its plans to increase capacity and develop new production technologies. The current production programme includes the manufacture of new trams and accessories as well as vehicle shells, interior and exterior equipment, installation of electric equipment, complete vehi-

Industry Europe 73


cle painting and final installation of all devices according to customer requirements. The company offers both overhauls and medium-size scheduled repairs and maintenance of tram vehicles, as well as carrying out repairs to trams after traffic accidents. Tram modernisations and conversions are carried out as required by customers and may include installation of low-floor parts, replacement of electrical equipment, replacement of steps, outer sheet metal covering, air conditioning and other elements. EKOVA also carries out the installation of traction equipment in all types of trolleybuses, including alternative drives (diesel installation, battery operation), and performs routine tests in accordance with all necessary standards as well as renovation and testing of new trolleybuses. In the past 10 years, the company has completed installations of over 300 trolleybuses for local and international customers.

74 Industry Europe


Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

Electric focus In 2016, EKOVA ELECTRIC achieved a major milestone with the introduction of two types of electric-powered buses: a classic cardan design and a more progressive solution – favoured particularly in western markets – with engines in the wheels. Ekova Ekectron is a 100 per cent electric-driven low floor bus made in 10.5m, 12m and 18m lengths, offered with various modifications as desired by customers. The bus has stirred considerable interest, particularly in Germany and Sweden. “Most of our investments in 2016 went into product development and related activities focused on electro mobility: not only on the development of our own electric vehicles but also on the development of their charging systems. Now we are starting to work on the development of the third generation of our electrobus. Another development project focuses on partial trolleybuses, i.e. trolleybuses equipped with a battery as a backup drive source,” explains the Sales and Marketing Manager, adding that the electromobility market is developing fast. “We strive to keep up with current trends to meet the needs of our customers, public transport operators as well as private transport companies.”

Clean mobility About 70 per cent of EKOVA’s turnover is generated by its export markets. The electrobuses are sold to Germany and Scandinavia and it has partnered with other companies in order to modernise trams for Swedish and Estonian customers. Within the next two years the company is going to focus on further improving productivity and expanding its manufacturing capacity. “Our core business will remain the same: maintenance, production and modernisation of trams and the continued development of in-house electric vehicles modified according to individual customer requests,” says Mr Karpita. “We want to increase sales of our products both in the domestic and export markets, particularly in those focused on so-called clean mobility. To ensure that our products are competitive, we will strive to boost productivity, reduce production costs and improve production and pre-production processes management.” And with the rising potential of the electric vehicle sector, EKOVA ELECTIC seems to be in the right place at the right time.

Industry Europe 75


Harvesting success The Canadian Linamar Corporation moved into Hungary 25 years ago. Today Linamar Hungary Zrt is not only the largest agricultural machinery producer in the Alföld region but is also well known for its increasingly important automotive division. Edina Beale reports.

76 Industry Europe


Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

L

eading precision product manufacturing group the Canadian Linamar Corporation established a presence in Hungary in 1992 when it set up Linamar Hungary Zrt in the small town of Orosháza in Békés county. For many years now the company has been the largest employer in the region, providing jobs for over 2200 people in addition to its significant supplier background and important research and development activities. While still specialising in general machine production at the Orosháza site, the company has diversified to maintain competitiveness and has been operating two other production sites to serve the automotive industry.

Machine specialist The production unit in Orosháza has over 45 years’ experience in the production of agricultural machines. The Oros Division develops, manufactures and sells agricultural machines, machine parts, harvesting adapters and assembly machines for the construction industry. Its core products are different types of harvesting adapters, with the best sellers being the corn and sunflower adapters

developed by the company itself. These universal adapters can be fitted to all type of harvesters. Customers can choose from six rows up to 16 rows, or whether they want the product to be fixed or foldable. The portfolio includes good quality but lower price adapters as well as meeting demands for premium category products. Although some products are distributed in the domestic market, its export activities are also very significant. The main markets include eastern and western Europe, North Africa and North America.

New generations of harvesting headers From the start, continuous product development has been the key to success for the Oros Division. The innovative Oros Sun hydrostatic sunflower adapter is implemented with a stalk crushing facility whilst operating with reduced energy and minimal seed dropping. The aim was to develop an adapter that reduces harvesting waste to a minimum: the adapter is fitted with a row of trays that collect the falling sunflower heads and seeds.

Industry Europe 77


Their simple construction and minimal maintenance needs make these products highly attractive to clients. The distance between the stalk crushing unit and the adapter is adjustable from the driver’s cabin, therefore the optimal height for stalk ends is easy to maintain even at different harvesting heights. When harvesting stock is bent forward or at different heights, the stalk-chopping knife is no longer able to cut the stalk before the adapter’s turning knife chops the sunflower head from the stalk. The original generation of the Oros HSA has gone through several changes since its first market launch. The most distinctive difference is its outward appearance: in accordance with new market require-

78 Industry Europe

ments the orange coloured frame of the machine has been replaced with a new black colour. Trends today show that the external look of the adapters are increasingly important; clients want to select matching colours for their covers to go with their harvesters, and therefore the black colour is more suitable as a base frame. The newly developed Oros3 HSA is the third generation of the traditional Oros HAS, with the most significant update being a renewed side drive and chopper unit. The Oros3 HSA adapter is equipped with snapping rolls with knives, making it more time- and energy-efficient. Thanks to its universal frame structure the Oros corn harvester headers can be fitted to all types of harvesters.


Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

Precision parts for the automotive sector The group’s first automotive component part manufacturing division, Linamar Products Division, was established in 1993 in the Orosháza site. A new production hall was then built to assemble vacuum pumps for clients in the automotive sector. Its main production portfolio today still consists of precision metal machining and component parts, including gearbox components, high pressure petrol feeding pump housings, steering wheel components, assembled turbocharger housings, assembled vacuum pumps and assembled differentials. The Precision Part Manufacturing unit in Békéscsaba began its operations in 1999. This factory was established to carry out machining for large precision component parts in high volume. Its first products included spindles for inductive generators and their different types of milled cast components, but the portfolio has been extended over the years to meet market demands. Today it manufactures petrol feeding system components for cars, car bearing housings, units for lifts, compressor component parts, spindles for industrial equipment and wind turbine parts.

Increased prospects In 2015 Linamar invested 5.5 billion HUF in the Orosháza site, which increased the company’s annual sales by €250 million. The company’s turnover in 2014 reached 45 billion HUF. In recent years Linamar Hungary Zrt has strengthened its relationships with Europe’s largest car manufacturing company, the Volkswagen group, while also investigating new markets in the surrounding countries such as Romania, Slovakia, Poland, western Europe and North America. By 2020 the company is planning to employ 500 extra staff as well as continuing to make new investments.

Industry Europe 79


A cause for celebration In 2016 Officine Vica, a leading Italy-based metal cutting expert, marked its 80th anniversary as a company. Barbara Rossi talks to Fabrizio Meggiolaro – Business and Project Development Director, to find out the secret to the company’s long-term success.

“T

hroughout this year, we are holding a series of special events to celebrate our eightieth birthday as a company,” begins Mr Meggiolaro. Indeed, the celebrations and special events started towards the end of 2016, and will continue to be held throughout the coming year. “We are very keen on celebrating this stage of our company’s life, because the special events we have been carrying out since the end of last year have given us the opportunity to highlight our continuity and the specific traits which define us as a company – in particular, the fact that we always work with the aim of taking care

80 Industry Europe

of our customers, fulfilling their automotive needs. Our motivation is being a highly reliable partner for our customers, a partner which makes them feel secure, even in the often-complex evolutions of our market – in other words the automotive sector. This philosophy is certainly strongly valued by our clients. We will further pursue it, as it is one of the pillars of our company. Our birthday gives us the opportunity to combine our forward-looking vision in terms of products, processes and research with our continuity in terms of values.” Officine Vica offers a comprehensive automotive range, comprising customised products and processes. Its production is subdi-


Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

vided into three major areas, namely automotive (passenger cars), truck, and heavy-duty vehicles (earth-moving and agricultural). “The market cycles for these segments are different and not necessarily aligned, however this is a real asset for us so we aim to maintain a balance among these three areas, which are also integrated. For instance, components for passenger cars are prevalent in terms of sales at the moment. We are reaping the benefits of the research that we conducted in this area in the last few years. Concerning

research for the truck segment, I can say that we are in a testing phase and new products will soon be made available on the market. Our current R&D focus is on the earth moving and agricultural area. This means that in the next few years we are going to launch new products for this sector.” As mentioned, all Officine Vica SpA’s products are customised. The four main product categories are engine (particularly fuel injection components), transmission (housings, shafts and axles), drive-

Industry Europe 81


line (this is considered to be part of the transmission product family for larger vehicles) and body. “We are currently paying a lot of attention to the body range, as this area will offer interesting opportunities for development in years to come.” The Rivoli (Turin) headquartered company holds all the major certifications required by the sector, including ISO TS16949:2009, ISO 9001:2008, OHSAS 18001:2007 and ISO 14001:2004. “Holding

82 Industry Europe

these certifications is a necessary condition for working in our field but it is not the only one. We must also have all the specific certifications required by the different automotive OEMs.”

A cutting-edge machine fleet Over the past few years Officine Vica has invested in renovating its production machine fleet. The number of five-axis machines was


Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

increased, as well as the dimensions of the supplied components, which can now reach a 1600/1700mm turning diameter. In terms of mechanical processing Officine Vica can go over 2.10m with high production machines. This is a real distinguishing feature. The company serves all the major automotive OEMs, as well as large Tier 2 suppliers. “We also work with smaller Tier 2 suppliers, with whom we have strategic relationships.” Geographically Officine Vica has customers all over the world. In 2016 50 per cent of sales were in Italy, 38 per cent in the rest of Europe and 12 per cent in America (North and South). “We are increasingly keeping a very close eye on new market opportunities and are always looking at ways of increasing our market presence. “Our suppliers are very important to us and we aim to create lasting relationships with them. In fact, we try to create similar partnerships with suppliers to those which our clients have established with

us – namely a structured growth plan, which obviously must be in line with what our customers require of us. “Due to the highly competitive nature of the automotive sector, we have developed very strongly in terms of quality and skills at various levels. This is accompanied by a high degree of flexibility, as well as competitive prices. The automotive market is the hardest that you can imagine. Having been able to achieve these results in such a competitive market, we really believe that we are fully capable of entering other sectors, which do not yet display these competitive features. We are equipped with superior skills to do this, but we have to evaluate what these sectors have to offer us. Some of those identified did not offer the volumes to entice us to enter them. Others seem to be more interesting for a structured automotive supplier such as us, for instance the renewable energy industry. I am thinking n specifically of the wind power segment.”

Industry Europe 83


Sequential, customised success The Schwarzmeuller Group is a global company and one of the largest ‘one-stop’ suppliers of premium commercial vehicles in Europe. It continues to see strong growth particularly in the long-haul sector and is leading the field in its ability to produce tailor-made, highly efficient and cost-effective commercial vehicles. The introduction of ‘sequencing’ has added to the company’s competitive edge. Philip Yorke reports. 84 Industry Europe

T

he Schwarzmeuller Group was founded in the late 19th century as a blacksmith’s workshop in Austria. It has grown to become a global, broad range supplier of commercial vehicles and is still owned by the same family that started the business over 140 years ago. Throughout the Group’s long history, it has been renowned for its notable innovative solutions and ability to produce well engineered, reliable and cost-effective commercial vehicles. The most important sectors for Schwarzmeuller’s Commercial vehicles are those of long-distance transport, the construction and


Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

oil industries, and the recycling and timber industries. The company continues to see double-digit growth and projected sales volumes this year are expected to top 9,500 vehicles. The Schwarzmeuller Group currently employs more than 2,200 people and in 2016 recorded sales of over 340 million euros. In addition to state-of-the-art production facilities in Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary, the company has a pan-European service support network of more than 350 sites.

Growth in product customisation Almost two thirds of all the commercial vehicles manufactured by the Schwarzrmeuller Group involve customised design and assembly. This figure represented around 5,500 vehicles in 2016. At a recent press conference held in Hanover, Germany, the Group’s CEO, Roland Hartwig said, “A vehicle isn’t customised for cosmetic reasons. Optimising a vehicle for a particular application makes it more cost-effective” For Schwarzmeuller, ‘customising’ means more than selecting from a range of standard fittings. It involves specific features that are

required by the customer and require additional engineering work. Even the company’s standard range of vehicles includes eight product groups with 135 different types of vehicle. Hartwig gives the example of an extendable low-loader that was created as a prototype in close cooperation with the customer and subsequently formed the basis for a wide range of low loader applications. Schwarzmeuller vehicles are typified by their light-weight construction, great flexibility in the range of possible applications, robust construction and driver safety. “Our aim is to provide our customers with the best vehicle for each working environment” added Hartwig.

Increasing market share During its last fiscal year, Schwarzmeuller improved its sales volumes in every major market that it serves. In Austria its market share was significantly enhanced, with Germany seeing very strong growth and a 20 per cent increase in sales over 2015. However sales in Italy confounded predictions with a massive 50 per cent increase compared to 2015 figures.

Industry Europe 85


At the same time, more vehicles were produced in 2016 for the construction industry, mainly tippers, but also low loaders. Germany was the company’s focus market in which many construction vehicles including the box-body semi-trailer, was specifically created for the German market.

Record investments The Schwarzmeuller Group plans a record investment of more than 9 million euros in 2017. In the current planning phase, running up to 2020, the group will have invested a total of over €30 million. These investments will be utilised to further automate manufacturing processes and introduce smarter production-flexibility options at the three European production sites.

86 Industry Europe

Furthermore, the company is building a new, purpose-built spare parts centre in Wels. Hartwig also announced at the Hanover conference that the number of vehicles manufactured annually, will increase from almost 9,000 in 2016 to over 9,500 in 2017, which represents an increase of 7 per cent. This year Hartwig also plans to achieve a turnover of €380 million, which is an increase of 11 per cent over the previous year. The company predicts that the proportion of customised vehicles produced will grow significantly to reflect market demand, with a rise form 60 to 80 per cent by the end of the current 2020 strategy period. As the innovation and technology leader in the premium market, the company sets the benchmarks and is considered to be the manufacturer of choice for customised transportation solutions.


Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

Sequencing means greater efficiency At the Schwarzmeuller Group, sequencing is the new production model. Hartwig explained, “We are switching to a very modern but very complex production model that will allow us to produce customised vehicles in considerably shorter throughput times.” For the company this means massive changes to the manufacturing and assembly processes. The so-called ‘sequencing’ of the entire process chain is rare in the industry and is adopted only by premium manufacturers. The central issue here is the quality of the employees. It is increasingly difficult to find the right expertise, and therefore the company’s in-house training programme has received a major boost. Hartwig plans to complete the implementation of these n significant changes by the end of the current year. For further details of the Schwarzmeuller Group’s latest innovative products and services visit: www.schwarzmeuller.com

Industry Europe 87


Painting a greener future Headquartered in Milan, Geico SpA is a global leader in the planning and construction of turnkey automated car painting systems. COO Mr Daryush Arabnia spoke to Barbara Rossi about recent investments channelled into developing completely environmentally-friendly solutions.

“IN

2011, we forged an alliance with Taikisha, the Japanese giant specialising in the construction of car painting systems. Geico Taikisha is a general contractor that designs, develops, installs and starts up automated car painting systems. For this reason, I would say that we offer systems rather than products,” Mr Arabnia told Industry Europe. “An automated car painting system mainly comprises six elements: pre-treatment and cataphoresis, ovens, painting booths, sealing decks, conveyors, and quality control areas. In terms of both management and investments, an automated car painting system is the biggest and most expensive element within a car production chain.” The company, whose roots date back 50 years, is a strong believer in passion and innovation. In fact, its continuous striving towards innovation and development is at the basis of the Pardis Project that Geico is implementing with its team of engineers, and which it hopes to complete by 16 June 2020 for Energy Independence Day when the first self-sufficient energy plant will be opened. Pardis has been chosen as the name of this project because in Farsi it means ‘paradise’. On 10 May 2013 Geico opened the Pardis Innovation Centre, a research and development centre that is almost double the size of its predecessor.

88 Industry Europe

It extends over 3600m2, houses more than 20 functioning prototypes representing various technological solutions and uses technology from renewable sources in keeping with the self-sufficiency principle. In recent years Geico Taikisha has made a lot of investments in innovation, focusing on two main projects: the previously mentioned Energy Independence Day and Smart Paintshop. As explained, the former is a project aimed at developing the first self-sufficient energy plant with zero emissions. The latter comprises a range of solutions derived from Industry 4.0 in order to offer more flexible and efficient plants. The Smart Paintshop is based on four pillars: Smart Design, Integrated IoT System, Smart Plant Management and Smart Energy Management. Smart Design makes the system development process faster, with guaranteed quality. The integrated IoT System is composed of a series of ‘machine learning’ solutions, thanks to which the plant can automatically adapt to the various production needs in addition to performing a continuous data collection and analysis process (big data analysis). The Smart Plant Management systems allow for continuous communication between the plant and the operator. This offers added benefits in terms of preventative maintenance and a safer work


Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

Industry Europe 89


environment. Smart Energy Management is an energy management system which is able to precisely determine the amount of energy necessary for production, thus avoiding any wastage.

Global presence In 28 countries with a network comprising over 52 offices and seven manufacturing units, and an annual turnover of $1.8 billion. They currently have a joint market presence of over 5000 employees, more than 1000 of whom are engineers and painting industry specialists. The company serves the global automotive market and can count all the major automotive manufacturers among its clients. Because of its already existing global presence, its scope for expanding into new geographical markets is limited and future development will be mainly focused on organic growth. “We operate in a very niche sector,” Mr Arabnia explained, “and we prefer to create strategic partnerships rather than carrying out actual acquisitions. Nevertheless, we are always keeping a close eye on the market to evaluate any potential acquisition opportunity. Furthermore, Geico Taikisha

90 Industry Europe

invests a lot in training to improve the skills of the already existing staff or to offer job opportunities to young talented people.” Valuing human resources and taking care of the well-being of its employees is also central to the company. Suppliers are also very important to the company’s success and the relationship it has established with them is based on a deep level of trust. “We consider our suppliers to be true business partners who – having knowledge of our needs – have become an integral part of our team, ensuring the high standards we demand at all times.”

