Industry Europe – Issue 28.2

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Volume 28/2 – 2018

STRIX TECHNOLOGY - SAFER BY DESIGN Gniotpol Trailers: 30 years of success Daimler awards its top suppliers

Europe’s wind energy sector gains momentum




Entente Cordiale President Trump has a new friend.


avier Gorce’s penguin cartoon in Le Monde’s check-list bulletin (they are always penguins) said it all. A tiny (French) penguin is perched on the back of a gigantic blond-haired whale. “Having won his friendship,” he says, “by bringing all my weight to bear I should be able to subtly change his direction.” No doubt President Macron had some such hopes on his state visit to Washington. He is, after all, French, and so not without charm and subtlety. Of course these are qualities alien – even unknown – to the bombastic behemoth in the White House but opposites do sometimes attract. And Mr Trump himself may have hoped that posing with Macron in front of the world’s press might lend a bit of class to his own image. He could certainly do with it. It turned out to be a very tactile encounter. It’s doubtful if the French President was expecting to be quite so manhandled but he bore it all with heroic equanimity. With all the hand holding and the back slapping and the shoulder caressing, the encounter began to look like a mutual grooming session between two alpha male gorillas (of rather different sizes, of course). But when his host offered to ‘get that little piece of dandruff’ off Macron’s shoulder it must have tested the Frenchman’s good manners to the absolute limit. You can’t imagine Charles de Gaulle putting up with that kind of thing. So was it all worth it? Macron must have hoped to change Trump’s direction, even if only subtly, on at least the key issues of Iran and trade sanctions, maybe even on climate accords. On Iran, the hope must have been to dissuade Trump from simply tearing up the Obama deal to lift economic sanctions in return for a halt in Iran’s nuclear programme when it comes up for renewal in May. Not much seems to have been achieved on that. Trump’s response – “it is a terrible deal, it’s

insane, it’s ridiculous, it should never have been made” – didn’t seem to offer much room for movement. So Mr Macron had to settle for the hope that the US and France, and maybe the UK, could now work on a new ‘accord’ with Tehran that would take in wider issues, such as Iran’s ballistic missile developments and its enhanced military presence in Syria following its support for Assad. Since the last issue is seen by Israel as a threat to its security that could lead to another war, you might think it would be now top of the agenda. But it seems the presidents of the USA and France stayed ‘evasive’ on what shape these new negotiations with Iran might take.

Trading friction Undoubtedly Mr Macron must also have tried to persuade Mr Trump to at least ease the impact of the proposed trade sanctions on EU metals producers. He might have said that he understood that the US wanted to deal with the challenge to its domestic producers of cheap (or even dumped) steel from China even though he would have known that this was actually yesterday’s problem and also known that his host did not understand this. He might not have thought it politic to explain, in the circumstances, that the US currently imports more steel from Japan, South Korea and the EU (all of them its military allies) than from China. But surely there was room for exemption of at least the EU countries from 25 per cent tariffs on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium. Surely such close friends would never risk a trade war over what he called ‘ces points de friction’. Mr Trump might have offered to scratch his small friend’s back if that would help the discomfort but he didn’t seem interested in anything more reciprocal. There were no such concessions forthcoming and Mr Macron was reduced to saying that he was confident

about the future of trade between the EU and the USA. So despite digging in his heels for all he was worth the little penguin has apparently failed to alter even slightly the course of the great trumpback whale. The US President did however add something interesting about his feelings on trade relations. He told Mr Macron he regretted that it was the European Union he had to deal with on such economic questions. The EU was very tough for the US; there were so many of its tariff barriers that were unacceptable. According to Le Monde, he said “La question des échanges avec la France est compliquée parce qu’il y a l’Union européenne. Je préférerais négocier seulement avec la France.” Not in French, of course. That must have been music to British ears (or Brexit ears anyway). The leavers have always pointed to the extreme difficulty of the EU concluding trade deals with the world’s most important economies. The need to get all 28 member states to agree to every detail of such negotiations has made it so far impossible to reach agreements with China, India, Japan or, of course, the USA. But Mr Trump is now saying how much better it would be if he, and the US, could negotiate individually with sovereign countries such as France. France, of course, as an EU member, cannot undertake such negotiations but the UK, after Brexit, can. Of course this is probably not what Mr Macron wanted to hear. After all, he was fresh from his triumph at the European Parliament where he vowed to do whatever it took to build ‘a new European sovereignty’, including more banking integration and more EU-wide taxes. ‘The true France is back,’ cried EU President Jean-Claude Junker after the speech. So maybe it’s best to stick with the n other penguins. Industry Europe 1

CONTENTS Editorial Director Peter Mercer

Production Manager Tania Balderson

Editor Victoria Hattersley

Copy Manager Andrew Briggs

Profile Writers Romana Moares Barbara Rossi Dariusz Balcerzyk Edina Beale Philip Yorke Emma-Jane Batey Eugenia Fiusco Piotr Sadowski

Administration Jess White

Below: Energy Industry p6

Advertising Manager Stephen Moore Sector Managers Matthew Howe Milada Preslova Anna Dudek-Nocny Eniko Kovacs Michael Hudson Oliver Clements Szidonia Hajdu

Art Director Rob Czerwinski Designer Leon Esterhuizen


1 Opinion Entente Cordiale 5 Bill Jamieson The strange tale of Europe’s two economies

Energy Industry

6 When the wind blows, it’s good news for Europe Renewable energy powering the future 8 Energy news The latest from the industry

IT Support Syed Hassan

Chemicals Industry 10

Adapting to change Strongest growth in years –

but will it last?

Industry Europe


Chemicals news The latest from the industry

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

Agriculture Industry

Tel: +44 (0)1603 414444 Fax: +44 (0)1603 779850 Email: Web: Twitter:

© Industry Europe 2018 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.

14 16

Robots and drones: addressing agricultural challenges How automation could transform the farming business

Agriculture news The latest from the industry


18 Winning business New orders and contracts 20 Linking up Combining strengths 22 Moving On Relocations and expansions across Europe 23 Technology spotlight Advances in technology

Report 24

Focus on Germany Allan Hall reports from Berlin

Aerospace & Defence 26 30

Blade Runner Airbus Propelled to the top GE Aviation Czech

Automation & Robotics A Square Root Company

2 Industry Europe

33 36

A single supplier for end-to-end ceramic production SITI B&T Group Industrial automation from Lubawa Intek

VOL 28/2

Above: GE Aviation Czech p30

Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

40 Shaping the future of mobility Daimler 44 A century of innovative solutions Dätwyler Group 48 Lightweighting the heavyweights

Fleetguard Filters

52 Embracing the automotive evolution Mitsuba 56 Vehicles tailored to clients’ needs Gniotpol Trailers 63 At full speed ŠKODA 66 Sustainable comfort solutions Recticel Group

Above: Intek p36 Below: Gniotpol Trailers p56

Chemicals & Petrochemicals 69

Solid tradition, promising future Rochester Gauges

Above: Renco p82 Below: Woodtai Enterprises p98

Construction & Engineering 72 76

From ideas to implementation Utiber The bigger the better Főmterv

Energy & Utilities 79 82

Solid foundations Global Project Services Building on diversity Renco

Food & Beverage 85 90 94

New ideas to freshen up Tesco New customer-centric technology Marks & Spencer

Best salami pick Pick Szeged

Home Electronics, Appliances & HVAC

98 Maximising mini-speaker performance Woodtai Enterprises 101 Firmly in control Strix

Logistics & Transport

Above: MASOC p116 Below: Coats p130

104 Luxury logistics Bollore Logistics 108 Boosting visibility and secure data sharing Gatehouse Logistics

Above: ŠKODA p63 Below: Utiber p72

Metals, Metalworking & Mining

111 Rolling steel technology forward Beltrame Group 116 Promoting Latvian engineering MASOC

Paper, Packaging & Printing

120 Core technologies for future needs EconCore 123 A greater capacity to innovate Şişecam


126 New bio-venture vision Mölnlycke

Textiles, Home & Personal Care

130 Diversity in high-performance yarns Coats Industry Europe 3




Executive Editor of The Scotsman

The strange tale of Europe’s two economies Has the EU’s growth already peaked?


ere is a tale of two economies. In the first, the economy grew by two per cent last year, up from 1.1 per cent in 2016. Unemployment fell from 9.5 per cent to 8.5 per cent over the same period to the lowest level in a decade – and down from a peak of more than 12 per cent in 2013. Overall, the economy has delivered positive surprises with better and better growth – and this looks set to continue this year. What’s not to like? Now here’s the other economy. Latest business surveys suggest a weakening pace. While GDP growth last year was the highest in a decade, trend growth is more like 1.5 per cent – the rate at which an economy can grow over the longer term without generating excessive inflation. Industrial output has fallen for three consecutive months. Unemployment is still far above the sub-5 per cent rates in major Western economies. Parts of the region have been hit by crippling strikes, while other areas are suffering political turbulence. Bank lending growth has slowed and recent economic sentiment indicators have fallen well below analyst expectations. All told, not a great place to be. But here’s the thing. These are not two separate economies. They are one and the same: welcome to the eurozone in the spring of 2018. How can the same region display such conflicting features? First, while the global economy is set to enjoy further growth, there is evidence of a slowing pace, heightened by concerns over Donald Trump’s protectionist rhetoric and an international trade war. The second is the commitment of central banks in America, the UK and the eurozone to bring a halt to nine years of ultra-loose monetary policy – Quantitative Easing. Another is political uncertainty, notably in Italy and France, and rising social tensions in Germany. More recently, the surge in the oil 4 Industry Europe

price – with Brent crude futures up over 40 per cent since April last year to more than more $70 a barrel – is set to push up heating and transport costs and inflation. The result is apprehension that last year’s eurozone growth pace will not be matched this year and that it is not experiencing, as many had hoped, a sustained transformation in performance.

...while the global economy is set to enjoy further growth, there is evidence of a slowing pace, heightened by concerns over Donald Trump’s protectionist rhetoric and an international trade war. A good year for world growth Let’s not overdo the gloom: looking at the global economy overall, this is likely to be the best year for world growth in seven years. Has not the International Monetary Fund recently raised its global growth forecasts? And the eurozone, especially in the north, has delivered better income growth than in Britain or the US. The upswing, says Deloitee chief UK economist Ian Stewart, is likely to end up as the strongest since before the financial crisis. Nevertheless, we are in the throes of a mature recovery and after sustained growth since the aftermath of the banking crisis, many expect the economic cycle to start rolling over. For the rich western economies,

says Stewart, the second half of 2018 is likely to mark the peak. “The US and UK economies have been growing for more than eight and half years… the second longest American recovery in 150 years. Post-war recoveries in the UK have, on average, run far longer than US recoveries, but this one is the third longest recovery since the war. However, it has failed to deliver the extent of growth seen in previous upswings. For both countries this has been the weakest recovery since the war and growth in disposable incomes has been similarly lacklustre.” Michael Penn, Chief Economist at Cohen and Steers in New York, has picked up a softening of the upward momentum in global economic activity. Industrial output data have been lacklustre across the world. The change has been marked in the euro area, which has seen a string of disappointing economic activity releases in March and April. One of Europe’s most widely watched indicators, the German Ifo survey of business sentiment, has unexpectedly edged lower from January’s alltime peak. It looks like the pace of growth took a knock in the first quarter of this year in both the euro area and the UK. Superimposed on this is the spectre of central banks rolling back the ultra-cheap money policies. The US Federal Reserve is expected to raise US rates by 100 basis points by the end of 2019, taking US interest rates to around 2.75 per cent, the highest since March 2008. Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, has warned borrowers to prepare for rate rises later this year. And economists expect the European Central Bank to end its programme of money-printing, or quantitative easing, in the second half. So: reading through all these conflicting signals, the eurozone looks on course for a modest growth advance, though not as robust as appeared to be the case at the start of the year. And it is an advance, as n always, vulnerable to ‘events’.

Industry Europe 5

When the wind blows, its good news for Europe Is it always ‘an ill wind that blows nobody any good’? Well, not when it comes to the future for European energy supplies. Robert Williams reports.


urope’s world coal burning peaked in 1996. North Sea oil and gas fields are beginning to run down, peak oil looms on the horizon, supplies from the Middle East and Russia cannot be seen as entirely secure and nuclear energy has its own safety and pollution issues. The wind is blowing favourably for renewable energy. During the first week of January 2018, as Storm Eleanor was blowing, there was a new record set for the generation of wind energy in Europe, when a total of 2128 Gigawatt hours (a measure of the output of large power stations) was generated by wind 6 Industry Europe

energy. Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, wind energy delivered on average 20 per cent of Europe’s electricity. And, in October 2017, wind power sources provided 24.6 per cent of total electricity – enough to power 197 million European households. Europe is rapidly becoming a major force for renewable energy. Wind power is now Europe’s second largest source of electricity, behind gas-fired power plants, after it made up almost a fifth of all newly installed electricity capacity across the EU last year. The number of new wind turbines being installed across the EU increased by 20 per

cent from the previous year, and set new records in Germany, the UK and France. As of December 2017, installed capacity of wind power in the European Union totaled 169,3 gigawatts. The growing importance of wind energy across Europe is partly the result of policy decisions take almost a decade ago. In 2009, the European Council adopted an energy and climate target to reduce EU-wide emissions of greenhouse gases to 80 per cent less than 1990 levels by 2050. This target included a directive for EU member states to fulfill at least 20 per cent of their energy needs with renewa-

bles by 2020. Denmark regularly gets more than 100 per cent of its energy from wind, while wind frequently provides Germany more than half of its electricity. WindEurope, formerly the European Wind Energy Association, has estimated that 230 gigawatts (GW) of wind capacity will be installed in Europe by 2020, consisting of 190 GW onshore and 40 GW offshore. This amount of wind energy will generate 14–17 per cent of the EU’s electricity, avoiding 333 million tonnes of CO2 per year and saving Europe €28 billion a year in fuel costs. Wind energy is now cheaper than nuclear energy in the UK.

Offshore expansion All is not completely blowing in wind energy’s favour, however. The British government ruled out new onshore wind farms in England in its 2015 election manifesto, so energy companies were forced offshore, making the UK the world’s offshore leader. The price of building offshore wind farms has fallen by nearly a third since 2012 as the technology matured, although it is still more expensive than constructing and maintaining wind farms on land. Offshore wind farms are more problematic than onshore wind because they require bigger and more robust turbines, and have higher levels of maintenance and much greater installation costs than onshore wind. As they have moved offshore, wind turbines have grown steadily larger, as have the wind farms to which they belong. And the next generation of wind farms are set to be even larger. Located 120km off the Yorkshire coast, Hornsea Project One will span a huge area of approximately 407 square kilometres, which is over five times the size of the city of Hull. The offshore wind farm will use seven megawatt (MW) wind turbines, with each one 190 metres tall – larger than the Gherkin building in London. When completed, the project will become

the world’s first gigawatt scale wind farm, comprising up to 240 turbines with a capacity of up to 1.2GW. Scheduled to commence operation by 2020, the wind farm will have the capacity to supply over 1 million UK homes with electricity. The wind farm is being built by Danish renewables giant Ørsted Energy (formerly Dong Energy – short for Danish Oil and Natural Gas). Ørsted Energy is named after the Danish scientist who discovered that electric currents create magnetic fields. Weighing in at 800 tonnes, the first monopile – upon which the turbines stand – is 65m long and 8.1m wide, and there are a further 173 to follow, providing the strength and sturdy foundation for the 190m structures. For every one, the bright yellow transition piece, above-water tower, nacelle and blades will all follow to make up the entire turbine installation. The process, which will be regularly repeated in the weeks and months ahead – ramping up with the addition of the substations and cable linking – forms the initial phase of the intensive, co-ordinated delivery of what will emerge as the world’s largest offshore wind farm being operated and maintained from Grimsby. The city of Hull’s role, too, in assembly and manufacturing will kick in, with Ørsted having selected Siemens to deliver the 7MW turbines. A total of 500 jobs are being created by the Danish giant as it builds out a strong pipeline of projects off the Humber, while up in Teesside, the monopile manufacturing base will be at full capacity until autumn this year. Alongside the installation of the 174 monopiles, Ørsted is also at work laying the subsea cables and electricity substation for the site. Three high voltage subsea power cables will carry electricity from three offshore substations to shore. Ørsted Energy is also under contract to build an additional offshore wind farm, also in

the UK, with a planned capacity of 1386 MW when it opens in 2022. This windfarm – the Hornsea Two project – will be situated 90 kilometres off the Yorkshire coast. Between them, the two projects will have a potential generating capacity of nearly 2.6GW, providing power to more than two million homes.

North Sea Power Hub If this is not enough to convince sceptics of the power of wind, Dogger Bank, in the middle of the North Sea, has been identified as a possible site for an artificial island that could supply renewable energy to 80 million people in Europe by 2027. The ‘North Sea Wind Power Hub’ would send electricity via long-distance cables to Britain and the Netherlands, and later to Denmark, Germany, Norway and Belgium. Dutch power grid operator TenneT, the project’s backer, recently released a report claiming the island will be billions of euros cheaper than conventional windfarms and international power cables. So, the answer to the energy supply challenge in Europe is now becoming increasingly clear. A transition is required from an energy supply dependent on fossil fuel combustion to a cleaner, smarter alternative, based on natural renewable resources and indigenous supply. The answer, my friends, is blowing in n the wind.

Industry Europe 7


New developments in the Energy industry

Bentley Motors to build the UK’s largest ever solar-powered car port

B ABB deploys microgrid with large battery energy storage in Australia


BB has supplied a containerised microgrid solution to support a gas-fired power station to optimise and automate its operations, increase energy efficiency, reduce fossil fuel consumption and enable uninterrupted power supply from Alinta Energy’s Newman Power Station, which supplies mining operations in the Pilbara. ABB’s microgrid solution includes a 30 megawatt (MW) battery energy storage system, which is one of the largest of its kind to be deployed in a gas-fired power plant. A 30 MW battery energy storage system can supply 6000 homes with the power supply, where the average supply would be 5 kilowatt (kW). ABB’s microgrid solution will provide power supply to cover the time it takes to start up a new gas turbine, when there is a fault in the running turbine causing power to trip. This back-up will enable uninterrupted supply of reliable power and prevent any disruption. ABB’s modular and containerised microgrid will integrate five 6 MW ABB Ability PowerStore™ Battery energy storage systems with the power station’s existing gas turbines, providing a ‘spinning reserve’. ABB has supplied a range of transformers and switchgear to integrate the system. Visit:

Shell expands Brazil operated footprint with new deep-water blocks


hell Brasil Petroleo, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell plc, has won four additional deep-water exploration blocks in the Campos and Potiguar basins, bringing its total operated presence offshore Brazil to 18 blocks. In the 15th deep-water bid round organised by the Brazilian National Petroleum Agency (ANP), Shell secured one exploration block on its own, and three in joint bids with Chevron Brazil, Petrobras, and Petrogal Brasil. Of the newly acquired blocks today, Shell will operate two. “We continue to demonstrate our commitment to growing our production in Brazil and our strong belief in the value deep-water resources brings to our global portfolio,” said Andy Brown, Upstream Director, Shell. “This bid round offers significant potential for additional deep-water discoveries. These lease commitments fall within our agreed capital ceiling and are consistent with our valuebased approach.” Visit:

EDF Group announces its Electric Storage Plan


a changing energy landscape, EDF is ramping up its efforts to develop electricity storage solutions and become the European leader in this field. Storage has a critical role to play in the energy transition, alongside energy efficiency, nuclear and renewables. A pioneer in this area, the

8 Industry Europe

group is already involved in the main storage technology applications, including batteries and Pumped-Storage Hydroelectricity. EDF’s goal is to develop 10GW of additional storage around the world by 2035, on top of the 5GW already operated by the group. This acceleration represents an investment of €8 billion during the 2018–2035 period. EDF’s ambitions are focused on all electricity

entley Motors has started construction of the UK’s largest ever solar-powered car port at Bentley’s factory headquarters in Crewe, UK. The installation of 10,000 solar panels, which has a capacity of 2.7MW, will take approximately six months to complete. Once completed, the car port – which covers Bentley’s colleague car park – will take Bentley’s energy system to 30,815 solar panels. This includes the 20,815 panel roof top installation completed in 2013. Commenting on the installation, Peter Bosch, Bentley’s Member of the Board for Manufacturing, said: “We continue to focus on new initiatives that reinforce our commitment to the environment, whether this is introducing alternative powertrain technologies in future models, or our award-winning work to reduce the environmental impact of our factory. “This solar installation is another example of how we can make our factory more sustainable by using technological innovation. This helps us produce extraordinary cars with responsiblysourced materials in an efficient manner, while continually striving to reduce the company’s environmental impact.” Visit:

storage markets to help ensure the smooth running of a balanced electricity system, for residential customers, businesses and countries. The group is keen to become the leader in the residential sector in France and Europe with its range of self-consumption services incorporating batteries. Africa is also a priority market. Visit:


INDUSTRYNEWS E.ON commissions the Fortum wins contract to supply the biggest offshore wind farm Rampion solar electricity system in Nordic history


he construction of the Rampion offshore wind farm in the British Channel has made significant progress. All 116 turbines are online and feed renewable energy into the grid. The Rampion thus reaches its maximum generation capacity of 400 megawatts, which can supply almost 350,000 households. Further work will have to be completed in the coming months before the substations on land and at sea, for example, can be fully commissioned. Offshore construction of the Rampion project began in 2016. The project is to be completed before the end of this year. The Rampion Offshore Wind Farm is being built 13 kilometres off the Sussex coast by E.ON, Canadian energy infrastructure company Enbridge and a consortium comprising the Green Investment Group, Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 5 and the Universities Superannuation Scheme. Visit:


ortum won S Group’s competitive bidding process for the implementation of a solar electricity system on the rooftops of around 40 commercial buildings across Finland. With a total output capacity of about 10 MW, the solar electricity project is the biggest ever supply of rooftop solar electricity systems to be installed on rooftops in the Nordic countries. The total solar power production capacity in Finland in 2017 was about 35 MW. Fortum is responsible for the project planning, project management and equipment procurement. The installation work will be conducted by about 10 teams from ARE. The installation work will start in spring 2018 and will be completed during autumn 2018 (with the exception of a few new sites). “Realising our vision – For a cleaner world – isn’t easy, nor can it be accomplished overnight. Fortunately, it is a goal that is also shared by many other companies and communities, and this S Group project to utilise solar energy in their commercial buildings is a prime example of that,” says Tatu Kulla, Head of Business Development, Fortum. Visit:

Dubai breaks ground on world’s biggest CSP project


is Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, has broken ground in the fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the biggest Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) investment project in the world. Based on the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model, the site will have the world’s tallest solar tower at 260 metres, as well as the largest thermal energy storage capacity on the planet. The AED14.2bn project will generate 700MW annually, providing clean energy to 270,000 homes, while also reducing 1.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year. The project will use two technologies, a 600MW parabolic basin complex and a 100MW solar tower, and covers 43 square kilometres. The plant also provides the world’s lowest Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) of $7.3 cents per kW/h. Visit:

Total to acquire Direct Energie to accelerate its ambition in gas and electricity in France and Belgium


otal has entered into an agreement with the controlling shareholders of Direct Energie for the proposed acquisition of 74.33% of its share capital. “Through this transaction, Total is actively pursuing its development in

electricity and gas generation and distribution in France and Belgium. This friendly takeover is part of the group’s strategy to expand along the entire gas-electricity value chain and to develop low-carbon energies, in line with our ambition to become the responsible energy major,” said Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of Total.

In the field of natural gas and electricity distribution to both consumers and professionals, Total is firmly establishing itself as a leading alternative supplier. This combination will enable Total to pursue its ambitious development programme to become a standard-setting player in electricity supply in France and Belgium. Visit: Industry Europe 9

Adapting to CHANGE The European chemicals sector has been seeing its strongest growth for several years – but will it last? Sean Milmo reports on how the sector is responding to the demands of a changing market.


he European chemical industry has been growing at its fastest rate for years in the wake of a global economic recovery which has boosted demand for chemicals across the world. But the revival in the sector, which has been experiencing sluggish growth in recent years, has still not been strong enough to bring it back to the production levels before the 2008 financial crisis. Nor is it likely to last long. In fact, the output growth of last year is expected to slow to 2 per cent this year compared to 3 per cent in 2017, according to forecasts by the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), the Brussels-based main European chemicals trade association. This has been partly a reflection of a slowdown in the growth of the overall European economy. With a wide range of customer sectors ranging from construction, automotive and aerospace to agriculture and healthcare products, the European chemicals industry is vulnerable to changes in GDP growth rates. Growth in the euro area, comprising most of western Europe, is forecast to slow from a 2.4 per cent rate in 2017 to 2.1 per cent in 2018 and 1.9 per cent next year, according 10 Industry Europe

to figures earlier this year from the Parisbased think-tank Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Germany is predicted to grow 2.3 per cent in 2018, and 1.9 per cent in 2019, after a rise of 2.5 per cent in 2017. A downturn in growth is also expected in both France and Italy, while in the UK a growth decline is predicted to continue through 2018, says the OECD.

Long-term prospects However growth in the European chemical industry is also being hampered by long-term underlying factors. These have been making parts of the sector – particularly in commodity products – globally uncompetitive since the turn of the century. They include high energy, raw material and capital investment costs compared with competitors in North America, the Middle East and parts of Asia. As a result, in some key segments of the European chemicals market a rising proportion of sales are taken by lower-cost imports. In some product categories the majority of chemicals are supplied by Asian producers. Europe’s share of the total global production of chemicals has been rapidly shrinking from around a third in the mid-1990s to 15 per cent in 2016.

This decrease will almost certainly continue in the next decade as world chemicals output expands while that of Europe continues to stagnate. In the period 2006–2016 average chemicals production growth in the European Union was minus 0.04 per cent while that of China was 12 per cent, according to Cefic figures. On the other hand the industry has been gradually building a platform for long-term international competitiveness derived from high value and margin speciality chemicals, which have a relatively big R&D input. It is already a world leader in the development of technologies and processes for a low-carbon economy in which chemicals will no longer be predominantly sourced from fossil fuels as they have been since the 19th century.

