Industry Europe – Issue 30.2

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Volume 30/2 – 2020

3ERP – Adapting business in times of pandemic Unilever – Making sustainability commonplace

3D printing - a breath of fresh air in a pandemic



EDITORIAL

STEVENGISLAM

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Shaping The New Normal As

Europe begins to tentatively reopen following the paralysing devastation the coronavirus left in its wake, there remain more questions than answers. Nonetheless, leaving all of the political rhetoric and errors of judgement of the past few months aside in a large pile of unopened Pandora’s boxes that we’ll have to get round to sooner or later, we can begin to look back at everything that has changed. One very noticeable point was how rapidly our inbox filled up with press releases from companies and organisations eager to show us how they were all doing their bit for the crisis. Alcohol companies switching to production of isopropyl for use in hand sanitiser, 3D printing companies shifting to the manufacture of facemasks, protective gloves and surgical gowns, automotive firms changing their focus to components for respirators, cosmetics firms taking a moment to concentrate on health rather than beauty. Even the fetish community got involved and we were heartened to receive a press release from a ‘niche’ company that specialised in medically themed adult items telling us it was switching to the real thing and offering their products to the NHS for free. Suddenly, it seemed like every company that had something to offer was able to turn on its heels and pivot its production focus for the greater good. Which is all wonderful. It showed that, when up against it, perhaps human beings aren’t all the self-serving individuals that certain sources would lead us to believe. Not long into lockdown, one increasingly noticeable benefit was the effect it was having on the environment. Emissions were down like never before. Anecdotally, birdsong seemed louder, there were more bees, wild deer were witnessed wandering around Romford and nature seemed to be relishing the fact that the humans had finally given it a rest. The UN’s environment chief Inger Andersen told us that nature was sending us a message, and climate scientists said that Covid-19 was a “clear warning shot” to a civilisation that was “playing with fire”.

This boom for the environment, combined with the rapid pivot in manufacturing, surely begs the question - if industry and the accompanying political will can shift so rapidly in the face of a pandemic, then why has it not done so in the face of an increasingly apparent climate crisis? Back in April, a survey carried out in the UK by Opinium found that 48 per cent of those asked felt that the government should respond “with the same urgency to climate change as it has with Covid-19”. Only 28 per cent disagreed. The poll has been described by environmentalists as a ‘green light’ for governments and businesses to accelerate their response in tackling climate change. The beginning of 2020 was pockmarked with climate-related catastrophes such as the wildfires that swept across Australia, themselves coming just a few months after several South American countries watched large swathes of the Amazon blaze. After the fires came major floods, and it became more and more difficult to pretend that climate change wasn’t happening - though both Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have done a pretty good job at doing exactly that. Both the crises – Covid-19 and global warming - are detrimental to public health, but the latter is by far the deadlier of the two. According to WHO figures, 91 per cent of the world’s population breathes air that contains high levels of pollutants, and air pollution alone – just one facet of global warming - kills over 4 million people every year. The effects of Covid19 and climate change place a heavy burden on our healthcare systems and loom like the cold, dark shadow of an existential threat to the future of our species. Despite the utterly catastrophic impact that a runaway climate crisis would have on the entire planet, it does not strike terror into our hearts like a good old-fashioned virus. So why does a pandemic seem more pressing than climate change? The answer is multi-faceted and not easy to pinpoint. Our political leaders are, for all

their flaws, still human beings, and a virus is something tangible, that strikes fear into the heart in a direct, human way. Rich or poor, we’ve all been sick, and we all have loved ones. Even the words “virus”, “outbreak” and “pandemic” have an instant impact on our collective psyche. Also, in practical terms, a pandemic can be responded to on a national level. Closing borders, imposing lockdowns and curfews, and so on, are all things that national governments, as hesitant as they may be to do so, can actually implement with relative ease. Climate change, on the other hand is a larger, more nebulous concept to get our heads around. A genuine response requires a new and different way of thinking. It requires an international approach, and that usually means navigating disagreements, finding compromise and seemingly endless political handwringing. It relies on consensus in a time when polarisation is rife. And while some national governments are stepping up to the plate, such as Spain which is set to ban all new fossil fuel projects, aiming for 100 per cent renewable energy – others have festered in various states of self-preservation, incompetence, denial, or outright lies. This is where industry and business need to step up to the plate. If capitalism is to weather the coming storm it must adapt and recognise that in the 21st century, it is no longer greed but green that is good, to put a spin on Gordon Gekko’s infamous adage. Genuinely progressive companies of all sizes, across all sectors of industry, can help define what this “new normal” we’re hearing so much about actually looks like, setting their place in history as being on its right side and moving their production to a sustainable position. The stakes have never been higher and, for all the horror and uncertainty that Covid-19 has brought with it, it has also given us a one-time opportunity to put our houses in order and set a course for a cleaner, fairer, healthier future. n Industry Europe 3


CONTENTS Editorial Director Steve Gislam Profile Writers Ash Jones Romana Moares Barbara Rossi Dariusz Balcerzyk Edina Beale Philip Yorke Emma-Jane Batey Eugenia Fiusco Piotr Sadowski

Managing Partner & Production Director Stephen Moore Sector Managers Oliver Clements Michael Hudson Szidonia Hajdu

Katarzyna Pozoga Milada Preslova

Art Director Leon Esterhuizen

Above: Cerulean p10

Operations & Finance Director Tania Balderson

Comment

3 Editorial Shaping The New Normal

Hygiene, Medical & Pharmaceutical 6 8

3D printing - a breath of fresh air in a pandemic IE Talks To Essentium CEO Blake Teipel

Hygiene, Medical & Pharmaceutical news The latest from the industry

Paper, Packaging & Printing Industry Europe Alkmaar House, Alkmaar Way, Norwich, Norfolk, NR6 6BF, United Kingdom

10 Cerulean & PCE Partnership Brings Automated End Of Line Packing Collapsible tube manufacturers now have the ability to

go fully automated.