The car of the future “We believe the automotive market will witness some drastic changes and that the car will be transformed from a simple means of transport into a new means of communication. To follow suit, we will also have to change, following a broader path. We will no longer be simply limited to supplying painting systems. We will need to become true business partners, not only for our clients but also for n end consumers.”


Construction & ENGINEERING

A single supplier for endto-end ceramic production With its new patented technology Supera®, SITI B&T Group is among the world leaders in the production of turnkey plants for the ceramic industry, focusing on innovation, quality, flexibility and energy efficiency. Daniele Garavaglia reports.

Industry Europe 91


A

leading global player in the production of full-fledged systems for the ceramic industry, from clay preparation to the final product, with a presence in all markets, SITI B&T Group, a company from Sassuolo – the heart of the world’s ceramic district – is a leading player at every stage of the production process. It offers technological excellence and innovative service solutions, with a focus on energy efficiency and reduced manufacturing costs. The Italian group introduced the segment of large ceramic sheets through innovative Supera® technology, designed with the most progressive techniques in the sector, through advanced and intelligent automation and patented systems. “Supera® is a technology devoid of moulds and foundations, and it does not require special transport. It allows for the creation of large sheets with a wide variety of thicknesses (5–30mm) and size,” Cinzia Gervasi, marketing manager, explains. It has a production capacity of up to 13,000 sq. m/day (44,000 tonnes), considering a raw thickness of 10mm. The possibility of making raw or fired cuts of the sheets in different sub-formats allows high manufacturing and material storage flexibility. “Basically, we reproduced the typical benefits of traditional pressing on a

92 Industry Europe

discontinuous tape press. The innovative movable plate system for dust containment can overcome the scraps constraints. The system consists of mobile partitions-forming device, hydraulically fed during the ‘pressing’, while the breathable system of the press enables the correct de-aeration through a semi-porous membrane. The result is higher production efficiency.” Supera® is characterised by a significant aesthetic versatility: you can have up to 10 surface structures simultaneously. It is also possible to quickly change the structure in less than 15 minutes, thanks to a fast buffer / format release system. Research and development of the new Supera® line has resulted in the evolution of the new Start-Stop system: launched in 2014 for the Evo 3.0 presses, it features an engine system equipped with inverter pumps, capable of powering the press on demand, “a device that reduces the energy requirement of the forming system by about 30 per cent.”

Comprehensive services Today SITI B&T Group is the sole supplier able to offer integrated and innovative technology solutions for the entire production line of large ceramic sheets, from the preparation and characterisation of


Construction & ENGINEERING

mixtures (made by the advanced technology centre in Formigine) to pressing, drying, glazing, firing, handling and storage; all managed by a single integrated supervision, which ensures remote control of all stages, systems and manufacturing process benchmarks. “In our technology centre, we provide many services to customers starting from the study of raw material, testing, implementation and prototyping of new products, thanks to the possibility of implementing laboratory tests and harnessing the entire Supera® full line technology,” adds Cinzia Gervasi. For clay preparation, SITI B&T can provide integrated solutions for both wet and dry grinding. The Dryfast® mills range for the dry grinding of ceramic mixtures, available in different sizes, has many interesting features: a series of rollers treated to resist wear-and-tear; high efficiency classifiers; differentiated treatments according to clay abrasiveness and output granulometry constancy. The granulating machine Grainmix is an extremely versatile solution: depending on requirements, it allows for the creation of moistened or granulated powders. The production process is completed by Evo 3.0, the new generation of presses featuring cutting-edge technology for better pressing and with a reduction in tile casting defects; and by Titanium®, the innovative kilns for the firing of ceramic sheets that, thanks to exclusive burners, is placed at the absolute top of energy efficiency, reducing fuel consumption by over 30 per cent. Digital decoration is guaranteed by the partner Projecta Engineering, in association with Digital Design, which offers a combination of different technical work, extremely flexible for perfect synchronisation between digital graphics, structure and dry (or wet) application of substances. The new generation of modular printer G5, compen-

dium of the main winning features of Evolve range, is a paradigm of total flexibility. The end of the line is guaranteed by Ancora finishing technology, ensuring maximum efficiency, productivity and quality: like Dry Squaring, a saw intended for dry working for all types of ceramics, including porcelain tile, with unheard of production n efficiency in terms of energy savings and cost reduction.

Industry Europe 93


Combining success

and sustainability Çimsa is highly regarded as one of the leading companies within the Turkish cement industry. Victoria Hattersley talks to general manager Mrs Nevra Özhatay about the company’s dedication to maintaining the highest quality standards, and puts the spotlight on its pioneering sustainability programme.

Ç

imsa, a subsidiary of the leading Turkish conglomerate Sabancı Holding, stands out from other cement companies in Turkey thanks to its environmental focus and use of the purest raw materials available: its world-renowned White Portland Cement is described by general manager Mrs Özhatay as “one of the world’s best quality cements since 1989.” Alongside the white cement, the company’s range includes calcium aluminate and grey cement. Established back in 1972, today Çimsa has extensive Turkish production and development facilities, including five integrated plants in Mersin, Eskişehir, Kayseri, Niğde and Afyonkarahisar, 31 ready-mixed concrete facilities, a grinding facility in Ankara, a cement packing facility in Marmara terminal and cement packaging facility in Malatya. But the company is not just a leader in the domestic market: as one of the world’s foremost white cement producers, it has terminals in Hamburg (Germany), Trieste (Italy), Sevilla (Spain), Alicante (Spain), Famagusta (T.R.N.C.), Constanza (Romania) and Novorossiysk (Russia). Furthermore, according to Mrs Özhatay, “In the markets where we don’t have terminals we use the most effective logistics channels and satisfy our customers’ needs completely and on time.” As a result, it exports to more than 65 countries across seven continents and in 2016 it produced a total of 5.6 million tonnes of cement. Its biggest export markets include Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and America. 94 Industry Europe

Mrs Özhatay goes on to highlight the core values that have made Çimsa, according to its tagline, ‘The Name of the Formula’: “This refers to our very dynamic and flexible structure offering our business partners solutions that have been meticulously formulated and consist of segment-specific performance focusing on the needs of each sector, rather than product portfolios consisting of a single product; this makes your prescriptions more flexible and offers you a wide playing field.” Within the framework of ‘The Name of the Formula’ concept, Çimsa groups white cement and special products into three main product families: Çimsa Super White, Çimsa Aluminates and Çimsa White Concrete.

Ongoing innovation and investment A programme of continuous innovation has been one of the keys to maintaining Çimsa’s competitive edge, as Mrs Özhatay explains: “At Çimsa, we have always introduced special products to the industry. We have searched for ways to build tomorrow without losing our energy and enthusiasm while continuing to develop different and unique products.” Çimsa is one of the few companies in the world with such a strong focus on both special cement and R&D. In fact, on 28 February 2017 the Çimsa Cement Research and Application Centre


Construction & ENGINEERING

Industry Europe 95


became the first official R&D Centre within the Turkish cement industry to be certified by the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology. As our interviewee informs us, this Centre, known as ‘the Formula Centre’ has three key functions: preparing highly profitable new product development programmes; providing on-site lab support to customers, both at home and abroad, using Çimsa cement products; and creating added value for market development and new application areas, while keeping users informed about new Çimsa products developed at the Formula Centre. These new products include two world firsts: self-cleaning White Cement and Antibacterial White Cement. In addition to funding its innovation on an ongoing basis, Çimsa also regularly invests in expanding production capacity. At the end of 2015, for example, it invested 55 million USD into its Eskişehir plant. Through this, the plant’s kiln No.1 will now be capable of producing 415,000 tonnes of white clinker each year. This has greatly increased the plant’s flexibility, and thus its ability to adapt to fluctuating global market conditions; it has also boosted Çimsa’s overall position in the global white cement market. 96 Industry Europe

A second important investment, which went into increasing the production capacity of the Afyon Cement Plant, totaled 165 million USD. Through this investment, Çimsa will be able to triple its production capacity by reaching 1.5 million tonnes of clinker production capacity annually.

Sustainability-focused approach It’s important to note, however, that all of the above – innovation, investments, product development etc – goes hand-in-hand with the issue that is central to all Çimsa’s operations: reducing its environmental footprint. As the general manager responsible for Sustainability at Çimsa, Mrs Özhatay is able to give us a detailed insight into how this influences the company’s day-to-day business operations. “We, one of the leading cement and construction material producers in Turkey, carrying out all of our business and operations with the aim of a sustainable future. To relate sustainability aims with corporate responsibilities and to include related performance indicators to tracking systems are integral parts of Çimsa’s sustainability management system. We accept climate change as the most important


Construction & ENGINEERING

topic that threatens the lives of future generations and we continue to fight against it both as Çimsa and also by actively participating in multilateral initiatives.” In line with this approach, Çimsa has been Turkey’s first and only member of the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) since it joined in 2013. CSI – an initiative of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) – creates a unique platform for its members where they can share information on national, regional and international levels, and jointly decide on best practices. The results of the company’s focus on sustainability can also be seen within the context of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), winning the ‘CDP Turkey 2016 Climate Leader’ Category A- award in light of the results of its climate change report. They also extend to its obtaining various green building certifications, including LEEDS. “Particularly important is the certification we have achieved for Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) product use in the US and EU markets, which constitute 75–80 per cent of our special cement product users. In this context we carried out EPD for our super white cement and calcium aluminate cement products in 2015, improving their usage areas and decreasing their overall environmental impact. At the end of the project, our Isıdaç40 range became the first EPD certified calcium aluminate cement and Çimsa Super White was the second.” Environmental protection is also evident in Çimsa’s annual reporting. This year, it announced its very first ‘Integrated Annual Report’ in line with the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals. Within this report the company was able to lay out its integrated approach and sustainability vision at all stages of the production and development cycle. It’s also worth pointing out that Çimsa’s sense of corporate responsibility does not stop with the environment: in 2016 a total of 11 million USD was invested into the environment, occupational health and safety and education. “We have taken on the principle of providing support to the education of young people and contribute to the development of children through the ‘Summer Kids’ social responsibility project that has been running since 2011. We also donate to the Financial Literacy and Accession Association for every Integrated Annual Report shared with our stakeholders.”

Moving onwards and upwards Looking ahead, Çimsa plans to maintain its leading position in Turkey by searching out more opportunities here, as well as continuing its international growth – always, of course, in line with its sustainability goals. As Mrs Özhatay concludes: “Turkey is a considerable dynamic market for the cement sector due to the increasing building capacity and need. As a subsidiary of Sabancı Holding, we are growing and improving as a company by investing in innovation and R&D. We believe we will build on our leading position in both the local and international areas and we will keep our pioneering role in the sector through our performance, innovan tive solutions and sustainability vision.” Industry Europe 97


Excellent transmission MVM OVIT Zrt., a member of the largest state-owned Hungarian power company, the MVM group, has recently extended its activities to meet current demands in the domestic market. While moving in new directions the company has also successfully increased its presence and found unexploited opportunities by continuing with its core businesses beyond the domestic market. Edina Beale reports.

M

VM OVIT Zrt., the second largest company within the Hungarian MVM energy group, had been constructing high voltage power transmission lines and substations for over six decades when, in 2012, it had to diversify due to the full completion of the transmission line systems in Hungary. In order to utilise its professional knowledge and expertise a strategic decision was made to lay foundations in the railway sector and start assembling railway transmission lines.

Green innovations Keeping in step with changing times, in 2015 OVIT began to explore a brand new sector and found evidence that the demand for photovoltaic power station developments (solar park) in Hungary signals huge growth potential. Today the company is the biggest expert in the design and development of photovoltaic power stations in the country. In the renewable energy resources sector the company has also entered a new field; OVIT has conducted a pilot project to re-fit a 98 Industry Europe

previously natural gas fuelled power station into a biomass fired plant. The significance of this project was enhanced by the fact that the new in-built furnace was developed and produced at its power plant manufacturing unit.

Key partners Alongside its new activities, OVIT has continued their businesses with their two key partners; jobs conducted for MAVIR Zrt. and MVM Paks Nuclear Power Plant provided 40 per cent of the company’s 51 billion annual turnover in 2016. Last year OVIT constructed two 400 kV substations for two large power transmission line systems. Apart from these large-scale projects the company has also taken part in numerous railway transmission line assembly projects. The demand for railway projects has been increasing since 2010 and OVIT is now in a stable position in this market. At present OVIT is working on the reconstruction of a railway line passage between Budapest and Esztergom, an assign-


Energy & Utilities

ment which started last year. Tasks include the integration of local and overhead power remote control and the modernisation of the towing substation. In the power plant sector, MVM Paks Nuclear Power Plant has provided long-term contracts for OVIT. Current projects include the reconstruction of the safety cooling water system at the 1-4. unit, and the reconstruction of the 06 type main distribution equipment and other machine maintenance tasks. Moreover, OVIT carries out high voltage and installation maintenance works, and provides welding and technological pipe assembly services as well as the repair of steel structures at this power plant.

Foreign success OVIT is a Hungarian market leader in all areas of energy service. Owing to its specialist knowledge, long traditions and extensive expertise the company is able to place its products and services in the international market. In 2013 a consortium agreement was made with the Czech KLEMENT a.s. The first success arising from this agreement was the winning of tender to modernise a 300km power line for CEPS a.s., a Czech transmission system controller. As a result of this, a year later OVIT received a request for a similar project. Another assignment was completed in 2015 when the consortium signed a contract

Industry Europe 99


100 Industry Europe


Energy & Utilities

with Hradec to extend a 400kV station in Hradec. “It was important for us as it was a very complex project: the steel structures that were integrated during the reconstruction of the substation were manufactured in our own unit that was built to produce high voltage transmission systems and now provides unique solutions to meet the requirements of the energetic industry,” explains Mr Norbert Lajos Korom, chief executive of MVM OVIT Zrt. “We are also very proud to win the development work for the Swiss CERN substations. We successfully completed a system reconstruction project in 2012–14 at CERN, and in 2016 CERN selected us again to carry out the 400kV high voltage system extension and reconstruction work. The fact that CERN, a renowned international organisation, recognised and utilises our knowledge, experience and professionalism in the field of electric system developments.” Industry Europe 101


CEO: Dr Norbert Lajos Korom Dr Norbert Lajos Korom is a lawyer and energy specialist. He has been the CEO of MVM OVIT Zrt since 30 April 2016.During his career he has worked in Hungarian and international law firms, then in the Prime Minister’s office as a lawyer. He later served as a consultant in the gas sector for MOL Rt. From 2010 he had been the managing director of Magyar Kémény Kft. Since 2015 he has also been the CEO of MVM ERBE Zrt. which is also part of the MVM Group.

New targets OVIT aims to achieve success in the foreign market by establishing a stable base in each of its target markets. It has one office in the Czech Republic, and is planning to set up a Slovenian office, but it is also considering the whole of Balkan region where it seems many unexplored opportunities. Mr Korom has also revealed that, following a long and thorough preparation process, the company has started operating in the Middle East markets, beginning with Saudi Arabia. “The Saudi Arabian International Company (AIC) has signed a contract with us to start a joint venture in March this year. The new joint venture is registered with its headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and its main activities will include the construction of high voltage power transmission lines, power station furnace construction and reconstruction as well as taking part in relating developments and in renewable energy n projects,” concludes Mr Korom.

102 Industry Europe


Energy & Utilities

Gas Under Control

Spectron, based in Frankfurt am Main, offers a diverse product family for applications in the gas supply control segment. The company is a market leader in terms of innovation and quality and these are the attributes the company wishes to further support to secure its growth worldwide. Romana Moares reports.

AT

a time when many European manufacturers have moved their production facilities to China or other cheap labour markets, Frankfurt-based Spectron has turned the ‘made in Germany’ slogan into a vital marketing tool – indeed one of the markets where Spectron’s products are enjoying growing success is China. “We have achieved our strong market position as a result of our lasting commitment to quality and innovation and are determined to keep it this way,” says Mr Johan van der Klift, Spectron’s Manag-

ing Director. “German products still have a strong reputation in global markets and we have decided to stay put in terms of our manufacturing operations. This has certainly not hindered our growth – people around the world are willing to pay for guaranteed quality and reliability, custom-specific design and short lead times.” Spectron has been a gas supply equipment specialist for decades. The company is part of MEC Holding, owned by the family-run Messer Group, a renowned player in the markets for industrial gases

Industry Europe 103


and cutting and welding technology since 1889. The Messer Group and the Messer Eutectic Castolin Group (MEC) operate under the ‘Part of the Messer World’ umbrella brand, signifying that they are part of the ‘Messer World’ group of companies. “Spectron has been part of the Messer Group for a long time, starting in the sector of cutting and welding and later, in the mid1950s venturing into new applications in laboratories and the oil and gas sector requiring high purity and specialty gases equipment, which is basically what we do today,” says the Managing Director. He explains that one of the biggest milestones came in 2010 when Spectron’s activities were divested into an independent business in its own right, albeit still owned and operating with the Messer Group. “A significant investment was made in the business, moving into a new location, the purchase of machines and in other aspects of company management, including developing our core business: production of gas supply control systems, mainly for high purity gas applications.” Spectron today employs about 60 people in its German facility, 10 staff in its sales office in Shanghai and operates a subsidiary in Coventry, UK, Spectron Gas control systems, the key activity of which is to modify the products made in Frankfurt for the UK and Irish markets in laboratory, universities and R&D applications.

104 Industry Europe

Leader in innovation Spectron’s product range is wide and the sheer breadth is a significant competitive advantage, making the company unique on a global scale. “We are a one stop manufacturer which is very unusual these days. Gas companies can get all the equipment they need for their various gases and applications from us,” claims Mr van der Klift. “The portfolio is grouped into a large number of categories primarily corresponding to their applications, but the two largest groups, accounting for about 75 per cent of turnover, are the high purity and speciality gas equipment supplied to the petrochemical, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and research sectors, followed closely by high flow equipment for industrial gases used in a wide range of industrial applications across a number of various industries,” he explains. A strong focus on innovation and product development has always been one of the company’s strengths and is an important factor that sets it apart from competitors. In the last couple of years, Spectron has launched three fully unique, patented products – ASG, a safety device for acetylene; Ambimat, a full auto-change-over manifold system and a re-designed EM15, a tapping point for integration in laboratory furniture. “We are constantly working on new products and re-designs of our products. At the moment a new generation of gas supply equipment


Energy & Utilities

for speciality gases (flammable, toxic corrosive and other hazardous properties) with extra and new functions is being developed,” says the Managing Director. Expertise, innovation and quality continue to be key to the company’s success, he explains. “Short delivery times, customer-specific configurations and customer support are the attributes that our customers value and appreciate.”