The need to restructure Currently the industry is going through a transition period which is bringing tough challenges, presenting companies with the need to radically reorganise their businesses. Petrochemicals is currently the part of the industry threatened with major restructuring. Its output provides the building blocks and derivatives for the majority of the tens of thousands of chemicals on the European

market, giving it a vital role not only in the chemicals industry itself but the European economy as well. It is being starved of investment mainly because it relies on oil refineries for its feedstocks. But these are by- or co-products to refineries’ main output of vehicle fuels – predominantly petrol and diesel – demand for which has been declining in Europe because of factors like greater fuel efficiencies, worries about urban air pollution and accelerated sales of electric powered transport. Analysts reckon that demand for automobile fossil fuels has already peaked in Europe – ahead of other regions in the world. The only sources of demand growth in fuels will be those for heavy-duty trucks and passenger aircraft. Refinery capacity in Europe has already been steadily declining – by as much as two-thirds over the last 30 years. In 2005– 2015, France’s refining capacity was cut by a third, the UK’s and Italy’s by a quarter each and Germany by around 15 per cent. These reductions have resulted in cuts in availability of petrochemical feedstocks so that petrochemical facilities have themselves had to be closed. The survivors have tended to be refineries closely integrated with petrochemical plants. The owners of these complexes, many of them international oil companies, have been adopting strategies restricting investment to repair and maintenance and small capacity additions. Since demand for petrochemicals not only in Europe but across the world is far outstripping that for vehicle fuels, European oil producers

like Shell, BP and Total have been reversing previous policies of reducing their involvement in chemicals by increasing their chemicals investment. But the vast majority of these new funds are going into projects outside Europe. Shell, for example, is investing in schemes in the US to exploit the low-cost feedstocks from shale. The company is constructing a $6 billion ethylene cracker near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, whose feedstocks will come from shale ethane from the large Marcellus and Utica formations. Total signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco in April (2018) for a jointly owned petrochemicals complex in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, with a 1.5 million tonnes-per-year capacity for ethylene and its derivatives. The output would be mainly destined for high-growth Asian markets. One company adopting a different strategy has been the UK-owned INEOS, which is mainly a petrochemicals player but has recently been expanding upstream into oil and gas. It has been giving its European petrochemicals operations access to cheaper feedstocks by investing considerable sums in logistics infrastructures for transporting and receiving US shale ethane at its sites in the UK and on mainland Europe. At its refinery and petrochemicals complex in Grangemouth, Scotland, which had been operating at below capacity because of declining feedstock supplies from the depleted North Sea gas fields, the site’s future has been transformed by shipments of US shale ethane across the Atlantic.

Move to renewables Nonetheless, while overall investment in petrochemicals has become less of a priority in the chemicals sector it is putting money into preparations for a future which will be much more reliant on renewables and other lowcarbon sources of raw materials. One feature of this new era will be a circular economy in which as many materials and chemicals as possible are recycled for reuse. To ease the introduction of the circular economy, the EU has already been amending existing legislation on recycling of waste while having new regulations in the pipeline. Earlier this year a consortium of chemical companies was formed to set up a wasteto-chemistry facility at the Port of Rotterdam, the first of its kind in Europe. Many other projects looking to a lowcarbon future are being planned in chemicals clusters like Rotterdam, Antwerp and Teesside in England, which traditionally have been integrated centres of fuels and petrochemicals production. It is apt that they should be providing the platform for the emergence of a n new type of chemicals industry.

Industry Europe 11


New developments in the Chemicals industry

Airedale Chemical sets K+S investing in salt brine field in the Netherlands minerals company K+S Aktiengesellsthe European chemical industry and producing a its sights on Europe Independent chaft is to develop a new off-shore brine field by comprehensive range of high purity salt special-


-based specialist chemical manufacturer, Airedale Chemical, is employing an ambitious strategy to explore sales potential in European markets with an initial focus on Germany and France. It will implement its new European-focused strategy with the help of European-based chemical specialists to introduce Airedale Chemical to key industry leaders within strategically targeted countries. Daniel Marr, head of marketing at Airedale Chemical, explains: “We have been consolidating our position as one of the UK’s leading speciality chemical companies over the last decade and we’re now perfectly placed to conquer Europe with our history, expertise and strong values. It is an incredibly exciting time. One of the company’s primary objectives will be to grow Airedale Chemical’s BPR (Biocidal Products Registration) approved peracetic acid, often used as a disinfectant in the food and beverage, agricultural and industrial cleaning sectors, to European countries including Germany, France and Slovenia. Daniel added: “The uncertainty surrounding Brexit at the moment presents challenging conditions but with the insight, experience and knowledge the team brings we feel well-placed to make great strides into Europe over the next 12 months.” Visit:

BASF launches stir-in pigment for automotive coatings


ASF has launched a pioneering stir-in pigment for automotive coatings, that provides enhanced colour depth, flop, and sparkle. eXpand!™ Red (EH 3427), marketed under the Colors & Effects brand, is the first pigment to result from the strategic partnership between BASF and Landa Labs.

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drilling a new cavern at its Dutch production plant, Frisia Zout BV in Harlingen, further implementing the group’s Shaping 2030 strategy. Frisia Zout is the largest vacuum salt plant in the K+S Group, serving electrolysis plants of

ties for a variety of industrial applications. All brine for the vacuum salt production stems from solution mining and comes from salt caverns at a depth of about 3000m. Based on a new mining permit from the relevant mining authorities in the Netherlands, K+S is developing a new off-shore brine field deep below the Wadden Sea close to the plant. The new brine field will be located near the port entrance of Harlingen, the so-called Havenmond area, and will be developed by directional drillings from shore in 2019. It will be fully operational by the end of 2020 and allow for a production increase of about 25%, bringing the production to a level of about 1.2 million tonnes per year. Visit:

Clariant introduces new range of label-free emulsifiers


lariant is launching two new emulsifiers suitable for replacing traditional alcohol ethoxylate emulsifiers in metal working fluid formulations. The new products Emulsogen® MTP 020 and Emulsogen MTP 030 join Clariant’s well-known Emulsogen MTP 070 to create an innovative new range of hazard label-free low foaming emulsifiers for the industry. The new Emulsogen MTP 020/030/070 range combines an outstanding sustainability profile with performance-boosting properties that sets it apart from existing nonionic emulsifier options for cutting fluids. Extensive laboratory tests confirm that Emulsogen MTP 020/030 and 070 outperform traditional emulsifiers. Emulsogen MTP 020/030 and 070 are multifunctional additives offering excellent emulsification power, low foaming properties, lime soap dispersing power and lubrication. Each product has its unique performance profile, enabling the cutting fluid formulators to select the right product

for each individual performance requirement. The products perform well even with increasing fluid application pressures. Ralf Zerrer, Head of Strategic Marketing and Innovation at Clariant BU Industrial & Consumer Specialties, said: “With our two new low foaming emulsifiers Clariant now offers the metal working industry a unique range of highly-sustainable low foaming non-ionic emulsifiers for boosting the performance of cutting fluids, even under tough operating conditions.” Visit:

“By bringing this technology to our customers, we continue to demonstrate our commitment to offering a revolutionary generation of Colors & Effects pigments that meet the requirements of the automotive coatings industry,” said Paul Verhoeven, eXpand!™ business leader at BASF. The blue-shade red pigment features both high transparency and high tinting strength for

more intensive shades with lower scattering. Compatible with modern automotive coating systems, eXpand!™ Red is the first of its kind suitable for outdoor applications. The small particle sized stir-in pigment is easily dispersible and cuts the time involved in the production process as opposed to conventional milling methods; this lowers costs significantly. Visit:


Total and Saudi Aramco to build giant petrochemical complex


otal and Saudi Aramco – a leading integrated energy and chemicals company – have signed a memorandum of understanding to build a giant petrochemical complex in Jubail, Saudi Arabia. The project represents an investment of around $5 billion. The complex will be integrated downstream of the SATORP refinery, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco (62.5%) and Total (37.5%) in Jubail, in order to exploit their operational synergies. The complex of the new refinery will comprise a mixed-feed steam cracker (50% ethane and refinery off-gas) with a capacity of 1.5 million tonnes per year of ethylene and related high-added-value petrochemical units. In addition, the cracker will feed other petrochemical and speciality chemical plants, amounting to a $4 billion investment by third party investors. Around 8000 local jobs are expected to be created by the project, which will produce more than 2.7 million metric tonnes of high value chemicals. Visit:

Advanced thermoplastic materials from SABIC


the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, SABIC highlighted a number of innovative applications jointly developed with our customers, enabled by its unique product offering of high-performance thermoplastic solutions. The thermoplastic offerings – comprising resin, sheet, film, filament and foam compositions – are compatible with a range of processing techniques such as injection molding, thermoforming, additive manufacturing and composite manufacturing. Among other things, SABIC highlighted its competency in hybrid composite manufacturing through the presentation of the latest seat backs and arm rests produced using this method. This automated manufacturing approach combines the processes of laminate forming and over-moulding with thermo-composite material, saving significant production time in forming, assembling and bonding of laminates and thermo-composite plastics. The innovative process also enables considerable

weight reduction by enabling replacement of metals with composite materials. SABIC’s LEXAN™ LIGHT F6L300 sheet is the lightest thermoplastic sheet available. With a pioneering closed cell structure, it can be thermoformed into complex 3D parts with very thin walls – down to 0.6 mm. Applications include seating parts, cockpit dashboard enclosures, cabin partitions, luggage compartments and passenger service units. Visit:

WACKER opens production site for silicones in South Korea

in the region. Some €15 million has been invested in the new production site. Asia is already one of the group’s most important sales regions. “We generate around 40% of our sales in Asia. Our operations in South Korea play a key role here,” said executive board member Christian Hartel. The centrepiece of the new site is a 13,000m2 production building. Silicone


acker Chemie AG has opened a new production site for silicone elastomers in South Korea. The plant is located around 100km south-east of Seoul at Jincheon. In moving to the new site, WACKER is significantly expanding its production and therefore its position as a leading silicone manufacturer

Carbon fibre bogie frame wins JEC 2018 Composites Awards


optimised lightweight carbon fibre bogie frame project has been named winner of the rail category in JEC 2018 Composites Awards in Paris. Rail vehicle bogies made from recycled carbon fibre could lead to major savings for operators, with a 50% reduction in weight meaning a huge reduction in track wear and energy and maintenance costs. Now, a research team at the University of Huddersfield will carry out exhaustive tests to ensure that the concept can fulfil its potential. The University is home to the Institute of Railway Research (IRR). It has joined a consortium that includes ELG Carbon Fibre Ltd and Alstom Transport and the Sensors and Composites Group, University of Birmingham. The consortium chose Magma Structures as their preferred manufacturer. Magma has produced carbon composite masts for some of the world’s largest superyachts and specialised carbon pipes for the highly-regulated offshore industry. The University of Huddersfield’s IRR helped with the concept specification and it will be constructed by Magma using recycled carbon fibres from ELG. It will then be tested by the IRR in the first half of 2019. Visit: sealants for the construction industry and speciality silicone elastomers for electronic applications will be manufactured in separate facilities. The production lines have been equipped with cutting-edge manufacturing technology that enables fully automatic and therefore highly efficient production processes. Visit: Industry Europe 13

Robotic technology has the potential to transform the agriculture industry, helping it to face the challenges of a rapidly rising global population and increased urbanisation. Dr Khasha Ghaffarzadeh, Research Director at IDTechEx, explains how.

Robots and drones: addressing

agricultural challenges A

griculture is facing major long-term challenges. Some forecasts suggest that the world population is set to grow by 2.3 billion by 2050. This, together with rising global income levels that typically increase food demand per capital, would require raising food production in 2050 by 70 per cent compared to 2005 levels. 

 In parallel, the world continues to urbanise at pace. Indeed, forecasts suggest that 70 per cent of the world population will live in an urban environment by 2050 compared with nearly 50 per cent in 2009. This will adversely impact the availability of labour near agricultural lands. Furthermore, many agricultural activities demand seasonal labour. In many instances accommodating this need would require continued flexibility towards migrant workers, an objective that may become more difficult in places in the light of events such as Brexit. It is within this context that the 14 Industry Europe

automation of agricultural tasks finds its economic purpose. 

 In parallel to all these structural challenges, our current production processes can often have long-term unintended environmental and health consequences. In particular, the use of non-selective herbicides continues to be a source of concern in Europe. The advent of agricultural robots can accelerate the uptake of ultra-precision agriculture, helping to enable farm management on a site-specific, and then later individual planetspecific, basis. This would result in an optimal use of agrochemicals tailored to the needs of individual sites or plants. 

 IDTechEx Research has been analysing the technologies and markets for agricultural robots and drones. In this article, I have chosen to primarily focus on two development axes within the world of robotics that are impacting agriculture: (1) advanced vision and (2) autonomous mobility.

Many ideas discussed here are decades old, but they are only becoming commercially viable now, thanks to dramatic year-on-year improvements in the performance and price of computing power, sensing technologies, energy storage, electric motors, and so on.

Advanced vision to enable ultra-precision agriculture? 

 Vision technology is already in use in agriculture. A simple use case is in organic farming, in which a tractor-pulled implement must be precisely driven along narrow rows to mechanically hoe out weeds. Here, basic vision technology can help: a camera mounted on the implement traces the crop row, identifying objects outside the row. It then controls a side shifting mechanism to adjust the position of the mechanical hoe. The latest generations of this technology are essentially multiple ruggedised computers and camera systems integrated into the

tractor-pulled implement. These systems take images as they are pulled along the field and identify weeds vs. crops. The vision technology here is much more powerful than the simple row-following approach. Here, deep learning algorithms are trained to identify crop vs. weed and to later differentiate between various weed types. This is no easy feat and cannot be achieved using a traditional script-based approach towards programming. Simply put, this is because one is dealing with complex and variable entities that change their shape and appearance during their growth. The technology here has already been demonstrated and indeed commercial activity is accelerating. For example, last year we witnessed the first major start-up acquisition with a price tag exceeding three hundred million dollars. These are still early stages: the hardware is custom-built by start-ups without the know-how, and companies are offering their robots as a service to reduce the risk of adoption for end users. It does, however, clearly demonstrate the shape of the near future: ultra-precision agriculture enabled by advanced computer vision.

A new breed of agricultural vehicles? Agriculture is the leading adopter of autonomous driving technology despite all the hype around driverless cars. First came tractor guidance, next came autosteer, giving the operator the ability to programme a map into the tractor and let it navigate autonomously. Indeed, last year we forecast that more than 270,000 autonomous tractors will be sold in 2018, rising to more than 500,000 by 2023.

 Technology is now evolving towards full autonomy. Master-and-slave (or follow-me) systems are being trialled, enabling one driver to guide a fleet, thus boosting productivity. Next will come manned yet fully autonomous tractors (level 5). Here, the vehicle’s sensing

suite must be expanded to enable it to avoid collision and operate even when the GPS signal is lost.

 The next stage will potentially be unmanned autonomous tractors. Currently, however, the farmers want to stay in charge, and thus the cab is likely to be kept in the design. In the long term, however, the meaning of ‘staying in charge’ will change, transitioning from driving the vehicle to, for example, remote fleet operation/management.
 Taking the driver out of the equation can have profound consequences for the way we envisage agricultural machinery. The wellestablished notion that bigger is better has its origins in the need to enhance the productivity of the driver, but this notion loses some of its relevance if farm vehicles become autonomous and unmanned. 

 In this case, a few individuals would remotely monitor and control the operation of a large fleet. Here, the productivity of individual units may be lower than traditional powerful vehicles such as tractors, but the overall productivity – at the level of the fleet – could be higher. 

 Navigational autonomy can, therefore, initiate a major transition from a few large, heavy, fast and expensive vehicles towards fleets of small, light and inexpensive agricultural robots. These agrobots would move slowly, giving extra attention to plants and thus essentially bringing an ultra-precision farming approach to industrial farming.

tion. In Europe today, the research activity is taking place in small islands and often on a small scale with little funding. I would suggest the European Union should thus increase its research commitment to create integrated large-scale and well-funded research programmes. 

 Furthermore, these changes may shift the skills needed for operating a farm. In general, data, analytics and robotics will increasingly take on a more prominent role. The European Union should find ways to equip farmers with the right skillsets to best utilise these new technologies.

 Finally, these technologies may grow to become a commercially viable alternative to some current farming practices that create environmental concerns. The increasing availability of a viable substitute will thus make it easier to tighten regulations and even ban certain chemicals. This action will create a virtuous cycle that will further spur on innovation by providing a major additional n commercial incentive. Article originally published in Government Europa Quarterly For more information on this topic, read the IDTechEx report: Agricultural Robots and Drones 2018-2038: Technologies, Markets and Players


 These are major long-term evolutionary changes. They will help address some of the long-term structural challenges facing agriculture: increasing demand for food production, a dwindling and ageing workforce, rising wages, environmental concerns, and so on.

 These changes represent enormous opportunities for innovation and value creaIndustry Europe 15


New developments in the Agriculture industry

ABB pumping technology helps rescue parched farms in India


BB has deployed five of its highest-capacity motors – each capable of pumping 23,000 litres per second – as part of the Mahatma Gandhi Kalwakurthy Lift Irrigation Scheme. Years of severe drought have created a water crisis in the Mahbubnagar region in Telangana, a state in southern India where half the population of 35 million depends on agriculture to earn a living. The water table had virtually depleted and the

monsoon rains now only last three to four months a year. The only option for providing adequate water for farming and drinking is to pump it from the Krishna River to a reservoir nearly 300 metres above. From there, through a gravity-driven ‘lift irrigation’ system, the water can be channelled through nearly 100 kilometres of canals to the parched farms and more than 300 villages that were at risk of turning to desert. That 12-year-long project, the Mahatma Gandhi Kalwakurthy Lift Irrigation Scheme (MGKLIS), was recently completed. This was made possible only through considerable feats of civil engineering: industrial-strength water pumping technology and electric-power management systems that ABB, with decades of irrigation experience in India, provided. Visit:

Key Technology expands capacity in the Netherlands K

ey Technology, a member of the Duravant family of operating companies and a leading producer of potato processing equipment, has completed its facility expansion in Beusichem, the Netherlands. The upgrade increases Key’s production capacity at this location by 50% and features larger cranes with greater lifting capabilities, a thoroughly refurbished working environment, enhanced customer visitor experience and more. Together with its state-of-the-art Innovation and Solutions Centre in Hasselt, Belgium, the Netherlands facility speeds delivery of Key’s optical sorters and vibratory conveying solutions to food processors in Europe, the Middle East, India, Africa (EMEIA) and elsewhere.

Apollo Vredestein makes new appointment


uropean premium tyre brand Apollo Vredestein’s UK office has just appointed Jon Cottrell as the Off-Highway Tyre Specialist for the UK Agricultural & Industrial sectors, to manage that everincreasing side of the Netherlands-based marque’s product range.

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Jack Ehren, President and CEO of Key Technology: “Our ongoing investments in Europe reflect our commitment to delivering the greatest value to food processors throughout the region. By manufacturing our VERYX® sorters and Iso-Flo® conveyors in Europe as well as the US, we serve our customers more quickly and effectively.” Visit:

Jon Cottrell brings with him over 30 years of tyre industry experience, from warehouse to sales management positions. “My career has mainly focused on commercial, agricultural and industrial/off-road sectors working with both manufacturers and retailers,” explains Jon. “Apollo Vredestein has a solid background in commercial and agricultural tyres, with the

Deere to acquire Spanish company King Agro


eere & Company has signed a definitive agreement to acquire King Agro, a privately-held manufacturer of carbon fibre technology products with headquarters in Valencia, Spain and a production facility in Campana, Argentina. “This transaction provides John Deere customers the chance to benefit further from King Agro’s unique knowledge, designs, and expertise in carbon fibre technology,” said John May, President, Agricultural Solutions & Chief Information Officer, at John Deere. In 2015, John Deere and King Agro agreed to develop and distribute carbon fibre booms for John Deere application equipment in agriculture, offering growers the significant advantages of carbon fibre’s versatility, strength and durability in self-propelled spraying equipment. May said the transaction will provide benefits in sharing best practices in product development, manufacturing, technology, as well as in scale as King Agro builds on a history of innovation. King Agro has been a family-owned business with approximately 180 employees and an extensive 30-year history of developing various carbon fibre products. In agriculture, the company has targeted innovative designs that improve productivity and lower costs. Visit: top tractor segment tyre Traxion Optimall having been added to the latter’s range only three months ago,” says Karl Naylor, Apollo Vredestein UK Country Manager. “We have ambitious development plans to ensure market growth in those sectors, and Jon’s appointment is part of such plans to bring the very best to customers under the Apollo and Vredestein brands.” Visit:


CFT Group launches new Milk & Dairy division Oerlikon Graziano


Anuga 2018, CFT Group introduced its new Milk & Dairy Division and highlighted its years of experience in producing sterilisers specifically engineered for the milk industry, as well as evaporators, batch systems, end of line machines and more besides. To complete this wide offer, some of CFT Group’s solutions are also developed in collaboration with high-profile partners, enabling it to meet all market demands. Thanks to its long-term experience the group is able to serve all the sub-sectors of the dairy industry, from drinkable milk up to cheese production, from whey/whey powder, milk proteins up to formulated products and other dairy by-products. The visitors also had the opportunity to discover one of CFT Group’s premium sterilisers, the OMHIC machine, LEVATI’s highly compact and versatile PRIMA BATCH RETORT 800x800, and last but not least, the aseptic filler MACROPAK AF/2. Visit:

Harvesting robot to aid Europe’s struggling farming market


more and more agricultural settings, automation systems are superseding strenuous manual labour. As part of the EU’s CATCH project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology IPK is developing and testing a dual-arm robot for the automated harvesting of cucumbers. This lightweight solution has the potential to keep crop cultivation commercially viable in Germany. Experts from Fraunhofer are studying the potential for automating cucumber harvests in the scope of the EU project CATCH, which stands for ‘Cucumber Gathering – Green Field Experiments’. Project partners are the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy in Germany and the CSIC-UPM Centre for Automation and Robotics (CAR) in Spain. CATCH researchers want to develop and test a dual-arm robot system consisting of inexpensive

lightweight modules. Even in adverse weather, the robot picker would need to be capable of first identifying ripe cucumbers and then using its two gripper arms to gently pick and store them. To this end, cutting-edge control methods equip the robot with tactile perception and enable it to adapt to ambient conditions. These methods also make it possible for the dual-arm robot system to imitate human movements. Visit:

Bayer-Monsanto merger receives US approval

The merger was initially proposed by Bayer back in 2016, but the regulatory issues have been complex. Both companies have been required to sell off parts of their businesses to avoid the creation of a monopoly, but it now seems likely the much-discussed merger will be going ahead. This news comes as agricultural commodity prices appear to be on the rise


he ongoing negotiations for the merger between Bayer AG and Monsanto have received a boost as the US Department of Justice appears to have approved the alliance. There had been some concern in both Europe and the US as to whether a newly formed agricultural giant could create a monopoly.

solutions for Turkish Agricultural market


erlikon Graziano, worldwide leader in the field of precision gearing and transmission solutions and part of Oerlikon Drive Systems Segment, has presented its latest technologies during a roadshow at different customers’ locations. The company exhibited its latest advances in Shifting Solutions by focusing intensely on customised transmission solutions for loyal and new clients. The company showcased synchronisers, clutch packs, gear shafts and bevel sets that helped it to deliver increased efficiency, improve vehicle performance and reduce costs. It is the market leader in tractor synchronisation and its solutions help farmers, particularly in emerging countries, become more efficient, focusing more intensely on customised transmission solutions. The new synchronisers save fuel by optimising the shift to minimise torque interruption and by reducing steady-state drag torque in the transmission, to increase performance, efficiency, and reduce operative costs. To provide a complete design and manufacturing service, Oerlikon Graziano uses state-of-theart analytical tools and extensive test facilities. To maintain maximum control of quality standards, the company is extensively vertically integrated, including process steps such as metal-forming and heat treatment. Visit:

again after a half-decade of prices drops owing to weather conditions that created an abundance of crops. But with the ongoing growth of the global population – which has increased from 6 billion to 7.467 billion since 2000 – this situation could not be expected to continue. Visit:

Industry Europe 17


New contracts and orders in industry

Climeon wins first geothermal power order in Canada C limeon has won the world’s first order for a geothermal power plant in Canada from Borealis GeoPower. The order relates to a demonstration project named Sustainaville, in Valemount, British Columbia. It includes delivery of three 150 kW Climeon modules and is valued at approximately €1 million. The municipality of Valemount is situated near the end of a transmission line. The distributed power production from the Climeon Heat Power solution will contribute to Valemount’s economic development by providing additional energy to

the area. Borealis GeoPower has conducted extensive field work and is confident that the Climeon Heat Power system can operate at optimal levels even when there are large variations in flow and temperature. Drilling of the wells will start in the Spring of 2018 and the delivery of the Climeon Heat Power modules is planned for the end of 2018. The demonstration project makes Borealis GeoPower a leader in the Canadian geothermal sphere. Longer term, the company aims to make remote communities less dependent on

fossil fuels by heating and fully powering them with clean energy from geothermal resources. Visit:

Skanska lands Norway’s largest road contract


he Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) has selected Skanska as preferred bidder for the first PPP-project in Norway in more than 10 years. It is also the largest road contract ever awarded in Norway. The project involves constructing a new national road between Løten and Elverum in the county of Hedmark. The PPP-contract will be worth about NOK 5.5 billion (about SEK 5.5 billion), which includes construction, financing and operation/maintenance for 20 years. No order bookings or investments will be accounted for until financial close, which is expected to be in the second quarter of 2018. Skanska Norway will manage the construction and Skanska Infrastructure Development will manage the PPPproject and the investment Visit:

Alfen supplying integrated energy storage solution to ElaadNL A

lfen, a specialist in energy solutions for the future, has been selected by knowledge and innovation centre ElaadNL to supply an integrated energy storage solution for its electric vehicle (EV) charging test site in Arnhem, the Netherlands. This project complements Alfen’s previous assignments for ElaadNL consisting of Alfen’s EV charging equipment, load balancing charging plaza and substation for the connection to the grid. Together with the new storage facility, this integrated system provides ElaadNL with full testing capabilities around smart EV charging.