Safe and reliable future

are unpredictable with regard to oil prices, and of course potential is increasing in the Asian countries,” says Mr van der Klift. “Markets and competition are more ‘dynamic’ than ever before. And we know that to continue to grow Spectron has to be alert and pro-active. We will continue to offer our customers unique products, products that ensure safe and reliable work with gases. Safety is of paramount importance to us and to our customers and our products n meet those needs completely,” he says.

Solid supplier relationships are an integral part of the company’s success and Mr van der Klift stresses the importance of high quality suppliers and long-term partnerships. “One of our long-term key suppliers is WIKA (WIKA Alexander Wiegand SE & Co. KG, Klingenberg, Germany) for pressure gauges and other pressure measuring equipment, but there are many more trusted partners. With most of our suppliers we have long relationships; some are as partners involved in our product development programmes. This is an important issue for Spectron,” he says. The company has sufficient flexibility to further expand in its current location and plans to grow organically, although the Managing Director does not rule out potential acquisitions in Europe and elsewhere. The key market for Spectron remains Germany – absorbing 40 per cent of total output, followed by Europe as a whole. But Spectron’s products are generally shipped all over the world. “We have about 25 per cent market share in the Middle East in our sector, although the markets

Industry Europe 105


Pioneering higher

energy-yield technology Woodward Kempen is a global leader in the design and manufacture of converters for the wind turbine industry. Furthermore, Woodward is a company that continues to develop the world’s most advanced and efficient modular power converter systems. Philip Yorke takes a closer look at the company and how it is taking advantage of the continuing growth in the offshore renewable-energy market with its sustainable products and manufacturing processes. 106 Industry Europe


Energy & Utilities

W

oodward was founded in 1870 when Amos Woodwood invented his first water-wheel governor. Following this breakthrough, in 1934 his son Elmer Woodward patented the world’s first successful aircraft propeller governor. For almost 150 years Woodward has innovated products for the control of water, wind and gas turbines and has grown to employ over 7800 specialists across the globe whilst establishing itself as a leader in the aerospace and industrial energy markets. In order to maintain it enviable position as the global leader in its field, in 2015 Woodward built a new state-of-the art manufacturing facility in Niles and Loves Park, Illinois. In addition, the company opened a brand new campus early in 2016 in Fort Collins, Colorado to support the design and manufacture of industrial turbo-machinery systems and to re-locate its corporate headquarters to the new modern site. Woodward Kempen is an integral division of Woodward Inc. and is the acknowledged global leader in the manufacture of wind turbine converters for onshore and offshore applications. Today Woodward’s global growth is driven by its commitment to meeting the growing demand for more fuel-efficient and low emission energy-management systems. With its multiple worldwide locations, the company is able to respond quickly to changing market forces by providing optimised solutions that are tailored to match the local demands of its diverse range of industrial energy clients.

Tailor-made systems Woodward’s unique experience and expertise in the development and manufacture of renewable energy wind converters is underscored by its long track record in the pioneering of new, energyefficient power generation technologies. The company’s ability to provide innovative, tailor-made solutions is unrivalled with more

Industry Europe 107


than 15,000 turbine systems delivered to the offshore and onshore renewable energy industries. These include a broad portfolio of products that include low and medium voltage, doubly-fed (DFIG) and full size converting technologies. Woodward’s latest medium voltage converter, Concycle®, provides optimised optimal high-performance outcomes based upon its unique turbine experience and expertise in offshore converter technology. The intelligent controls of its Concycle® wind converters is a flexible solution that complies with all international grid requirements. The company is also a technology leader in the field of solar energy solutions with its 1000V solar converters achieving efficiencies in excess of 98 per cent, employing advanced power-point tracking that further improves energy yield, while delivering one of the world’s smallest CO2 footprints on the market. In addition to its wind turbine converters, the company also manufactures energy storage converters, solar inverters and shore-power and dynamic positioning inverters. As an independent supplier the company offers flexibility in its modular product portfolio and is innovative in its approach to product development and customer service. Furthermore, Woodward is a truly global organisation that is able to provide a local, dedicated service wherever a wind-turbine installation may be required anywhere in the world.

Continuous investment Woodward supplies a broad range of industrial products for turbines and compressors and continues to invest consistently in bringing innovative solutions to meet today’s challenging market needs. The company strives to reduce the total installed and operating costs of its products, as well as reducing emissions, whist improving availability, efficiency, start-performance and increasing operating ranges. 108 Industry Europe


Energy & Utilities

Woodward has the longest legacy of any controls supplier in the industrial rotating equipment market, with a focus on providing value to its OEM manufacturers, packagers and end-user customers. This is achieved by combining its knowledge of controls, auxiliaries and combustion systems to drive product optimisation through design simplification and improved integration. In addition, the company offers fast response, knowledgeable local support and optimised, cost-effective solutions to its customers via its direct sales force. Global distribution is also available through its selected distributors, authorised service facilitators and recognised turbine retro-fitters. Woodward’s dedicated operations teams address its client’s logistics and operational issues by first gaining a thorough understanding of their complete supply and value-chain. The company has also created and implemented many focused technology initiatives including on-site inventories, on-site engineering and field service support engineers.

Woodward’s commitment to sustainability is encapsulated in its message at the core of its corporate brand statement: ‘Always innovating for a better future’. Today Woodward’s leadership in energy control and optimised solutions is built upon a foundation of strategic vision, quality performance, and core values. The company focuses on controlling energy by integrating components into systems that yield improved performance and reliability. They also reduce emissions and increase fuel flexibility and efficiency in order n to help ensure a better environment for the future of all. For further details of Woodward Kempen’s innovative and pioneering products and services visit: www.woodward.com/kempen

Setting sustainability standards Woodward’s dedication to sustainability and corporate social responsibility is fundamental to its well-being and identity. From the outset the company has recognised the importance of recycling and waste management and has since grown into a corporation that sets the global standard for providing sustainable solutions to improve energy-efficiency and to lower emissions. The company also applies the three inter-dependent pillars of sustainability: environmental stewardship, social responsibility and structure and processes, as the guiding principles for its responsible progress.

Industry Europe 109


Global valve specialists Vexve Oy is one of the world’s leading suppliers of high quality ball and butterfly valves specifically developed for the most demanding district heating and cooling applications. Last year the company was acquired by DevCo Partners. Romana Moares spoke to Mr Otto Kukkonen, the company’s CEO and founding partner in DevCo, about the plans to accelerate Vexve’s growth and expand to new sectors.

110 Industry Europe


Energy & Utilities

B

ased in Sastamala, Finland, Vexve is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high quality valves specifically developed for district heating and cooling applications. The company’s products help secure heating and comfort for hundreds of millions of homes worldwide. The company was founded in 1960 and its products, manufactured in its two operational facilities in Sastamala and Laitila, are exported annually to over 30 countries. Vexve is known for high-quality products, rapid delivery and superior customer service as well as its expertise in energy and environment. In the last few years the company experienced significant changes. In 2014, Vexve acquired Naval Oy from the American group Flowserve. The merger of these two successful valve suppliers created a leader in the market place and strengthened position worldwide. In June last year (2016) the company was acquired by DevCo Partners, a Finnish investment company supporting medium-sized Nordic businesses with considerable growth potential. “The aim is to grow and become a significantly larger player, not only in the district energy sector, but also potentially other segments

too. To support this development, we are ready to invest substantial amount of capital both organically and inorganically,” says Otto Kukkonen, adding that the company will draw on its network of industry experts to achieve this expansion. Vexve, employing about 160 people, currently runs three plants in Finland as well as two service centres in St. Petersburg and Beijing. “We are just opening a new facility in Beijing which is significantly larger. In the future, some manufacturing may also take place in Russia and China, but the bulk will remain in Finland, where we have highly automated operations – the only way to ensure the highest possible quality in large volumes. And quality has been one of the keys to Vexve’s global success,” says Mr Kukkonen.

Comprehensive offering Vexve’s products are sold under three brands – Vexve, Naval and Hydrox – which together create an unparalleled comprehensive offering. The company is a leading manufacturer of valves for district heating applications, designed to deliver the highest possible energy effi-

Industry Europe 111


ciency and cost-effectiveness throughout the entire heating network. The complete product range covers everything from ball and butterfly valves to manual gears as well as electric and hydraulic actuators, plus customised special solutions such as stem extensions. “While in the past the company acquired its reputation with its highly efficient valves, in the future we want to develop our name as a complete solution provider,” says Mr Kukkonen. “Solutions of the highest quality that are maintenance free, for more demanding and more sophisticated applications.” This path has been supported by the launch of HydroX™, hydraulic control solutions that operate safely and reliably in the most demanding conditions. The Hydrox actuator can be controlled remotely and currently represents one of the most advanced products in its category in the market. “Hydrox has been a great success and the demand is increasing all over the world, as it helps clients run their network more efficiently in a safe way in the most demanding environments,” Otto Kukkonen remarks.

Focus on innovation Vexve is determined to stay ahead in terms of technology advancement – product development is usually a joint effort together with major customers in Europe as well as further afield. Mr Kukkonen explains that Vexve agreed a number of technology partnerships with major end customers, in order for the products to precisely match the needs of customers and enable Vexve to develop the most competitive offering in the market. The company also collaborates closely with local universities. “Each year we have around 50 students to do internships with us, to get experience and to introduce them to the technical work environment. We have invested significantly in machines installed at 112 Industry Europe

universities so that students can obtain a direct technical training in their own facilities. We believe this investment is beneficial for both the community and for our company,” say the CEO. Product development will remain at the forefront in the years to come, with focus on more intelligent solutions. “The energy infrastructure sector is changing very rapidly. Energy companies need to be competitive, they need to make their networks more efficient, to be able to measure what is happening in the pipes, in the flow and make the system more dynamic,” Mr Kukkonen points out. The most recent product that Vexve added to its innovative portfolio is a plastic, sturdy, weather-proof man chamber, enabling quick and safe access to the valve and actuator located underground. “This solution is transformational, truly ground-breaking in our industry – normally, the chambers are made of concrete, which is expensive, heavy, and takes a long time to build. In collaboration with our end customer we have come up with a plastic chamber solution enabling easy and safe access to the valve with hydraulic actuator, which may be controlled via a mobile phone. The whole installation takes just a couple of hours and is extremely cost-efficient and maintenance free. The product has just been launched and I am looking forward to a number of installations taking place already this year,” says the CEO.

Transformational future Vexve’s key markets are Europe, Russia and China, with Middle East developing fast. The management plans to invest significantly in its offices in St Petersburg and Beijing to provide an even better service to customers and tailor the product offering to match their needs, with a view to expand in those markets. “We have the resources to invest heavily in the company’s long-term growth and we are going to do


Energy & Utilities

it,” confirms Mr Kukkonen, stressing that Vexve will strive to utilise the opportunity to become an undisputed champion in its sector. This is to be achieved by focusing on smarter products, developed in partnerships with customers. “I want to present this as a challenge, as an open invitation to our partners around the world – we really are ready to invest in product development together with our end customers to come up with pioneering solutions. Our comprehensive offering consisting of the valve, actuator and plastic chamber – totally safe and maintenance-free – is a good example of what is achievable,” he says. “The future of district energy will be very different from today. We operate in a transforming sector and I would like to invite energy companies to participate with us in this exciting development.” Mr Kukkonen admits that although he has been involved in Vexve for just a year, the progress has been remarkable. “It has been fascinating to see how a company like Vexve is gaining importance and attention from the traditional energy giants. Our end customers are willing to listen to us, because they know we can develop products that will make n a significant difference to them going forward,” he concludes.

Industry Europe 113


Perfecting poultry processing Hungerit is a European market leader in the processing of poultry and related food products. Its premier brands are distributed throughout Europe. Philip Yorke reports on a company that leads the field in terms of innovation and hygienic production techniques and continues to make major investments in technology and its state-of-the-art production facilities.

H

ungerit Poultry Processing and Food Industries was founded in 1997 as the result of a merger between three local companies that had worked together for many years. However the roots of the original poultry processing company go back further to 1922 when it was founded in Szentes, Hungary and where it is still headquartered today. The company’s main operations are focused on three clear market sectors: Primarily Processed and Smoked Products, Processed Products and Highly Processed Finished Products. 114 Industry Europe

The company also manufactures and distributes the Valdor product line, which continues to see strong growth, especially with its primary processed and baked finished products. Another of the company’s famous brands is the Delco range of hams, which are produced to the highest quality standards and are available in three distinct varieties. Today more than 1800 people are actively involved in achieving the company’s goals supported by some of the world’s most


Food and Beverage

advanced processing plants. Hungerit operates an integrated management system that includes ISO9001 quality certification, ISO14001 Environmental Management Systems certification and HACCP, BRC and IFS Food Safety Systems. Currently the company processes over 80,000 tonnes of poultry, with export sales representing over half of its turnover, and involves more than 200 business partners, distributing its products to 35 countries worldwide.

Diverse investment programme Since 2010 the Hungerit Poultry and Food Processing Company has embarked upon an ambitious investment programme. By 2011 it had completed the first phase of the complete transformation of its duckling production lines with the latest, fully automated processing equipment being installed. Later that year a new freezer unit was built for its chicken processing lines. In 2012 the company introduced new grease and evacuation equipment as well as putting greater emphasis on new, more efficient packaging technology.

Another major investment followed in 2014 with an investment of more than 1.5 billion HUF (Hungarian Florints) – a large proportion of which was dedicated to improved animal welfare transportation and to be compliant with the latest animal welfare regulations, with regard to loading and processing of poultry. However, the most significant investment to date took place in 2106 when the government granted 1.8 billion Florints to install high-tech production facilities that will create over 120 new jobs and enable the company to process more than 5 million more fowls per year. This huge investment is to be spread across the next two years and will result in Hungerit being able to produce around 10,000 tonnes of breaded products per annum, thus adding to its overall volumes and product portfolio.

Innovation driving sales Innovation and new product development are two of Hungerit’s main strengths, along with its commitment to employing the most highly qualified food engineers and microbiologists. This strategy enables

Industry Europe 115


the company to develop the most nutritious and tasty products in order to meet the changing tastes and needs of its consumers. The founder of the company and largest shareholder, Mr Jozsef Magyar, said, “We do not wish to sell a whole chicken or a whole duck; we provide cut poultry or poultry products that have undergone additional processing, and our overriding aim is to offer convenience and greater value.”

116 Industry Europe

Hungerit’s most important brand, ‘Valdor’, represents an extensive product range that continues to be expanded to include new products prepared with breadcrumbs. “One of our most innovative and tasty new products is our ‘Zizu Chicken Bites’ that have become extremely popular among children,” added Magyar. The new packaging will also stand out as the products will be sold in microwavable paper packaging similar to that of popcorn packaging.


Food and Beverage

Hungerit’s other well-known brand is ‘Delco’, which includes highquality meat products including frankfurters, hams and other special Deli products. Award-winning packaging has added to the appeal and success of its premier product ranges. Recently Hungerit became the first in Hungary to receive the WorldStar Packaging award. The company won this award for its Darfresh vacuum packaging that is used for its fresh poultry products whose appeal is enhanced by its stateof-the-art technology that ensures prolonged shelf life for the product. As a result a poultry product’s shelf life is now extended from 8–10 days to 16–18 days. Hungerit‘s innovative technologies have helped

it to acquire more than a 20 per cent share of its domestic market, with its products being available in all supermarket chain stores and independent outlets throughout Europe. Hungerit has also established its own specialised branded shops across the country and plans to increase the number of these outlets from 7 to 20 units within the next two years. The company continues to increase its market share and to extend its global exports through n the increased distribution of all its top brands. For further details of Hungerit’s high-quality and innovative poultry and food products visit: www.hungerit.com

Industry Europe 117


Firm foundations

for progress Hamburg-based NOSKE-KAESER is a leading global provider of innovative system solutions in the air conditioning, ventilation, CBRN protection, refrigeration, fire-fighting and piping sectors. Philip Yorke reports on a company that continues to develop ground-breaking technology that offers significant benefits to many business sectors including the international offshore industry.

118 Industry Europe


Home Electronics, Appliances & HVAC

T

he history of the company goes back to the year 1879, when Robert Ferdinand Noske, a young engineer, established his machine workshop in Altona, near Hamburg. Right from the start, Noske made a name for himself as a pioneer in the fields of ventilation and central heating systems and registered numerous patents. The merger with Anton Kaeser’s company in 1979, one of the world’s leading suppliers of air conditioning systems for ships at that time, laid the ground for today’s NOSKE-KAESER GmbH, allowing it to combine the profound know-how and expertise of both companies.

Globally unique systems Today, NOSKE-KAESER is represented in every major industrialised country in the world. With over 135 years of experience, the company continues to deliver customised cutting-edge systems and a wide range of standard components in the fields of air conditioning, heating and ventilation as well as CBRN protection, refrigeration, firefighting and piping for naval, passenger and merchant ships in addition to offshore platforms. It has been the main supplier to the German Navy for more than 50 years and is one of the few companies worldwide to deliver air conditioning, refrigeration and fire protection systems for offshore platforms from a single source. Many of the NOSKE-KAESER system solutions are globally unique. The company’s extensive network of subsidiaries and sales partners guarantee a comprehensive 24/7 worldwide service and local customer support at all stages of a project: from customised design, engineering, manufacturing, installation and commissioning to training and documentation as well as maintenance, repair and spare parts delivery.

Putting safety first One of the cutting-edge solutions from this technology leader in the field of offshore platforms is a new ventilation system designed to protect offshore wind turbine foundations from the build-up of explosive gas mixtures that arise through the use of cathodic coatings that protect offshore piles from corrosion through saline sea water. Several of these revolutionary systems by NOSKE-KAESER are currently in successful long-term trials with a renowned European wind turbine operator. NOSKE-KAESER has developed the new system in compliance with existing explosion-endangered areas. The low-maintenance ventilation system can easily be installed with an adhesive technology without the need for any welding work. The technology is flexibly adaptable for all pile types such as monopoles or tripods. The reliable monitoring and ventilation with the NOSKE-KAESER technology lowers the Ex-Zone level for those piles from 1 to 2.