Nidec to supply shore-to-ship power to Genoa port


idec ASI, leader of the Industrial Solutions sector of the Nidec Group, has signed a contract worth €8 million with the Port System Authority of the Western Ligurian Sea to design and construct a ‘shoreto-ship’ project for the port of Genoa. This is an advanced electrical supply system

18 Industry Europe

ElaadNL recently created a test site at its headquarters in Arnhem, consisting of all types of AC charging stations from multiple suppliers that are present in the Netherlands public domain. At this test site, EV manufacturers, grid operators and ElaadNL can test the functionality of EVs in combination with various charging stations, including power quality effects and smart charging options. The site was officially opened by Stientje van Veldhoven, State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management, on 18 April 2018. Visit: that will enable docked vessels to plug in to the national grid from the dock, thereby accessing all the energy they need to be fully operative without having to switch on their on-board engines. The project responds to the need to comply with the directives of the European Union which, since 2003, has been urging ports to adopt shore-to-ship systems in order to

reduce the polluting emissions of vessels in port. By 2025 this recommendation will become binding for all European ports. Thanks to the system devised by Nidec ASI, emissions of SOx, NOx, CO2 and PM will be considerably reduced. Moreover, by plugging ships into the national grid, noise pollution will also be greatly reduced. Visit:

WINNINGBUSINESS British Steel secures major German rail contract

LVD announces major order for new synchro-form press brake L VD has been awarded an order from Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), via its sales agent ITOCHU MACHINE-TECHNOS CORPORATION, for its unique Synchro-Form adaptive bending technology for large-profile bending. SynchroForm was named the most innovative new metal forming product at EuroBLECH, the world’s largest sheet metalworking technology exhibition.


ritish Steel has secured a major German rail contract after enhancing its manufacturing capabilities with a seven-figure investment. The deal will see the company deliver around 20,000 tonnes of 120m rail a year to Deutsche Bahn, Europe’s largest purchaser of rail. Peter Smith, British Steel managing director Rail, said: “Supplying a new product to a major railway company like Deutsche Bahn is a significant achievement and demonstrates our commitment to product and service innovation. It also shows how increasing our product range can help us enter new markets, and how we can work in partnership with customers to become the strategic supply chain partner of choice. “Deutsche Bahn is by far the biggest purchaser of rail in Europe. Having a stake in the German market is strategically important to us and we hope to build a strong and lasting relationship with them. The investment allows us to remain at the forefront of rail production and act as a catalyst for further long-length rail exports into Europe.” British Steel supplies rail across the globe from its rolling mills in Scunthorpe and Hayange. It’s also established a successful rail logistics hub in Lecco, northern Italy. Visit:

Halton supplies solutions for TANAP gas pipeline project


alton will supply gas-tight fire dampers and gas-tight shut-off dampers for the compressor and measuring stations of the 1850km-long Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline being built across Turkey. Slightly under a half of the dampers were delivered by the end of November 2017 and the rest

The order is for a custom-built, 1000-tonne class of Synchro-Form press brake equipped with special tooling to produce large panels for the fuselages of commercial aircraft. Forming such XXL parts to a desired contour is a challenging task and one that will be significantly simplified with Synchro-Form, which maintains angular consistency and the required geometric profile and enables an in-process automatic quality control when handling, positioning and bending large parts with multiple bends. LVD’s Synchro-Form press brake meets the tight tolerance requirements demanded by KHI. The order was awarded to LVD after several bending trials and strict accuracy measurements were satisfied. The Synchro-Form press brake will be manufactured at LVD’s world-class production facility at its headquarters in Belgium. Visit:

Dana contributes to innovative submarine rescue system


hrough the Brevini brand, Dana’s UK marine engineering team have worked closely with Caley Ocean Systems on a range of marine and subsea contracts for many years. This latest project sees Dana specifying and supplying gearboxes and slew bearings as part of an innovative Submarine Rescue System, the first of which is for the Indian Navy. Certified to operate in Sea State 6 – some of the harshest sea conditions – this new 3rd Generation Submarine Rescue System from JFD includes a Launch and Recovery System (LARS) from Caley Ocean Systems, as part of a system designed for the fast rescue of submariners in distress, and is capable of being mobilised in less than 24 hours. Given the environment and the circumstances in which the rescue system will be deployed, reli-

will be delivered during 2018. The delivery is the largest ever for Halton’s Marine business to the area of Turkey and the Caspian Sea. The TANAP shipment includes 2000 fire and shut-off dampers, which have been designed and manufactured in accordance with the special requirements of the site. The products are also ATEX-certified. The ATEX designation relates to legislation and stand-

ability and capability were significant factors in Caley choosing Dana to work with them on this system, continuing their longstanding relationship with Brevini in the UK. Visit:

ardisation which concerns devices meant for explosive areas, amongst other things. “Getting the order took over a year of hard work from our sales and project teams and we’re really excited about this significant opening of a door into the market area in question,” says Sami Piirainen, the director of Halton’s business division. Visit: Industry Europe 19


Combining strengths

Fagerhult purchases Veko Lightsystems International


Atlas Copco acquires Walker Filtration A

tlas Copco, a leading provider of sustainable productivity solutions, has acquired Walker Filtration Ltd. The company is a British manufacturer of equipment for the treatment of compressed air, gas and vacuum. The family-owned Walker Filtration is based in the north-east of England. The company manufactures high-efficiency equipment for the treatment of compressed air, gas and vacuums. It has around 220 employees worldwide and revenues of approximately MGBP £30 million (SEK 330 million) in 2017. Walker Filtration has sales offices in Europe, USA, Australia and Japan. “Walker Filtration is a respected company with a strong brand name and product portfolio that will play an important role to increase our presence and competence in the business of equipment for the treatment of compressed air, gas and vacuum,” said Vagner Rego, Business Area President Compressor Technique. Visit:

Bystronic acquires tube machining equipment manufacturer


wiss sheet metal equipment manufacturer, Bystronic, which produces fibre laser cutting machines, automation solutions and press brakes for processing flat material, is to take over the Italian manufacturer of laser-based tube and profile cutting machines, TTM Laser SpA. Bystronic is thereby enhancing its existing range of technologies with the addition of 2D and 3D laser systems for cutting profiles and tubes

Alelion acquires technology for optimising energy storage


lelion Energy System has acquired the whole portfolio of Caterva GmbH, a German liquidation company specialising in advanced technology for optimising local energy storage. Caterva has developed a platform for plugging into and controlling local energy storage, which can be used to optimise the charging 20 Industry Europe

from 12 mm to 815 mm in diameter, as well as with equipment for welding large-format metal sheets. Active on the market since 2001, TTM Laser has modern production facilities and 40 employees, and achieved a turnover of approximately €14 million in 2017. Bystronic CEO Alex Waser emphasised, “With the fusion of Bystronic and TTM Laser, our customers are gaining access to a unique range of technologies and innovations for their sheet metal processing requirements from a single source. “TTM Laser’s know-how and technology portfolio ideally complement Bystronic’s existing products with world-class systems for tube and profile processing. The goals of the takeover are to jointly push forward innovative, versatile manufacturing solutions and to provide an enhanced range of services.” Visit: and use of, for example, lithium-ion batteries. Alelion will introduce the platform for customers in large-scale industrial applications. In the long term, the company’s CEO Daniel Troedsson expects the acquisition will increase its ability to enter new segments and create business opportunities. “Industrial trucks that are connected to the power grid are local energy stocks that

strategically strengthen and consolidate the Fagerhult Group’s position in the professional lighting market as well as adding a unique range of complementary products, Fagerhult has signed an agreement to acquire 100% of the shares of Veko Lightsystems International B.V., (Veko), a company based in Schagen, the Netherlands. Veko designs and manufactures linear LED lighting solutions, LED modules and luminaires with integrated or stand-alone lighting controls primarily for the light industrial segment. Typical application areas include warehouses and distribution centres. The company has successfully established a strong sales presence in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and the UK. “Veko has high efficacy linear LED lighting solutions with industry leading performance, as well as a design, manufacturing and installation process that makes the specification of a complex system as simple as possible. The company has delivered very strong financial performance in recent years built upon a strong client base in the Netherlands with success in regional export markets,” comments Johan Hjertonsson CEO Fagerhult Group. In the year ending December 2017, the company had 130 employees, sales of €37 million and a profitability rate significantly above that of the Fagerhult Group. Visit:

can be an important part of the creation of more sustainable energy systems,” says Daniel Troedsson. “When the trucks are not in use, its batteries can be used to balance supply and demand for energy in the grid, which in the long term can also create brand new business opportunities for both us and our customers.” Visit:


Chemogas Belgium takes over Stereo Group


elgium-based Chemogas has strengthened its portfolio by acquiring Stereo Group, a sterilisation gases distributor with significant market presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Dirk Battig, CEO of Chemogas, hails the investment as a strategic move that will solidify Chemogas’s position as the world’s leading sterilisation gases supplier to the medical indus-

try with a service and logistics network in over 70 countries. Citing Stereo’s strong foothold in the Southeast Asian countries of Hongkong, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore as well as Australia, he says, “The vertical integration of the Stereo Group is the logical next step to strengthen Chemogas’s focus on this important high-growth region.” Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Stereo operates EtO filling and blending installations and exports to the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia and New Zealand. Anticipating demand to rise in the light of strong market expansion over the last five years, Stereo is building an EtO filling and mixing plant in Manila to cater to the growing local medical devices market in the Philippines. Visit:

Subsea 7 to acquire Siem Offshore Contractors


ubsea 7 S.A. has signed an agreement to acquire Siem Offshore Contractors GmbH and two vessels. The acquisition will include the entire issued share capital of Siem Offshore Contractors, the inter-array cable lay vessel Siem Aimery and the support vessel Siem Moxie. The acquisition will further expand Subsea 7’s presence in the renewables segment. Siem Offshore Contractors is a well-known installer of subsea inter-array cables and provides repair and maintenance services to the global offshore renewable energy market. It employs approximately 100 people. The vessels Siem Aimery and Siem Moxie are owned by Siem Offshore Rederi AS. Siem Offshore Contractors GmbH and Siem Offshore Rederi AS are wholly owned subsidiaries of Siem Offshore Inc., which is a related party to Subsea 7. Jean Cahuzac, Subsea 7 CEO, said: “Siem Offshore Contractors is an experienced provider

of services to the offshore renewable energy, oil and gas, and utilities markets with capability that will complement Subsea 7’s existing offering. We believe that this acquisition opportunity will enhance the offshore renewables service we offer as a full lifecycle partner to our clients for their offshore energy developments.” Visit:

Wärtsilä accelerating its Smart Marine Ecosystem vision

It leverages the latest in machine learning and AI to create a unified cloud-based platform for managing operations across the entire marine ecosystem. This acquisition takes Wärtsilä a significant step closer to achieving its mission of enabling sustainable societies with smart technologies. It will also speed delivery on the company’s promise


ärtsilä is to acquire UK-based Transas. The move will speed Wärtsilä along its path towards its Smart Marine Ecosystem vision. Established in 1990, Transas is a global market leader in marine navigation solutions that include complete bridge systems, digital products and electronic charts.

UNITED CAPS expands its edible oil portfolio


NITED CAPS, an international manufacturer of caps and closures, has acquired the Spanish closure manufacturer Embalatap. The acquisition will extend the UNITED CAPS product portfolio, especially as it relates to closures for edible oils typically used in the southern European market. “We are pleased to be joining the UNITED CAPS family,” said Oscar Rojo, managing director of Embalatap. “As a market leader in caps and closures, UNITED CAPS brings us additional market reach, an expanded sales capability and a great support infrastructure, while our line of closures, especially for edible oils, extends UNITED CAPS’ portfolio in this lucrative market. We look forward to continued growth as part of UNITED CAPS.” Embalatap offers a complementary product line that will now be marketed under the UNITED CAPS brand, such as its mono piece and hinge models for PET 29/21 neck finish as well as regional specialities like the 32mm and 42mm closures for edible oils. “By incorporating Embalatap solutions into our portfolio, we give customers a one-stop shopping experience for a broader range of closure solutions,” stated Benoît Henckes, CEO of UNITED CAPS. Visit:

to disrupt the industry by establishing an ecosystem that is digitally connected across the entire supply chain, through applications that are secure, smart and cloud-based. The transaction is valued at €210 million (enterprise value) and is expected to be closed during the second quarter of 2018. Visit: Industry Europe 21



Relocations and expansions across Europe

Groupe GM announces Investment of €14.5M to extend multi-million Lyon Minakem’s production capacity in France plant extension M G inakem, the contract manufacturing division of Minafin, specialising in custom development and manufacturing of building blocks, intermediates and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) for the pharmaceutical industry, has initiated the extension of its manufacturing capacity at its Dunkirk site in France. The €14.5M ($18M) investment from parent company Minafin is the first of this magnitude. It will enable the company to set up a new production line, increasing production capacity by 28m3. In parallel, existing production assets are being upgraded in order to increase flexibility. This will free up an additional 26m3 production volume. In total, the production volume at the Dunkirk site will increase by 54m3 to a total capacity of 148m3. “We are pleased to announce the initial phase of an additional production line at our Dunkirk site. Thanks to this major investment by the Minafin Group, we are excited by the growth potential for Minakem,” said Thierry van Nieuwenhove, CEO of Minakem. “It fits into our ‘Jump 21’ strategy and follows Minafin’s objective to increase overall production capacity at Minakem’s sites. “ Visit:

WACKER opens a new plant for functional silicone fluids in India


acker Metroark Chemicals Pvt. Ltd. is expanding its existing silicone production at its Amtala site near Kolkata with a new hydrosilylation plant for manufacturing functional silicone fluids. The expansion is WACKER’s response to growing regional demand for speciality silicones for use in the textile, personal-care, rigid and flexible polyurethane foam and agrochemical sectors. The investment for the plant amounts to around €6 million.

“With this expansion of our production, we are broadening our product portfolio and can thereby open up new markets in the growth regions of India and Southeast Asia,” explained Christian Hartel, executive board member at Wacker Chemie AG with responsibility for Asia, at the opening ceremony. “This investment underscores the commitment of WACKER to the Indian market and shows that our company is continuously growing its technical expertise and capacities in Asia.” Hydrosilylation is a chemical process in which organofunctional groups, such as glycols, olefins or ketones, are ‘docked’ onto the periphery of silicones. This is done in order to modify the properties of the end product and render a silicone fluid, for example, hydrophobic (waterrepellent) or hydrophilic (water-attracting). Visit:

MTU Aero Engines Polska expands its high-tech facility in Poland

breaking for the construction planned in September 2018. The tremendous advancements in the field of additive manufacturing technologies and the steep increase in production rates within the whole MTU Group are behind this move. For instance, production volumes of components for the latest geared turbofan engines will increase significantly as well


TU Aero Engines, Germany’s leading engine manufacturer, is once again adding new production and assembly capacities at its facility in Rzeszów, Poland. Plans are for MTU Aero Engines’ Polska’s existing floor space to be enlarged by another 11,400 square metres, with ground

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roupe GM, the leading international player in the guest amenity industry, has announced a multi-million euro investment into the expansion of its Groupe GM Cosmétiques France (GGMCF) plant in Lyon. The factory produces high-quality amenity products for hotels in more than 70 countries and has been facing a considerable increase in orders since the last quarter of 2016. By summer 2018, the factory will grow from 4000m2 to 5200m2. To answer the growing demand for its amenity products, Groupe GM is planning to purchase 9 new machines in 2018, growing the plant’s production capabilities to 31 machines in total, with the possibility of adding 3 to 5 more machines in the future. Groupe GM has witnessed significant growth in units produced. In 2015, the Lyon plant manufactured 40 million tubes and bottles. Today, units produced has increased to 65 million units and in 2019, GGMCF will be able to produce up to 85 million of tubes and bottles. “The expansion of our Groupe GM Cosmétiques France factory in Lyon is an important investment for Groupe GM as it responds to the growing demand for our products”, said Laurent Marchand, President of Groupe GM. Visit:

as the activities for assembly and production of components and modules for latest widebody propulsion systems powering the 787 Dreamliner and the 777X. The MTU Group’s investment in the site so far amounts to €100 million, and it plans to invest an additional €80 million in the next 5 years (2018–2022). Visit:



Advances in technology across industry

Audi, Italdesign and Airbus combine self-driving car and passenger drone


udi, Italdesign and Airbus have developed ‘Pop. Up Next’, an entirely electric, fully automatic concept for horizontal and vertical mobility. In the distant future this vehicle could transport people in cities quickly and conveniently on the road and in the air, at the same time solving traffic problems. The dominant interior feature is a 49-inch screen, while interaction between humans and the machine is performed by speech and face recognition, eyetracking and a touch function. The ultra-light, two-seater passenger cabin can be attached either to a car module or to a flight module. Audi is supporting the project with know-how on battery technology and automation. “Creativity is needed where new mobility concepts for cities and people’s diverse needs are concerned. Italdesign is an incubator for innovative technologies and radical prototyping. Pop.Up Next is an ambitious vision that could permanently change our urban life in the future,” says Dr Bernd

Martens, Audi board member for Procurement and President of Italdesign. Italdesign develops futureoriented vehicle concepts for Audi and customers around the globe. Jörg Astalosch, CEO of Italdesign, says: “Various players will define the rules of urban mobility in the

future. We are proud to collaborate with Airbus to investigate solutions for future mobility.” Astalosch sees Pop.Up Next as a flexible on-demand concept that could open up mobility in the third dimension to people in cities. Visit:

New technology streamlines production of biogas and bioethanol


extile reactors, developed at the University of Borås, have new features that provide a more efficient production of fermented products such as biogas and bioethanol, and to a significant lower cost of the fermentation process. The PhD student Alex Osagie Osadolor has developed new systems for regulating the temperature in the reactor, flow of mass in and out of the reactor, and a system for mixing the content. The textile reactors used in industry today depend on inherent temperature conditions in the environment where the reactor is placed. Most often

they are placed outdoors. Cold climate, for example, is not optimal, as the microorganisms that thrive and work best in a warm space, can freeze and die. With the systems and calculations made by Alex Osagie Osadolor, the environment is significantly improved in the textile reactor. This makes the microorganisms thrive, they remain in the reactor, and the fermentation process will improve. In total, the project shows that it is possible to reduce the cost of the fermentation process by over 20 per cent. Visit:

A novel, water-stable metal-organic framework for selective CO2 adsorption


limate change is correlated with increasing CO2 emissions as a result of the combustion of fossil fuels in power stations, vehicles, factories and homes. One way to keep the atmospheric CO2 concentration within acceptable levels is by selectively removing it from power plant emissions. The physical adsorption of CO2 using porous materials provides an economically viable route for such CO2 capturing. At the Research Priority Area Sustainable Chemistry of the University of Amsterdam (UvA), Dr Stefania Grecea develops synthetic strategies for making porous materials that enable efficient adsorptive separations.

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are crystalline microporous materials that exist of metal ions (or clusters of metal ions) linked by organic ligands. MOFs are very promising materials for gas separation since their pore surfaces can be easily functionalised to tune the interaction with various gas molecules. The UvA team designed a series of MOFs using a flexible organic linker in combination with alkaline metal ions, which are abundantly available, lightweight and low-cost. They show that when the guest molecules are removed, the three-dimensional structure of these MOFs shrinks. According to Dr Grecea, the study opens

new avenues in developing low-cost and non-toxic materials, not only for CO2 capture but also for other gas separations. Visit:

Industry Europe 23



Germany Allan Hall reports from Berlin on the booming property market.


erlin – the cold war capital whose motto used to be ‘Poor but sexy’ – is destitute no more. It now has the fastest rising real estate prices in the world and is drawing in some of the biggest financial players to capitalise on that. Investor extraordinaire Warrent Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is entering into the Berlin market through a franchise agreement with with Rubina Real Estate, which centres its operations on highend Berlin apartments. Rubina Real Estate works with foreign investors to secure high price apartments in the Berlin market. The company buys properties in the most expensive parts of Mitte, Köpenick and Zehlendorf – all once downbeat districts that are now soaring. Until now, the clientele of the company has hailed mainly from China, India and the Middle East. Berkshire Hathaway, founded in 2013, has also mostly concentrated on the US market. Berkshire Hathaway, however, is already acquainted with the German market, having purchased a stake in German chemical company Lanxess AG last year, and in 2015 took over Hamburg motorcycle dealer Louise. Rubina is not the first Berlin-based buyer of high-end apartments for foreign investors. Ziegert, which also secures high-priced flats, began cooperating with international realtor Knight Frank a year ago. Four months earlier, JLL, the world’s second largest real estate service provider, acquired the Berlin-based Zabel Properties. Fuelling the drive for property is an influx of global talent in the worlds of media, startups, tech companies and even financial firms. According to a Global Residential Cities Index from British consulting firm Knight Frank, released in April, Berlin ranks first in front of cities like Hong Kong, Paris and London when it comes to rising real estate prices. 24 Industry Europe

On average, the growth rate in real estate prices internationally is at 4.5 per cent, down from the 7 per cent average recorded a year before. At the end of 2016, there were 12 cities, most of them in China, that registered in the report as having price growth above 20 per cent. A year later, only one city fell into this category: Berlin. The percentage jump in real estate pricing from 2016 to 2017 in Berlin was an astronomical 20.5 per cent, wrote Knight Frank, putting the German capital well ahead a total of 150 cities, including Hong Kong, Paris, Seoul and London. Three other German cities are in the top ten: Hamburg (+14.1 per cent), Munich (+13.8) and Frankfurt-am-Main (+13.4).

According to a Global Residential Cities Index from British consulting firm Knight Frank, released in April, Berlin ranks first in front of cities like Hong Kong, Paris and London when it comes to rising real estate prices. Not good for everyone The study cites strong population growth and a good employment situation as reasons for Berlin’s rise in the charts. But fiscal attractiveness and booming prices in bricks and mortar is unwelcome news for many in the city. According to a study published one day before the one charting the price rises, it was discovered that Berlin is the frontrunner among German cities with the largest shortage of affordable apartments. The study, conducted by the Hans Böckler Foundation, found that 1.9 million afford-

able flats nationwide are lacking, a large portion of which are single-person households and less than 45 square metres in size. A total of 310,000 of these missing flats are in Berlin, followed by Hamburg, which lacks 150,000 flats, Cologne with 86,000 and Munich with 78,000. The study analysed data from a total of 77 German cities. But even in large cities with relatively small ‘gaps in supply’ such as Wolfsburg, Koblenz or Ulm, the demand for affordable housing exceeds supply by several thousand flats. “We have now investigated how many affordable apartments are actually missing from the existing housing market,” said sociologist Andrej Holm, one of the researchers in the study. “The findings don’t necessarily mean that residents are being pushed out onto the street, but it can mean that they are paying rent which is too high.” Purchasing property is a relatively new experience for many Germans. Traditionally their homeland has been a country of renters: getting on the ‘property ladder’ is a byproduct of globalisation that is related to cheap money borrowing costs. Despite an increase in new housing being constructed, the sociologists warn that the gaps in supply will likely continue to grow. The prices for new rentals in almost all major cities are higher than the existing rents ‘and make no contribution to improving social housing in major cities’, they state, emphasising the need for even more construction for social housing and the strengthening of rent control laws. One sociologiost not involved in the studies said: “On the one hand these price rises show Berlin is taking its place among trendy, wealthy and epensive world capitals. But on the other, the price for that will be paid by low to middle income people who will be forced out of the city centre to the margins and beyond because they can no longer n afford to live in it.”

Blade runner Airbus is at the forefront of the aviation industry, building worldclass commercial aircraft that capture more than half of all commercial airliner orders. It is also the world’s number one helicopter manufacturer. Philip Yorke takes a closer look at the company’s latest cutting-edge technology known as BLADE, an acronym for Breakthrough Laminar Aircraft Demonstrator. Industry Europe also reports on the company’s continuing investment in the world’s emerging markets and its strategy for future growth.

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Aerospace & Defence


irbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services and is also a European leader in the provision of tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as being one of the world’s leading space companies. Airbus has been responsible for the first viable, digital ‘fly-by-wire’ airliner, the Airbus A320, as well as delivering the world’s largest airliner, the Airbus A380. The company’s 10,000th aircraft, an A350, was recently delivered to Singapore Airlines. To date, the global Airbus fleet has performed more than 110 million flights over 215 billion kilometres, carrying 12 billion customers. The company is a truly global operator with over 130 nationalities making up its 140,000 workforce. Interestingly, by the year 2020, over 25 per cent of Airbus’s employers will be women, thus underlining the company’s commitment to a diverse and inclusive workforce. Airbus’s corporate headquarters are located in Toulouse, France. It is a component of the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index. In 2016 Airbus recorded consolidated sales of more than €67 billion.

Focus on fuel reduction Airbus has initiated its latest research in order to further reduce fuel consumption in airliners, thereby keeping the company and Europe at the forefront of environmentally friendly air transportation. Today’s milestone was the Airbus A340 Flight Lab’s first takeoff, equipped with outer wing sections designed for extremely smooth airflow over the surfaces. Known as Natural Laminar Flow, such a smooth passage of air creates less drag than the airflow over traditional wings and is capable of reducing fuel-burn by as much as 5 per cent. Designated Project BLADE, this important research effort utilises the first ever A340 jetliner produced by Airbus, with its outboard

wings replaced by approximately 10 metre-long laminar wing panels. These panels represent around two-thirds of the wing size on a short, or medium range airliner, for which laminar flow technology is deemed to be best suited. The BLADE project is organised through Europe’s Clean Sky Aeronautical research programme. The project involves 21 European partners with over 500 contributors, including GKN Aerospace, designer of the starboard laminar wing panel, and Saab, designer of the port wing segment. A team of 10 specially-trained pilots, test engineers and flight test engineers have been preparing for the A340 BLADE flight evaluations by spending time in a simulator and familiarising themselves with the mission equipment, which is the most technologically advanced to be installed on any Airbus flight test aircraft.