Innovation as standard With its long tradition of innovation, NOSKE-KAESER has recently announced another technological breakthrough: the new CBRN station ‘flex 3600’, which combines all the advantages of the successfully established door-station type SLG and the modular station type SLM. The new CBRNflex3600 integrates all components of a fullyfledged CBRN system in just one compact station. “Current tests with the prototype prove the reduction of needed space and on-site installation time, increased flexibility, high connectivity to the ship’s systems and, consequently, proving optimisation of costs,” said Jürgen Matthes, CEO of NOSKE-KAESER. The new station is designed

Industry Europe 119


120 Industry Europe


Home Electronics, Appliances & HVAC

to work under rough ambient conditions, especially in extremely hot and cold regions. The selection of high quality, highly resistant materials with long MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) and intelligent service arrangements in the station ensure that NOSKE-KAESER’s state-of-the-art CBRN system is also very low-maintenance.

square metres. This combination makes it possible for NOSKE-KAESER to produce all possible products for all types of Navy surface vessels, submarines and special ships, in-house. Moreover, up to 35,000 spare parts are permanently available at the head office and can be delivered n worldwide at short notice.

Proven technology for more efficiency

For further details of NOSKE-KAESER’s latest innovative products and services visit: www.noske-kaeser.com

The naval business is another sector in which NOSKE-KAESER has developed a strong position, providing proven and efficient technology for a large number of naval ships around the globe. Recently, Marine Australia Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of NOSKE-KAESER GmbH, has secured a major order to modernise the air-conditioning and cooling systems on eight frigates belonging to the Royal Australian Navy. The company will be carrying out a comprehensive overhaul of the air-conditioning, ventilation and cooling systems, as well as replacing components and upgrading existing technology with more efficient modern systems. Jürgen Matthes said: “We were the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) for the ten ANZAC class frigates built by Blohm + Voss in the 1990s. In 2008 we began to work with our colleagues from Australia and New Zealand to prepare a solution to upgrade the frigates, in order to extend their serviceable life for a further 20 years.” “We won the upgrade for the two New Zealand ANZAC frigates after our successful conversion of them as an earlier Australian project. We delivered new chilled water units, new switchboards, a new provision cooling plant and fan coils as well as air-handling units, including the delivery of supervision and commissioning of the same.” NOSKEKAESER has had a lifetime of experience in the supervision and commissioning of Navy Ships, and for their protective tropicalisation. “We can provide an excellent global service because we decided to locate our own subsidiaries around the world. We work closely with our dedicated service suppliers to achieve the best possible outcomes,” continued Matthes. “One of the major assets of our company are our skilled employees who guarantee the high quality of our services and products. We will continue investing in our staff and their development, making sure they have a great future at NOSKE-KAESER.”

Comprehensive facilities At its headquarters in Hamburg, Germany, NOSKE-KAESER operates a production area of more than 2200 square metres and a warehouse of a similar size. The company’s own testing facility extends to over 350 Industry Europe 121


Innovation in

refrigeration Vestfrost Solutions is a global specialist in the development and manufacture of innovative freezers and refrigerators for the professional market. Industry Europe looks at the latest from the company and how it maintains its leading position.

122 Industry Europe


Home Electronics, Appliances & HVAC

V

estfrost was founded in Esbjerg, Denmark in 1963 with the aim of creating the world’s best refrigerators and freezers for the professional market. Today, with sales exceeding 15 million units, the company has gained worldwide recognition for its innovative business-specific products. In recent years it has evolved to become Vestfrost Solutions, where all its business activities are based upon serving four specific business sectors: Biomedical, Merchandising, Cold Chain for Vaccines and Wine& Food. At the heart of Vestfrost Solutions is a commitment to creating customer-driven solutions by utilising its own in-house team of cooling technology experts and market specialists. This special in-house research capability enables the company to create entirely new and innovative products that not only offer unrivalled functionality but also provide significant commercial advantages. The products also take into account considerations relating to the individual needs of the end user, sustainability and the environment. Today Vestfrost strives to offer the best value for money by providing optimal solutions with the lowest running costs for each customer. The company operates two state-of-the-art facilities in Denmark and another in Hungary.

A greener partner High environmental standards have always been a priority for Vestfrost Solutions, which is one of many reasons why it can claim to be a ‘preferred partner’ to customers. The company employs numerous initiatives to reduce the cost of product usage and to minimise its environmental impact. Vestfrost Solutions strives to set new

standards within optimised solutions for the professional market. Its continuous focus on improving its products has resulted in a range of more efficient and quieter products that benefit from low noise cooling systems, fans and compressors. In addition, the company can adapt its monitoring equipment to suit any individual cabinet format and can offer an energy programme to suit a customer’s own specific needs. Vestfrost Solution’s innovative M series glass door cabinets is the perfect product display presenter. A built-in ECO function together with an optimised cooling system and hydrocarbon refrigerants save energy and significantly reduces its carbon footprint. In addition, the integrated LED light in the door frame offers full exposure to the stored contents while still maintaining a low operational cost. Furthermore, the flexible and robust steel shelves can easily be adjusted to fit the requirements of any product range. The company’s products are built to last for many years. When it comes time for disposal, its products are 100 per cent recyclable and their components can be used for new products, leading to less energy usage during future production cycles. Furthermore, it has implemented optimised product packaging: by using expanded polystyrene instead of wood, its packaging weighs 50 to 75 per cent less than previously while being just as protective.

Pioneering products One of the fastest growing business sectors for Vestfrost is the biomedical market. The company’s biomedical user-friendly refrigerators and freezers are specifically designed for hospitals, health clinics,

Industry Europe 123


124 Industry Europe


Home Electronics, Appliances & HVAC

universities, laboratories and pharmacies. Vestfrost products serve the requirements of the entire health sector, from small health clinics in villages without electricity, to high-tech hospitals in metropolitan areas. The company offers products that cover temperatures that range from +20C to -86C, via energy efficient solutions that also offer low running costs. Accurate and safe storage of vaccines and medicines is vital and the company has gained vast experience in this area over its 50 years of operation. Through this experience it has learned that customers rarely have the same expectations when it comes to performance and standards. At its high-tech test facilities in Denmark, Vestfrost can test products according to local or international standards. A spokesperson for the company said, “However it is the merchandising sector that is our biggest market where our refrigerators are used as promotional units for marketing soft drink products as well as alcoholic beverages. Our glass door merchandisers provide optimised and customised solutions. For these applications the product must be highly visible and maintain very low noise levels. We enter into long-term agreements with our customers who help to drive the market for products such as energy drinks and juices, which can be displayed in a wide variety of retail outlets. “We outperform our competitors in a number of ways as we have the capability to operate globally as well as locally; in fact we are active in more than 100 countries worldwide and more than 95 per cent of our products are exported. We also test all our products in-house and provide on-going testing throughout the manufacturing process. Unit-wise our products may not be the cheapest but when low energy consumption and minimal maintenance are taken into account, we offer the most cost-effective option. We can also offer logistics support, after sales services and individual product warranties.”

Unique refrigeration solutions Vestfrost’s wine and food solutions set new standards for preserving the quality of wines and foods by providing optimum storage conditions hygienic configurations. With their wide range of applications these specially designed refrigerators and freezers are a perfect match for hotels, restaurants, bakeries and shops. They offer low energy consumption, precise temperature control and a long product lifetime. When it comes to providing merchandising solutions, Vestfrost leads the field with its product solutions. These offer innovative and exciting refrigeration and freezing equipment designed for unique brand presentation of beverages such as soft drinks, energy drinks, juices and beers. Vestfrost has created countless custommade solutions for some of the world’s biggest beverage brands and by working in close cooperation with its customers has been able to solve challenging customer needs for optimum brand presentation n and sales maximisation.

Industry Europe 125


Investing to grow The Forgital Group is a leading Italian manufacturer of rolled rings that is constantly innovating to maintain its competitive edge. As Industry Europe reports, last year saw further investments in new plant and capital increases to ensure its continued growth.

T

he Forgital Group is led by the fifth generation of the founding Spezzapria family and is headquartered in the Vicenza area of north-eastern Italy (specifically in Seghe di Velo d’Astico). Its size and structure keeps on growing – in fact, at the end of 2017 it announced it would be strengthening its capital structure to enable it to realise its ambitious 2017–2020 Business Plans. Forgital Italy SpA shareholders have fixed a capital increase with share premium to a total amount of €20 million. The group’s structure currently includes a series of production and commercial companies, through which it produces and distributes forged and laminated rolled rings of rectangular or shaped sections. Various materials are used for this activity, mainly carbon steels, alloy steels, stainless steels and aluminium, as well as a nickel alloys, cobalt alloys, and copper and titanium alloys. Forgital’s products are used in applications in a large number of industries such as aerospace, oil and gas, transmission, power generation, and general mechanics.

126 Industry Europe


Metals, Metalworking & Mining

Current structure The group is subdivided into operational sites and a sales network, with a couple of its companies crossing these boundaries. First of all there is Forgital Italy, the first and main player of the group. Totally focused on innovation, the company makes important investments in research, has modern production facilities and takes special care of people and the environment. The constant exchange that it has with its customers is a real asset in terms of keeping at the cutting edge. It has three hot-working lines, a complete range of over 20 furnaces for heat treatment, and an extended machining capacity, as well as holding all relevant certifications issued by the most important international bodies. Then there is France based Forgital FMDL – one of the most important European manufacturing units specialised in small and medium-sized rolled rings weighing up to a maximum of 14 tonnes. As well as this specialism, FMDL also has unique experience and know-how in terms of open die forging. One of its three rolling mills is actually the most powerful in Europe, and thanks to these facilities the company produces a very wide variety of rolled rings, whose weights range from 10kg to 40 tonnes, and whose diameters span from 300mm to 8000mm. In terms of machining, the group can count on Forgital Rimach, Forgital Sumec, Fly and Visual. Forgital Rimach, a subsidiary of Forgital Italy, based fairly close to its parent company, deals with mechanically machining rings with diameters between 500mm and 2000mm, while Forgital Sumec is the machining unit of Forgital

Italy SpA and specialises in the rough, semi and finish machining of medium-sized rings whose diameters are between 900mm and 3100mm. Its drilling capacity reaches diameters of 50mm. Again, the company is based near Forgital Italy. One of the more recent additions is Fly, a machining centre based in northern Italy and equipped with the latest generation of lathes and measuring machines. It is able to finish the group’s products for the most demanding clients. Last year (2017) Forgital announced its plans to double production capacity at Fly with the construction of a new plant adjacent to the existing one. Since its establishment in 2007, Fly has already tripled its capacity from 6000 to 17,500 square metres so this represents another major step forward. This success has been possible thanks to the important contracts it has won in recent years, including manufacturing of the Trent XWB engines for Rolls-Royce and the supply of components for the Ariane Space consortium’s Ariane 5 launcher. Finally, Forgital is a shareholder of Visual, based in north-eastern Italy, a dynamic company active in mechanical and electronic construction, as well as retrofitting and servicing of lathes.

Focused on research In addition to the above, the group structure includes RTM Breda, a research centre based in Milan. Through the centre, the group can test and independently certify products, as well as providing testing of instruments and carrying out research and development. Furthermore, it acts as a contact point with the university world.

Industry Europe 127


Moreover, the group also includes TS Coatings Italy, which was set up in relation to a research project aimed at developing anti-wear coatings to improve the surface performance of materials. Research is particularly important because Forgital operates in such a specialist field that it is hard to find external people who have the right know-how for its techniques. A significant percentage of its staff are research engineers.

International reach Forgital’s sales network is composed of various foreign based subsidiaries, namely Forgital USA, Forgital South America, Forgital Germany, Forgital UK, Forgital East Europe and Forgital India. The

128 Industry Europe

opening of Forgital India and Forgital South America is a clear sign of how the group has responded to the increasing importance of fastemerging markets, while Forgital UK has also marked a milestone in the group’s development. Thanks to its huge range of capabilities, the group is able to provide clients with a unique and compact supply chain, offering them a fully tailored service, including scientific know-how in materials and forging, design and engineering of products, support during assembly and testing. Today, the official mission of Forgital is to provide complete solutions in order to improve and simplify the production process through an integrated system of technologies and services.


Industry Europe 129


Shaping Stainless Steel

F

or five decades, Inoxforma has been perfecting its core business: giving shape to stainless steel. As a former toolmaker, the company has extensive experience in sheet metal processing. Its focus has always been on providing the customer with top quality and a competitive edge, something the company is proud to have taken to the next level. “We do not have mere supplier-customer relationships, we are true partners to our customers participating in the design, offering them new solutions, simply helping them to make their wishes regarding their products come true,” confirms Elvira Garcia, the company’s managing director. Inoxforma, employing over 100 people, pursues three separate business lines – production of food processing equipment, electric and electronic equipment (such as electrical cabinets) and pumps and balls for valves. Each used to account for about a third of the 130 Industry Europe

Inoxforma, based in northern Spain, reflects its name into its core business – transforming stainless steel into shapes as required by customers. Over the 50 years of its existence, the company has grown from a small toolmaker into a dynamic, international business offering tailor-made products to global markets. Despite low cost competitors, the company’s growing position has proven that it is the solid experience, know-how, top quality and customer focus that are the desired attributes in today’s marketplace. Romana Moares reports.

turnover but in the last few years the production of balls has become the dominant business line, now representing about 45 per cent Inoxforma’s turnover. The company exports 80 per cent of its turnover. The key market remains Europe but Inoxforma’s products are also sold to Russia, Turkey, the Middle East and – something the company is proud of – to China.

Exceeding customers’ requirements The managing director explains that production of balls for valves is the most important line as it represents the company’s own product. “Our know-how enables us to make balls out of sheet metal as opposed to casting, the traditional method. This has many advantages, such as stable materials, double hardness and lighter weight,”


Metals, Metalworking & Mining

points out Ms Garcia. “A ball is really important for a valve, like an engine for a car. Therefore, their quality must be superb.” She further explains that Inoxforma sells directly to valve producers. “We offer tailor-made products that meet all our customers’ requirements. Our product design and development capability is key to us. Cooperation in the early stages of design and development is the basis of a highly successful outcome; using our extensive experience we always try to offer the best possible solutions that often exceed the original expectations. Our aim is to achieve the highest quality in the market for a very competitive price.”

As a result of continuing investment in technologies, Inoxforma is able to offer balls for most valve applications. Key sectors are district heating, water, gas and food processing. “The one sector which we have not entered yet is oil. However, we have been growing in steps, so this is the next one to achieve,” remarks Mr Garcia.

First class technology Investment in first class technology has been one of the major factors behind Inoxforma’s success. Each year, about one million euros out of €15 million is reinvested in new machines and equipment,

Industry Europe 131


says the managing director. “Spain is no longer a low cost country and to stay ahead of competitors, one must offer something different. With our latest technologies we are able to offer customers processes that they were not aware existed. The level of technology is something which makes us competitive with low cost countries. This is also the reason why we are able to sell to China. The very high – and sustainable – quality level is one of our competitive advantages. The only way this can be achieved is in a repetitive manner, by employing the best technologies in the market. This is the route we have chosen to take – to invest in first class machines rather than relocate production to cheaper countries,” she affirms. For the past ten years that company has complied with the ISO 14 001 requirements and sustainability as well as environmental considerations have been at the heart of any new investment. All the new machines have been purchase with this strategy in mind, says the managing director. “We have also been working with customers to address the issue of packaging waste, with a focus on recyclable packaging,” she adds.

One step ahead Elvira Garcia confirms that the company is set to further grow, together with its customers. European markets remain stable and increasing slightly but the biggest growth potential is seen in the Far East and Russia. “In China, we focus on the big players who are willing to pay for top quality. Russia has great demand for our products but growth is currently hindered by the sanctions. However, it is still an important market – we have both Russian customers and customers who export to Russia and today about 10 per cent of our 132 Industry Europe


Metals, Metalworking & Mining

turnover is generated there. We face similar problems with Turkey: great market potential but politically unstable,” she points out, adding that the company is actively exploring opportunities elsewhere, such as Iran. Future company development will be in line with the strategy to always fully meet customers’ requirements. “We will keep on investing in new machines which can secure high productivity levels and thus our cost-efficiency so that we can continue to offer our customers the best quality for a good price.” She also reveals that if current demand continues, the company will extend its production capacity in the next two years. “The new building will give us more space for new machines. As I mentioned earlier, investing in new things, new technology is the only way to stay ahead of competitors, particularly those from low cost countries. And that is what we will continue to n do,” she concludes.

Industry Europe 133


Precision tooling

For over 150 years WEISSER has been leading the way in precision tooling and today it is known throughout the world as a leading producer of multifunctional precision turning machines.

W

eisser is currently among the world’s top suppliers to the major car manufacturers, their suppliers and other metalworking industry sectors. Around 430 employees work at the site in St Georgen in southern Germany. Last year (2016) the company achieved yet another milestone when it celebrated its 160th anniversary. WEISSER offers a comprehensive and versatile machine model portfolio with its UNIVERTOR and VERTOR series as well as special machines, drawing on a wealth of experience in demanding and complex manufacturing tasks. The focus is on tailor-made, processoptimised system solutions and the goal of complete machining in a single set-up. “Our headquarters have been at this same location here in the heart of the Black Forest since 1856,” says the Sales and Business Development Director Jörg Weisser. “But we know that Johann Georg Weisser Senior was producing patented lathes for the local clock making indus-

134 Industry Europe

try since around 1830. For the last 20 years we have also initiated some external assembly facilities in nearby towns, and we have cooperative end assembly capacities in Brazil and the USA.”

Production expertise “The business model has evolved,” says Mr Weisser, “but turning has always been the central point. During the last 30 years or so we have integrated more and more sophisticated processes by means of process chain management – often we are technology leaders. “Today we can produce grinding results that would have required dedicated grinding machines years ago. We achieve this by integrating additional hardturning and a number of secondary processes – and all this in a dry environment. The advantage for the customer is a reduction in the number of machines needed, less variance, fewer interfaces and the opportunity of buying from one single source. Our


Metals, Metalworking & Mining

patented and award-winning ‘Rotational Turning’ goes even further, by offering a kinematics optimised hardturning process, where the grinding quality of the resulting surfaces equals those of bearing surfaces. “We also work with selected partners to cover complex process chains, such as our cooperation with KAPP for gear hobbing. We feel this gives us more flexibility than other companies who simply buy in the required processes.”

In-house product development Things have come a long way since the 1950s, when the FRONTOR series of horizontal lathes was making a name for itself. The offer has developed into highly customised machines based on a modular system. There are vertical lathes that operate with the in-house Pick-UpPrinciple, with a fixed spindle or a combination of both. But there are also horizontal spindles, and linear or swiveling axis can be added, all while maintaining accessibility and robustness. The number of new machine types has been growing continually, from vertical centre-drive lathes and twin-spindle end-finishing of shafts through to four-axis double spindles and four-spindles. The in-house development of the unique Camless Turning enables Weisser to substitute profile trimming of non-round profiles – comIndustry Europe 135


136 Industry Europe


Metals, Metalworking & Mining

pletely freely programmable. This is particularly attractive to use in space-saving shaft/hub connections, linear guides, tool fitting, curved elements and more. “We want to provide the optimum system for each production strategy,” says Mr Weisser. “We are called in when the customer realises that it is more important to look at the cost per piece, not at the secondary processing times or the axis speed. Building on our deep experience we can push until we find the best balance between speed and process stability. This is where our claim ‘designed to be faster’ originates – and by the way this is also valid for speed of innovation and adaption of new requirements.”

Customers in many sectors All Weisser customers – whether they are in agriculture, mining, aviation or energy – are well-known names, and it maintains close partnerships with them in the form of Simultaneous Engineering. “We are present in the automotive sector worldwide. We follow the expansion of our European customers, with export activities

that offer first-class service and ensure machine availability. In South Korea, China and Russia we have direct local customers, which shows that we hold our own in foreign markets too. “We have a large range of competent supply partners. With Sandvik and Sumitomo we were able to lower the tool costs for rotational turning significantly, which brought the international breakthrough for this technology. In CNC controls we work with Siemens as well as Bosch Rexroth, which helps with the acceleration of camless turning of up to 60g.”

Individual future strategy Throughout 2017 the company will be attending a number of trade fairs to showcase its latest products and technologies. These include EMO, GETPRO and Hainbuch Technologie-Forum. It will also be working on increasing its global presence. “We work hard on strengthening our autonomy, standing out from companies who are controlled by financial investors or who are tied into unwieldy groups. We pride ourselves on our flexibility as there is n no pressure to grow in a certain way.”

Industry Europe 137


Combined strengths The KCM 2000 Group manages a wide portfolio of companies across a number of fields such as nonferrous metals production, trade and engineering, and includes Europe’s largest producer of lead and zinc alloys, KCM AD. Industry Europe looks at the group’s activities and how the synergies between each of its companies have enabled it to grow in strength in the years since its establishment.

P

rivatised in 2000, the joint-stock company KCM 2000 AD manages a diverse portfolio of companies, employing over 3000 people across the fields of nonferrous metals production trade, industrial engineering and industrial service. It is the role of the parent company to assist each of its subsidiaries in the management and control of their various activities when it comes to innovation, production, trade and marketing. 138 Industry Europe

KCM AD is the main production unit of the group and the leader in nonferrous metals production in south-eastern Europe and the Black Sea region. The company remains at the cutting edge of metallurgical development and works actively to promote the sustainable credentials of its materials. The group also holds a 49 per cent share in Luki Invest Plc, a producer of lead and zinc ore. Meanwhile VARBA-BATANTSI, established in 2011, is focused on the mining and processing of ore


Metals, Metalworking & Mining

mineral resources and is managed by two owners – KCM 2000 AD and MINSTROY Holding AD. The KCM 2000 Group’s trading activities are carried out by KCM TRADE EOOD and BLZ METALIKON Ltd, while KCM TECHNOLOGY EOOD is an independent company within the structure of the group which provides engineering and technical services according to exact customer specifications. Other wholly-owned group companies, concerned with industrial service provision, include KCM Industrial Service EOOD and Stroyservice EOOD.

Continuous investment KCM AD manages its own extensive zinc-lead mining facility near Plodiv as well as a large engineering and industrial service company, and is a major shareholder in the country’s largest industrial and commercial zone complex. KCM has made significant investments in a number of key facilities over the past decade. These have included a state-of-the-art battery recycling facility, a wastewater termination plant and a zinc roasting and sulphuric acid facility – all of which have made a significant contribution to reducing the company’s carbon footprint. Industry Europe 139


140 Industry Europe


Metals, Metalworking & Mining

In 2014, the group launched the second stage of a 400 million lev (€204.5 million) investment project. The first stage of the project – investing in facilities for recycling, diversifying the raw material base and installing a new zinc plant – was completed in 2014. The next stage of the ambitious project is ongoing, but when it is completed it should see the plant’s capacity increase to increase from 75,000 tonnes to 115,000 tonnes of zinc per year. KCM’s domestic market for its smelter products is around 10 per cent of total production, with the majority of the products exported to Turkey, Greece and other Mediterranean countries. However, the company has been increasingly moving into western European markets for the sale of its zinc alloys. The company has also been developing a wider range of alloys for a variety of applications including those for protection against corrosion. In addition, all types of precious metals are manufactured through KCM’s smelter, including alloys for coins as well as for gold and silver specially treated for banks and ‘rolled’ precious metals for industry. Building on its substantial experience gained during the company’s restructuring process and the implementation of new plant and technology, KCM is also able to offer a wider range of technological consultancy services. These include conceptual, technical

and economic research, specialised high-tech and laboratory testing procedures, the design of new systems and installations using AutoCAD and inventor professional 2010 software and the licensed monitoring of equipment. Additional solutions and production know-how are also available in fields such as continuous lead slag fuming, zinc dust production, the production of zinc and lead alloys, the processing of fluids and the recycling of waste water cooling as well as the recovery of gold from gravity concentrate.

Sustainable commitment All KCM 2000 Group companies are committed to sustainability and continuous quality improvement and it holds the ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and BS OHAS 18001 certifications. In 2008, for example, KCM implemented the ‘Process Innovation and Production Increase Project (PIPIP), which was finalised in 2012. The PIPIP’s main objective was to achieve environmentally appropriate and competitive production of non-ferrous and precious metals, alloys and chemical products. The concept included energy saving processes and options for the processing of recyclable materials, as n well as for the reduction of green house gases and emissions. Industry Europe 141


Metal masters

As a technology-driven specialist in cast iron and bronze, Belgium’s Omco Metals is active across the world. Growing, expanding and heavily investing, Omco is continuously developing new products alongside its customers. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to managing director Jan De Mey to learn more.

F

ounded in 1964 as a European business for the US-based Overmeyer Mould Corporation, a leading American producer of glass moulds, OMCO’s market position in Europe has continued to go from strength to strength. Creating specially alloyed cast iron and bronze, OMCO established its own European foundry in Hamme, Belgium in 1971, where castings for both the glass industry and general engineering are produced. In 1984, OMCO became a wholly Belgian company and enjoyed rapid investment and progression. A completely new foundry equipped with the very latest machines opened in 1990 and second foundry was added to the OMCO family in 2000 when it bought a state-of-the-art plant in Slovenia, where glass moulds are produced for the company’s Croatian and Romanian divisions. Today, OMCO employs around 77 people and pours approximately 3800 tonnes each year, with a turnover of EUR16.5 Mio. Managing director Jan De Mey said, “The last few years have seen

142 Industry Europe

OMCO Metals investing heavily to optimise both the plant and the outcome of the processes. These investments include a cooling drum installation at the end of the moulding line in order to get a stabilised temperature of the sand. We have also installed a new sand preparation centre with the very latest controlling devices. On the engineering side, we’ve invested in a 3D scanning device as well as new engineering buildings and offices.”

Green to be believed Both of the OMCO foundries embrace environmentally friendly practices wherever possible. Mr De Mey said, “Both of our foundries are similar in that they use green technology to operate, with clay bounded sand technology used to produce castings. Our Slovenia foundry also offers hand mould castings, with this process running on chemical bounded sand. The combined capacity for the two plants is over 10,000 tonnes each year. We take the environmental


Metals, Metalworking & Mining

Industry Europe 143


impact of our business very seriously and are continually looking at ways in which we can deliver ever-more responsible solutions.” The OMCO Metals product portfolio includes small and mediumsized series and prototypes, various types of cast iron (ex. NiResist), aluminium bronze and machining. Everything produced is created following close cooperation with the customer. As Mr De Mey explains, “We mostly take the design brief from the customer and work together to create the ideal solution. Over the last few years this way of working has been particularly successful for us; designing together with the customer is proving rewarding for us all,

144 Industry Europe

allowing us to work as a true partner to our customers. This way, our input is given at a very early stage and we can incorporate our expertise at the start of the project.”

Ready to serve OMCO Metals works with many of the leading players in the engine and compressor markets including the internationally known Cummins Engine Company. With around 50 per cent of its turnover coming from Europe, 40 per cent from its domestic market and the remaining 10 per cent from the US, OMCO enjoys a solid global


Metals, Metalworking & Mining

footing. The company works to the strictest European quality standards, with ISO certificates, high standard CAD capabilities and extensive digital transfer provision. With technology designed to offer maximum flexibility to its customers, OMCO delivers a wide range of materials and applications including glass moulds, diesel engines, compressors, agricultural machines, incinerators and pumps. Mr De Mey said, “We are able to serve customers wherever they are located. We are continuing to enjoy organic expansion and expect this to continue, with more specialised products joining our portfolio. We do not aim to produce more volume but rather to serve more complex and fully machines parts. We will continue to draw on our extensive knowledge in metals to give excellent added value service to our customers. Our new OMCO Machining department in Romania will play a key role in the realisation of this ambition.” Industry Europe 145


Combining strengths

In November 2016 Sitem SpA made its take-over of Stanzwerk AG official. Giovanni Bartoloni, managing director, and Marco Bartoloni, Italy marketing manager, talked to Barbara Rossi about this acquisition and the benefits it will bring to Sitem as a whole.

146 Industry Europe


Metals, Metalworking & Mining

S

item SpA is headquartered in Trevi, in the central Italian region of Umbria. It has five divisions, three of which are in Italy, one in France and one in Slovakia. All of its facilities hold all the major sector certifications. Its core business is magnetic laminations for electric motors, although its range also includes metal sheets for transformers and die cast components. It employs over 700 staff and its expected turnover for 2017 is in the region of €170 million. Thanks to the Stanzwerk acquisition, its next target is to record a €200 million turnover by 2021. Giovanni Bartoloni explained, “When the opportunity to acquire the Swiss company Stanzwerk arose on our horizon, we decided to go ahead with it because we were interested in widening our range of products to be able to offer a comprehensive range of metal sheets and components for electric motors. We already served the automotive market, but only in a marginal way. Half of the Stanzwerk turnover is generated by components for the automotive industry. In particular, it serves second tier automotive manufactur-

ers, who serve the major automotive OEMs. The other half of its range features components for ventilation and power tool applications. We are so interested in increasing our presence in the automotive sector because we believe this is going to be a significantly growing market, especially with regard to electric engines, which are deemed to be the engines of the future. This sector really offers opportunities for exponential growth; suffice it to say that currently automotive manufacturers have problems finding thin magnetic metal sheets for electric cars.” He continued: “We are also particularly interested in products for automotive applications because of the advanced technology involved. Technologically, Stanzwerk is among the top European players and its technological sophistication makes its products highly appealing, despite the higher costs due to keeping production in Switzerland. “The integration process with Stanzwerk will take some time. Soon the new MD will go there (I will be the chairman) while no

Industry Europe 147


changes will be made to the rest of the management because we believe they are a real asset. We believe in synergy and have already started working with Stanzwerk at R&D level. Not only will its technological advances be used for future automotive applications, but will also be employed for the products produced by our other divisions in Italy, France and Slovakia. For instance, we are working together on glue improvements, developing various types of glue. The need for better types of glue originated in the automotive sector, which has a need for very thin metal sheets. Welding cannot be used with these, so suitable types of glue are necessary. We are conducting an ongoing project on this, working with the University of Zurich. Obviously, we could then apply this technology to some of our other products.”

Other applications “Apart from the newly acquired automotive products manufactured by Stanzwerk, our main range of products features magnetic metal sheets and die-cast components for electric motors in general, particularly for pumps, white goods and lifts. The Milan (Limbiate) site is specialised in die-cast components for industrial electric motors, Trevi in magnetic metal sheets and components for pumps, white goods, bench motors and lifts, as well as other applications. The third Italian site takes care of making and maintaining moulds for the rest of our works. The Slovakian facility replicates the Trevi production, but for eastern European markets. The French site manufactures magnetic metal sheets for transformers, particularly for the medical sector.”

Strategies for growth Europe is the company’s main market, with Germany particularly important, especially in terms of the automotive sector. Before the Stanzwerk acquisition 50 per cent of Sitem’s turnover was gener148 Industry Europe


Metals, Metalworking & Mining

ated by exports; now this has reached 60 per cent and is expected to increase to 80 per cent. “One factor which made Stanzwerk so appealing was the opportunity that it offered us for increasing and strengthening our position on the German automotive market – the main automotive market in the world. We had already moved in this direction when we took over Decoup in France and set up the Slovakian company.” The company’s growth strategy also involves a commercial partnership with a large competitor to distribute its automotive range in Mexico and China. Giovanni Bartoloni added, “Thanks to this agreement, which is at a very advanced stage, we will complement each other. To put it in simple terms, most automotive OEMs that have delocalised some of their production in countries such as China and Mexico want suppliers in physical proximity to them. As setting up production in these countries is out of reach for us, we are drafting this agreement, thanks to which our partner will produce our products for these markets at its facilities in these countries. In exchange, we will manufacture its products in our plants, for its European customers.” The Stanzwerk acquisition has understandably been a very demanding process, which means that currently there are no plans for further acquisitions. Future plans might include the expansion of the Slovakian facility, which may begin manufacturing some automotive products for the eastern European market in the future. “Having a comprehensive range of products offers benefits at various levels. For instance, once I serve a large client with one of my products, I am able to offer them products for other applications. “We are also conducting R&D and developing new products at the Sitem facilities. We intend to broaden our range to include a wider range of motors: for instance, due to European legislation, there has been a move from aluminium laminations used for induction motors to those suitable to the IEC motors – in other words the n standard European motors which are now required.”

Industry Europe 149


The steel specialists Under a new name and new management, Rubiera Special Steel, the former Acciaieria di Rubiera, has taken on the business started in 1965 by Mr Testi and Mr Cima. Eugenia Fiusco spoke with Mr Federico Galperti, the new Sales Director of Rubiera Special Steel, to discuss the transition and new developments of the Italian steel company.

A

cciaieria di Rubiera was the first Italian company to use DC arc furnaces at the start of the 1990s, a technology which improved product quality and reduced power, electrode and refractory consumption compared to the existing technology, and is to date the only steel plant in the Emilia Romagna region. In November 2013, Acciaieria di Rubiera was taken over by Ring Mill, a worldwide supplier of rolled rings, open and closed die forgings owned by Mr Nicola Galperti. “We are carrying on the old tradition and have not made significant changes to the production lines. We are still manufacturing and selling the same products, but on the other hand we have invested in the maintenance of equipment to improve health and safety measures and our impact on the environment,” explained Mr Galperti. “However, in 2016 we introduced a new product: the VOD line is dedicated to the production of stainless steel and has thus widened our range of products.” In particular, Rubiera Special Steel’s production profile falls into three main categories: remelted ingots for the most demanding applications (VAR+ESR from 5 tonnes to 100 tonnes), ingots for rolling and forging (round, square and polygonal ingots from 1 to 130 tonnes) and continuous casting billets (round bars with cross sections of 100, 120, 145, 160, 180 and 200mm).

150 Industry Europe

“The main applications of our products are in the power generation and the oil and gas markets, along with nuclear and automotive,” explained Mr Galperti. “The main thing to keep in mind is that we supply special products for niche markets. Our focus is on the quality of our lines rather than mass production, and our lines find application in all industries.”

A forward-looking approach Despite the commitment of Rubiera Special Steel to honour the tradition and the success that its production lines have achieved in the past 40 years, it is very much focused on the future. “Sometimes it is believed that what has worked in the past will continue to serve us well in the future. We disagree with that view and believe that it is vital to keep up-to-date with the needs and trends of the industry and keep developing new products that are current,” stated the owner of Rubiera Special Steel. The relationship between the Italian company and its clients is at the core of such an ambitious and forward thinking approach, as is the relationship between Rubiera and its suppliers. “Our business philosophy is simple: we want to create collaborations and partnerships. We do not want to be mere suppliers for our clients,


Metals, Metalworking & Mining

but rather work with them to develop new products and innovative solutions and improve quality as a result. By the same token, we expect our suppliers to work in the same way with Rubiera Special Steel.”

Geographical presence and future goals Rubiera Special Steel operates mainly on the Italian market, although the search for new markets is always ongoing. “We are slightly more active on the European market compared to the old management, with 85 per cent of production sold to the Italian market and the remaining 15 per cent to Europe. At the moment, we are not operating on an global level,” commented Mr Galperti. As for the Italian company’s future plans, it intends to carry on with the production of highly specialised steel. “We have no interest in expanding the volumes; we want to operate in this niche market and specialise more and more in challenging and special products. In other words, we want to stay a boutique and not become a supermarket.” Amongst Rubiera Special Steel’s biggest achievements to date is the manufacture of the biggest 15.5ph ESR ingot ever produced, with a weight of 70 tonnes. “Rubiera is a flexible partner that can deliver steel products for the newest applications requested by the market. We are equipped with an excellent internal quality management team that keeps costs and efficiency in check,” concluded the Sales Director.

Industry Europe 151


Caring and growing Corporate social responsability and environmental sustainability are essential to the activity and success of the Feralpi Group, as its chairman, Giuseppe Pasini, explained to Industry Europe. Barbara Rossi reports.

152 Industry Europe


Metals, Metalworking & Mining

T

he Feralpi Group is one of the main steel manufacturers in Europe, specialising in steel for the construction industry. It was established as Feralpi Siderurgica in 1968 in Lonato del Garda, near the northern Italian town of Bescia. It has always displayed an international outlook and today its steel and hot rolled output exceeds two million tonnes a year. It employs a permanent workforce of 1400 people in Italy, Europe (with Feralpi Stahl) and North Africa (with Feralpi Algérie). The group’s 2015 turnover reached €922.9 million, with 68 per cent of this generated through exports.

The group’s flagship product is reinforcing steel in bars, wire rod and mesh, but Feralpi stands for much more, as it is also active in the cold work steel, metal carpentry, environment and fish farming segments, as well as in financial activities and investment management.