Expanding global footprint Recently, the first wide-body Completion & Delivery Centre (C&DC) to be established outside Europe was inaugurated in Tianjin, China and the very first European and Chinese-made Airbus A330 was subsequently delivered. The company has been taking additional steps in the expansion of its global footprint and strategic partnership with China. At the same time, the first Airbus A330 to be delivered from C&DC was handed over to Tianjin Airlines. Located on the same site as the Airbus A320 Final Assembly Line and the Airbus Tainjin Delivery Centre, the A330 C&DC covers the aircraft completion activities including cabin installation, aircraft painting and production flight test, as well as customer flight acceptance and aircraft delivery. Some 150 Chinese staff members of the C&DC were trained by Airbus experts in Toulouse. “The inauguration of our A330 C&DC in Tainjin, together with the first of many deliveries, marks a new milestone for Airbus’s interna-

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Aerospace & Defence

Aljo Aluminium For more than three decades, Aljo has been a proven supplier to Airbus and Sub-Tiers for machined or sheet metal formed aluminum components, welded parts, assemblies and complex structures in line with the certified aerospace processes. In our thirty-year plus history, we’ve also gained a depth of knowledge and expertise in supplying the Space OEMs like Ariane Group and OHB. As a build to print partner we offer manufacturing solutions for prototypes, single parts, as well as small and large series such as Load Master Work Stations, Welded Ducts, Drain Masts and Assemblies. Our highly skilled workforce, investment in the latest manufacturing technology and our commitment to remaining family-owned and medium-sized is our formula to meet our customers’ demands in terms of time, cost and quality. All from one source, with a great amount of flexibility - everything we produce, we produce under one roof with our team of exceptional craftsmen guiding every phase. Fulfilling client needs is what we do best - our inventive spirit and engineering know-how makes us able to meet your challenge. Thank you to Airbus and the aerospace community for our long-term respectful, trusting, professional and successful cooperation.

tional footprint and underlines a strong spirit of cooperation with our Chinese partners,” said Fabrice Bregier, Airbus COO and president of Commercial Aircraft. “The wide body aircraft completed in China is an Airbus industry first, which demonstrates our mutual commitment to a strong and growing Chinese aviation sector.” Today the Airbus wide-body aircraft is the most popular in China and is operated by nine airlines. The Airbus fleet with Chinese carriers included 1484 aircraft, of which 1282 are of the A320 family and 202 are of the A330 family. The A330 is one of the world’s most efficient and versatile wide-body aircraft with best-in-class operating economics. To date, the A330 family has attracted over 1700 orders and is the most cost-efficient and capable wide-body aircraft available on the market.

Showcasing a new digital platform In recent months Airbus has taken full ownership of Malaysia’s Sepang Aircraft Engineering and expanded its capabilities. It has also established an MRO Alliance that includes Taiwan’s China Airlines and China’s GAMECO. Airbus had a significant presence at the MRO Asia Pacific exhibition recently, along with its subsidiary Satair, each having a stand and speaking about the future of the maintenance sector at a related aviation conference. At the trade fair Airbus also showcased ‘Skywise’, its cloud-based digital platform which contains operational and technical data that airlines can access to make predictive and preventative maintenance decisions. Asian carriers such as Air Asia and Peach are among the first to launch the new digital facility. For further details of the latest innovative commercial aircraft and specialised services and products from Airbus visit: Industry Europe 29

Propelled to the top GE Aviation Czech designs, develops, manufactures and services the GE H-Series engines. It is the turboprop division of GE Aviation, a world-leading provider of aircraft engines and related components and systems. Two years ago, a decision was taken to build GE’s new advanced turboprop (ATP) engine family at a new facility in Prague, with a view to introducing the engine in two years. The mission has now been accomplished, as Romana Moares reports.

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Aerospace & Defence


he end of 2017 was a busy time for GE Aviation Czech, finishing preparations for the launch of the first prototype of the Advanced TurboProp (ATP) engine. The development of the engine began in November 2015 with GE Aviation’s commitment to the client, Textron Aviation, to launch the prototype within a tough deadline – by the end of 2017. And the task was accomplished on schedule. GE Aviation’s Advanced Turboprop engine, the first clean-sheet turboprop engine to hit the Business and General Aviation (BGA) market in more than 30 years, successfully completed its first engine test run at GE Aviation’s facility in Prague shortly before Christmas last year. “Running the Advanced Turboprop engine in 2017 was our biggest and most important goal,” said Brad Mottier, vice-president and general manager of GE Aviation’s BGA and Integrated Systems organisation. “This milestone comes as a result of two years of tremendous effort by a worldwide team. We’re developing a real catalyst for the BGA market and we’re executing on plan. The integration of proven technologies has expedited the design, development and certification cycle of the engine.”

Best in its class

turboprop’s parts built via additive manufacturing. A total of 855 conventionally manufactured parts has been reduced to 12 additive parts, including sumps, bearing housings, frames, exhaust case, combustor liner, heat exchangers and stationary flow path components. Additive components reduce the ATP’s weight by 5 per cent while contributing a 1 per cent improvement in specific fuel consumption.

At the cutting edge GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of jet, turboprop and turbo shaft engines, components and integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings. It is exactly 10 years ago that GE Aviation entered the Czech market. In 2008, the company acquired certain assets of Walter, the well-established Czech aviation company. Soon after, the GE H80 was launched, a new turboprop derivative engine – based on the former Walter M601 engine – designed for the transportation, utilities, agriculture and retrofit aircraft segments.

The Advanced Turboprop engine will begin certification testing in 2018. With 79 new technologies introduced, the engine offers a portfolio of advanced technology, as well as unparalleled performance and efficiency. It features an industry-best 16:1 overall pressure ratio, enabling it to achieve as much as 20 per cent lower fuel burn and 10 per cent higher cruise power compared to competitor offerings in the same size class. At 4000 hours, it offers 33 per cent more time between overhaul than its leading competitor. “The continued testing will generate valuable data from the engine and validate the aerodynamics, mechanics, and aerothermal systems,” said Paul Corkery, general manager for GE Aviation Turboprops. “With the engine run and most of the individual component testing completed, early indications show that we will meet or exceed all the performance numbers we have quoted for the engine.” The Advanced Turboprop engine includes more printed components than any production engine in aviation history, with 35 per cent of the Industry Europe 31

The GE H80 was the first in the H Series. It was followed by the H75 and H85. GE turboprop engines enable aircraft to handle anything from unpaved landing strips in Africa and Latin America to permafrost in Siberia. Today, more than 1600 L410 aircraft are flying throughout the world. The GE H Series engines have received nine certifications and are in operation on six continents, with nine announced applications. GE turboprop engines power over 30 different types of aircraft, carrying passengers and cargo across six continents. Built for durability and efficiency to withstand a wide range of climate conditions, GE turboprops result in thousands of flight hours with minimal maintenance.

New heights driven by new talent Cutting edge development remains the focus of GE Aviation Czech. In February 2018, the company announced a new, collaborative agreement between GE Aviation and the Czech Technical University in Prague (ČVUT). The agreement between GE and ČVUT will support the Czech aviation industry and further US-Czech business and educational ties. In addition to new research activities, ČVUT students will benefit from significant internship and training opportunities. Since GE’s 2016 announcement of its plans to assemble the ATP engine in Prague, the number of undergraduate students enrolled to

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study aircraft engine construction at CVUT jumped from one to 15. The interest was so intense that last year the school gave two GE engineers offices at the university. They set up shop at the school with the sole purpose of tutoring students and helping with research. To provide access to a steady supply of fresh data, GE will also help CVUT set up four test chambers to study turboprop engines on the ground, plus a ‘flying test bed’, a King Air aircraft modified to test engines and gather data in flight. The partnership will also focus on engine design and advanced manufacturing techniques like 3D printing, which GE has been using to produce parts for jet engines, gas turbines, medical scanners and other machines. “This level of partnership and sharing of know-how is absolutely unprecedented,” said Šlapák, who serves as the ATP manager for GE Aviation in Prague. GE benefits, too, Šlapák affirmed. GE has hired 285 new employees since the launch of the ATP programme in early 2016 and plans to hire 80 more this year. “We need to develop the talent and ecosystem, and n this partnership is a great way to do it.”

Automation & Robotics

A single supplier for endto-end ceramic production With its new patented technology Supera®, SITI B&T Group is amongst 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 33


leading global player in the production of fully-fledged systems for the ceramic industry, from clay preparation to the final product, and 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. The company offers technological excellence and innovative service solutions, with a focus on energy efficiency and reduced manufacturing costs. The Italian group moved into the segment of large ceramic sheets through its innovative Supera® technology, designed using 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 thickness (5–30mm) and size,” explains Cinzia Gervasi, marketing manager. It has a production capacity of up to 13,000m2/day (44,000 tonnes), considering a raw thickness of 10mm. The possibility of making raw or fired cuts of the sheets in different sub-

34 Industry Europe

formats allows for high manufacturing and material storage flexibility. “Basically, we reproduced the typical benefits of traditional pressing on a discontinuous tape press. The innovative movable plate system for dust containment can overcome the scraps constraints. The system consists of a 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. The initial research and development for the Supera® line resulted in the evolution of the 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.”

Automation & Robotics

Comprehensive services Today SITI B&T Group is the only supplier able to offer integrated and innovative technology solutions for the entire production line of large ceramic sheets, from the preparation and characterisation of mixtures (made by the advanced technology centre in Formigine) to pressing, drying, glazing, firing, handling and storage; all supervised by a single integrated system, which ensures remote control of all stages and manufacturing process benchmarks. “In our technology centre, we provide many services to customers: starting from the study of raw material to 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 wearand-tear; high efficiency classifiers; differentiated treatments according to clay abrasiveness and output granulometry constancy. The granu-

lating 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, 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 their exclusive burners, are at the absolute leading edge 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 capabilities, extremely flexible for perfect synchronisation between digital graphics, structure and dry (or wet) application of substances. The G5 modular printer, a combination of the main winning features of Evolve range, is a paradigm of total flexibility. The end of the line is guaranteed by Ancora finishing technologies, ensuring maximum efficiency, productivity and quality: technologies such as Dry Squaring, a saw intended for the dry working for all types of ceramics, including porn celain tiles, with exceptional energy- and cost-savings.

Industry Europe 35

Industrial automation from Lubawa A

lthough Intek was officially launched in 2003, its history goes back as far as 1952 when a local State-Owned Machinery Centre was established in Lubawa. However, the political and economic transformations that took place in Poland at the turn of the 1990s found the Centre, inefficient and unprepared for competition, slowly losing its raison d’être. Intek was established on the site of the previous Centre, where it took over existing production and the entire workforce. Since then, the company has been fully owned by private capital. In its first year of operation Intek doubled its sales and increased its employees by 80 to more than 200 people. In 2006 its first turnkey contract was completed. At the same time Intek established a new welding hall 36 Industry Europe

Intek, a company from Lubawa, Poland, is a specialist in the design of lines and devices that are elements of industrial automation systems. It offers a wide range of products including a complete supply of technological transport equipment along with turnkey industrial automation systems for various industries. Dariusz Balcerzyk reports.

covering an area of some 800m2. In 2008 the company purchased numerically controlled manufacturing machines. Four years later, a welding workshop with an area of 1200m2 was refurbished.

Slowly but surely The company has developed step by step. “We adhere to the principle that first you need to build sturdy foundations and only when they are well embedded can you build a first floor. Once it’s ready, you can get on to the next floor. Another word: we have been developing slowly but surely. Our main aim is to develop the company so that each specific team could independently negotiate, plan and execute projects both in Poland and abroad. To achieve it we imple-

Automation & Robotics

mented our project management practice,” says Janusz Stefanski, the company’s president of the board of management. Today, Intek’s annual sales are estimated as PLN 40–50 million, with exports making up around 80 per cent of total sales. Its products are present around the world: in Western Europe, Scandinavia, both Americas, Asia and the southern part of Africa. Intek is proud of its many years of experience and extensive knowledge in the development and integration of machinery, equipment and industrial automation systems. It offers complete solutions dedicated to clients’ individual needs, including design and the ‘turnkey’ implementation of automation systems for machines, production lines, industrial processes and whole plants. “We do not run serial production for stock. All our products are made according to the individual orders of our clients,” points out Mr Stefanski.

Wide range of products The company’s production takes place in a plant covering an area of over 50,000m2, including around 30,000m2 of production halls under its roof. Intek employs 260 people, but when there is a need it can increase its employee numbers by up to three times.

The company supplies its products to various industries such as metals, automotive, oil, furniture, metallurgy, garbage segregation and offshore. Intek has a team of engineers trained in mechanics and robotics and its manufacturing facility includes a hi-tech machine park. This enables complete control over the quality of its processes, ranging from mechanical and electrical design, trough execution, prefabrication of control cabinets, and ending with installing and commissioning at the customer’s premises. The company provides warranty and post-warranty service including remote diagnostics. Intek offers modern, innovative and robotised production systems that enable it to increase productivity and product quality, ergonomics and safety, and thus reduce the labour costs. The use of robots helps to adjust lifting operations, place the products and package them according to individual requirements. Robots are equipped with various grippers that lift, carry and stack a wide range of goods and semi-finished products. Intek also offers a wide range of automatic material handling solutions for use individually or to implement in existing or new production lines. These include technological transport systems: conveyors, elevators, turntables, transfer tables, stack devices, storage roll conveyors, box glue machines and operating platforms.

Industry Europe 37

Baril Coatings Powerful protection for a sustainable future Baril Coatings is an innovative producer of sustainable coatings. We continuously work on products that add value in terms of quality, processability and sustainability. Baril Coatings wishes to help its customers protect their properties in a sustainable way, while at the same time reducing their global footprint. Our ambition is to achieve more with less by extending the lifespan of material by preserving material. Our coatings offer optimal protection with less layer thickness. As a result, less paint is needed and that immediately leads to a strong reduction of CO2 and VOC emissions.


Demark We are stockholder and steel distributor. We specialise in delivering stainless and carbon steel for investments in key industry areas in Poland: chemical and petrochemical industry, energy industry, machine building industry, shipbuilding and offshore industry. We offer super-austenitic steels, heat-resistance steels, duplex, superduplex, nickel alloys, titanium, corten and others standard and non-standard grades. We also offer plasma sheet cutting service in the 3-40 mm thinkness range. We guarantee high quality steel thanks to our cooperation with recognised well-known manufacturers. We have been cooperated with INTEK Sp. z o.o. industry for over 15 years. We deliver products from stainless, high – resistance and carbon steels like plates, bars, pipes, square and rectangular tubes. Company Intek is using our materials for production of machines, devices and systems of industrial automation.

38 Industry Europe

Automation & Robotics

Intek cooperates with many partners that are important for its final success and further development, for instance with Baltic PolskaPomorze, the largest authorised distributor of BARIL COATINGS B.V in Poland. Intek purchases stainless, high – resistance and carbon steels from company, Demark Ltd in Toruń, Poland.

The mission of WORLDCOB is to promote business development worldwide, recognising and boosting the growth of leading businesses in every country through the special tools and services it offers its members. Today, WORLDCOB has over 3000 members, n representing more than 120 countries across the globe.

Unique marketing approach;

Intek stands out from many other companies thanks to its original approach to marketing. “Our marketing activities are focused on recommendations from our satisfied customers. As our experience in this matter shows, it is the most effective marketing tool in the industries in which we operate. This way we can establish very good contacts with both new customers and with various types of business partners. The World Confederation of Business, based in Houston, Texas, plays a very important role in this respect, as through WORLDCOB we have established many international contacts,” explains Mr Stefanski.

Mr Janusz Stefanski, CEO Industry Europe 39

Shaping the future of mobility Daimler is one of the biggest producers of premium cars and the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles with a global reach. This position could not have been achieved without reliable suppliers and partners – a fact that is recognised by the Daimler Supplier Award, given each year in three categories for the best quality, partnership and innovation. Romana Moares reports.

40 Industry Europe

Automotive & Heavy Vehicles


aimler AG is one of the world’s most successful automotive companies. With its Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Buses, and Daimler Financial Services divisions, the group is one of the leading global suppliers of premium cars and the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles with a global presence. Daimler Financial Services offers financing, leasing, fleet management, insurance, investments and credit cards as well as innovative mobility services. The company founders, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, made history by inventing the automobile in 1886. As a pioneer of automotive engineering, Daimler sees shaping the future of mobility in a safe and sustainable way as both a motivation and an obligation. The company’s focus remains on innovative and green technologies as well as on safe and superior vehicles that both captivate and inspire. Daimler continues to invest systematically in the development of efficient powertrains – from high-tech combustion engines and hybrid vehicles to all-electric powertrains using batteries or fuel cells – with the goal of making locally emission-free driving possible in the long term. The company’s efforts are also focused on the intelligent connectivity of its vehicles, autonomous driving and new mobility concepts. Daimler sells its vehicles and services in nearly every country of the world and has production facilities in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa. The company is listed on the Frankfurt

and Stuttgart stock exchanges (ticker symbol DAI). In 2017, it had a workforce of more than 289,300 and sold around 3.3 million vehicles. Revenues totalled €164.3 billion and EBIT stood at €14.7 billion.

Top award for top performance Fostering supplier relationships is an integral part of Daimler’s success on the global stage – without trustworthy and reliable supply chain partners, the company could never have reached its current position. This will continue to be the case, as Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, recently confirmed at the 10th Daimler Supply Awards, honouring the Group’s suppliers for top quality, partnership and innovative strength: “Our company is entering the next chapter of mobility. I am confident that we will manage the transformation of Daimler AG successfully, because we have our suppliers at our side as partners!” Daimler presents its Daimler Supplier Award once a year in recognition of above-average performance and partnership collaboration. On 28 February 2018, under the motto ‘Enter The Next Chapter’, the respective Daimler board of management members and heads of procurement presented the winners with their awards in the categories of Quality, Partnership and Innovation. The invitation to the Mercedes-Benz Customer Centre in Sindelfingen was accepted by 500 high-ranking guests from the supply industry and 150 Daimler AG executives.

Industry Europe 41

Innovative software development for the sales experience of the future Buying a car is one of the most important and exciting purchases for many customers. What makes a great buying experience? At the top of the list - trust and good advice. For the salesperson, this means paying careful attention to customer needs, not an IT system. Future car owners want a dedicated contact throughout the process, they often do a lot of research before visiting the showroom. Plus, cars are increasingly complex. Automotive advances demand more and more technical expertise in the sales process. What tools can we arm salespeople with to provide the sales experience of the future? That’s the specific challenge we tackle with Daimler. The result is a digital service platform that provides access to vital information so staff can spend less time on admin and research, and more time with customers. Think of it as a digital assistant that guides the sales process and can easily adapt to Daimler’s requirements as they evolve. A global team spanning Germany, India, and China are designing the new system, known as One Touch Retail. The German team develops the product for the local market, working closely with colleagues in the India Delivery Centre to speed up development time. In parallel, ThoughtWorks China works on a solution that is tailor-made for the Chinese market. The team is cross-functional - designers, developers and domain experts work together to build a solution that blends business and user needs. Quicker access to information and improved sales tools means more customer satisfaction. The successful partnership is made possible by bringing together the best of Daimler’s deep sales acumen and Thoughtworks’ agile software development approach.

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Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

Quality, Partnership, Innovation The 10th Daimler Supplier Awards saw the following winners. In the Mercedes-Benz Cars Procurement and Supplier Quality category: Wagon Automotive Nagold GmbH – Award for reliable partnership with exceptional quality and high flexibility for body shell parts (Quality); Minth International Ltd – Award for outstanding efforts towards a transparent partnership based on mutual trust, and for commitment to overcoming technological and business challenges (Partnership); and Hitachi Automotive Systems, Ltd – Award for its highly creative and dependable contribution to the electrification of the MercedesBenz product portfolio (Innovation). In the category of International Procurement Services, the following companies were awarded: Werkzeugbau Laichingen GmbH – awarded as a longstanding partner for press tools that makes shortened vehicle development times possible while mastering increasing product complexity (Quality); Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant Co., Ltd – awarded for its outstanding and longstanding partnership as an assembler of MB cars in Thailand (Partnership); and Thoughtworks Software Technologies (Chengdu), Ltd – awarded for its outof-the-box approaches in the area of app and software development (Innovation). And last but not least, in the Global Procurement Trucks and Buses category, the award went to Tri-Ring Group Corporation – Award for the excellent quality of forged components supplied (Quality); Stoneridge, Inc. – Award for the international roll-out

of ‘instrument clusters’ at FUSO, Freightliner & Mercedes-Benz Trucks (Partnership); and DENSO – Award for the first introduction to the world of driver camera monitoring systems in FUSO commercial vehicles (Innovation). A special Award for Innovation was given to Harman International Industries, Inc., for exceptional software development and integration as well as future-oriented collaboration models for the realisation of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). In his speech at the event, Wilfried Porth, member of the board of management of Daimler AG, Human Resources and Director of Labour Relations, Mercedes-Benz Vans, emphasised the strongcollaboration with suppliers: “A close and trusting cooperation with our suppliers is the basis for short allocation periods and rapid implementation of procurement decisions.” Dieter Zetsche thanked the suppliers for their outstanding cooperation, their loyalty and their commitment. “Let us start the next chapter together,” he concluded.

Industry Europe 43

A century of

innovative solutions

The Dätwyler Group, a major industrial supplier with leading positions in both global and regional market segments, accelerated its profitable growth during 2017 across both its divisions. Following its focus on growth markets and international expansion in recent years, the group is now set to push for digitalisation and increased agility. This will bring new challenges and opportunities for its Czech plant, Datwyler Sealing Technologies CZ. Romana Moares reports.

44 Industry Europe

Automotive & Heavy Vehicles


he Dätwyler Group, a global supplier employing a workforce of over 7500 and still run from its headquarters in central Switzerland, has roots in a humble rubber factory in which Adolf Dätwyler founded the company in 1915. Over the next century, by delivering innovative solutions and the best Swiss quality, the Dätwyler Group has established itself in many market segments as the development partner of choice for industrial

enterprises. For over 100 years, Dätwyler Group companies have stood for leading materials expertise and comprehensive process know-how. Dätwyler concentrates on markets that offer opportunities to create more value and sustain profitable growth. With some 50 operating companies, sales in over 100 countries and more than 7000 employees, the group generates annual revenue of some CHF 1.300 million.

Industry Europe 45

The group operates via its two divisions: The Dätwyler Sealing Solutions division has a presence – with its own production facilities – in the three key business regions of Europe, Asia and the NAFTA area. The Technical Components division is focused on Europe. The Sealing Solutions Division is a leading supplier of customised sealing solutions to global market segments, such as the automotive, healthcare, civil engineering and consumer goods industries. The Technical Components Division is one of Europe’s foremost high-service distributors of electronic, automation, maintenance and ICT components and accessories.

In line with Industry 4.0 In the automotive market segment, Dätwyler is introducing a new production concept at its Swiss site known as ‘Lean-and-Clean’. For the first time, the company will be producing high-quality automotive components in clean rooms and thereby further increasing its competitiveness, particularly in terms of electromobility. When it comes to digitalisation, the focus within the Sealing Solutions division is on Industry 4.0 in the form of automated, networked and intelligent production equipment, ongoing optimisation of processes and forward-looking maintenance. In keeping with this approach, Dätwyler is introducing a uniform production system at all its plants across three continents. This will help it to respond quickly and flexibly to the regional needs of customers.

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Dätwyler wants to be proactive in exploiting new possibilities and opportunities associated with digitalisation and turn these to a competitive advantage. For this purpose, the group is investing some CHF 50 million over the next few years across its plants. The objective is to increase the efficiency of business processes, improve data quality, increase IT security and create a strong and flexible platform for future digital applications. This will also allow future acquisitions to be integrated more quickly and easily.

Challenges and opportunities The changes will have an impact on all the group’s manufacturing facilities around the globe, including Dätwyler Sealing Technologies CZ in Nový Bydžov. The Czech plant, which is part of Dätwyler Sealing Solutions, focuses on moulding rubber products for automotive applications, especially for brake systems. Its rubber mouldings are supplied to well-known brands including Ford, VW, BMW, Audi and others. Key components made in the Czech factory include booster membranes, brake cylinder clogs and a wide range of other parts used for sealing and damping vibrations in automotive systems. The company serves customers throughout the world with key markets being the EU, China, the US, Mexico, Brazil and others. Its customer base includes brands such as Continental Automotive Systems, TRW and Bosch. Last year, the company invested over

Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

CZK 500 million into two new production halls to support increasing demand. The Czech facility, now employing over 500 people, will continue to benefit from the group’s focus on digitalisation, automation and increased efficiency. In the Sealing Solutions division, Dätwyler is introducing a uniform production system in all its plants, across three continents. Using state-of-the-art digital technology, the group is creating a framework for continuous improvement and operational excellence. The standardised rules will allow agile and flexible work at all levels and, thanks to the uniform production system, employees will be able to learn

more quickly from each other. The focus will be on people, safety, quality, delivery, costs and the environment. More than a century after its establishment in 1915 by a young, entrepreneurial farmer’s son, the Dätwyler Group is a leading international supplier to the pharmaceutical, automotive and construction industries and a global leader in the distribution of electronic components. Thanks to its strong roots, reliable values and a future-oriented ownership structure, the company has successfully adapted to challenges across time – and will continue to do so to n the advantage of its customers, employees and shareholders.

Industry Europe 47

Lightweighting the

heavyweights Fleetguard Filters is one of Asia’s leading manufacturers of heavy-duty industrial filters. The company is part of the international Cummins Group, founded in 1919 in Indiana, USA. Philip Yorke reports on the latest developments at Fleetguard India and its move away from metal assemblies to speciality plastics for its automotive oil and fuel filtration products.


ummins began its operations in India in 1962 in a joint venture with the Kirloskar Group. Today the Cummins Group has a turnover of more than US$20.4 billion worldwide. Fleetguard Filters is an important affiliate of Cummins with a turnover in excess of $2.0 billion and around 10,000 employees in India. It is an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that supplies state-of-the-art products to the world’s leading automotive and industrial engine and equipment manufacturers. Fleetguard operates six modern manufacturing plants in India. These are strategi48 Industry Europe

cally located at Hosur, Jamshedpur, Pune and Sitarganj. It also manufactures coolants and other chemical products for a broad range of industrial applications in the marine, agriculture, mining, construction and automotive sectors. The Cummins Group conducts a significant proportion of its R&D in India at the Cummins Research and Technology Centre, established in Pune in 2003. Furthermore, it is building an advanced technical centre in Pune, which will house more than 2000 engineers. The Cummins operation in India has also made

Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

significant contributions to local skills development by establishing the Cummins College of Engineering for Women, which is a woman-only engineering college that is also located in Pune.

Lightweight solutions Today’s oil and fuel filters have to operate in hot, mechanically challenging environments close to the engine with both internal and external exposure to aggressive oils and fuels, as well as vibration, and lowtemperature cold-start conditions. Metal has been traditionally used for the protective outer casings and fittings of filters. However, automotive OEMs are increasingly waking up to the possibilities of advanced resinbased materials that can fully replace metal ones. These new, hightech materials offer lighter weight with equal or better burst strength and impact, as well as improved resistance to temperature fluctuations and hazardous chemicals. The metals to plastics trend has been successfully demonstrated by Cummins Fleetguard Filtration, which has developed a new generation of its well-known Fleetguard® User Friendly Filters (UFF) for the global light- and heavy-duty truck markets. The new resin polyamide casings are 50 per cent lighter than the traditional metal components, are easier to install and remove and are more resistant to dents and damage compared to metal filters. This is thanks to Fleetguard’s transition to outer shells and assemblies, enhanced by Dupont’s unique Zytel® polyamide resin.