Taking responsibility Corporate Social Responsibility is a cornerstone of Feralpi’s growth and development strategy. As Mr Pasini told Industry Europe, “Our first sustainability report dates back to 2004. Social responsibility,

Industry Europe 153


safety and innovation drive our group, which does not only measure its own performance against financial parameters, but also takes into account the positive impact that its work has on the environment and the communities among which its companies are based and operate. All our relations with our stakeholders, both internal and external, are regulated by an ad-hoc ethical code, which is the main tool used by Feralpi for promoting, implementing and managing its work and business ethics within the company.

“In line with our belief that actively contributing to staff wellbeing is truly one of the social duties of a business, the Feralpi Group has implemented a series of initiatives, being aware of the importance of work as a fundamental value. This has been broadened and strengthened with the aim of supporting the training of young people to achieve access to employment and personal development. All of this is embodied in the Feralpi Bootcamp, the hub for all the youthbased initiatives and projects actively contributing to strengthening staff wellbeing. Started in 2014, it comprises various initiatives, ranging from careers advice for young people who are still at school or college, to high-level training programmes, and also includes apprenticeships as the best way to acquire new skills, thanks to the interaction with sector professionals. The Feralpi Bootcamp initiatives are aimed at the children of staff or local pupils/students, who are the future of our communities, and include diversified activities customised to suit different age groups.”

Implementing verticalisation Feralpi has recently established a new holding company, Alpifer, in order to be closer to the market through the verticalisation of the group. At one end of this verticalisation structure there is Media Steel, while Presider – a market leader in cutting and shaping reinforcing steel – and Metallurgica Piemontese Lavorazioni – which operates in the steel beam sector - are at the other end. Unifer – a specialist in customised wire mesh - and the commercial company Steelfer, both part of Alpifer, complete this vertical structure. Fer-Par, part of the Feralpi Group, has recently acquired the former Stefana plant in Nave, near Brescia. “This acquisition is in line with our strategy of growth through business diversification, which has led us towards new products and markets. Thanks to the evolution of Acciaierie di Calvisano, Feralpi has entered the industrial hot-rolled product sector with Feralpi Profilati Nave, but also that of special high value added steels with Caleotto SpA, not to mention the flat, square 154 Industry Europe


Industry Europe 155


156 Industry Europe


Industry Europe 157


and round bars, re-coiling and special profiles for wrought iron with CoGeMe Steel. Moreover, through Nuova Defim Orsogril, Feralpi works in the welded mesh, fencing and grating segment. “In the last few years we have taken important steps towards developing an increasingly international dimension and becoming more diversified and verticalised on the market: In other words, to have a more comprehensive organisation and be more competitive. Would we consider new acquisitions? We never take anything for granted and we are always ready to spot new potential opportunities. “We will continue to adhere to the motto of our founder, Carlo Pasini, which is ‘Working and growing through respect for mankind and the environment’. This motto projects us towards the 4.0 Industry, defined as responsible manufacturing placing technology and process digitalisation at the service of mankind and working in the most sustainable way possible, thanks to the best available technologies and an intense internal research and development activity.” The Feralpi Group does not want to boast about all the certifications that it has obtained over time. However, it is particularly proud of the fact that Feralpi Siderurgica and Feralpi Stahl were among the first European steel companies to obtain the EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) environmental declaration, the highest recognition for companies and organisations which voluntarily decide to commit

themselves to evaluating and improving their own environmental sustainability, performing an analytical analysis of the direct and indirect impact their work has on the environment. “To tell the truth, Feralpi Siderurgica has been the first Italian steel plant with a complex matrixn type organisation to obtain the EMAS certification.”

ACQUATEC,, strengthened by its staff professionalism, is able to offer its clients a complete and tailored service for water cycle integral management, from drilling and lifting to treatment and distribution, as well as offering advice on customised system design together with a punctual and efficient maintenance service, which has undergone all the ISO 9001 Quality System verification processes. In terms of supply of new applications we offer a consultancy and analysis service, research and system configuration and construction. With regard to existing systems we are able to renovate them guaranteeing, during the replacement of the various components, a perfect interchangeability with the obsolete parts and, in this service, we also include the rebuilding of the existing low and medium voltage transformer rooms according to legislation. 25039 - Travagliato (Brescia) Via Averolda, 25/27 Tel. (030) 662261-2 Fax (030) 662263 www.acquatec.it

158 Industry Europe


PAPER, PACKAGING & PRINTING

The forest family

Swedish forestry cooperative Sodra has been investing heavily to ensure its more than 50,000 forest owner members are maximising the ever-growing opportunities for pulp and paper. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to Sodra’s head of marketing and business development, Marcus Hellberg, to learn more.

AS

Sweden’s largest forestry cooperative, Sodra is made up of over 50,000 forest owners who come together to form an international forest industry group with operations based on responsible forestry. Sodra’s core activity sees its members convert raw material into sawn timber, pulp for paper and dissolving, as well as providing green energy. Well known for doing things its own way, Sodra is proudly different. Head of marketing and business development Marcus Hellberg told Industry Europe how this is achieved. He said, “We challenge expectations of what a forestry company should be. We have a strong sense of self-confidence and we act clearly. Together with our members, we are showing what it means to be a next generation forest company.” Sodra sees itself both as a forest-owner association and as an international forest industry group, with its operations based on processing its members’ forest products. This unique position means it is continually processing ‘its own’ raw material at its own mills, with the forest harvested by its owner-members. So rather than ‘big companies’ owning the forest, in Sweden, thanks to Sodra, it remains the smaller forest owners that dominate – albeit with the strength and support of the huge Sodra family behind them. Mr Hellberg continued, “This is a huge advantage and a huge differentiator. Our unique history shows how individual forest owners, with their experience, commitment and foresight, have come together over the years to create a successful, growing industrial group. It’s not comparable to big industrial forestry companies – other than we can easily

compete on price, flexibility and availability. But where we are completely different is that we are so very close to the people that are actually caring for and harvesting the forests. They are in our family.”

Renewable and responsible Sodra’s business is built on value-generating relationships and a long-term approach, as proven by its well-established relationships with both forest owners and customers. There is an overall focus on promoting the profitability of its members’ forest estates by providing advice and support with regards to sustainable forestry, as well as by contributing to a market-based rate of return on their forest products. Mr Hellberg explained, “The wood from the forest estates of our members is processed in one of our three pulp mills or converted into sawn and planed timber, interior wood products, biofuel and pulp for the pulp market. We purposefully focus on innovation to develop new products based on renewable wood raw material.” Sodra has one of the largest sawmill operations in Sweden and is a major supplier of softwood sulphate pulp to the European pulp market. Its three pulp mills are largely fossil fuel-free as well as actually generating surplus energy, which is then sold as bio-based products such as green energy and district heating. In 2016, Sodra posted sales figures of more than SEK 18 billion and its wood volume was 15 million m³sub (cubic metres solid volume underbark). These impressive figures have also yielded strategic investment, with 2016 seeing over SEK 6 billion (around €700 million) spent on investment and expansion projects. Over two thirds of this was

Industry Europe 159


spent on ‘ramping up’ Sodra’s west coast mill, which is soon to reach capacity. Mr Hellberg said, “We started this project years ago and it’s taken an 18-month period to really ramp up our west coast mill’s production to the point where we’re almost at capacity. By the end of the year we’ll be at about 700,000 tonnes, so we’re working hard now to maximise our investment by fine tuning, synchronising and consolidating what we’ve done so everything’s running smoothly and is well connected.”

Old yet fresh As an 80-year old company that sources its raw materials in a different way, Sodra has ‘sustainability built into our business model’. As such, it has a passionate army of fans. Mr Hellberg noted, “Customers ask for Sodra as they love how we work and who we are. Customers know that we are made up of the actual forest owners and that we are here to combine everyone’s efforts into the best products. But it’s not all just about being a big forest family – we are focused on increasing our competitive edge too. Our sourcing is not just better for the environment and the forest owners, it’s better for the customers too. It’s direct, it’s responsible and it’s sustainable.” With continued investment and expansion planned, Sodra expects to see further growth in the coming years. Mr Hellberg concluded, “It’s no secret that we plan to further expand our east coast

160 Industry Europe

pulp mill, even though it is already one of the biggest in the region. Not everything has been decided yet about this project but our owners are in this for the long term, so we know it will be done with the n same Sodra spirit.”


PAPER, PACKAGING & PRINTING

Industry IndustryEurope Europe 161 161


Innovation at its core

Dedicated to developing and manufacturing innovative paper cores for the packaging film industry, Sonoco Alcore is proudly leading the way with its latest offer. Emma-Jane Batey spoke to the commercial and technical segment managers, Gary Morgan and David Van Hove, to learn more.

S

onoco Alcore creates a broad range of tube and core solutions for its customers across the paper, film, man-made fibre yarn, metal and construction industries. It is part of the global Sonoco family, one of the world’s leading providers of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging and supply chain services. Acknowledged as the leader in ‘high-quality, innovative, value-creating tubes and core solutions’, Sonoco Alcore’s production of tube and core solutions for such a wide variety of markets means it is divided into different product-focused segments. Packaging Europe spoke to commercial segment manager Gary Morgan and technical segment manager David Van Hove, the two driving forces behind the dedicated film segment of Sonoco Alcore, who have been integral in the division’s impressive growth in recent years. Gary Morgan began: “We are very excited about the continued potential of the film industry in terms of our expertise in paper core solutions, which is why David and I have been highly active in establishing ourselves as a dedicated division for Sonoco Alcore. Back in 2012, David and I realised that Sonoco Alcore did not have a team 162 Industry Europe

specifically focused on the plastic film sector and we saw great potential in the market. We therefore created a solid strategy to maximise the opportunities we identified across Europe and, by marrying Sonoco Alcore’s traditional strengths and expertise along with our innovative product development capabilities, we have successfully captured much of Europe’s growing film market.”

Positive strategy This positive strategy has proved successful for Sonoco Alcore’s film division in the four years it has been active. Mr Morgan also attributes this partly to the strong foundations he and Mr Van Hove had to build on. He continued, “Sonoco Alcore is very much the market’s technical leader in the production of tubes and cores for the various different segments we serve. We have a unique approach: our technical team works with our engineering, production, quality and sales teams. Working together like this ensures we create the best solution for our customers. Our position as the technical leader in our field is certainly what drives our constant innovation.”


PAPER, PACKAGING & PRINTING

This constant innovation is what has led to the development of Sonoco Alcore’s film division’s unique Radial Crush testing technology – one of the most essential tools to fully optimise many of the paper cores used in the film industry. David Van Hove explained, “Radial Crush Technology allows us to predict and measure the relevant strength properties of paper cores for applications where elastic materials are being wound on them (which is the case for many products from both the film and textile segments). This method, contrary to the historic flat crush measurement, is often much more important and allows us to optimise cores for cost/performance.” He went on: “It has far more relevant measurement parameters and it’s patented too, as it specifically replicates the kinds of forces and deformations a paper core is undergoing when the film is being wound onto the core. Sonoco in the US manufactures the testing equipment and sells it both internally and externally (worldwide).” With the patent of this particular core technology expiring a couple of years ago, Mr Van Hove noted that Sonoco now also supplies the measuring equipment to the market. He continued: “We don’t really want to share our design expertise; in fact this is something we maintain internally; however, we want to share this testing method, as it will benefit the industry by providing a much more relevant state-ofthe-art technology, which we hope will become the industry standard. “Testing is so integral to what we do. We regularly visit our customers so we know how they’re using our products and we conduct many tests on the strength properties of the core, both in the lab and in real life conditions. Historically, our industry used flat crush testing but the issue with that is it measures different kinds of deformations to those generally occurring in these applications (winding of elastic materials on paper cores). Our innovative Radial Crush technology helps us to further optimise our cores for our customers. “One of the biggest issues for the film industry is core crushing, which can cause machine downtime and add waste and cost for customers. Our dedicated film division provides innovative cores that use the latest testing technologies to deliver excellent core crushing resistance to meet the challenges of this issue.”

Impressive portfolio Radial Crush testing is part of Sonoco Alcore’s film division portfolio, alongside a number of film cores that have been specifically designed to manage the stresses and pressures experienced during

winding, handling, storage and unwinding of various film types. The film varieties addressed include polyethylene, polypropylene, bi-oriented polypropylene, polyester and polyvinyl chloride, giving the company a broad yet focused portfolio. Alongside the Radial Crush approach, Sonoco Alcore also offers the Dricore NG, a rain resistant paper core which has been extremely successful in the agricultural/silage film market where all of the main producers of these films have converted from plastic cores to the Dricore NG bringing them significant savings as a result; and the Intellicore RFID, which helps companies to optimise inventories thanks to its imbedded RFID technology. High performance cores are also offered for expensive and/or sensitive films as they demand very smooth surface, excellent straightness and superior dimensional stability; even though these cores are still paper, they are so completely smooth they look almost like plastic. Mr Morgan and Mr Van Hove’s clear dedication to providing a market-leading solution for core technology across the global film industry mean the outlook for the next few years looks just as positive for the film division. Mr Morgan concluded, “Our ongoing commitment to the plastic film industry is just as strong as when we were establishing our special division in 2012. We have a clear understanding of the needs of the market and are continually talking honestly to our customers to make sure we know exactly what they need and how we can utilise our experience and capabilities to n address their needs.” Should you wish to contact Mr Morgan directly to find out how Sonoco Alcore can help your film business to optimise its paper core needs please contact gary.morgan@sonoco.com Visit: www.sonocoalcore.com

Industry Europe 163


Major investment in

advanced healthcare performance

Mölnlycke is a leading global medical solutions company within wound management, pressure ulcer prevention and surgical solutions. Philip Yorke talked to Eric De Kesel, the company’s Executive Vice-President Operations and Quality, about its latest innovative products and recent major investment in a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in the Czech Republic. 164 Industry Europe


Pharmaceuticals & Medical

T

he year started off strongly for Mölnlycke with its largest investment to date – a total of €67 million in a new factory in the Czech Republic, where the company already has one manufacturing site. As well as being a major milestone for the company, this also represents one of the largest foreign direct investments in the country in recent years. The investment will enable Mölnlycke to increase both its capacity and efficiency, resulting in 67 per cent higher production volumes. The official opening of the factory will take place on 17 May. According to Eric De Kesel: “Our new facility in the Czech Republic will significantly enhance our manufacturing capabilities for surgical procedure trays and help us to strengthen our strong position in the global marketplace within this area. Beside the surgical solution business we offer a full-spectrum wound management portfolio and a unique pressure ulcer prevention solution – two areas where we are worldwide brand leaders.”

Bespoke solutions The investment is part of what Mölnlycke describes as its larger journey to advance performance in healthcare within three focus areas: wound management (including a range of dressings and wound therapeutic solutions); prevention (including prophylactic pressure ulcer wound care dressings and turning and positioning systems); and surgical solutions (including items such as Mölnlycke Procedure Trays, drapes, surgical gloves and gowns). Indeed, the company no longer talks in terms of providing ‘products’ but about offering all-round ‘solutions’ including education and health economic support data to meet healthcare needs. The new factory will help Mölnlycke to provide a bespoke service to its customers, while at the same time strengthening its position as a worldleading medical solutions company.

FLEXTRUS – A BRIGHT WORLD OF PACKAGING Flextrus is a leader in barrier flexible packaging with base in Northern Europe. We supply a comprehensive range of innovative and environmentally responsible materials intended for the healthcare industry, including thermoformable base webs, printed and coated medical papers, tailor-made film laminates and high barrier materials. Flextrus is very proud to be awarded the Mölnlycke Health Care Supplier of the year in the category Innovation at heart in 2016.

www.flextrus.com

Industry Europe 165


According to Mr De Kesel: “We know from our experience working with hospitals that one size does not fit all; every procedure is different and each hospital has its preferred configuration. We are already offering healthcare professionals a wide range of truly customised surgical solutions. There is no limit to the different combinations we can put together in a tray to match our clients’ needs. Our tailor-made solutions ensure accuracy and consistency for every procedure set-up. That means reduced opening and set-up time, which, in turn, enables surgical teams to carry out more procedures. In the new factory, we will also be able to add instruments that cannot afford a second sterilisation cycle to the already sterilised procedure trays.”

Increasing in-house efficiency The new Czech plant will also allow Mölnlycke to be more flexible when serving its customers as it will be assembling trays to order and sterilising them all in-house before shipping either directly or via

166 Industry Europe

distribution centres to its clients throughout the world. The increased internal efficiency will enable the company to be faster and more flexible when it comes to changing tray composition for customers – while maintaining its existing (if very urgent) 48-hour delivery-fromorder promise. Mr De Kesel added, “The new factory will increase our capacity. It will also make Mölnlycke less dependent on sterilisation suppliers as everything is now made in-house. This gives us increased control over the whole process and shortens the lead-time. The in-house sterilisation will also boost our efficiency further, as the ethylenoxyd degassing will be four times faster.” The development in the Czech Republic is a part of a wider global investment programme. Last year, for example, the company completed a €2.8 million (SEK 25 million) investment programme at its Oldham factory in the United Kingdom, and equally large sums have been spent on improving facilities in Finland, USA and Thailand.


Industry Europe 167


Mölnlycke and Sontara® have a long-standing partnership with a goal to drive safer surgical procedures by leading the market conversion to single-use surgical gowns. Sontara® fabric is a unique nonwoven made from renewable wood pulp and polyester fibers. Together with Mölnlycke’s strong development orientation, Sontara® has gained the reputation for “The Comfort in Single Use” in Medical Apparel and Wound Care applications. Sontara®, SoftFlush®, SoftLite® and Softesse® are brands of Jacob Holm. Jacob Holm combines extensive business experience with creativity to develop unique nonwoven fabrics to meet their customers’ challenges in the Hygiene, Consumer Wipes, Beauty Care, Health Care and Industrial markets.