The lightweighting, durability and cost saving benefits of this new raw material also extend to the outer shell and fittings of Fleetguard’s oil/water separator assemblies for large diesel service applications. The company also selected Dupont’s Izne® anti-counterfeit label technology in order to authenticate its products and provide protection in the interests of both Fleetguard and its users. What’s more, Fleetguard’s UFF filters benefit from an easy spin-on and take-off filter that provides easy disposal, reduced energy consumption and improved environmental protection.

Embracing new technologies As a market leader in the development and manufacture of heavy-duty filters for the commercial truck industry, Fleetgurad has always placed a high priority on new product development and the employment of the latest manufacturing technology. The company’s export sales continue to grow as a result of its innovative products and competitive pricing policy. In Europe, Fleetguard’s presence is being enhanced by its stateof-the-art products and advanced manufacturing processes. Europe is one of Fleetguard’s most important export markets and it continues to work on new technologies in order to meet the latest, and most stringent EU emissions regulations. The company’s latest Plant in Pune covers more than 100,000 square metres and is producing sophisticated filtration products that contribute to the ‘zero emissions’ requirement of the EU.

Industry Europe 49

In addition, it is fully automated and conforms to all relevant ISO certifications, including ISO 9000, ISO 14001 and others pertaining specifically to the automotive components industry. All the company’s R&D is handled in-house and it has its own advanced testing equipment and quality control facilities. Fleetguard also provides training programmes for its OEM customers. Care for the environment is also an integral part of the company’s remit and culture and it is proud of its record when it comes to recycling and the saving of energy and waste water. Fleetguard uses solar panels extensively and also optimises the availability of natural sunlight whenever possible.

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Technology led Fleetwood Filters is very much a technology-led company that is both flexible and dynamic, able to customise products and create innovative solutions and filtration systems for its customers. Customisation is important, especially for its large European OEM car manufacturers such as Audi, where new models in their original form are not designed for use on Indian roads and their rough terrain. Therefore, Fleetguard customises the filtration products for any n new models to suit the challenges of the Indian market. For further details of Fleetguard Filters’ innovative products and customer services visit:

Mitsuba is a global supplier of electrical components for the automotive sector that is rigorously pursuing its focus on safety and relibility. To provide speedy and flexible responses to its European customers, the company has established a facility in Hungary. Managing Director Tomoyuki Matsumura talks to Romana Moares about the development of the Hungarian operations.

Embracing the

automotive evolution F

ounded in 1946, Japanese Mitsuba started its operation with the manufacture of a bicycle power generation lamp, followed by the development of its starter motor, generator and horn for motorcycles. Gradually the business continued to expand and its focus shifted to the automotive sector. Today, Mitsuba’s network of 47 companies located in 17 countries, consisting of 20 domestic affiliated companies and 27 overseas affiliates employing over 4000

people, manufactures a varied product range including wiper assys, rear wiper motors, starter motors, power window motors, power slide doors and steering motors. “The reasons for opening the Hungarian facility were simple. In those days, Japanese customers entering Europe struggled to produce and sell their products, while the production volumes did not increase. Mitsuba supplied its customers directly from Japan,” says

Tomoyuki Matsumura, Managing Director 52 Industry Europe

Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

Mr Matsumura. “In order to be able to fully meet the regional needs, launching an assembly operation in Europe became a neccessity. We decided to focus on the low-labour cost eastern European region and researched Poland, Portugal, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. As a result, we turned our eyes to the relatively proJapanese, agricultural country of Hungary.”

Hungarian presence The company chose the city of Salgotarjan as the site for its new plant, an attractive location along the border with Slovakia with good availability of skilled resources. “The natural environment is very similar to the atmosphere of the Kiryu headquarters, and combined with the governmental incentive to attract foreign investment and other favourable aspects the decision came easily,” confirmed the managing director. The Hungarian plant produces components for vehicle windscreen wiper and washer systems. Recently, it launched the production of the next generation of motors. Its customer base consists of

prime automotive brands: VW group (23 per cent of output), Renault Nissan (20 per cent), Honda (15 per cent), BMW (14 per cent) and Magyar Suzuki (9 per cent). “FR reversing wiper assys with controllers for German customers accounts for 24 per cent of total output. Coupled with conventional FR wiper assys for Japanese customers accounting for 31 per cent of the output, the proportion of FR wipers exceeds 50 per cent of total production volume. Around 36 per cent represent rear wiper motors, and the remaining roughly 10 per cent are the washer tanks. These are the main products of Mitsuba Hungary. Most of them are designed to match the models – the car bodies,” says Mr Matsumura. “In 2017, following the installation of an automated production line, the armature assy – the heart of the rear motor – was added to the portfolio.”

Attuned to market needs Recently, the company started the development and production of the next generation of front wipers, reflecting demand for high efficiency and lighter weights to suit the demands of electric cars. “In addition Industry Europe 53

to the front wiper, we are developing further technologies at Japanese sites for the electric vehicle market. Product development is mainly done in Japan, but in order to respond promptly to customer requirements and development needs, we have a development office close to our German customers.” The main reason for establishing Mitsuba Hungary was to serve European customers. The key market territories are the UK and Spain where the Renault Nissan plants are based; the UK and Turkey where the Honda factories are based; and Germany with the VW, Audi and BMW plants. The domestic market, finally, is where the Magyar Suzuki and Audi plants are located. The quality of the supply chain is indispensible in order to secure a speedy response and Mitsuba values its solid relationships. “We have been working with Automatic Press, Paver Relem and Clarion Hungary for more than 10 years and appreciate our relationships based on trust and reliability,” Mr Matsumura points out. Supported by a subsidy from the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA), the Hungarian Mitsuba doubled its production capacity in 2017. “We also installed a new production line for the next generation front wipers and an automated line for the armature assy,” said the Managing Director, adding that the company plans to install two more front wiper assy lines to further increase production capacity. 54 Industry Europe

“In recent years, the company has won several new customers including Daimler, Porsche and Rolls Royce, which will certainly boost our growth,” Mr Matsumura confirmed. “In order to expand sales to new models and also to produce and sell value added parts and products, we plan to further focus on in-house production and localisation.” This will be in line with the group’s strategy to develop new products reflecting automotive advances and to further strengthen its global presence. n

Vehicles tailored to clients’ needs Gniotpol Trailers, a company based in Kurznie, Poland, is an experienced manufacturer of trailers and truck bodies. Next year, the company will be celebrating its 30th anniversary. Dariusz Balcerzyk reports.

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Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

SPOLKAR The family-owned SPOJKAR company has over 27 years of experience

GNIOTPOL we have been working on one of our most interest-

in the production of sleeper cabins, spoilers, aerodynamic packages

ing projects based on the external appearance of the SPOJTRAK

and various elements made from laminate and ABS.

cabin. The chassis of the M.ATEGO and MAN TGL became the basis for the end result of this collaboration: the EFFIECENCY CAB EC 25.

Our expertise allows us to achieve high quality production standards.

The creation of this cabin was driven by the need for increased

With a large fleet of machines, we are able to implement new pro-

aerodynamics, reduced fuel consumption and, of course, increased

jects from the initial concept, through design, testing in a virtual

driver comfort. This project was enthusiastically welcomed due to

wind tunnel to the production of models, prototypes and finally the

the achievement of the goals set. As a result, more projects were

end product.

completed with the GNIOTPOL company, including fully-equipping

The production of sleeper cabins is a priority for us, and our products


are becoming more and more popular among drivers and owners of

Our company works in accordance with the ISO 9001 quality manage-

transport companies. One such product is the SPOJTRAK / DEEPSLEEPER

ment system, but we are constantly striving to achieve new certifications

sleeping module designed for 3.5-tonne vehicles. In addition to a sleeping

to confirm our quality. As a manufacturer of new brands, we have the TUV

cab behind drivers’ seats, the cab has many additional options that make

(Mangement System as per German and International Road Traffic Laws)

the driver’s life more enjoyable (including a TV set) and help to improve

certificate, which confirms the high quality of our products and adapts

the aerodynamics (e.g. additional spoilers, wide side fairing).

our services to international standards.

The streamlined shape and attractive appearance of SPOJTRAK

Today, we are dynamically developing our export activities, especially

caught the attention of the GNIOTPOL TRAILERS company. For

in Europe.

Industry Europe 57


niotpol Trailers is a family company run with 100 per cent Polish capital, founded in 1989 by Mr and Mrs Gniot. Its first factory was in Kurznie, a small village in south-western Poland. In 2005 the company purchased another production facility, in Malnia, situated in the same part of Poland and some 70km away from Kurznie. A great advantage of the factory’s location is the fact that it lies very near to the A4 motorway that leads straight to Germany. In 2016, both factories were merged into one organisation named Gniotpol Trailers limited liability company. “The connection was made to optimise the production process, to standardise solutions and to meet the growing challenges of

the market,” explains Mr Kazimierz Gniot, the company’s president and co-owner. Today, Gniotpol Trailers makes more than 1000 individual transport units a year and employs more than 200 people. Its annual sales are estimated at PLN 100 million (approx. €24 million), but the company’s turnover and its production volumes could still be increased considerably. The plan is to grow the annual production to 1500 units in 2019, and to 2000 by 2020. Exports make up about 20–25 per cent of the company’s total sales, with Germany its main foreign market. Gniotpol’s products are sold in this country through the German company ORTEN Fahrzeugbau GmbH.

BOZAMET Bozamet and Gniotpol Trailers have cooperated successfully for almost 20 years. During that time, we have seen continuous growth in the Polish commercial vehicle market. Our cooperation is very wide-ranging – from components for truck bodies (sliding roofs and pillars) to tarpaulin fittings. We are also open to new projects in collaboration with Gniotpol Trailers. Among other things, these have included innovative products for the system 2504, which has gained Europe-wide recognition, and special toolboxes.

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Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

Titgemeyer With over 500 employees, TITGEMEYER Group now counts among Europe‘s leading suppliers of fastening technology and vehicle components. We find solutions to complex requirements by combining professional advice with high-quality products and personalised service. At our production facilities in Germany, the UK and the Czech Republic, we manufacture superior quality fastening systems, tools and vehicle components. TITGEMEYER offers complete solutions for numerous branches of industry, especially the automotive, vehicle manufacturing or aviation and aerospace industries. In the process, our worldwide leading brands are put to use in a highly diverse range of applications. TITGEMEYER was founded in 1901 and rapidly became the leading manufacturer and dealer for commercial vehicle components. Our extensive experience and expertise benefit customers opting for a custom construction solution and customers selecting a system from our series production alike. The first body kit was invented by TITGEMEYER Group as far back as the middle of the last century. Today, the vehicle component range comprises kit systems, chassis technology, bodywork components and bodywork systems.

Experts in vehicle bodyworks “Although we are currently exporting our products mostly to Germany, we do not limit our foreign activities only to this particular country. We are also entering markets from the southern part of Europe such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. I would like to point out that we have all the necessary certificates – DEKRA, domestic certificates for a safe load (ITS) – and the EU homologations. Each vehicle delivered by us is manufactured to individual order with great attention given to perfect and precise execution based on the latest standards and regulations. We have also been certified according to the Allied Quality Assurance Publica-

tions, which are standards developed by NATO for the quality assurance systems of defence products,” says Mr Gniot. Gniotpol Trailers’ R&D department operates using the latest 3D SolidWorks systems. “We cooperate with scientific centres, first and foremost with the Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, on the development and implementation of modern technologies for our manufacturing. This way, we implement the idea of combining science with business. To produce our vehicles, we use our own profiles and unique solutions that are protected by patents and registered designs. Moreover, we can offer both traditional steel frames and aluminium frames, which are designed for more demanding customers,” says Mr Gniot.

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ASPÖCK Automotive The ASPÖCK company was founded in 1977, currently employs approximately 1.350 employees. The headquarters are located in Peuerbach (Upper Austria) and production sites are placed in Portugal, Poland and Brazil. In addition, sales subsidiaries are distributed all around the globe. Individual and innovative lighting solutions for the classifications Trucks & trailers, Automotive, Motorbikes, Caravans, Agricultural machines and Special vehicles are manufactured in the subsidiaries. State of the art LED lighting, but also cable and connector systems of the highest quality standard are part of the company’s standard range of offers. Gniotpol trailers are equipped with complete Aspöck lighting systems. Additional protection of the trailer against damage is provided by the Aspöck RDC Premium system, which in cooperation with EBS, despite of the gentle depression of the accelerator pedal, causes that the reversing trailer automatically slows down just before the ramp is reached, until it stops completely. After about two seconds, the brake is released and the driver is free to finally dock the vehicle at the ramp.

Gniotpol Trailers cooperates only with trustworthy partners, both local and international. This approach translates into successes and business opportunities for all parties. Among many valued partners, it is worth mentioning: TITGEMEYER, one of the leading fastening technology and vehicle component companies around the world; Aspöck Systems Polska Sp. z o.o, which provides innovative solutions for vehicle lighting; Spojkar, a leading Polish manufacturer of sleeping cabins and spoilers; STALSERWIS, a pro-

vider of high quality steel products; JURO Tech, a Polish company offering metal laser cutting services and precise bending of cut or stamped elements; Bozamet, known for making tarpaulin elements and utility vehicle covers; and Trans-Technik Group, a respected supplier of drive belts and conveyor belts for handling light materials with accessories. Furthermore, Gniotpol’s aluminium profiles come from the Spanish company Exlabesa, which is a standard setter in the world market

Prezes Kazimierz Gniot

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Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

of aluminium extrusion and PVC. The Knorr-Bremse Group, based in Munich, is the world’s leading manufacturer of braking systems for rail and commercial vehicles and is Gniotpol’s top supplier in this respect. Gniotpol also cooperates with the hot dip galvanising company Ocynkownia Slask, well known for its state-of-the-art galvanising technologies. In its trailers, the company assembles top-class suspensions from such well-known, global manufacturers as SAF, BPW and GIGANT.

Vast range of products Gniotpol’s offer includes trailers, semi-trailers, truck bodies and sets. The high-volume combination curtain bodies and BDF swap body systems are, apart from professional and highly specialised trailers and semitrailers, a key segment of Gniotpol’s production and can be fit to any type of truck chassis. Gniotpol Trailers was also the first company in Europe to make innovative covers with the unique inside width of up to 2504mm

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instead of 2480mm, while maintaining the outer width of 2550mm. Combined with aluminium floors and the latest cargo fixation systems, its bodies offer new possibilities for transportation, especially for such type of products as: styrofoam, foam, can and all others, the packaging of which takes place on the pallets with dimensions of 250 mm up to 2500 mm. ‘System 2500 – 2504’ is a registered solution, and it is the most popular of Gniotpol’s products sold on the German market. By using frames, floors and aluminium components, the company offers the lightest transport sets on the market within a full range of GVW configurations and dimensions.

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Now, Gniotpol is working on a great project that will provide a unique swap body system equipped in ‘System 2500 – 2504’ in the light range of vehicles up to 12 tons GVW. It will be tested and patented this year and hopefully launched on the market in 2019. The above-mentioned system is Gniotpol’s response to the market demand for products that companies focused on mass production n of repeatable units are unable to implement.


Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

Jiří Černý, Plant Manager of Kvasiny

At full speed From its establishment, the ŠKODA brand has been turning out cutting-edge technologies and inventions. Now part of the VW Group and with another record year in terms of financial performance, its position is stronger than ever before, as confirmed by Jiří Černý, Plant Manager of Kvasiny, the company’s most progressive manufacturing facility.

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ast year, ŠKODA AUTO again increased sales revenue by 20 per cent to record breaking €16.5 billion. The company now employs over 35,000 people at its three Czech manufacturing sites and is set to grow further. In the next two years, a total of 19 new models will be launched, including the plug-in hybrid SUPERB and electric CITIGO, followed by the electric SUV Vision E in 2020. The company is also implementing the largest investment programme in its history. About two billion CZK will be spent on electromobiles and new mobility-related services, with 10 electrified models expected to join the portfolio by 2025.

State-of-the-art facility “ŠKODA AUTO is the largest Czech car manufacturer and one of the world’s oldest, with its history going back to 1895, when Václav Laurin and Václav Klement founded a company for bicycle

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production. In 1925 the business merged with the ŠKODA Works. A key milestone came in 1991 when ŠKODA AUTO became part of the multinational Volkswagen Group,” said Jiří Černý. “Kvasiny is a state-of-the-art plant with a rich tradition and an excellent, highly competent workforce,” he went on. “Cars have been built at the production site in eastern Bohemia since as early as 1934; ŠKODA commenced production in Kvasiny with the ŠKODA SUPERB 13 years later – and even back then the car was the brand’s flagship. Subsequent years saw further models being made here, including the FELICIA, the 110 R Coupé, the PICK-UP, the first and second generations of the SUPERB, the ROOMSTER and the YETI.” He noted that present-day Kvasiny’s more than 8500 employees produce around 1000 cars each day. In early 2017, the factories two-millionth vehicle was made here. “Today, the ŠKODA SUPERB

Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

and KODIAQ models are produced here, and, since 2017, our newly developed compact SUV, the KAROQ.” Currently, the ŠKODA AUTO plant in Kvasiny is finalising the largest modernisation and expansion in its history. As part of the SUV campaign, which began with the ŠKODA KODIAQ, a total of around seven billion CZK was invested in modernising the production processes. Production capacity now reaches more than 300,000 vehicles per year. “The Kvasiny plant has become an important pillar in achieving the production targets defined in our 2025 Strategy,” affirmed Mr Černý.

Focus on automation He further explained that the company continues to invest heavily in the location and is upgrading Kvasiny to a production competence centre – for SUVs amongst other things. Recent investments include a new automatic warehouse for small-sized parts (AKL), put into operation last year. The construction of the AKL is one of the biggest logistics projects in the modern history of the brand. ŠKODA AUTO has invested over €8 million in this innovative solution. Automatic storage of smaller parts allows for more efficient handling of the increasing complexity of material types and the logistics processes in the plant will make it even more flexible. In the new facility, which can store 45,000 small-load carriers, small parts are stored in a central location, with automated storage and picking processes. Parts are transported from the warehouse to the assembly line using autonomic trollies. “The uniqueness of the warehouse rests in the degree of its automation. Robots are deployed for the automated material receipt and issue and handle all material movements and transfer without any human intervention,” Mr Černý pointed out, adding that, hand-in-hand with the preparation of new models, the company invested in its Quality Centre to fully reflect future technology requirements.

Manager, I naturally most value the awards won by the models produced in our factory. In January 2018, the ŠKODA KAROQ became Car of the Year 2018 in the Czech Republic, when this compact SUV won over the panel of 35 motor journalists. The KAROQ even achieved a double success here – in addition to becoming the absolute winner, it also won the prize from the public in the small SUV category,” remarked Mr Černý. “In 2016, the first SUV ŠKODA KODIAQ also won ‘Best Family Car’ category from the British Top Gear Magazine. The Kvasinymanufactured ŠKODA SUPERB COMBI was awarded the ‘Best Estate Car’ in the same survey for the third consecutive year.” In October of last year, the plant again opened its gates to the public. “I would like to invite all fans of the ŠKODA brand to come and see us here in Kvasiny. From January 2018, we offer two-hour guided tours which will take visitors to the welding shops as well as to the assembly lines.” Mr Černý confirmed that the path to the future is firmly set for the Kvasiny plant. “Production of electric vehicles and electrical components represent a big step in the implementation of our Strategy 2025. The future of Kvasiny will also be electric. It is here that from 2019, the first electrified serial model of the ŠKODA brand – the ŠKODA n SUPERB with a plug-in hybrid drive – will roll off the line.”

Impressive present, electric future Over the years, various ŠKODA models have received numerous awards, with panels and customers appreciating the excellent priceperformance ratio, reliability, flexibility and design. “As the Kvasiny Plant Industry Europe 65


comfort solutions

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Belgian Recticel Group, a specialist in the manufacture and transformation of polyurethane foams for flexible foams, bedding, insulation and automotive applications, has a solid worldwide footing. A focus on sustainability and innovation have been the two factors strongly contributing to the group’s leading position and are also promoted by Recticel’s two major production facilities in the Czech Republic, supplying high-quality products to the automotive sector. Romana Moares reports.

Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

Recticel’s Automotive business line is clustered around two distinct activities: Interiors and Seating. Both serve highly demanding global Tier-1 customers as well as original equipment makers (OEM) in the automotive sector. Recticel’s solutions help to make cars lighter and thus more fuel-efficient. In a demanding automotive sector where just-in-time deliveries are crucial, the group’s technical expertise and the flexibility of its manufacturing set-up are seen as a competitive advantage. Recticel Interiors products can be found in the vehicles of many leading manufacturers, including BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, VW, Porsche, PSA, Renault, and Scania.

Czech operations


ecticel NV is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, and employs, including staff in joint ventures, over 8400 people in 98 sites across 28 countries. The group serves diverse markets, with Europe accounting for approximately 91 per cent of net sales, and a presence in the USA and Asia. Recticel supports the innovation and sustainability efforts of its industrial clients by developing proactive, responsible, value-adding solutions. The group’s activities are organised into four distinct business lines, each serving specific market sectors: Automotive, Bedding, Flexible Foam and Insulation. The Automotive sector is one of the most important for the group – it develops, produces and commercialises interior solutions (dashboard skins and door panels) on the basis of the unique, certified Colo-Fast® spray technology. The Automotive line operates numerous production plants in the USA, Germany, the Czech Republic and China.

The two Czech facilities, in Mladá Boleslav and Most, are the largest manufacturing units of the Automotive division. Recticel Interiors CZ was commenced as a green field development to support the group’s growing activities. In 2001, it started as a small factory employing 50 people, and series production for its first project – dashboard polyurethane skin for the Mercedes Vito and Viano – was launched in 2003. Other projects followed for BMW, Opel Astra, Volvo, Scania and others. Over the years it has grown into a large operation facility covering 15,000 square metres and employing almost 500 people. In 2007, Recticel won a production contract for the Mercedes E-class which was assigned to the Czech operation. To this end, the second subsidiary, RAI MOST, was established in 2007. Series production for Mercedes was launched in 2010, which was followed in 2011 by production for the Peugeot 408.. For car interiors, Recticel makes instrument panels and door panels in one-piece, large surface modules with integrated lower parts and seamless surfaces. The portfolio has the potential to extend to pillar covers, roof trim panels, centre consoles, side trim comIndustry Europe 67

ponents, armrests, seat panels and rear panels. Recticel’s proprietary spray technology (Colo-Fast®) allows production in multi-tone and multi-grain designs and stands out because of the enhanced freedom it offers to designers and manufacturers. In addition, the company provides lightweight 3D components for door panels, armrests, interior trims, cabriolet top covers, load floors, rear shelves and wheel arch panelling. The Czech plants are by no means mere processors. Several years ago, applied research and development was transferred to RAI MOST where a specific department was established focused on the development and production of technological assemblies as well as development of new materials and applications.

Lighter and cleaner Recticel’s entire development in the Czech Republic has been one on-going investment, both in technology and new product development. The portfolio is extended and innovated on an on-going basis, to reflect current trends for reduced weight and emissions and also to introduce new products to win additional projects from both existing and new customers. Recent successes include new contracts for Volvo won last year for the manufacture of instrumentation panel

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surfaces in a range of colours and types, planned to be launched in the first half of 2018. Last year Recticel in the Czech Republic also launched mass production with application of the innovative lightweight Colo-Sense Lite. The aim of the project is to launch the patented production of automotive interior finishes in imitation leather, and to commission independent new-generation production lines. Sustainability has always been at the heart of Recticel’s activities and is an important element of the Automotive business line, where customer demand for reduced carbon emissions pushes the innovation processes to develop lightweight materials. Over the years, Colo-Fast® has undergone continuous improvements and upgrades, culminating in the popular Colo-Sense® Lite material, consisting of a dual-layer surface that offers considerable weight reduction and lower emissions. It makes a valuable contribution to sustainability and cost-efficiency, and is currently very well received by the market. Sustainability will further shape the group’s portfolio strategy and its innovation priorities, and as a result, will support its long-term competitiveness. In the future, the company wants to continue to develop and employ new materials, which will bring environmental benefits, in line with its general strategy to continue providing first-class products to both n new and existing customers.

chemicals, petrochemicals and offshore

Rochester Gauges, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with several production facilities in various parts of the world, continues to stay ahead of its competitors. It has just launched a new product and is determined to remain a market leader in its sector, as Romana Moares reports.

Solid tradition, promising future

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ochester Gauges started as Rochester Manufacturing in Rochester, New York in 1913 with the introduction of the first liquid level gauge. From there the company grew to include several other product lines. Rochester’s growth is closely linked to the growth of the commercial sale of L.P. Gas (Propane). As one of the first companies to develop a liquid level gauge for the propane industry, Rochester continues to be a leading innovator not only in the propane market but also in the agricultural, aircraft, automotive, industrial, marine, off-highway, locomotive, refrigeration and process equipment markets. Today the still family-owned business employs around 500 people and operates, in addition to its US facility, three manufacturing subsidiaries in Mexico and Belgium, and has recently opened an office in Shanghai to support sales in the Asian market. “Our very long and extensive experience in the gauge business with numerous applications, as well as our engineering expertise, 70 Industry Europe

give us a strong advantage over our competitors,” says Cedric Jottard, the general manager of the Belgian facility, Rochester Gauges International. He goes on to highlight the company’s focus on product quality and design while maintaining a high level of flexibility, including short lead times and rapid order deliveries.

Market innovator Rochester Gauges manufactures mechanical float level gauges mainly for LPG applications (for cylinders, domestic tanks, delivery trucks, storage tanks and process industry); however, it also offers level gauges for almost any liquid into almost any container, stationary or mobile. Adequate construction materials (plastic, aluminium, brass, zinc or stainless steel 316) are selected according to the medium and the environment, including DME, refrigerant gases, Ammonia, CO2, LPG, Ethanol, Ad-Blue, Chemicals, Gasoline, LNG, Methanol, Water, Jet-A1

chemicals, petrochemicals and offshore

tunities where consumers are nowadays considering the connectivity and IIOT (Industrial Internet Of Things). In addition, the R&D department in the US is currently working on a cryogenic probe for the automotive market in view of its huge growth potential,” he reveals.

Global presence

fuel, Bio-diesel, Crude oil, Liquid Oxygen and many others. The group’s popular and high quality products, notably its Magnetel™ ‘Rough Rider’ gauge, Junior or Senior gauge, Reed Switches fuel sender, Capacitance Cryogenics probe and Hall Effect Twiniste™ sensors, ensure it remains the market leader on the global market. In 2000, besides ISO-9001 certification, Rochester became CE approved according to the pressure equipment directive (PED), and was later certified by other European regulations such as TPED, R67 and ATEX. Rochester can supply tank gauging solutions from cylinders to large storage tanks ranging from diameters of eight inches (200mm) up to 17 feet (5200mm), including domestic tanks, LPG delivery trucks and trailers, ISO containers, off-highway vehicles, compressors and gen sets. With electronic sensors and receivers, which can easily be retrofitted on existing gauges, Rochester also provides products for telemetry or automated applications, providing the opportunity to keep a local direct reading with an extra resistive, current or voltage output. The portfolio also includes liquid level senders, liquid level switches, aircraft fuel and engine instrumentation, diaphragm temperature senders, pressure indicators, bimetal thermometers, electrical system safety disconnect switches, and flow indicators. “Many features of gauges in today’s market can be attributed to innovations developed by Rochester over the years,” says Cedric Jottard. The company has just launched a Bluetooth transmitter (battery powered), allowing the first wireless short distance transmission for Rochester Gauges and tank content: “Feedback from our worldwide distributors has been very promising,” affirms the general manager. “Our R&D department is currently working on a low power sensor for remote reading and wireless telemetry purposes, which can be retrofitted onto existing Rochester level gauges and hopefully also generate new oppor-

Rochester’s client base includes tank manufacturers and refurbishers, OEMs, gas companies, telemetry networking management suppliers and retailers. “The group has a global presence but Rochester Gauges International covers primarily the markets of the EU, the Middle East, Far East and Africa,” says the general manager, stressing the importance of the company’s strong distribution network for LPG products. “The company’s reputation and success is, of course, closely related to its suppliers. Most of our supplies come from the USA – it is the parent company that is in charge of global procurement for the Rochester Group. But of course we work with European companies also. We have a solid, long-term partnership with Dehaye Plastics (Belgium), Kilian Industries (Germany), Soteba (Belgium), Lesage (Belgium), Omerin (France), to name just a few.” Existing and potential customers will have the chance to see the latest additions to Rochester’s portfolio in various trade shows and exhibitions over the coming months. “We will be exhibiting in Morocco for the 30th WLPG forum at the beginning of October,” says Cedric Jottard. “Trade shows give us the opportunity to present new products or highlight specific developments to suit local market requirements, exchange directly with end users and our distributors, learn about new requirements and hopefully extend our business.” The general manager confirms that besides mechanical gauges, Rochester will focus more and more on probes and sensors, providing digital output according to actual and future industry requirements, such as M2M communication and IIOT. “We will continue to invest both in our operational and R&D capability, as we believe innovation is the key to growth.” Cedric Jottard, General Manager Industry Europe 71

From ideas to implementation Due to their long history and expert knowledge Utiber has gradually become one of the largest consulting engineering firms in Hungary and gained extensive experience in the preparation and management of transportation, environmental and construction tasks. Edina Beale takes a look at the company’s most important projects and discusses its future goals and upcoming opportunities.

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Construction & ENGINEERING


present Utiber Transport Consulting Management Ltd (Utiber Kft) is playing a leading role in a number of areas linked to construction development projects in Hungary. The company offers significant construction planning and design services as well as providing the best solutions for carrying out high quality engineering tasks, including preparation and project management. In addition, Utiber offers the entire array of activities relating to planning and project management – its specialised departments working as independent units to advise on construction technology, cost calculation, land procurement and management of public procurement. Thanks to its diverse activities and its specialist team of experts, Utiber is able to carry out any project from the very beginning to the end – reflected by its motto ‘From ideas to implementation’. In addition to its committed permanent staff, Utiber employs special experts and sub-consultants on a contract basis. Their extensive professional background in engineering, economics, law and other disciplines ensures the implementation of projects completed to the highest quality standards, in strict observation of deadlines and at

favourable costs in order to meet the requirements of clients and operators alike. This diversity of expertise enables the firm to manage civil engineering and building projects throughout the whole project cycle, from the feasibility studies until the client’s takeover of the completed facility.

Steady growth Utiber Kft is the successor of the Transport Consulting Management Company, which was established as a state owned company on 1 January 1971. Since its privatisation in 1990, Utiber has been privately owned and has gradually developed to become a significant player in the development of road infrastructure in Hungary. The company today employs 150 people and besides its central office in Budapest it operates a network of branch offices throughout Hungary. After the privatisation, Utiber began to extend its activities; besides road construction the company has found new opportunities in civil engineering. In recent years the procurement department

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has had an increasing workload of projects relating to rail and complex transportation development and has worked on environmental development projects including flood detection, sewage systems, waste management and water systems. The establishment of its planning and design department was a real breakthrough in the company’s history. At the beginning this office only had a few staff concentrating mainly on road infrastructure. Today it brings in three-quarters of the HUF 5–6 billion annual turnover and employs more than 100 people. Its planning services cover the full range of transportation and environmental infrastructure.

Key projects In recent decades Utiber has worked on numerous projects, some of the most challenging of which have been the construction of the M1, M3 and M5 motorway concessions. The company’s involvement in rail infrastructure development was an important milestone. Its most renowned project was the modernisation of the Szajol-Püspökladány rail track, covering more than 100km, and the planning preparation and permission planning of the Miskolc-Nyíregyháza railway line. Utiber is also regularly requested to carry out strategic planning tasks at a macro-economic level. Such projects have included the long-term development planning of the national clearway and main road system and the preparation of the rail development concept – both of which have become the elements of the National Transportation Strategy in Hungary.

Foreign expansion A few years ago Utiber began to look for opportunities in central and eastern Europe. The company soon established a subsidiary in Serbia and achieved some market success in Romania and Slovakia 74 Industry Europe

Construction & ENGINEERING

too. Mr György Lakits, CEO of Utiber Ltd, discusses the company’s strategy for foreign expansion: “In Serbia our aim is to acquire the company culture that we need for establishing subsidiaries in other countries. When we achieve success in Serbia we will move to other markets. Until then we only operate as sub-contractors or join with other companies to win public procurement projects abroad; at present targeting Romania and Slovakia.”

Mr Lakits believes the firm has a stable market position and sees good future prospects: “Our aim is to maintain our market leading role and stay among the three most significant players in the domestic market. Primarily we intend to maintain our level of turnover and only expect slow growth. In the next two years we will target new sectors or look for new opportunities abroad in the market of technical control whilst n expecting smaller growth in the planning segment.”

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The bigger the better Főmterv, Hungary’s leading engineering consultancy, has more than 60 years’ experience in civil engineering and infrastructure design. Due to its extensive specialist knowledge and highly trained design engineers with exceptional problem-solving skills, the firm is often invited to work on large-scale and challenging projects worldwide. Edina Beale reports.


őmterv was established by Budapest Council in 1950 for the restoration of the capital city after the war. All centralised specialist design and development units were set up to work in the city on civil engineering projects including road systems, utility systems and bridges. When privatisation took place in 1992 the employees accessed company shares and have become the owners of the firm. Today Főmterv employs 300 people; from this, 240 are professionally trained specialist design engineers. The activities of the firm have been extended over the decades, but the preparation of transport development strategies remains its core activity. From the total of 1100 qualified design engineers in Hungary, one quarter works for Főmterv; this is reflected in its market position as Főmterv is dominant in most of its activities, taking about 25–30 per cent share of the domestic market.

‘We solve problems’ Most projects Főmterv is involved in are large-scale, challenging assignments. In fact its philsophy is: the bigger the project the better. The company is eager to utilise its specialist engineering knowledge and decades of experience to resolve difficult engineering tasks. It was Főmterv that prepared Hungary’s national transport development and transport strategy plan, but the majority of the capital’s sewage system planning has been designed by the firm too. The

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renovation of the Margaret bridge, the rail link between the International Airport and Budapest inner city, many motorway systems, Zalaegerszeg proving ground for autonomous vehicles, the Budapest–Belgrade rail upgrade and the engineering design of Metro line 4 are just a few of the company’s more recent assignments. Clearly Főmterv is the first choice when it comes to large-scale and complex projects. “Főmterv has remained in the market for so many decades because we not only complete the given tasks, but more importantly we solve problems,” says CEO Tibor Keszthelyi. “We are not cheap but guarantee the highest standards and therefore partners with serious and risky projects invest in us.”

Exporting the knowledge Owing to its excellent reputation, Főmterv has managed to build relationships abroad and has worked on several foreign projects in recent times. It has planned large water systems at the Austrian border and designed gas transport pipes towards Slovakia, while important projects in Romania included sewage system design and motorway planning from Cernavoda and Constanta. The Doha Metro in Qatar is one of the world’s largest metro systems currently under construction, and Főmterv took part in this massive development project, as Mr Keszthelyi reveals: “We

Construction & ENGINEERING

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Europort Ltd. Europort Ltd is very pleased to participate in this celebration of FŐMTERV. The company has a long standing relationship with FŐMTERV, which is built on trust, openness and joint efforts to give the best possible solution to FŐMTERV’s end customers. Europort Ltd has been delivering reliable and good, quality services continuously.

are present in Saudi Arabia and we have a joint venture in Qatar for which we worked on the Green metro line; an 18km track passage was designed by Főmterv. We gained exceptional knowledge and valuable experience in the field of underground transport systems in Budapest. This was the reason one of our partners in Qatar approached us with this task.” The project provided the opportunity for Főmterv to work with local partners using the BIM (Building Information Modelling) process, an intelligent 3D model-based process. “Transport system planning is about developing ideas to fine-tune different methods of transport and city development so that they support each other and create a positive energy,” adds Mr Keszthelyi. “We are good at this as we have excellent backgrounds in modelling and economics, and employ economists and specialist design engineers so we can export this activity for a very reasonable price compared to western European rates. The Arabic countries want to introduce a centralised transport system concept and it looks like we will take part in producing this.”

Arising opportunities Mr Keszthelyi believes there will be demand for the company’s services all across Europe as he sees opportunities in the reconstruction of old railway systems and new markets in the developing countries.

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“We have a dominant position in the domestic market and I believe we will be able to maintain this if we continue to train our engineers so they have up-to-date IT knowledge. I trust in our neighbouring countries; I look forward to Serbia joining the EU, and hope to see peace in Romanian politics so we can work with our neighbours. There could be a shortage of engineers in Romania as many of them went abroad to work. We are also in contact with our partners in Western Europe who often call for our help; recently for example we have been bidding a bridge construction project in Norway. “The opportunity to provide maintenance support once a project is completed is already recognised in Hungary; however, it is not in practice yet,” explains Mr Keszthelyi. “There is a growing interest in energy economics in our business, too. In Hungary new construction developments have started in the past few years but today those have to adhere to strict environmental requirements and our task is finding out how to create the most energy-efficient system using either geothermal energy or district heating. This will be an exciting challenge in the future, even in other areas like underground transport system design, as metro systems require enormous energy resources and there are plenty of technological solutions now available to reduce the energy consumption of these complex systems. I see great future opportunities in these types of projects.”

Energy & Utilities

Solid foundations Global Project Services, based in northern Scotland, is an expert at delivering specialist welding, structural, mechanical and piping services to its multi-sector clients. Established some 20 years ago, the company has gradually increased its international presence. Romana Moares spoke with Managing Director Gavin MacDonald about the company’s unique capabilities, one of its flagship projects and emerging new business opportunities.


lobal Project Services, a member of the Global Energy Group, a highly successful, award-winning energy sector service group, operates within the oil and gas industries onshore and offshore. It supports customers in the petrochemical, refinery, power station, nuclear, fabrication and LNG markets from new-build construction projects through to turnarounds and maintenance and upgrade programmes. “We are a specialist welding contractor, with core services ranging from welding engineering and metallurgy through to high-end specification, and from development of clients’ welding procedures through to actual welding work,” says Gavin MacDonald. “The key capability that distinguishes us from similar companies is our range of specialised welding methods – we work with clients to be able to understand their technical challenges, then develop the welding

specifications and look at potential different welding applications that are best suited for the job. The reason why we do this is that we try to challenge conventional welding methods with the aim of maintaining all our quality values while delivering cost-effective solutions for clients,” he says, explaining the company’s approach. The company applies manual welding processes, semi-automatic as well as fully automatic processes, and mainly works as a subcontractor to EPC companies (Engineering, Procurement and Construction contractors). Over the years, GPS has gathered a wealth of experience from major construction projects throughout the UK, Europe and Scandinavia on developments involving major operators such as Statoil, Shell, Hitachi, Dragon Oil, Petroplus, Lyondell, Esso and Exxon. “Demand for subcontracting particular services increased during the times when the oil & gas sector collapsed and a lot of large companies struggled to survive, getting rid of service providers in favour of lower-cost alternatives,” says Mr MacDonald. However, the scope of solutions that GPS offers has been applied in numerous projects in other sectors – the company has worked, for example, for the Ministry of Defence (submarines) and on infrastructure development projects (tunnelling), to name just two.

Growth in the north Mr MacDonald explains that one country that has been in focus in the last few years has been Norway. With its specialised welding services, GPS has supported several construction and maintenance projects as well as modification programmes. “We first entered the Norwegian market in 2004. What got us the work was our welding specialities. Companies recognised that we offered something more.” He makes no secret of the fact that Norway will remain an important market. With its production of two million barrels of oil per day, it is Europe’s largest oil producer. The decision made at the end of last year to develop the Castberg oil field in the Barents Sea sent an optimistic signal to the oil and gas sector. “We have always remained very close to the Norwegian market and have had some fantastic experience there, working for major companies within large construction programmes. In the last few years, when the pound was very strong, it was very difficult for a UK company to set up a foreign subsidiary. Although the solutions may have been great, their price was just too high to compete. Whatever one may think of the recent political development from the personal point of view, a Industry Europe 79

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weaker pound has opened up some interesting opportunities for us,” Mr MacDonald admits. “We remain committed to that market and have confidence that the economy will soon pick up. But welding is not the only service we want to offer – as our business has evolved over time, we now have facilities here in the north of Scotland specialising in highend pipe fabrication. This is a significant expansion of our portfolio.”

Decommissioning flagship project The other end of the construction sector is decommissioning – an area in which GPS has also managed to position itself as a trustworthy partner, supporting a number of projects including the flagship Brent Delta Decommissioning programme. “Global Project Services were contracted by Wood Group PSN / Shell UK Ltd to undertake the principal welding services contract on the decommissioning of the Brent Delta offshore asset in the North Sea in April 2015,” said Mr MacDonald. “Over the 15-month campaign Global Project Services inlaid 25.4km of weld into the structure with a repair rate of just 0.01 per cent and zero LTI (Lost Time Injuries) on a 163,000+ man-hours project.” The scope of work was extensive and included provision of technical weld engineering, provision of technical support onshore and offshore, development of offshore simulation welding trials in the form of a test bed set-up operation within the company’s Nigg fabrication shop facility, provision of all welding plant, tools and equipment as well as of heat treatment services. GPS also completed structural steelwork welding of K Prep 60mm wall thickness cruciform sections, sea fastening, grillage and cellar deck module strengthening.

“The project was completed 180+km north-east of the Shetland Islands in an ultra-harsh operating environment and to the ultimate satisfaction of our client and asset operator,” said Mr MacDonald. “As a consequence of our performance on the Brent Delta, Global Project Services were further engaged by Wood / Shell UK Ltd to undertake the Brent Bravo topside decommissioning programme in April 2017. This is currently an active project for our company.”

Solid values He emphasises that delivering work to the highest quality standards and ensuring safe working environments are central to business operations. “We focus on production, low-repair weld and high-end quality, trying to maintain top standards. In this context I would like to stress that our most valued asset is our people. They are fundamental, the core of the business, they have made us what we are today. And I’m proud to say that we were able to navigate through the difficult times without losing a single one of our people. “We follow solid company values – we are an environmentally clean company that fully complies with all applicable legislation, following the ethical code and best practices. That is important and certainly helped us win some of the recent prestigious projects.” He confirms that the company will further strive to reposition itself with a view to capitalising on new market opportunities. “We want to enhance our reputation not only as a welding but also pipeline and subsea work contractor. As such, we are going to seek ways of further strengthening n our position in export markets, primarily, but not only, Norway.”

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Building on diversity Renco is an Italian construction and engineering company that has a fast-growing product portfolio. Today Renco is building on its success in sectors such as renewable energy, power production and storage systems, as well as construction and infrastructure. Philip Yorke reports on the latest developments at Renco and its focus on supplying technical personnel, as well as its strong growth in the photovoltaic, oil & gas markets.

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Energy & Utilities


enco SpA is headquartered in Pessario, central Italy, where it was established in 1979 by Mr Ronaldo Gasparini, and started out as a design and engineering organisation for the oil and gas industry. Following many years of consistent growth the company began to diversify in the 1990s, when it entered the construction market and began building residential facilities in Kazakhstan and Russia. Currently the company is divided into four distinct operating divisions: industrial plants, infrastructure, services and asset management. Renco’s Industrial Plants division focuses on turnkey EPC contracting, as well as the installation of upstream oil and gas plants, including gas compression and storage systems. This specialised division also supplies services to the renewable energy industry for wind farms, photovoltaic systems and hydroelectric facilities. With countless major projects currently being undertaken in more than 50 countries worldwide, Renco has grown to become a significant global player in its chosen disciplines. Today the company’s mission is to provide best-in-class, customised and integrated technical services, designed to place Renco in a leading global position in the markets that it serves. The company is fully certified according to ISO9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2105 standards, as well as to OHSAS 18001:2007. In 2017 the Renco Group recorded sales of more than €200 million and employed over 4000 people.

Unrivalled expertise Since its foundation in 1979, Renco has strived to deliver efficient, cost-effective solutions through its unrivalled expertise and knowhow, as well as via its innovative practices and proven solutions, all of which are tailored to suit each client’s individual needs.

Continuing to build on its many successes, Renco was recently awarded another major EPC contract involving the design, manufacture and installation of a number of compressor stations, which are to be built in Greece and Albania. This significant contract was awarded to Renco by its client, TAP, and covers the provision of engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of compression stations at Fier and Kipoi, as well as a metering station at Billisht. The metering station was designed to measure the natural gas coming from the Greek station of TAP. More recently, Renco was also awarded a similar TAP contract for EPC in Italy, involving the main pipeline terminal.

Winning in Astana For the three months from June to September 2017, Italy was represented at the 2017 ‘Energy of the Future’ Expo, which took place in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. Renco won the contract for the design and building of this prestige expo country presence and created a stand that covered over 900 square metres and was one of the biggest stands of the entire expo. Renco was only given a window of three months in order to design and produce the vast stand for Italy. The President of the Renco Group, Mr Giovani Gasparini, commented, “I was confident from the start that Renco would complete the project successfully in favour of our country, for an event that caught global attention since the theme was energy, a subject which is very much at the heart of Renco’s operations.” The Italian Ambassador in Kazakhstan, Mr Stefano Ravagnan, commended Renco on its innovation, professionalism and the hard work it carried out for the 2107 Expo in Astana.

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Expanding global presence Following its successful village building project in Mozambique, where Renco designed and built an complete holiday complex, the company has increased its focus in the region to include the oil and gas sector, where recently important oil and gas reserves have been discovered. This is very much in line with the company’s expansion strategy in which, having established a presence in one market, it is following this up with involvement in others. Renco’s ambitious plans for growth include increasing its presence in Iraq and the United Arab Emirates to serve the oil and gas industries. Currently the geographical markets served by the company include Kazakhstan, Armena, Congo, Russia, Tanzania, France, Poland and Columbia. The type of activity varies from country to country. For exam-

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ple, in Armenia, Renco is active in the construction sector, whilst in the Congo it is operational in the field of oil and gas. Gasparini said, “In the short term I see the future as unfolding in terms of organic growth, while in the medium and long term, acquisitions could be making a significant contribution. Our various divisions generate and facilitate work for each other, in addition to offering savings, which we pass on to our clients, as many of our overheads are shared. This is a winning business model because it balances cashflow, as well as creating synergies that we can use for n future growth.” For further details of Renco’s latest innovative products and services visit:

Food and Beverage

New ideas to freshen up In the past two decades Tesco has been making great efforts to maintain its successful operation in Hungary. Edina Beale reports on some of the latest changes that were made by Tesco in Hungary to improve customer service, as well as bringing attention to their latest schemes to mitigate food waste and discussing a new project to popularise Hungarian wine in the UK.

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ritish retail giant Tesco entered Hungary in 1994 when it acquired a small local supermarket group, S-Market, based in north-west Hungary. In 1996, Tesco opened the first hypermarket in Budapest. With 206 stores across Hungary, today it serves fresh food to 3 million customers every week on average. Throughout the past two decades Tesco has put great emphasis on its strong customer focus and is constantly examining changing customer habits in order to improve its services. Its most recent move to stay in harmony with the latest trends has been to make some changes in the operation of the bakery and fresh food counters. More and more Tesco stores in Hungary are now set to bring in partially-baked products instead of making them from scratch in their in- house bakery, while some of the fresh food counters will be operated by external partners in the future.

Supplier Network In August last year Tesco also successfully developed and introduced its new Supplier Network interactive platform, which represents a new approach to its European and international suppliers in marking cooperation, innovation and sustainability. Through the Supplier Network, its partners are able to discuss the hidden oppor-

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tunities and challenges in providing products that are produced to outstanding quality standards, at the best price value and originate from a sustainable environment. All members of the Network are able to get in contact with Tesco employees and other suppliers in order to learn from each other’s experiences.

Fighting food waste Tesco in Hungary has been working with the Hungarian Food Bank Association since 2014 in order to fight against food waste. Its food saving programme involves colleagues in the stores collecting, sorting and giving away products that are no longer saleable but are still good enough to consume. These donations, which normally include vegetables, fruit and baked goods, are given to local people in need. This programme has been continuously expanded and 2017 was an outstanding record year in various respects. The number of Tesco stores that took part in this programme has passed 100, and once the first supermarkets and express stores joined it had increased to 139 by the end of the year. In 2017, Tesco donated 6745 tonnes of food to charity, which is nearly two and half times more than in the previous year.

Another important tool to combat food waste was also introduced last year when Tesco launched the Perfectly Imperfect supply, which helps suppliers to reduce waste by accepting fruit and vegetables that may not have a perfect look or shape but are still faultless in terms of quality. Since the start of this programme more than 600,000kg of produce has been saved from the dump. In the beginning, this programme was running at only 12 stores in Hungary, but due to the positive customer feedback in autumn 2017 Tesco rolled it out across 12 hypermarkets and from the beginning of 2018 the programme has been running in 148 stores, including supermarkets. Apart from the availability of the supply, the ‘wonky’ fruit and vegetable product range has also been gradually extended. Besides apples, carrots and potatoes, hypermarkets also have a constant supply of ‘imperfect’ avocados, garlic and sweet potato, as well as seasonal vegetables and fruits.

Hungarian wine in UK stores With some 22 wine regions and numerous wine ranges, Hungarian wine fans have trouble classifying the variety on offer. In order to make this easier and to popularise Hungarian wine on an international scale, the Wine Concept umbrella brand was created, which presents 18 different type of bottled wine from five wine regions (Balaton, Eger, Szekszárd, Tokaj, Villány) under one name. The aim of the Hungarian National Trading House, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Tesco and the Wine Concept Zrt strategic cooperation is to boost exports of Hungarian wine and to establish a sustainable business model. The project will also demonstrate how well

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and efficiently the government can work with market players (traders and producers) in order to achieve a strategic goal. As a result of this cooperation, since September 2017 12 per cent of the Hungarian wine being sold in the Czech, Polish and Slovak Tesco stores were from the Wine Concept supply, and this is more than 170,000 bottles of wine; while since the beginning of the cooperation the quantity sold has reached half a million bottles. Now the retail store is ready to take the next step and extend the Wine Concept products to the UK: from April 2018 the umbrella brand can be found on shelves in the British Tesco stores. n

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New customer-

centric technology

Marks & Spencer is an iconic British multinational retailer that sets the highest standards for the industry. In line with its reputation, the company has embarked on a major customer-centric technology transformation programme. Philip Yorke reports.


arks & Spencer (M&S) specialises in the selling of clothing, home products and luxury food items. The company was founded in 1884 by Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer in Leeds, UK. In recent years the company has seen consistent growth and today operates almost 1000 stores across the UK, including 615 that sell food products only. In addition, M&S has 454 international stores with 58 in India, 48 in Turkey, 37 in Russia, 27 in Greece and 17 in Ireland among many others. In 2017 the company employed 85,000 people and recorded consolidated sales of more than £10.6 billion.

Making M&S special As part of its 5-year transformation programme, ‘Making M&S Special’, the company has announced the launch of a new Technology Transformation Programme that will enable it to become a digital-first business and deliver significant improvements in customer experience. It is designed to create a more agile, faster and commercial technology function that will work with business to deliver growth. Following a major review of M&S’s technology capabilities, changes are being made to deliver technology that brings real value, at pace, to its business customers. These changes include the creation of a new technology operating model, which will drive considerable efficiencies in how M&S exploits new technology, including the adoption of industry agile methods, which become effective from 1 March 2018. In addition, the appointment of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), one of the world’s leading technology companies, has been appointed as M&S’s principal technology partner. The new technology programme will deliver annual efficiencies of £30 million by 2021/22 and drive clearer accountabilities, as well as a more customer-centric approach to technology services. Industry Europe 91

Steve Rowe, M&S CEO, said, “We are committed to transforming M&S for our colleagues, customers and shareholders by delivering digital-first retailing across our stores and offices. Technology plays a huge role in this transformation and having the right partners and model will enable us to be more agile, flexible and responsive. Through our new Technology Transformation Programme our business will be faster, simpler and more focused on achieving a seamless customer experience.” Under this transformation programme for business, the focus will be on restoring the basics, shaping the future and making M&S special.

Ambitious sustainability plan In 2017 M&S updated its ‘Plan A 2025’, an ambitious customerfocused sustainability plan. The eco and ethical programme builds

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on the success of the first ten years of Plan A and will support 1000 communities, help 10 million people live healthier lives and convert M&S into a zero-waste business. This three-pillar plan is designed to tackle the big issues facing retailers, consumer businesses and society today. It spans customer and colleague well-being, transforming lives and communities and caring for the planet. Each pillar includes pioneering new commitments such as making all M&S packaging widely recyclable, at least half of all food sales to come from healthier products and all key raw materials that M&S uses to come from sustainable sources. “Marks & Spencer has been at the forefront of social change for 133 years and we are determined to play a leading role in the years ahead.. Plan A 2015 will help us to build a sustainable future by helping our customers live healthier lives and supporting the communities

Food and Beverage

they live in. We believe that we can engage all our 32 million customers, 85,000 colleagues and 200,000 shareholders in the plan that will become a mass voice for sustainable change,” added Rowe.