168 Industry Europe


Pharmaceuticals & Medical Eric de Kesel

A global leader Originally founded in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1849 as a textile company, today Mölnlycke is a global healthcare solutions provider with 17 modern manufacturing plants, of which three are in the USA, six in Asia and the remainder spread throughout Europe. The company’s products can be found in over 100 countries worldwide. According to Mr De Kesel: “We are a truly global player. As well as our key markets in Europe and the US, we are expanding our operations in Brazil and have established permanent sales offices in China, South America, South Africa and the Middle East. “Our strategy is to build on our product portfolio and our reputation as the manufacturer of choice in our market sectors. We are the global brand leaders in advanced wound dressings and also hold leading positions in the other sectors we serve. Currently we employ more than 7500 people worldwide. I would say that our USPs are our full spectrum portfolio, our innovative products and strong value propositions. We work in close collaboration with our customers to meet their needs and to help them prepare for future healthcare challenges.” Industry Europe 169


170 Industry Europe


Pharmaceuticals & Medical

Industry Europe 171


Advanced prevention and treatment solutions Product innovation is another major strategic focus for Mölnlycke. In the area of hospital acquired conditions (HAC), the company has developed prevention and care protocols to support medical teams, based on clinical and scientific evidence, as well as a portfolio of products that help to deliver better patient and health economic outcomes. A good example is the Mölnlycke Prevention Programme for pressure ulcers. It sets out best practice protocols to help hospitals ensure the right team is in place and assess which patients are at higher risk. It also advises on the best use of dressings such as Mepilex® Border Sacrum and Mepilex® Border Heel, which can help to prevent pressure ulcers forming. Another important area for devel-

172 Industry Europe

opment is patient positioning, including the turning and positioning systems (Tortoise™ and Z-flo™) to protect the head, back and heel by redistributing pressure from stress points. Mölnlycke’s core business is the advanced wound care range. These advanced dressings, developed exclusively by Mölnlycke, are easy to work with and to apply or reposition as required. The Safetac® silicone layer not only minimises pain and stress for the patient but also prevents ‘skin stripping’ when dressings are changed, as well as maceration that can delay the healing process by causing n damage to the peri-wound area. For more information about Mölnlycke visit: www.molnlycke.com


Textiles, Textiles,Home Home&&Personal PersonalCare Care

Looking Ahead In its relatively short history, the Belgian family-owned manufacturer of private label personal absorbent hygiene products, Drylock Technologies, has gone from strength to strength. The combination of exceptional customer focus, product innovation and manufacturing excellence has resulted in a dynamic growth, which is set to continue: in January 2017, Drylock completed an acquisition in the United States, extending its footprint beyond Europe. Romana Moares reports.

F

ounded by Bart Van Malderen, the company’s current CEO, in 2011, Drylock Technologies manufactures and supplies three distinct product groups: baby care, adult care and feminine care. From its very beginning, focus has been on innovation – to provide products that are ecologically responsible and performance focused, accommodating customers’ need as well as possible. In 2012 Drylock developed its fluffless Magics diaper, using a revolutionary technology, and this was followed – due to rising demand – by fluffless incontinence products. These are thin, absorbent and comfortable, and sit perfectly in underwear.

Drylock puts a strong emphasis on the environment: the fluffless products use no cellulose, saving million of trees each year. No glue is used in the absorbent core, which means fewer chemicals applied in the manufacturing process. In addition, due to the thinness of the products, space is maximised during transport and in stores, meaning fewer trucks and lower emissions. “Innovation was at the core of our company from the very beginning, and this will continue to be our focus – to show the customers that we are an innovative company. That is what we do,” says Mr Van Malderen. Industry IndustryEurope Europe173 173


Going thinner Drylock’s baby care products include fluff and fluffless diapers, nappy pants, baby wipes, change mats and custom diapers; and its feminine care products comprise panty liners, fluff towels, ultra-towels, applicator tampons, digital tampons and custom products. The company’s adult care products include diapers, pull-ups, light incontinence products, under pads, shaped pads and custom products. Its products are sold through large retailers and various healthcare & distribution chains. Following the Magics Diapers and the Vivi Feminine Care product, the adult incontinence product group is now gaining strength, in line with global trends. It is the fastest growing segment worldwide. “The development of the three product groups has been the strategy from the very beginning,” says the CEO. “We now offer a full range in all three categories and they are constantly being further developed and improved. Product research and development are a continuous process that never stops.” He further explains that demand for thin products applies to all three segments now and while the more standard products are still the base of the business today, ‘thinner’ is the direction Drylock is set to go in.

From garage to global Drylock’s short company history has been a story of rapid growth: in 2011 Mr Van Malderen, with a solid background in the sector, decided to re-enter the hygienic product market and purchase a hygienic product manufacturer in Russia, at the same time developing the revolutionary fluffless diaper. A year later, a state-of-the-art factory was built on a greenfield site in the Czech Republic for the production of diapers, and the product range of the Russian facility

174 Industry Europe

was extended. In 2013, due to popular demand, Mr Van Malderen decided to expand the range in the Czech plant by adding fluffless & low fluff baby and incontinence products, and, at the same time, started building a new factory in the Republic of Tatarstan. In order to optimally serve its customers with a full range of femcare products, Drylock strategically acquired CIP Assorbenti, located in Buccinasco near Milan (IT) in September 2015. The plant has been fully integrated and provides for a full range of pantyliners, fluff and ultra towels. In January 2017, Drylock Technologies acquired 100 per cent of the business of Presto Absorbent Products Incorporated (PAPI) in Eau Claire, Wisconsin (USA). Presto is a well-respected innovator and manufacturer of adult incontinence products, serving preeminent institutional and retail distributors in the US.


Textiles, Home & Personal Care

Bart Van Malderen explains that the acquisition will bring significant benefits, such as a presence in the United States, product portfolio expansion, access to a very attractive customer and manufacturing base as well as a highly professional management team. The current PAPI facility will serve as Drylock’s US headquarters and operate under Drylock Technologies Ltd. “Presto complements our product range perfectly; it has always been a very innovative company and now we can bring this vast experience under one umbrella,” he says.

Drylock meets customers’ needs for hygienic absorbent products from birth until old age and plans to continue doing so in the way it knows best: through innovation and adding value to private labels. As Mr Van Malderen confirms, it will further invest in its plants to support its ambitious plans for further growth, both organically and n by means of acquisitions.

New horizons The acquisition supports Drylock’s ambitious 2020 plan of continued growth. “We certainly intend to have a more global reach,” confirms Bart Van Malderen. “The acquisition of the Wisconsin plant has been the first step to achieve this – it will be a hub not only for growing our position in the USA but also to serve as a channel to the South American market. Our next target is China, which also offers great opportunities, and we will start looking for a potential partner there soon.” He further reveals that the company is determined to support growth in Europe. “We have a strong presence in Russia, which is a big, growing market for us, and we are soon going to double the capacity of our plant in the Czech Republic, making it into a modern distribution centre for the whole of Europe,” he says.

Industry Europe 175


Nordic Radiance ‘Inspired by Nordic women – Created with Finnish nature – Born of Artic light’. This is the slogan that captures the essence of Finnish Lumene, the skincare and cosmetics producer that has built its reputation on natural ingredients rooted in Nordic nature. After 40 years of gradual growth in the skincare sector, the company is now re-branding itself to better suit the modern woman and, at the same time, reinforcing its Nordic heritage of living in harmony with nature. Romana Moares reports.

L

umene was founded in 1970 as a skincare brand with a strong belief in the power of nature. Named after the Lummenne lake, Lumene is also derived from ‘lumen’, the Latin for light. Within three years Lumene had become a market leader in Finland and started to expand, first to Russia and then to other countries. In the early 2000s the company entered the US market and became an instant success; and it was during this time that it was renamed Lumene Oy. So what is the magic formula behind this relatively small company from the Far North? “For over 40 years Lumene, with its heritage in wild Arctic nature, has created powerful radiance boosting skincare and makeup that works to restore the skin’s natural strength, beauty and luminosity. All of this has been done with the ultimate intention of bringing balance and harmony to consumers’ skin, mind and soul,” says Tiina Bensky (Global Director Marketing Operations) and Tiina Isohanni (Vice President R&D). “These rare, precious formulations are infused with potent natural antioxidants and nutrients, and exceptionally pure, oxygen rich, skin friendly pH Finnish Arctic spring water for healthy youthful glowing skin. “We always aim at formulating our products so that they are made from over 80 per cent of natural ingredients, and some of them are already up to 97 per cent. One of the key ingredients we use in our products is Arctic spring water with a pH value closer to the skin’s natural pH than normal tap water. We source it from a secret spring close to the Polar Circle. According to Unesco, Finland has some of the cleanest water in the world and we are extremely proud of using it in our products,” Tiina Bensky and Isohanni adds.

In the heart of nature Lumene Oy’s state-of-the-art cosmetics factory in Espoo covers an area of more than 25,000m² in which more than 1000 different products are made. The factory’s annual production volume is 16–18 million pieces, produced mostly in two shifts, five days a week, and it employs 100 people. Most of Lumene’s wild Arctic and Nordic ingredients have been developed from side streams of the food or forest industries – materials that would otherwise be discarded as waste. An important principle for Lumene is to utilise all possible components from plants foraged or collected from nature. Lumene carefully follows the principles of sustainability when harvesting Arctic ingredients, collecting plants in synergy with the environment in which they grow to ensure each year’s harvest is as fruitful as the last. Sustainable production and minimal waste is at the core of the business. Lumene complies with the ISO 14001 environmental stand176 Industry Europe


Textiles, Home & Personal Care

Industry Europe 177


ard in compliance with EU legislation and never tests its products on animals, instead using alternative methods to ensure the highest safety standards. Product quality is ensured using rigorous QA analysis that includes chemical, physical and microbiological testing, and the business operates in accordance with the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) for Cosmetics.

Innovative range Lumene currently offers four core product ranges and some additional ranges to meet all customer needs: LÄHDE (source), VALO (light), SISU (urban antidotes) and INVISIBLE ILLUMINATION (kaunis). LÄHDE is an intensely moisturising range that is infused with Arctic Spring water and hydrating Nordic birch sap – the secret to a perfectly hydrated Nordic dewy look. VALO is a range containing Nordic Cloudberry, full of Vitamin C to hydrate skin and give it a natural glow. SISU is an urban environmental anti-aging range

178 Industry Europe

infused with Arctic spring water and Nordic pine bark extract, protecting skin from external aggressors such as pollution, stress and harsh weather changes – a perfect antidote to the hectic urban life. Invisible Illumination is a hybrid skincare infused make-up range to give skin a perfect no-make-up-make-up look. “We are continuously developing new products and the next big launch is going to be in the autumn,” reveals the Global Director Marketing Operations. “We have invested substantially in renewing our brand and we will keep working on this in the future. With this 360-degree brand renovation, we have changed some of our ingredients, technologies, our packaging, brand logo and corporate communications.”

Global growth Lumene’s main market is still Finland, followed by Sweden, Russia and the USA where the company has established subsidiaries. In addition, it has distributors in other counties including Estonia,


Textiles, Home & Personal Care

Latvia and Lithuania, Poland, the Ukraine and Kazakhstan. “We are investigating opportunities to expand our business to new markets at some point but at the moment our focus is still fully on the brand re-launch phase in our existing markets,” says Bensky and Isohanni. They explain that due to the re-branding the company has decided to focus on its core competence, which is the skin care and liquid face make-up products. “We still have the Color Cosmetics in our portfolio, but due to the fast moving trends and to be able to offer our customers the best and the latest innovation of color cosmetics we have found a great European partner who can deliver these for us. The products are made in Italy, but designed in Finland.” The ambition is to place Nordic beauty on the global map and Lumene is certainly developing towards this goal. “Although Finland is the home market for us, one of our biggest goals is to grow globally. But even with a global reach, we will still emphasise our Nordic n heritage,” say Tiina Bensky and Tiina Isohanni.

Industry Europe 179


Flexible and Innovative Slovak Chemosvit Folie is a member of the Chemosvit Group, one of the largest businesses in the Slovak Republic. Over the past few years, Chemosvit Folie has successfully established itself as one of the leading flexible packaging printers in central Europe and has recently invested in new technology with a view to further strengthening its market position. Romana Moares reports.

180 Industry Europe


Textiles, Home & Personal Care

C

hemosvit Group consists of a group of companies involved in the production, converting and sale of flexible films intended for packaging and the electro-technical industry. It also focuses on the production and sale of plastics, recycled plastics, polypropylene yarn, machinery and packaging machines. Furthermore, its business line includes: technical services, power production and distribution, forwarding, transport and hotel services. The group has manufacturing sites located in Slovakia, the Ukraine and Finland. Chemosvit was established in 1934 by Tomáš Baťa, one of the most prominent business figures and industrialists of that time, on a green field site under the peaks of the High Tatras in northern Slovakia. The plant housed the first production of viscose films in Europe and the second in the world (after the USA). In the 1930s, the company was regarded as one of the most progressive in the world, with a great emphasis on satisfying both the customer’s and employer’s needs – reflecting the business philosophy of its founder and owner. This philosophy has been inherited by later generations of workers and has remained a pillar of Chemosvit’s development throughout the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Member of a strong group Chemosvit Folie houses the group’s conversion lines for its in-house manufactured coextruded polyethylene, polypropylene and barrier films, as well as of purchased BOPP, BOPET, OPA, aluminium films and cellophane. The company, fully owned by Chemosvit, was established in 2005 by separating the business from the parent company, and its activities include rotogravure printing using up to 11 colours, flexoprinting using up to 10 colours, lamination, winding

and slitting, sealing and adhesive binding (production of various types of pouches and carrier bags). The company has its own graphic studio and facilities for the production of printing forms for rotogravure and flexoprinting technologies. Its core product is packaging film for the food industry, used mainly for wrapping sweets and biscuits, as well as for the packaging of fresh and frozen food products. Its products are also supplied to other segments, such as the toiletries and pet food sectors. Other products made by the Chemosvit Folie include flexible films, the design and production of printing plates and various flexible film products. However, the biggest percentage of sales comes from its rotogravure cylinder production and lamination. As Slovakia is a relatively small market, about 85 per cent of the company’s output is exported, mainly to EU countries such as Germany, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. Only small quantities are shipped to non-EU countries such as the neighbouring Ukraine, where Chemosvit operates another small production plant in the western Ukrainian town of Luzk.

First class technology The plant is housed in five factory buildings within Chemosvit’s huge industrial complex, and is steadily being modernised to improve workflow and to further increase production efficiency. Massive investments have been made into state-of-the-art technology with a view to increasing its base of prestigious customers, which today includes a number of global players. In 2012, the company installed a new 11-colour Heliostar rotogravure press, followed by a new 5-layer blown line in 2015. “Invest-

Industry Europe 181


ment in new technology is an on-going process,” says managing director Jaroslav Mervart. “Each year machines are either bought or modernised. Last year we installed a new Kampf slitting line, an additional Comexi laminating line and an offset printing machine – all significant additions to our existing technology.” The company presented its new technology at interpack 2017. “There was great interest in our new e-beam offset,” confirms Mr Mervart. “Our philosophy is to inform the general public and potential new customers of the advantages and possibilities of printing directly

182 Industry Europe

on films,” he explains, adding that ever since the natural disaster in 2004 in the Tatra mountains, when a large part of the forest was destroyed by a massive storm, each tree is valued and the company strives to eliminate any unnecessary paper wastage.

Focus on innovation The managing director further highlights the advantages of the patented Comexi technology: “It features a central drum printing, allowing for the printing of tensile materials. The last station is flexo-


Textiles, Home & Personal Care

printing, so white colour and special varnishes can be deposited here with sufficient covering power or special effects.” The development of offset printing of plastic films suitable for small jobs has progressed rapidly in the past few years. Customers often want their new packaging quickly introduced to the market. They want a small volume, but in rotogravure quality. Offset can meet this demand. A focus on innovation has been one of the aspects behind the company’s success. “We were among the first to introduce rotogravure printed winning codes to the market for direct contact with food. We have solved the issue of UNI code printing on laminate with cold-seal. This year, we can offer simultaneous printing of not only 2-line winning text but also of various pictures. We believe this news will attract our customers’ attention,” says the managing director in conclusion. n

Comexi Comexi’s offset technology it’s being in the market since 2014

and gravure presses”, emphasizes Ferrer. “We will help them

with more than 15 presses sold around the world. Comexi’s

with everything they may need to make this technology as

Offset Sales Director, Felip Ferrer, highlights that Chemosvit

successful as possible for them and for all their clients”. In

is a reference converter with a wide sales network all abroad

this sense, Ferrer assures that Chemosvit will improve its

Europe. “They stand out for their exigency and professionalism;

competitiveness and attract new customers thanks to all the

it is really relevant that they have invested in our Comexi CI8

improvements this technology offers like its high quality printing,

offset press, as a complementary technology for their flexo

production flexibility and better time to market.

Industry Europe 183


World’s first fitness-tracking technology Jabra is a global leader in the development and manufacture of wireless and corded headsets for mobile phone users, contact centres and officebased users. Philip Yorke reports on a company that through innovation and acquisition has strengthened its position on the world stage to be included in the top headset makers worldwide. 184 Industry Europe

J

abra Corporation is a subsidiary of GN Netcom and has its roots in the Norcom Electronics Corporation of America, which was founded in 1983 by entrepreneur Elwood Norris. In 2006 GN Netcom consolidated its contact centre and office headset division under the Jabra Brand and this was followed by a restructuring of the company in 2008. This strategic move resulted in a greater focus on business-to-business and consumer markets respectively. Today the company continues to focus on innovation and investment in new technology in order to extend its lead in the headset market. Jabra’s head office is located in Copenhagen, Denmark from where it manages its diverse global operations.


also in this issue...

Next generation sports headphones

Advanced sports earbuds

Recently Jabra announced the launch of its next generation of wireless sports headphones with a fitness tracking feature – a world first. The company unveiled its Jabra sports pulse and Jabra Sport Coach special editions with improvements in fit, sound, durability and a range of other smart new sports features. Just like the company’s existing line-up of Jabra sports headphones, the new editions offer quality calls, music for motivation and intelligent in-ear coaching to help enhance training effectiveness. In addition, these next generation versions deliver innovation in all areas, with passive noise cancellation, a broader choice of fitting options, improved durability and many unique, intelligent sports features. Max data generated by the Jabra Sports Pulse Special Edition allows the user to track their fitness development and to get the most out of a work-out. It uses intelligent in-ear coaching to provide real-time feedback based upon the athlete’s heart-rate and level of fitness. At the end of a run, the Jabra Sport Life app provides a range of information to help improve future fitness levels, including distance covered, pace, route, calories burned and training effect. In addition, the Jabra Sport Coach Special Edition models are the world’s first headphones to feature automatic repetition counting through the TrackFit® motion sensor. Along with the integrated in-ear coaching, they provide the freedom to plan, track and focus on the day’s workout.