Flying high with British Airways British Airways has announced it is partnering with M&S to offer customers on short-haul flights the option to purchase a premium food range at 35,000ft. The new British Airways menu will replace the current complimentary snacks and will include items from the ‘M&S Food on the Move’ selection. These are now available in the economy cabin on short haul and domestic flights from Heathrow and Gatwick, as well as at London City airport and Stansted. Andy Adcock, director of food at M&S, said, “We’re proud to be supplying a great British brand with a reputation for quality and customer service that mirrors our own. For 35 years we’ve had a marketleading ‘Food on the Move’ offer and we will supply British Airways with customer favourites and healthy choices made with outstanding ingredients, all with the performance you would expect from M&S.” Throughout the year the aim is to deliver bespoke items designed specifically for British Airways’ customers. Elements of the menu will n change on a quarterly basis to reflect the seasons. For more details of the M&S technology transformation programme and its innovative services visit:

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Best Salami Pick Pick Szeged Zrt, a Hungarian firm with a 150-year history, is the largest Mangalica meat producer in the world; its flagship product is the world famous Pick Original Winter Salami. The company has recently begun a new research and development project in order to take its salami production to the next level, as Edina Beale reports.

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or almost 150 years, Pick Szeged Zrt has produced one of Hungary’s most well-known meat product brand, the Pick Winter Salami, along with many other meat products. Since 2006 Pick Szeged has been a member of the Bonafarm group, a Hungarian firm that operates a group of companies providing the best quality food products for their customers. In 2016 Pick Szeged sold 78,429 tonnes of products, which resulted in a HUF 70 billion turnover, from which HUF 20 billion was accounted for by export activities. While its biggest market in Europe is, Pick has a significant presence in Russia and the Far East. The company cuts and processes more than 350,000 pigs in one year, which results in annual sales of 45,000 tonnes of processed products. Its extensive premium product selection includes salamis and dry sausages, cold cuts, liver pates, frankfurters and meat prod-

ucts made from the unique Mangalica pork. In addition to the Pick brand, the company produces the Herz, Família, Délhús and Ringa brands. Among many of its new exciting developments, Pickstick snack sausages achieved the most success when the product was launched with international branding to be sold on both the domestic and foreign markets in September 2015. Pickstick products come in both mild and spicy flavours and their modern premium packaging provides an attractive and practical solution for customers to consume these products anywhere.

Number one employer The Pick brand is not only well-known on the consumer market but is also recognised as a valuable brand in Hungary’s employment market. The Bonafarm group employs 6000 staff across Hungary and Pick

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Szeged is the biggest employer in the region, providing jobs for 2200 people. Due to the integrated production system the Bonafarm group operates, Pick is able to provide unique opportunities for people who wish to make their career in the food industry or agriculture. They are able to learn about the whole spectrum of food production, from the production of raw ingredients to the sales of final products. Based on the results of the world’s biggest independent employer brand research, in 2017 Pick Szeged Zrt received an award for being the best employer in its category. In this representative research companies were rated according to several aspects, including career opportunities, training, long-term job security and work/life balance. “This award is a great pleasure and pride for us as the opinion of our current and potential future staff is extremely important to

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us,” said Endre Nagy, chief executive of Pick Szeged Zrt. “We believe that our committed and experienced staff and our professional expertise developed over many generations are the keys to our success. Thanks to the Bonafarm group we have a stable background that provides long-term job opportunities for our employees. Besides this, we contribute to their professional development by providing them with continuous training opportunities and offering good prospects for our colleagues to forge ahead.”

Reforming salami production In October 2017 Pick Szeged Zrt collaborated with the University of Szeged (SZTE) to begin a research and development project with the aim of finding innovative solutions for improving the competitive position of traditional meat products. The project will continue until

Food and Beverage

2021 and cost HUF 2.57 billion, of which 1.71 billion will be funded by the European Union. Pick will work together with the educational institution to tackle several issues – to reduce the water content of meat, to develop new smoking procedures, to standardise natural mould culture, to optimise climate technology and to improve automation with regards to packaging and product development. Some of the challenges will cover the entire salami production process and it is expected that the results can be easily adapted to the meat industry; in fact they could even become a new model for salami production. The research team are hoping to shorten the time-span of the smoking procedure by optimising the process and therefore reducing the amount of wood used for this activity. The aim of the mould culture examination is to find a solution that will guarantee consistently high product quality at all times. During the development of climate technology they will create models and technological procedures to reduce water use. The focus of the automation project is the packaging and peeling processes; the aim is to develop an automated robot or hybrid technological system for improving these processes. When working on product development, Pick is hoping to significantly increase the shelf life of meat products and to reduce or even totally replace the artificial additives, while maintaining the flavour. All in all, by the end of this complex project, Pick Hungary could well become the n biggest innovator in salami production.

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Maximising mini-speaker performance Woodtai Enterprises is a market leader in the design and manufacture of mini-speakers for a broad range of industrial and consumer applications. Since it was founded in 1981, the company has seen consistent growth thanks to its ability to meet market challenges and provide solutions for customers who require specific characteristics. Philip Yorke reports.

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Home Electronics, Appliances & HVAC


oodtai Enterprises Ltd is not afraid to enter new markets or develop new technologies in-house. The company is currently in the process of developing some exciting, new software programs to increase its innovative design capabilities and to shorten the time-to-market for its new products. Woodtai was founded in Hong Kong in 1981 and quickly established itself as an ambitious company with an enviable reputation for innovation and quality. In 1989 strong growth prompted its move from Hong Kong to Shenzen on the Chinese mainland. This was a strategic move that was arranged in order to increase its manufacturing capacity and logistics potential. Another milestone was achieved in 1990 when the company moved its primary production site and R&D facilities to Xiamen, China. Interestingly, Woodtai was the first mini-speaker manufacturer to operate in Hong Kong and today is the leading manufacturer in its field. Currently the company operates two manufacturing sites at Xiamen and Quanzhou, which are both located in Fujian Province. The company has sales offices in Xiamen, Dongguan and Hong Kong.

Focus on automation With a dedicated focus on automation and sustainability, Woodtai has continued to make major investments in new technology and renewable energy systems. Increased automation will mean even greater precision and will also help the company to maintain its pole position in the global marketplace. What makes Woodtai products unique is not only its innovative approach to providing optimal solutions, but also its commitment to

the environment and best practice throughout all its operations. For example, increasing its Coil Mini Speakers from 6mm to 50mm and offering high fidelity with low distortion is a typical example of how it stays ahead of the competition. The company also manufactures advanced Tele-coils, sound tubes and bone conductors for modern hearing aids. Another strength is its ability to customise acoustics characteristics in relation to its customers’ individual requirements. Woodtai’s key customers are to be found mainly in Europe and Japan, however its customers’ consumer electronic products are sold worldwide. As a major electronic component manufacturer and supplier, Woodtai Enterprses needs to fulfil a range of complex environmental regulations that differ from country to country. In order to

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achieve optimal efficiency, the company operates a tried and tested supplier management system and strict quality control regimens at every stage of production. Woodtai is very selective when it comes to appointing its own suppliers, who must meet the same high standards as they do. Most of the company’s suppliers are based in China, however one of its most important suppliers is based in Taiwan and is called Fuyunn Electronic Limited. An official company spokesperson told Industry Europe, “We are very confident of our future growth which we like to maintain at a steady rate, avoiding any dramatic spikes in our sales. Currently we are dedicated to exploring some new speaker design software, in order to increase our speaker design capability and to shorten product development time.”

Growing sports sector The market for electronic devices in the sports sector shows no sign of slowing down. In order to cater for this fast-growing young sector, Woodtai has developed an advanced water-resistant headphone set. Commenting on the future of the electronics sector, the company said that there were two paths ahead. One would be to go for the high-tech end of the market and the other would be to opt for the compact, microelectronics market to meet the latest trends in consumer electronics. Manufacturing capacity at Woodtai was increased earlier this year, and the company is now capable of producing over 300,000 mini-speakers and 200 to 300 thousand mini headphones and earphones every month. For almost 40 years, the company has provided excellent product quality and customer service and thanks to this dedication to detail, the company has been rewarded with steady, uninterrupted growth. 100 Industry Europe

In addition, all Woodtai’s products are produced under ISO 9001 quality control standards in order to guarantee consistent quality, n durability and reliability. For further details of Woodtai Enterprises’ latest innovative products and services visit:

Home Electronics, Appliances & HVAC

Firmly in control Strix is a global leader in the design, manufacture and supply of kettle safety controls and other components and devices involving water heating and temperature control, steam management and water filtration. Last year, the company was floated on the UK stock market and expects growth across all segments. Romana Moares spoke with CEO Mark Bartlett about recent developments and plans to further reinforce the business worldwide.

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trix, founded as ‘Castletown Thermostats’ by Eric Taylor on the Isle of Man in 1951, has evolved into a business that today is at the forefront of the development and manufacture of safety control systems for small domestic appliances and filtration products. The company maintains its international presence with its head office on the Isle of Man and sales offices across Europe and China. It employs almost 900 people and markets its products in over 100 countries worldwide. In 2017, the company achieved two important milestones – it was admitted to London’s junior market AIM and, in November, a new sales record of 2 billion products was achieved. “Last year brought significant changes meaning that we now have a lot of flexibility within the organisation,” says Mr Bartlett. “We can focus much more on the technology side of the business and develop it further.”

Growth across the range Mr Bartlett explains that the product offering is generally divided into three main areas. The core range is a variety of safety controls for small domestic appliances, primarily kettles. Following years of extensive research into the properties of water, in 2000 Strix developed its second pillar, the Aqua Optima range of advanced water filtration systems that significantly reduce unwanted substances from tap water such as limescale, chlorine, heavy metals, herbicides and pesticides. The range includes water filter jugs, water filters as well as a filter kettle, which may be filled straight from the tap and – thanks to the in-built filter – reduces water impurities as well as limescale, thus prolonging the life of the kettle.

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The third area includes other technologies such as steam boilers, instant flow heaters and turbo toasters as well as any sort of different heating element. Outstanding examples are the IFH (Instant Flow Heater), capable of bringing water to the boil from cold in around five seconds and used within the famous Perfect Prep branded by ‘Tommee Tippee’. “We expect growth across all three groups,” say Mr Bartlett. “The kettle controls have been steadily growing over the years, while the filtration products show significant potential in both the UK and China. The same growth potential is seen in the other technology segment, given that a lot is happening from the environmental point of view. Our focus on the environment and sustainability is expected to further increase and our products are just right to meet those requirements.” All Strix products are defined by their fusion of functional design, safety, aesthetics, materials and support services across the value chain, incorporating unique features and benefits for customers. Consumer safety is of paramount importance to Strix, which works closely with its safety partners around the world to continually develop, monitor and enforce international safety standards. All Strix products are designed to comply with relevant safety standards. It works with leading brands and key OEMs to design appliances that meet the changing demands of the consumer market.

Continued leadership Mr Bartlett confirms that more investment is expected in the company’s state-of-the-art Chinese facility located close to Strix’s offices in Hong Kong. “The level of automation is already very high,

Home Electronics, Appliances & HVAC

for example the latest line has reduced the number of manual operators by 75 per cent, but will be further enhanced. This is one area of planned investment. The second will go into the range of new products that we have been working on in the last few months, the U9 Series designed for fully automated production – a range that will be competitive across all the market segments. “We are based in the right place. China is by far the largest kettle producer in the world and a huge market. Our customer base in China includes around 200 OEMs,” says Mr Bartlett, adding that appliance manufacturers often adopt a collaborative approach with Strix by designing a specific control into their products. Geographically, Strix is today well represented all over the world. The company has a dominant 38 per cent market share in a highly

concentrated market. It stands strong in the regulated markets where quality and reliability are crucial and has a c.50 per cent market share in China, which is perhaps less regulated but shifting additional focus to safety along with an increasing use of kettles. Kettle penetration is growing also in other less regulated markets, which Strix intends to serve with its new range of products. “One of our competitive advantages is that we provide the whole range of services and have strong relationships across the entire value chain. Of course there are plenty of cheap alternative manufacturers in our sector, but it is not so easy to produce a good quality product meeting the stringent safety and endurance requirements. There are over 1000 critical measurements we measure on each control. Tolerances are very tight,” Mr Bartlett points out. He confirms that focus on further increasing quality as well as capacity will continue in the future. “We are doing a lot of work on safety testing at the moment. We are introducing new ranges of controls that allow us to be more competitive and get into the smaller markets that still use some potentially unsafe products. But as I said before, we expect continued growth across all three product areas, not just in the less regulated markets but globally, including the US. We are set to embrace future n challenges as well as opportunities.”

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Luxury logistics Bollore Logistics Asia Pacific is a leading global transport and logistics company that offers multimodal transport, customs and regulatory compliance, and supply chain solutions. Today the company is leading the field in its development of sustainable solutions and is continuing to extend its global presence. Philip Yorke reports.


ollore Logistics is a privately owned company that was previously known as SDV until it was rebranded in January 2016. It is a fully owned subsidiary of the international Bollore Logistics Group. The company offers five distinct types of services including multimodal transport, customs and regulatory compliance, logistics, global supply chain solutions and industrial management projects. With its headquarters in Puteaux near Paris the group operates a global network of more than 600 offices and employs over 22,000 people worldwide.

High-tech automation Bollore Logistics recently announced plans for its first fully automated logistics facility in association with one of the world’s largest luxury products groups, LVMH. The $10 million investment is a joint venture between Bollore Logistics and LVMH and is part of an innovative solutions programme and long-term partnership strategy to increase productivity and efficiency. The 20,000m2, high-tech facility features a 12,000 tote multi-shuttle system provided by the Dematic Company of France, designed to increase productive space and improve throughput that is 10 times greater than current conventional warehousing systems. Supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) the new extensive warehousing facility forms part of a long-term programme of development between Bollore Logistics and LVMH. “Automation is the key for Singapore’s logistics sector to cope with emerging patterns globally. The set-up will be housed in our logistics ‘Green Hub’, which is our high-tech logistics facility in Pioneer Turn, and we are happy to announce that the co-development of this new automation system has secured a long-term commitment from LVMH. Bollore Logistics strives to be at the forefront of 104 Industry Europe

innovation and prides itself on developing advanced supply chain solutions for its customers,” said Mr Cyril Dumon, CEO of Bollore Logistics Asia Pacific. Mr Guillaume Mechain, the Supply Chain Director of LVMH Asia Pacific, commented, “The close partnership between LVMH and Bollore Logistics has strongly supported the growth of our business in the last 15 years. With the introduction of automation, it further reinforces our connections and emphasises our expertise concerning safety, quality, service and efficiency for the next ten years.” Collectively designed by Bollore Logistics, LVMH and Dematic, this unique combination of multi-shuttle system and picking technology is the first of its kind to be deployed in Singapore and the Asia Pacific region in general. With Singapore as the company’s regional hub, the new facility, through its adaptable and scalable world-class system, has been developed to create a future-ready infrastructure in order to support the increasing demands of the Asia Pacific region.

Sustainable supply chain development The driving force behind the company’s remarkable growth is its commitment to sustainable development and the highest QHSE standards that together form the core foundation of its current and future business projects. Today Bollore helps to preserve the planet by offering transport solutions that significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, the company has additional ambitions that go still further. Today it is endeavouring to reduce the overall environmental footprint of its activities by generating new areas for action, such as managing its impact on biodiversity, air quality and environmental challenges with regard to water. The company’s responsibilities also extend to social and community considerations that focus on the expertise of its environmental

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teams and the integration and expectations of its stakeholders. Bollore’s CSR approach is realised by utilising strategic drivers and commitments that are common to all Bollore Group activities and are deployed at an operational level throughout the company.

Focus on oversized-load logistics In March 2018 Bollore Logistics was contracted by a French company, the Eiffage Group, that specialises in the completion of major rail infrastructure projects. The latest group project is located in Senegal’s capital, Dakar. This involves the shipping and delivery of two gigantic tamping machines used to position railway tracks. Each machine is almost 20 metres long, three metres wide and four metres tall. Between them the two units weigh around 140 tonnes. These giant structures were unloaded by the teams from the Dakar Terminal Company and Bollore Logistics operatives in January 2018. It took two, 200-tonne cranes to transfer the huge tamping machines from the MAFI trailers at the port, to the tank transporters provided in order to transport the machines. A special convoy

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composed of a 120-tonne transporter, a six-wheel heavy load tractor and a hydraulic trailer were employed to deliver the machines to their sites within two days of arrival. Delivery of the heavy cargoes took place at two sites, the Dakar train station and the town of Bargny, which is located 30km from Dakar. This configuration and the challenges linked to packing the machines required close collaboration with Bollore Logistics, the Dakar terminal handling teams and members of the project follow-up committee. In addition, it also required the support of the Eiffage rail teams. In March 2018, Bollore Logistics transported the two massive machines precisely on time and completed the operations successfully, thus demonstrating its unique expertise in relation to oversizedload logistics and making it a vital partner for the most challenging n global TER projects. For further details of Bollore Logistics’ innovative transportation services and products visit:

A view of the more than 200,000 assets tracked in real time by ghTrack. Jesper B. Bennike – CEO, GateHouse Logistics, Søren Danielsen – Strategic Accounts and Business Development.

Boosting visibility and secure data sharing

Gatehouse Logistics, a specialist in providing tracking solutions to the transportation industry, offers Europe’s most secure data distribution platform, ghTrack®. The service is fully compatible with Industry 4.0, providing better visibility and security to all stakeholders. In the haulage sector, where subcontracting is a widespread practice, the importance of data ownership is of huge importance and will continue to rise, as Mette Lilkær, Strategic Sales & Marketing Manager, explained to Romana Moares.

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Mette Dietz Lilkær – Strategic Sales & Marketing Manager: “Today, the service is Europe’s most secure data distribution platform and one of the most widely used.”


atehouse’s unique, 20-year experience in providing marine tracking solutions has been successfully transferred into the transport and logistics sector, infamous for its fragmentary nature both in terms of its high volume of subcontracting and the deployment of over 600 different tracking systems in the EU alone. The core mission of Gatehouse Logistics is therefore to unify and aggregate data to offer integrated and independent tracking that would provide transparency and visibility throughout the entire supply chain. Gatehouse Logistics has focused on developing a unique system, the ghTrack. It is a modular DaaS and SaaS service, unifying data from more than 400 tracking systems including GPS, ELD (Electronic Logging Device) and telematics across a vast array of assets – trucks, trailers, containers, ships, rail, etc. – with a single aim: to provide freight and logistics visibility. “We have now begun the roll out of the ghTrack cloud service. It is a disruptive technology that is brand new; not everybody is ready to share everything on the cloud but this is where we are heading. The service brings sanity to data distribution in the supply chain, unifying data from hundreds of different telematics systems and thousands of carriers and presents them as one data stream,” explains Mette Lilkær. “Today, the service is Europe’s most secure data distribution platform and one of the most widely used.”

She further explains that the uniqueness of the ghTrack service rests on two aspects: neutrality and automation. “We are completely independent of any stakeholder or hardware solutions. This enables us to operate in a market that is extremely fragmented. The ghTrack collects and shares data between all parties – often competitors one day and partners the next. Being neutral, we are able to handle data from different systems and companies and share that data with the industry, while at the same time ensuring the sovereignty of data. The second great advantage is that once carriers and telematics systems are connected, everything in the service runs automatically.” The benefits are manifold and include better control and improved freight visibility. “Carriers don’t need to spend hours on the phone providing shippers with updates on delivery times. We were ahead with increased focus on data protection – about a year ago we started sending carriers a ‘Bill of Rights’ so that they know exactly what they are getting, what they can expect from the system, and how their data is handled and protected,” says Mrs Lilkær.

The world of Industry 4.0 With increasing robotisation and digitalisation across all industry sectors, it seems that Gatehouse Logistics has come up with the right service at the right time. Data sharing between data providers and data subscribers is essential to make the vision of industry 4.0 come

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With the use of ghTrack, Magna can have all incoming and outgoing deliveries scheduled like “pearls on a string”.

a reality, and this calls for a neutral data intermediator like Gatehouse Logistics. “Each year, the amount of data being circulated doubles as a result of the arrival of IoT, Industry 4.0 and Big Data,” confirms Mrs Lilkær. “The ghTrack is Industry 4.0 compatible. This means that it will work with all the new supply chain systems that 3PLs and 4PLs will use in the future. The ghTrack provides support to smart factories relying on connected manufacturing systems and helps to ensure end-to-end integration and visibility through the entire value chain.” Full visibility in the supply chain is key, especially for car manufacturers who need to have access to information about parts stock at the factory, at the subcontractors, and even stock on the road. Gatehouse Logistics works with a major automotive manufacturer for whom the ghTrack has proven invaluable in terms of managing and tracking its long-distance deliveries in a Just-In-Sequence (JIS) mode. “One of the giants in the automotive industry, Magna, the worldwide leading brand and an independent engineering and manufacturing partner for OEMs, is using our ghTrack service to develop a blueprint for the supply chain at their Steyr factory in Austria. The ghTrack service enables Magna to run their operation as JIS Logistics, the benefit being that its robots and workforce are being constantly fed with the right parts at the right time,” says Mrs Lilkær.

Global reach The automotive is by no means the only sector increasingly looking at cloud-based solutions. Mrs Lilkær explains that the main industry Gatehouse Logistics supports now is e-commerce, with great potential also arising in retail, chemical and high value goods transportation. “Ownership of data will be more and more in focus in the coming months in

view of the GDPR. One of our focus points is to enable carriers to view the movements and position of their own assets through ghTrack. We are fully prepared for this secure data sharing and distribution,” she confirms, adding that the service also supports sustainability and helps companies to document their carbon footprint and reduce the so-called ‘empty miles’. Although Europe, and particularly Germany, is still the key territory for Gatehouse Logistics, the company started to increase its presence in the USA last year and plans to reinforce its business there. “The year 2018 will see us developing business blocks with customers and specifically partners in other markets as well. Our vision is to become the de facto secure data distribution service for the entire supply chain across all geographic markets. We’ve taken the first steps and brought our disruptive technology to the European logistics industry. Now we will accelerate our outreach worldwide.”

Gatehouse Logistics is part of Gatehouse Group, a provider of software solutions for optimisations, flexibility and mission critical operations within tracking, monitoring and satellite communication. Founded in 1992 by the current CEO, Michael Bondo Andersen, the company has grown into a well-known international player in the software industry with customers on all continents. The group has three wholly-owned subsidiaries: Gatehouse Logistics, providing tracking solutions to the transportation industry; Gatehouse Telecom for satellite communications, consulting and services; and Gatehouse Maritime, providing tracking solutions to maritime authorities, coastguards, ports and related businesses.

ghTrack data sharing service transforms data from all diverse telematics systems into one unified and logical data stream that can easily be integrated into any business system.

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Metals, Metalworking & Mining

Rolling steel technology forward The Beltrame Group is a market leader in the manufacture of steel bars and coils for the construction, mining and shipbuilding industries. The company’s Swiss steel rolling mills recently reached their target of producing five million tonnes of stretched steel coils. Today the Beltrame Group continues to invest heavily in new plant and technology. Recently it installed the latest recuperative burners for the heating and drying of ladles, resulting in a dramatic reduction in fuel consumption. Philip Yorke reports. Industry Europe 111


he Italian steel conglomerate, ADFV Beltrame, was founded in Vicenza, Italy in 1896 and today is Europe’s leading manufacturer of merchant steel bars. Used throughout the construction industry, they form the core of the company’s broad product portfolio. Beltrame operates four steelworks and ten state-of-the-art steel rolling mills, which are spread throughout mainland Europe. Today the company employs more than 2000 people and in 2017 recorded revenues of more than two billion euros.

Optimising the supply chain Beltrame has always placed a high priority on its manufacturing facilities being strategically located in order to be close to its clients and its raw material suppliers. These carefully selected geographical locations enable the company to optimise its supply chain, which in turn offers considerable benefits for its customers. The increasing global distribution of its manufacturing bases makes it possible to produce its entire portfolio of products whilst enhancing the lines of distribution and supporting its strict sustainability goals, especially in terms of transportation.

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Beltrame has always been a customer-focused company and is geared to delivering high quality solutions that precisely meet its customers’ needs. The company’s continuous programme of investment and improvement helps to guarantee its on-going competitive advantage. As a recent example of a major investment in energy saving and efficiency, the company installed two new recuperative burners at its Vicenza plant for heating and drying the steel ladles needed for the delivery of molten steel. Based upon the performance of earlier recuperative burners installed by the company, a saving of up to 60 per cent on fuel and energy can be achieved.

Leading the field The Beltrame Group is the undisputed leader in the manufacture of commercial laminates, which is in addition to its domination in many other product category markets, such as merchant bars and stretched steel coils. The company’s modern facilities are capable of producing more than five million tonnes of rolled steel products achieved by the employment of its 11 rolling mills and four modern electric furnace mills.

Metals, Metalworking & Mining

The geographic distribution of the group provides another reason why Beltrame leads the field. The company’s various locations are strategically placed and particularly advantageous in relation to the location of product components and raw materials. Today around 3000 employees are working for the group worldwide. Continuous research programmes and the development of innovative solutions help to maintain Beltrame’s pole position in the global steel marketplace. This enviable position is enhanced by its commitment to energy conservation, which is at the centre of its strategy.

Focus on sustainability For many years the AFV Beltrame Group has been committed to the protection of the environment and has strived to achieve greater sustainability. This was evident long before it became a global issue. Operating in the steel market for well over a century and the leading manufacturer of merchant bars, the group has made a consistent commitment to the environment and sustainability, whilst counting on the EDP certification as its primary informational tool.

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The EDP covers the entire product life cycle, allowing commercial and industrial consumers alike to understand how Beltrame’s products interact with the environment by means of a specific set of indicators.

Strong growth The on-going success of the AFV Beltrame Group is underscored by its positive financial situation. The group recently presented itself to the ‘Made in Steel’ institute with the solidity of a compact shareholder and focused on the company’s development. “The group is solid and we want to continue with this direction of growth,” said Ricardo Garre, CEO of the AFV Beltrame Group.

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“We have achieved positive results, but above all higher expectations, in particular as a result of our determination to be more efficient in all our disciplines. This covers the rationalisation of our production structure and the integration between industrial centres in Italy and abroad. We are aiming at the greater efficiency of our production lines and we want to continue to satisfy our customers through a constant improvement in production, organisation and services,” concluded Garre.

For further details of the AFV Beltrame Group’s innovative steel products and processes visit:

Joint exhibition stand organised by MASOC at Tampere international subcontracting trade fair Alihankinta

Promoting Latvian engineering MASOC, the Association of Mechanical Engineering and Metalworking Industries of Latvia, brings together some 160 leading companies in the sector with a mission to foster partnership and promote development to increase competitiveness in export markets. Romana Moares spoke to Mr Toms Grinfelds, Chairman of the Board, about the Association’s key roles, tasks and future challenges in light of new market trends.

Tech Industry – the biggest trade fair for mechanical engineering in the Baltic region. Held every year in Riga, from late November to early December and supported by MASOC 116 Industry Europe

Stainless steel city wastewater treatment plant designed and produced by the company RESETILOVS, installed in Caucasus

TehnoBuss – mobile demo laboratory, equipped with modern production technologies that is offering lectures for primary school children to raise interest in engineering sciences

Metals, Metalworking & Mining


its nearly 25 years of existence, MASOC, Latvia’s Association of Mechanical Engineering and Metalworking Industries, has achieved an impressive amount. Established in 1994 just four years after the country gained independence, the industry was in a shambles with an out-dated production base and limited experience in trading with advanced (and lucrative) western markets. “Those were tough times for the industry,” recalls Mr Grinfelds. “New companies were being set up and the whole country needed to re-orientate itself to new markets. The Association was put together by some 20 companies that could see the need for an organisation to represent the needs of the sector on national and international levels and help companies become more competitive.”

Business promoter Since then, the Association has grown considerably and now has about 160 members, mostly leading metal processing companies. Mr Grinfelds explains that as most of the companies in Latvia are small- or medium-sized businesses, this number represents only about 10–15 per cent of all companies in the country, generating about 70 per cent of the sector’s turnover. “All the key players in the sectors are members. Some are subcontractors for larger producers and some make and market their own products,” says the director, adding that the Association covers not just industrial companies but also a variety of service

providers such as testing and certification companies, suppliers of materials and equipment and educational and research institutions. “The Association has brought together companies from all regions of Latvia, with both Latvian and foreign capital.” MASOC’s main task has always been to promote the development of its members’ international competitiveness. This objective is supported by a variety of activities and initiatives. “We are basically doing two things,” says Mr Grinfelds. “We represent the interests of our members and the sector as a whole. This is done in cooperation with the Employers’ Confederation of Latvia and the Chamber of Commerce Latvia, of which MASOC is a member. We are also active internationally and cooperate with ORGALIME and CEEMET, of which we are also a member. “But the majority of our activities are focused on projects and initiatives to help our members prosper and to provide various services to them. Mutual cooperation is promoted by joint projects and activities as well as by ensuring the exchange of information,” he stresses, explaining that MASOC constantly maintains and updates its database of corporate technological capabilities and competencies, thereby facilitating the search for cooperation partners. Joint events are regularly held to foster informal contacts between companies in the sector. Regular off-site meetings at companies throughout Latvia give additional opportunities for information sharing and networking.

Factory visit during monthly knowledge sharing meeting

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Fish processing line designed and produced by company PERUZA installed in Philippines

Education in focus As in other advanced economies with an ageing population, Latvia’s challenge is the shortage of skilled labour. Therefore, one of the main tasks of the Association is to promote the supply of adequate and qualified specialists to the industry. It cooperates closely with all major professional and higher education institutions and the Ministry of Education, and initiates activities to attract young people to learning and studying the engineering and industry-relevant professions. “A good example of our efforts in this respect is the Technobus project – this is basically an 18m-long bus equipped with samples of modern production technologies including CNC machines, 3D printers, robots and automation technology. The bus visits primary schools and offers children the opportunity to see (and try) how interesting these technologies are.”

The Association also promotes the development of continuous training and lifelong learning in the sector. Since 2011, the EU cofinanced project, ‘The training of metalworking professionals’, has been in operation, encouraging companies to develop the skills of existing staff. “Our position enables us to exercise influence on the policymakers. Most of the big issues have impact across different industries so we try to collaborate with other sectors. A joint industry voice is always stronger,” Mr Grinfelds points out.

New trends, new future As Latvia is a small market, its industrial companies are exportoriented. The metal processing sector exports about 80 per cent of its output with the biggest market being the EU (mostly Scandinavia and Germany), followed by other territories such as Russia and

Many companies are involved in subcontracting activities. Welded steel structure from Eko El

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Metals, Metalworking & Mining

Toms Grinfelds – Chairman of the Board at MASOC

Ukraine. In this respect, the Association supports its members in participating in various trade shows, particularly in those countries where most of the exports are directed. “Of course the EU market is stable and flourishing but the growth rate is small. Faster, although more risky, are the emerging markets in Africa, Asia and South America and we also help our members to identify business opportunities in these new markets.” Latvian companies are generally very well-equipped with worldclass technology following two decades of major investment. The current hot topic – as is the case everywhere in Europe – is the Industry 4.0 concept and digitalisation. “It is clear that digitalisation is the future: it is just a matter of time. As most of our companies are medium- or small-sized, digitalisation is not a pressing issue for them, although of course in the metal processing sector this process is already happening to a certain extent with nearly every machine interconnected. To prepare the companies for the deployment of digitalisation on a larger scale is also an area in which the Association is very active at the moment,” says Mr Grinfelds. He explains that Latvian businesses are awaiting a major tax reform in 2018, which should facilitate re-investments and also promote investment from abroad. “Our top priority will remain the same, though – to help our members become more competitive in international markets. This is the objective towards which all our n activities are directed,” he concludes.

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Core technologies for future needs EconCore, the world leader in providing technologies for honeycomb sandwich material production, has seen its growth skyrocket since its establishment 13 years ago, demonstrating its ability to offer the right product at the right time. Tomasz Czarnecki, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, spoke to Romana Moares about its innovative focus that has won prime customers worldwide.

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ounded just 13 years ago, the Belgian company EconCore, headquartered in Leuven, has managed an impressive breakthrough. The technologies that the company developed for the production of honeycomb cores have won the interest of leading companies from many industries. EconCore materials and processes combine a honeycomb structure long appreciated in aerospace with efficient packaging production technologies, enabling cost-effective continuous production of thermoplastic honeycombs with successive in-line operations for various applications. “The company was established in 2005 with a view to providing technology for honeycomb core production and in the first few years the focus was on making sure the technology could be offered on an industrial scale,” recalls Mr Czarnecki. “A major milestone came in 2009 when we sold the first license to a Japanese customer. This was an important moment because the EconCore technology, which until then had basically been only a concept, was put into operation for the first time and duly verified.” Soon after EconCore established a subsidiary in Germany for the production of polypropylene honeycomb cores using its own technology. This was another milestone, confirming that the company was on the right track and accelerating further growth.

EconCore offers technologies for the continuous production of the most economic honeycomb core thermoplastic materials (ThermHex). The ThermHex core is produced from a single sheet by thermoforming, folding and bonding. ThermHex honeycombs have closed skin strips, allowing for the perfect bonding of skins onto the core. Due to the efficient process, the resulting sandwich panels are not only exceptionally strong and lightweight but also very cost-effective. Furthermore, the versatility of the technology allows the direct lamination of thermoplastic skins as well as other facing layers (including, for instance, composites and metal) onto the thermoplastic honeycomb core to make the lightweight sandwich panels suitable for different applications. “Our first sector was packaging but we soon moved to the automotive and other industries for which weight reduction has become essential. A good example is the solar energy sector, where the honeycomb core panels, with their minimal weight, high strength and sufficient heat tolerance, seem to meet all the requirements. Our focus on lightweighting has also opened up new opportunities in the mass transportation and aviation sectors, which we are now exploring. We have some really interesting projects coming up with some prominent partners,” says Mr Czarnecki.

Strong, lightweight and cost-effective “So on one hand, we manufacture polypropylene honeycomb cores in the German plant, and on the other we license the technology to leading companies in different market segments. This really is our core business,” says Mr Czarnecki, summarising the company’s focus. Today, the list of EconCore licensees is growing and includes, among others, Renolit Group, Gifu Plastic, Tata Steel, Röplast, ThermHex Waben GmbH, Fynotej and Wabash National.

in-line process

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New frontiers In March 2018, EconCore presented its latest developments in the continuous production of high performance thermoplastic honeycombs for composites at JEC World 2018. “We have been working with various types of modified Polycarbonate (PC), Polyamide 6.6 (PA6.6) and Polyphenylene sulphide (PPS) and we are continuing to pursue developments with these and other high-end polymers. We are now entering the final phase of product validation and we expect to work on several developments for application in the automotive, aerospace, transportation, and building and construction markets this year.” Thermoplastic honeycomb cores for composites provide a ratio of performance to weight that is very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve with other types of core materials. ThermHex cores are around 90 per cent lighter than solid thermoplastic cores in use today, in such products as metal skinned panels for transportation and building applications. The lightweight cores also have positive implications for product handling, raw material inventory, outbound logistics and installation. But honeycomb structures are not only superior in terms of their mechanical performance: their acoustic performance and thermal insulation is also beneficial for many applications. EconCore is also preparing a variant of the ThermHex technology for the production of what it calls ‘Organosandwich’ materials. These are thermoplastic sandwich composite materials, again produced inline, which comprise a thermoplastic honeycomb core thermally bonded between thermoplastic composite skins reinforced with continuous glass fibres.

He confirms that while the key markets for the high performance thermoplastics remain in Europe and North America, just last week the company won a new licensee from Asia – a tier 1 supplier to the automotive sector that is set to install EconCore’s technology in its plants in several Asian countries. “Among other things, we want to be part of the evolution in the automotive sector and we are already involved in development with several premium German OEMs. Lightweight is the buzzword in many industries and this is something we can provide.” In the last few years, EconCore has been growing by 25 per cent each year and the pace is set to continue. “As the market has picked up, our own business grows and so do our licensees, so we are experiencing an avalanche type of development at the moment. In the next ten years or so, we would definitely offer some additional elements to the business and hopefully be growing in yet another domain, potentially in a partnership as a participant in a journey, not just a license provider. That n is a direction we are now considering.”

Growing potential “All sorts of markets can benefit from the advantages that new honeycomb cores will offer in terms of weight reduction, cost reduction, improved performance and design flexibility,” says Mr Czarnecki. “These products can be produced and converted quickly and efficiently in processes that are highly automated. They are also highly recyclable, especially when core and skin are produced from the same thermoplastic polymer.” 122 Industry Europe

Chief Operating Officer, Tomasz Czarnecki


A greater capacity

to innovate Şişecam is a leading European producer of glass packaging and one of the top three glass producers in the world. Philip Yorke reports on a company that continues to invest heavily in new technology, whilst increasing its manufacturing capacity and product quality. In addition, the group is focused on developing more sustainable manufacturing processes and is extending its global presence.

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işecam’s roots can be traced back to 1935 with its first glassmaking facility established close to Istanbul. Ever since, it has been investing in state-of-the-art technology and in 1960 it expanded its operations to attract overseas business. Today the company is specialised in all the essential areas of glass-making through its four key divisions: Glass Tableware, Glass Packaging, Flat Float Glass and Chemicals. Since 1998 Şişecam has been actively investing in overseas markets and in particular in the Russian Federation. At the same time, it has embarked upon a dedicated programme in order to improve its environmental sustainability and optimise its recycling processes.

Increasing capacity The Şişecam Group recently announced that it was to invest more than TL240 million in its Eskisehir Glass Packaging Plant in Turkey and will put its new furnace into operation during the second half of 2018. While continuing to make a significant contribution to the Turkish economy and employment in the country, the group will increase its annual glass packaging capacity in Turkey to 1.2 million tonnes, together with the launch of its new furnace which has an annual capacity of over 150,000 tonnes, which will be equipped with the latest Industry 4.0 technologies. “Our group has invested its proceeds generated for more than 80 years from our foundation for the support of our workforce and our country, and today we have achieved a strong global position in

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the field. The Şişecam Group continues its operations with the aim of achieving its strict sustainable growth targets. We will be launching our largest glass packaging furnace in Turkey as a result of this investment,” said the Şişecam Group’s Deputy Chairman and CEO, Prof. Ahmet Kirman. Şişecam is the world’s fifth largest glass packaging manufacturer with a total production volume of 2.3 million tonnes per year. This year the company will have increased its annual capacity in Turkey by one million tonnes as a result of its continuing investment programme. Kirman added, “We are the third largest manufacturer of glassware and the fifth largest manufacturer of glass packaging and flat glass in the world. Furthermore, we are the world’s largest manufacturer of chromium chemicals. Continuing our production activities in 13 countries, our group strengthens its capacity and technological power with its innovation, creativity, expertise and highly qualified personnel, and we look forward to the future with trust, thanks to our product excellence and quality of service.”

Winning ways Recently Şişecam won the coveted WordStar 2017 Award, in the competition held by the World Packaging Organisation. This was achieved with its Kestane Natural Spring Water Bottle in the Beverages category. The Kestane Natural Spring Water Botte was created by the company’s chief designer, Eda Yilmaz, who had also previously won Competency and Silver Awards at the Crescent and Stars of Packag-


ing Competition, as well as the Excellent Design Award at the Design Turkey Competition 2017. As the clear leader in the Turkish market, Şişecam Glass Packaging provides products for the food, water, mineral water, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage industries, as well as producing glass packaging products for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. The company manufactures glass packages of various volumes from 6cc, to 15,000 cc, and in a broad range of colours.

3D innovation Şişecam Glass and Şişecam Packaging are among the world’s leaders in research and product development. The two companies continuously invest significant sums in technology and innovation, in line with their aim of extending their high quality product ranges, increasing energy efficiency and increasing the recycling of waste products. The Şişecam Glass Packaging Group focuses on making all of its processes and work applications such as forming, tempering, quality control and packaging processes more efficient and environmentally friendly. One of the key objectives is to make glass packaging products lighter whilst increasing their strength. The company’s new forming technology (NFS) preserves durability whilst saving costs on raw materials and energy. The development of exclusive ‘designer’ products is made possible using advanced 3D technology for producing difficult shapes, non-round bottles and jars with corners, all of which can be designed to meet a customer’s individual needs. Basic bottles can also be changed from blow-blow to narrow neck press-blow technology and this light-weighting technique is important in relation to the ecological footprint of the process, which saves energy and cuts transportation costs. In its quest to create new and more functional properties in glass packaging, the Şişecam Group has developed a range of glass with special anti-bacterial qualities, which in turn extends the shelf life of n products in glass packaging. For further details of the Şişecam Group’s latest innovative and sustainable glass packaging products visit: Industry Europe 125

New bio-venture vision Mölnlycke is a major global player in the development and manufacture of surgical and advanced wound-care products. The company places a high priority on investment in research and the development of new innovative technologies. Recently Mölnlycke signed a partnership agreement with Astra Zeneca, a leading global pharma company that will help to transform its capabilities in the areas of cell biology and analytical chemistry. Philip Yorke reports.


ölnlycke is a multinational Swedish company that was founded in Gothenburg in 1849 and began life as a textile producer. Today it is a world-leading medical products and solutions company that provides healthcare professionals with cutting-edge solutions in both clinical and economic outcomes. Its key business areas include solutions for wound-care treatments, pressure ulcers, infection prevention and surgery. The company operates 15 state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, two of which are located in the USA, six in Asia and the remainder spread throughout mainland Europe. Mölnlycke is present in over 30 countries and active in more than 100 countries worldwide.

Future focus Recently Mölnlycke signed a major partnership agreement with Astra Zeneca’s BioVenture Hub division. This has already resulted in positive results in the form of strong collaboration in the building of its capabilities within cell biology and analytical chemistry. The company’s specialised teams are working in an exciting environment 126 Industry Europe

at the heart of Astra Zeneca’s premises, which now hosts part of its own extensive R&D team. “Within the BioVenture Hub we are aiming to change the way we do innovation. Normally you have to show a business case that provides a predicted financial outcome before you can start. We believe that no ground-breaking innovation can be done based on things that you can predict. We believe in mixing people with complementary skills in an innovative setting to create a mind-set that is driven by science and opportunity rather than money. And already after two months we see results,” said Magnus Bjorsne, CEO for Astra Zeneca’s BioVenture Hub division. Ewa Kolby–Falk, manager of Mölnlycke Lab Services and head of the company’s BioVenture Hub team, commented, “One could say that we have one team on site and one supportive team also serving as a discussion partner at HQ.” Kolby-Falk added, “It is very inspiring to be part of the AZ Hub and we are grateful for the massive support we have from Barry McBride and senior management. We have access not only to the

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Astra Zeneca researchers, but also to the 25 start-up companies within the hub – thus adding competences not only within medical and med-tech areas, but also within those of digital and diagnostics research.”

Standardising chronic wound care As a world-leading medical solutions company, Mölnlycke has teamed up with another leading player in order to simplify and standardise chronic wound care. The company has announced a groundbreaking partnership with Tissue Analytics, a leading developer of sophisticated digital wound-imaging platforms.

128 Industry Europe

This powerful partnership brings together Mölnlycke’s unrivalled expertise in wound-care, and Tissue Analytics’ advanced digital capabilities. The two parties will jointly develop and commercialise new innovative digital solutions for wound-care practitioners, including comprehensive clinical decision support tools that will significantly simplify and standardise wound assessment and treatment. “Today practitioners are constrained by the quality of data available for wound assessment. Conditions such as chronic wounds, burns and pressure ulcers are evaluated using only visual approximations,” added Bjorsne. Tissue Analytics develops software solutions that use artificial intelligence to automatically and objectively extract high quality

Pharmaceuticals & Medical

data from input and images. The extracted data can automatically be integrated into the institution’s EMR system to allow greater efficiency and improved workflows. The two high-tech companies will jointly develop Tissue Analytics’ existing software, by adding Mölnlycke’s expertise in wound-care management and undertake extensive testing with clinical partners to ensure optimal clinical and patient outcomes.

Largest single investment In 2017 Mölnlycke successfully introduced a range of new innovative products within the areas of pressure ulcer prevention and post-operative wound management. The company also began the construction of a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for the production of surgical procedure trays in the Czech Republic. The new investment, which is close to €70 million, is the largest single investment in the company’s history. “The important product launches we have made recently are the result of our continuing focus on new product development and innovation, and they have been received very positively by our customers,” said Richard Twomey, Mölnlycke’s CEO. “We also globally launched new products from the businesses that we acquired during 2016 in the US. In addition, we inaugurated our new, modern and highly automated production site in the Czech Republic which will further improve our efficiency and increase the flexibility of our customer n offer,” Twomey added. For further information about Molnlycke’s latest innovative products and services visit:

Eric De Kesel Executive Vice President, Operations

Industry Europe 129

Diversity in high

-performance yarns Coats is the world’s leading industrial thread manufacturer. Its threads and yarns are found in every aspect of daily life from textiles to tea bags and from footwear to feminine hygiene. Coats’ Hungarian subsidiary is no exception and continues to excel in the manufacture of performance yarns for leather goods, footwear, bedding furniture and filtration products among many others. Philip Yorke reports.

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Textiles, Home & Personal Care


he Coats Group was founded in Paisley, Scotland, in 1775 by James and Patrick Clark. Its activities began with the production of loom equipment and silk thread at a small workshop. In 1806 Patrick Clark invented a way of twisting cotton threads together as a substitute for silk threads, which had become unavailable due to the French Blockade of Great Britain. Following this he opened the company’s first manufacturing plant for cotton thread in 1812, and subsequently established a yarn manufacturing plant in Newark, New Jersey in 1864. Today the company operates globally in more than 50 countries worldwide and in 2017 recorded revenues of more than 1.6 billion US dollars, with a workforce of around 20,000 people. Each year, the group makes enough thread to go into 8 billion pairs of jeans and every month produces enough thread to stretch all the way to the sun, a distance of over 92 million miles. In addition, more than 100 million airbags are made using Coats’ high performance thread, as well as over 450 million pairs of shoes. Furthermore, the company’s flame retardant materials can withstand temperatures of up to 1000 Degrees Celsius

Ideal global partners When it comes to leisure- or work-wear, the world’s top brands seek the advice of the Coats Group about its performance sewing threads and zips. With its unparalelled global reach, the company is uniquely positioned to advise both designers and manufacturers on an infinite range of everyday consumer and industrial products. This makes

Coats the ideal partner, especially when it comes to the launch of new, innovative products and processes. Backed by advanced research and engineering facilities, Coats’ precision engineered yarns cater for a diverse range of customer needs. These include feminine hygiene products, fibre optic and energy cables, medical supplies and tyre-cord wefts. The Coats Group is committed to ensuring the most efficient use of both materials and resources, including the energy it uses to power its factories and machinery and the water it employs for manufacturing processes. Through its economic and efficient operations it seeks to minimise its impact on the environment, as well as increasing its overall cost-effectiveness.

Global state-of-the-art facilities A continuous focus on improvement and upgrading means that the Coats Group’s global subsidiaries are all working to the same high standards throughout the six continents in which it operates. The group’s subsidiary in Hungary is typical of its dedication to state-ofthe-art manufacturing facilities and the use of the latest technology, in order to increase its drive for sustainability and cost-effectiveness. The Coats Group’s modern Hungarian facility is located in Ujpest, Hungary and produces high performance yarns for sectors such as leather goods, automotive interiors, bedding, quilting, furniture and camping goods, as well as feminine hygiene products and filtration products, to name just a few.

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The plant was originally established in 1923 and has since benefited from a consistent programme of investment in order to meet current market demands. The plant’s state-of-the-art machinery is able to produce the high quality goods required to meet the exacting international standards that include the OKO TEX 100 Textile Certificate Class 1, ISO 13 485 Medical Certificate for suture thread, and the ISO

TS 16949 automotive products certificate. An important consideration in all these accreditations is the company’s on-going commitment to quality. Today the extensive Ujpest plant employs around 300 people and produces around 1000 tonnes of performance yarn products each year.

New strategic acquisition Recently the Coats Group acquired the Patrick Yarn Mill, a leading manufacturer of high performance engineered yarns based in North Carolina, US. This modern mill specialises in cut-resistant and flame retardant yarns. It also produces yarns from recycled fibres marketed under its ‘Earthspun®’ trademarks, and with its large solar powered installation, it promotes its ‘earth-friendly’ yarns as ‘Spun by the Sun’. Patrick Yarn Mill’s unique spinning competencies in engineered performance yarns offers the company an opportunity to expand its existing performance materials portfolio, as well as to extend its innovative capabilities. The Coats Group will support the Patrick

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Textiles, Home & Personal Care

Yarns Mill’s expansion into high-growth markets by leveraging its unrivalled geographic footprint, breadth of global customer relationships and strong corporate brand. The acquisition of the Patrick Yarn Mill follows two other highly successful company acquisitions that took place a year earlier. Gotex, a Spanish company which designs and manufactures high-tech industrial yarns and tapes for the telecommunications, energy, oil & Gas sectors, was acquired in December 2017. Meanwhile FRS, a UK based company which provides software solutions and expertise to improve operational efficiency and speed to market in apparel and footwear, n also became part of the Coats Global family in 2017. For further details of the Coats Group’s innovative products and services visit: Industry Europe 133


A Ahlstrom Munksjö AKE Skalica Aljo Aluminium Antonini Aspöck System

J 50 32 28 125 60

B Baltic Polska Pomorze Bozamet

38 58

C Chemetall C.H. Robinson Covestro

28 55 129

38 107

E Europort


F Filtrum Flint Group Fornaci Zulian

51 5 113

G Glenpatrick Spring Guerrasio


K KÖMI KS Kolbenschmidt Kuntej

75 65 89

L Lawer



D Demark Dematic



87 35 35 Inside front

Sensicom Spojkar Stalserwis Südpack

Taroplast Texilmesa ThoughtWorks Titgemeyer Tradex 2002 Trans-Technik

103 57 61 96


P 68

97 133 42 59 97 62

U Uvaterv


W Wickert


Proman 93 84

81 133 115 88 47


Ocynkownia Śląsk



Macgregor Industrial Supplies Mesdan Metalleghe MTD Hungaria Münch Chemie

Nestlé Neuburer & In. Sonora Nexoil Nuova Saimpa

Reserv Inc 119 RKW Group 127 Royal Institute of Technology Outside back


Articles inside

New bio-venture vision Mölnlycke

pages 128-131

A greater capacity to innovate Şişecam

pages 125-127

Core technologies for future needs EconCore

pages 122-124

Rolling steel technology forward Beltrame Group

pages 113-117

Promoting latvian engineering MASOC

pages 118-121

Boosting visibility and secure

pages 110-112

maximising mini-speaker performance

pages 100-102

luxury logistics Bollore Logistics

pages 106-109

Firmly in control Strix

pages 103-105

Best salami pick Pick Szeged

pages 96-99

New customer-centric technology

pages 92-95

Building on diversity Renco

pages 84-86

New ideas to freshen up Tesco

pages 87-91

Solid foundations Global Project Services

pages 81-83

The bigger the better Főmterv

pages 78-80

From ideas to implementation Utiber

pages 74-77

Solid tradition, promising future Rochester Gauges

pages 71-73

Sustainable comfort solutions Recticel Group

pages 68-70

At full speed ŠKODA

pages 65-67

Vehicles tailored to clients’ needs Gniotpol Trailers

pages 58-64

embracing the automotive evolution Mitsuba

pages 54-57

lightweighting the heavyweights

pages 50-53

A century of innovative solutions Dätwyler Group

pages 46-49

Shaping the future of mobility Daimler

pages 42-45

Industrial automation from lubawa Intek

pages 38-41

A single supplier for end-to-end ceramic production SITI B&T Group

pages 35-37

Propelled to the top GE Aviation Czech

pages 32-34

Blade Runner Airbus

pages 28-31

Agriculture news The latest from the industry

pages 18-19

linking up Combining strengths

pages 22-23

Winning business New orders and contracts

pages 20-21

Robots and drones: addressing agricultural challenges

pages 16-17

moving on Relocations and expansions across Europe

page 24

Technology spotlight Advances in technology

page 25

Chemicals news The latest from the industry

pages 14-15

Adapting to change Strongest growth in years but will it last?

pages 12-13
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