Drawing on the heritage of the GN Group’s long-standing headset and hearing expertise, Jabra continues to pioneer unparalelled sound capabilities with the launch of its high-tech Elite product franchise. The first product to emerge from the new franchise is the Elite Sport range, which are the most technically advanced, true wireless earbuds on the market. They are the ultimate training aid that deliver freedom of movement on any terrain. The fully water- and sweat-proof Jabra Elite Sport models are packed with advanced features including groundbreaking in-ear fitness analysis, strong battery life and music for all. When it comes to phone calls, Jabra Elite Sport benefits from two integrated microphones in each earbud. One captures the user’s voice and the other focuses on external noise. Together the earbuds overlay the two feeds, identify the background noise and remove it. This allows the athlete to take calls without interruption, listen to music and receive in-ear training tips.

Innovation and acquisition driving growth In October 2016, GN Audio, the owner of Jabra, announced that it has acquired the VXi Corporation, the headset manufacturer of both the VXi and BlueParrott brands. “We are delighted to have reached an agreement with VXi. The acquisition further strengthens our position on the North American market, where we have shown strong

Industry Europe 185


progress in recent years. We will build on VXi’s strong presence and reputation in the US and combine it with the international reach and professionalism of GN audio and the Jabra team,” said Paul Hamnet, president for GN Audio in North America. Jabra is a brand of the global GN Group which stands out as a world leader in intelligent audio solutions that transform people’s lives through the power of sound. The GN Group is made up of GN Hearing with the flagship hearing-aid brand, ReSound and GN Audio with its flagship brand Jabra, which now also includes the VXi and BlueParrot brands. The cutting edge headsets and industry leading medical smart hearing aid technology makes the GN Group unique in the industry. This unique mix enables the GN Group to be the only company that can transform deep insight from both the hearing aid and the headset customers into world-leading expertise in the human auditory system, sound processing and wireless technologies. The acquisition of VXi will further strengthen GN Audio’s presence and market share in the important North American market as well as to enable access to new and attractive market segments. It also gives GN Audio the opportunity to leverage VXi’s best-in-class expertise within ‘High Noise’ communication environments. For further details of Jabra’s latest innovative products and services visit: www.jabra.com 186 Industry Europe


Industry Europe 187


Lloyd is a European leader in the manufacture of shoes and fashion accessories for men and women. The company continues to lead the field with its stylish designs and high-tech quality finishing. Philip Yorke reports on a company that has set the standards in fashion and quality for shoes since 1888.

188 Industry Europe


also in this issue...

L

loyd Shoes was founded by H.F. Meyer in Bremen, Germany and the Lloyd brand name was first registered in 1905. The company’s famous ‘red stripe’ insignia was launched in 1968 as a brand identifier of quality and design. In 1983 the company moved into the sports and leisure footwear sector, which at that time was driven by the big boom in sports trainers. Shortly afterwards the famous brand-name ‘Rocky’ was introduced and took the market by storm. The distinctive brand remains an iconic leader to this day. However, it wasn’t until 2004 that Lloyd launched its first collection of accessories for men and women and this paved the way for the opening of a string of top-drawer retail outlets, known as ‘Concept Stores’, which are now distributed worldwide.

Contemporary concepts Staying one step ahead of its competitors is part of Lloyd’s DNA as it not only follows cutting edge trends but also sets them. For example, menswear is currently undergoing a phase of continuous transition, with events and demand being driven not by a revolution, but through a gradual evolving of time-honoured stereotypes. The growing move towards greater casualisation and comfort continues to have a major influence on the visual appearance of men’s fashion. Another significant trend can be seen in the sports sector where foreign influences, traditional craftsmanship and technical innovation are setting the pace. The latest collections by

Lloyd reflect the fast moving trends and distinctive casual fashion styles that dominate the following summer and autumn ranges. Mid-cut boots such as desert bots and Chelsea boots are the new trend setters and are offered by Lloyd in a variety of new last designs that provide a range of exciting material combination. This includes metal appliques, colourful inserts and highlighted lining materials. Last season the company’s most successful X-Motion series was repositioned in the market to impart a more sporty and elegant feel, with stylish upper leathers, complemented by new, non-slip profile soles. Winter themes featuring durable Gore-Tex can also be found in this range as well as in Lloyd’s latest casual boots and loafers.

Growing global reach The Chinese market has been of increasing importance to Lloyd and as part of the company’s growing internationalisation strategy, it attaches great importance to the Chinese market. As a result, Lloyd entered into a relaunch of its men’s and woman’s designs, which from now on will be represented in China by ‘Kingswood’ who are the premium shoe distributor in China, with whom they have signed an exclusive ten-year contract. “China has high market volume at its disposal and offers us attractive growth potential. We are highly delighted to be promoting this new strategic orientation on the Asian market in cooperation with Kingswood,” explained Andreas Schaller, CEO of Lloyd Shoes.

Industry Europe 189


Kingswood was founded in 2001 and has over 15 years of relevant experience in the distribution of high quality European brands of footwear on the Chinese market. It is Lloyd’s plan to re-launch its men’s and women’s collections and to establish a sustainable network in China. In order to achieve this, Kingswood will be opening Concept Stores for Lloyd and establishing carefully selected area partnerships throughout the region.

Crossover style Export sales at Lloyd are driven by the distinctive style and quality of its collections. The company relies upon its own innovative design teams, as well as utilising top design teams from Italy and Germany, for certain collections. In order to promote its diverse product portfolio globally, the company attends international trade fairs such as GDF in Dusseldorf and the MICAM trade fair in Italy. This is in addition to other important trade fairs in Denmark and the Netherlands that take place throughout the year. The company has also been selling its shoes successfully in Moscow for more than 30 years, which is one of the biggest markets outside Germany and Denmark. Setting new standards and growing its market share is an on-going process at Lloyd. The company is also famous for its business shoes, which it has produced from the outset. However the big trend in informal shoe-wear has led to the development of a very special kind of shoe, known as the ‘Crossover’ Shoe®. This new shoe affords more comfort for the wearer and the ability to provide greater shock absorbance characteristics, These unique shoes are also bio-degradable and bio-compostable, which in turn means that they will decompose when buried

190 Industry Europe

within three months, unlike traditional shoes which can take up to 300 years to achieve the same result. Lloyd is justly proud of the fact that all its shoes are made with sustainability and eco-friendly manufacturing methods in mind. The company also uses water-based glues and other approved materials in their shoe compositions as well as managing all their own waste products. For further details of Lloyds Shoes and its latest collections visit: www.lloyd-shoes.com


Industry Europe 191


Building on advanced

construction technology The Sika Group is a global leader in speciality chemicals for the construction industry that includes advanced silicon adhesives and insulation products. The company continues to expand through its development of new innovative solutions and the acquisition of other leading technology-based companies dedicated to the construction industry. Philip Yorke reports.

192 Industry Europe


also in this issue...

T

he Sika Group was founded in Switzerland in 1910 by Kasper Winkler, who was responsible for developing an innovative, quick-setting waterproofing additive for mortar known as Sika-1. Today Sika has subsidiaries in 80 countries worldwide and employs over 17,000 people. Last year the group posted revenues of almost CHF 6 billion. Headquartered in Barr, Switzerland, the Sika group portfolio is comprised of more than 600 brands that include many well-known, household name products such as Silkaflex, Silkasil, Silkabond, Silkapower and Silkadur. The group’s products are classified by its seven core business sectors, which include, roofing, concrete, waterproofing, sealing, manufacturing and reinforcing. Its core competences lie in concrete admixtures, speciality mortars, sealants and adhesives, as well as in steel corrosion protection systems.

Expanding global reach As part of its strategy to expand its global reach and to increase its production capabilities, Sika has increased its presence in Mexico by opening a major, new mortar production facility at Coatzacoalcos in southeast Mexico. The new purpose-built plant will take over the manufacture of concrete admixtures from the previous production site at Villahermosa. Through its five modern factories in Mexico, Sika has established a nationwide distribution chain. With a population of over 120 million, Mexico has one of the largest domestic markets in South America, which continues to invest heavily in the expansion of its infrastructure.

Apart from supplying building contactors with new product technologies for major construction projects, Sika is also intensifying its business in the growing builders’ merchants sector. In 2016, sales of products to end-users via building materials stores rose by over 25 per cent. This is due in large part to the extensive training programmes offered by Sika for both merchants and their customers. Today Mexico is Latin America’s second biggest economy, and the building sector is benefitting from the country’s 2104–2018 National Infrastructure Programme and the associated investments of CHF billion. These funds are spent on residential construction, urban development and infrastructure projects in the transport, energy and water treatment segments.

Acquisitions and innovation driving sales During the first month of 2017 alone, Sika made two major acquisitions that will add to its cutting edge technology portfolio and complement its fast-growing range of products. On the 11th January Sika acquired Bitbau Door, Austria’s leading manufacturer of advanced waterproofing systems The company’s product portfolio includes waterproofing systems for roofs, buildings and civil engineering applications. Last year Bitbau Door recorded sales of more than CHF 50 million. As a result of this significant acquisition, Sika will be able to offer its customers a wider range of durable, high grade waterproofing systems based on polymer-modified bitumen membranes.

Industry Europe 193


Since the family-owned company was founded over 150 years ago, Bitbau Door has evolved into a highly respected provider of waterproofing systems. Its top quality products are used on flat and pitched roofs, bridges and parking decks, as well as in civil engineering works. On the 31st January this year Sika also completed the acquisition of RMAX Operating LLC in the United States. The company is a market leader in the production of Polyiso insulation products for complete roofing and wall systems. With annual sales of more than CHF 75 million, RMAX is the proven US industry leader with its headquarters in Dallas, Texas. This recent significant acquisition fits perfectly with Sika’s growth strategy in North America and further strengthens the fast growing market for building systems that include roofing, sealants and waterproofing systems.

Strong global growth In 2016, Sika saw its global sales increase by 5.6 per cent to almost CHF6 billion, with nine new factories and four new national subsidiaries opened. Sales in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, Africa)

Cabot Corporation Cabot Corporation consistently meets the challenges of adhesive and sealant manufacturers who demand additives that advance their product performance. Cabot’s specialty carbon blacks provide reinforcement, conductivity and rheological properties to a variety of adhesives formulations. Cabot’s CAB-O-SIL® fumed silicas provide rheology and reinforcement properties to epoxy, polyurethane, hybrid and silicone adhesives and sealants systems for an array of applications including automotive and construction. CAB-O-SPERSE® fumed silica dispersions impart strength to pressure-sensitive adhesive formulations. Cabot Corporation is a leading global specialty chemicals and performance materials company headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Our businesses deliver a broad range of products and solutions to customers in every corner of the globe, serving key industries such as transportation, infrastructure, environment and consumer.

194 Industry Europe


also in this issue...

rose by almost 5 per cent in local currencies. In its core markets of Germany, France, Spain and Italy, very good growth rates were also recorded. However, strong above-average growth was also achieved in the UK, Russia, eastern Europe and Africa. On the African Continent, Sika has 18 national subsidiaries and 15 modern production sites and continues to expand its presence there. In addition, new subsidiaries were also established last year in Kuwait, Cameroon and Djibouti. Furthermore, a new concrete admixture production plant was opened in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, and another in Kryoneri, near Athens.

Sales also rose in North America by 7.8 per cent in local currency in 2016 where the main growth drivers were the accelerated expansion of the supply chain and investments in the sales force in fast-growing metropolitan areas. The group was also joined by L.M. Schofield, a market leader in colour additives for ready-mix concrete, and FRC Industries, which is a leading producer of fibres for concrete manufacturers. For further details of Sika’s latest innovative products and services visit: www.sika.com

Industry Europe 195


Resounding success GN ReSound is a global leader in the design and manufacture of intelligent audio hearing products and solutions. The company has reinvented traditional hearing-aid systems with its smart GHz technology and advanced medical and consumer sound solutions. Philip Yorke reports on a company that continues to see strong growth through its innovative products and strategic acquisitions.

196 Industry Europe


also in this issue...

GN

ReSound is part of the global GN Group, one of the world’s largest providers of hearing instruments and diagnostic instrumentation products, which is in turn part of GN Store Nord. Wirth roots that reach all the way back to 1943, ReSound has been responsible for a number of hearing industry firsts, such as its WRDC (Wide dynamic Range Compression) which broke new ground for sound processing, and DFS (Digital Feedback Suppression). This was the first system to effectively eliminate howling and sound distortion.

The world’s first open-standard digital chip set new standards for flexibility in programming and the introduction of ‘ReSound AIR’ signalled the creation of an entirely new type of hearing instrument. This provided more natural sound and eliminated the discomfort associated with plugging the ear canal. Headquartered in Ballerup, Denmark, GN ReSound is represented in more than 80 countries worldwide. The company draws on its considerable pool of resources at its technology centres around the globe, where its researchers work to apply technology to improve the quality of life

Industry Europe 197


for millions of people. Today the GN Group has more than 5000 employees and its parent company, GN Store Nord, is listed on the Nasdaq Copenhagen stock exchange.

Transforming lives GN ReSound transforms people’s lives through the power of sound with smart hearing aids that enhance the lives of those with hearing loss. The company’s integrated headset and communications solutions assist professionals in all types of businesses to be more productive. GN’s innovative power has paved the way for a stream of break-throughs, such as the revolutionary 2.4GHz-technology for hearing aids, unified headsets with active noise cancellation and allin-one ear-worn training solutions with built-in heart rate monitor. In addition, GN ReSound was responsible for the world’s first ‘Made for iPhone’ hearing aid with direct stereo sound streaming.

198 Industry Europe

The lives of those with severe hearing disabilities has also been transformed with the launch of the world’s smartest ‘Super-Power’ hearing aid. Recently the company announced the global launch of its ReSound ENZO2™, which brings the renowned benefits of its LINX2™ system to people with severe-to-profound hearing loss that are in need of ‘Super-Power’ solutions. The company’s ENZO2™ is the only smart hearing aid for SuperPower users that offers an exceptional hearing experience with greater audibility, improved speech understanding and increased spatial awareness, enabling people to live their lives closer to normal than ever before.

Strategic acquisition In October 2016 the GN ReSound Group announced that it had made the strategic acquisition of the VXi Corporation of America. VXi is a leading US-based manufacturer of professional headset solutions. The


also in this issue...

company was founded in 1989 and has shown a strong and consistent track record. In 2015 VXi recorded revenues of USD 32 million. The company’s brands are marketed under the VXi and Blue Parrot brands. This strategic acquisition strengthens the GN Group’s Audio’s presence and market share in the all-important North American market as well as enabling access to new and attractive market segments.

Growth in sports audio sector The GN Group continues to innovate with special emphasis on the sports audio sector, and has now extended its range of wireless sports headphones with the launch of two new special editions: the Jabra Sport Coach and Jabra Sport Pulse. They are launched as ‘next generation’ versions, which deliver innovation across the board, including passive cancellation, a broader choice of fitting options, improved durability and world-first intelligent sports features for all fitness enthusiasts.

Optimised for running, the Jabra Sport Pulse special edition is the world’s first headphone to feature automatic and continuous V02 Max fitness testing. And optimised for the gym, the Jabra Sport Coach Special edition is the world’s first sport headphone to feature automatic repetition counting through its ‘TrackFit’ motion sensor. Developed to help people make the most of their time at the gym, the Jabra Sport Coach Special Edition works in combination with the Jabra Sport Life app. The TrackFit motion sensor detects an individual’s movement and the app counts and logs repetitions and advises when to move on to the next exercise. From launch the app will be able to automatically count ten of the most commonly performed exercises from push-ups to lunges and burpees, with updates to the app increasing the number of new exercises available over time. For further details of the GN ReSound Group’s innovative products and services visit: www.resound.com

Industry Europe 199


ADVERTISERSINDEX

Acquatec AESA Cortaillod AESA Cortaillod Ahlstrom Munksjo Analog Devices Antonioli A.R.E.S AR Packaging Group

158 31 Inside back 167 59 157 49 165

Bartec Benke Batenburg Industriele Electronics B+M Schaltanlagenbau BMZ Bosisio Ernesto Botek Brata Bruks AB

87 45 136 75 48 78 116 160

CAAC Pioneer Logistics Cabot Switzerland Calsonic Kansei Capirom Cauvin Metals C.I.B. Classic Oil Comexi Covestro

Inside front 194 66 66 149 155 53 183 171

DAU GmbH Dow Building Solutions

108 5

Eurint

105

FELB Ferrutensile FERVORARI ROTTAMI Fisc Italiana Flextrus Fornaci Calce Grigolin Foshan Tongbao FUX

5 93 151 40 165 158 58 101

GAP Gebrüder Dorfner GmbH

156 37

Geka Ghani Rasheed Gic Nosag Metal Globál Gorenje

178 191 66 100 35

Heberlein Hema Endüstri Hofeka Huber Huwell Chemicals

27 71 99 40 179

Industrie Marchigiane Filtri Inoxforma

36 113

Jacob Holm

168

Knorr-Bremse Konnyufemontode Kovo Nerez Kraton

87 78 74 170

Laemme 3 LH Magnet L.I.V. Lumson Cosmetic

41 53 40 178

Main Metaalbedrijf Baas Metalcam Metaldesi Metals Chemicals Maastricht MFS Constructie Milesi Mineco Mitsubishi Electric Motim Electrocorundum

175 45 128 36 140 44 34 140 13 52

Nagév Cink Nordker-M Novelis Deutschland

101 79 195

OMFA

148

Pietro Carnaghi Posco ITPC PPG Austria Handels Pure Solve

129 34 86 52

Rahn rff Rohr Flansch Fitting RKW Ronera Rubber

55 113 171 66

Sensient Cosmetic 179 Sonoco Alcore Outside back SOR lberica 87 Stanse Fabrikken 124 Sterman Technische Systeme 136 Synergy 186 Synergy 199 Techno Szer 2000 TopCNC Trafilerie Alluminio Alexia Transland Trattamenti Termici Ferioli & Gianotti Trim NW Trioplast Trumpf TSG Technischer

117 74 48 141 83 5 169 133 121

Valsecchi & Devizzi Ventomatic

49 97

Wall Colmonoy Walter Wipak Woodtai Enterprises

145 63 170 187

ZEZ Silko

109