Tel: +44 (0)1603 414444 Fax: +44 (0)1603 779850 Email: studio@industryeurope.net Web: https://industryeurope.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/IndustryEurope

© Industry Europe 2020 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.

FOCUS MEDIA GROUP LTD.

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Above: 3ERP p12


VOL 30/2

Above: Essentium p6

Automation, Robotics & AI 12

How one firm adapted to Covid-era life in China IE Talks Coronavirus With 3ERP MD Ronan Ye

News

14 Linking up Combining strengths 16 Moving On Relocations and expansions across Europe 17 Technology spotlight Advances in technology

Automation, Robotics & AI 20

Above: Ponsse p23 Below: MELEX p26

At the heart of the digital revolution Aspocomp

Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

23 Harvesting powerful forestry solutions Ponsse 26 Experts in electric vehicles MELEX 29 Taking autonomous driving further ZF Group 32 Strong link BorgWarner 36 Electrifying innovation Musashi 40 Driving into Tomorrow Yanfeng

Above: Nilfisk p48 Below: HAI p55

Construction & Engineering 44 48 52

Hungary’s cab specialist Agrikon Advancing autonomous, high-tech robotics Nilfisk Tradition meets technology Gaspari

Metals, Metalworking & Mining

55 New dawn for electro-mobility HAI 58 A passion for machine precision Emmegi 62 Innovation in aluminium extrusions Exalco 66 Experts in speciality CNC lathes FAT 70 Creating a global growth platform Forgital 74 Major boost for sustainable smelter development KCM Group

Textiles, Home & Personal Care 78

Promoting Sustainable Living Unilever

Above: ZF Group p29 Below: Musashi p36

Above: Emmegi p58 Below: Unilever p78

Above: Yanfeng p40 Industry Europe 5


3D printing - a breath of fresh air in a pandemic Industry Europe’s Ash Jones Spoke To The Boss Of The US 3D Printing Company About How The Coronavirus Outbreak Has Meant Shifting Production To Deal With The Pandemic.

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ith Covid-19 sweeping its way across the globe at an unprecedented scale, the effect it has unleashed on businesses is something nobody could have predicted. With this comes a particular danger to those on the frontlines, where the standard measures of social distancing cannot be met. 3D printing as an industry is still in its relative infancy; however, Covid-19 has provided unexpected room for innovation. Today we speak to Blake Teipel, the CEO of US 3D printing company, Essentium, on how they have shifted their production in the wake of a global catastrophe. Industry Europe: Thank you for speaking to us, Blake. You’ve mentioned that Essentium’s manufacturing has shifted because of Covid-19. Could you possibly elaborate on that?

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Blake Teipel: We have switched to a more abridged manufacturing role. We’ve been working with the FDA and others to test the design for community-use 3D printed PPE masks. There are a lot of these designs for M45-style masks, but really what we’re trying to focus on is something that is safe and effective, and they are printed using our classic TPU-74d. The main purpose of this is to preserve M45s solely for the medical profession and the folks on the frontline. Its design allows us to print it on a number of printers so we can get as many masks out there as possible. Masks are a large part of this response effort, as seen in countries like Korea, Japan and China. There has been a large shift in public focus as to the efficacy of them in order to try and help contain the virus.

IE: In order to contain Covid-19, many countries have closed their borders which undoubtedly has an effect on businesses. How have these border closures affected Essentium? BT: Border closures have affected production a lot. We have a global supply chain for many of our components, which has hindered us sourcing items such as printers. We may receive shipments of machines, but the logistic rates involved are often horrendous. As far as manufacturing itself goes, companies will always be cautious for the first 6-8 weeks of the year. The early rise of Coronavirus didn’t help in this case, as we didn’t know whether or not it would blossom into anything problematic. When Covid-19 did strike, it proved to be a wake-


up call for many. Companies quickly realised that their supply chains needed to be more flexible and responsive – particularly in countries with high consumption. The last few weeks especially have seen our business really take off, despite issues with sourcing, and the general perception of public health has changed also. For this reason, we’re trying to scale our business to meet these demands. All of these issues with supplies on top of then also having to adhere to social distancing policies – having half of our staff work from home – has had a profound effect on production. IE: Have the issues of sourcing led to an increase in self-production on your end? BT: Self-production in general has ramped up in the US. It’s difficult for us as a company to self-produce which still proves that we, and the US as a whole, don’t have a very robust supply chain for the manufacturing of capital equipment. Over the last 20 years, the US has outsourced 95% of that supply chain, which led to a loss of both the ability to craft the machines, but also the expertise to use them. This is where additive manufacturing could play a key role, as I see the general map of supply chains shifting following the Covid outbreak. IE: Following from your point about maintaining social distancing and production issues, has Covid-19 had any effect on recruitment? BT: Yes. We are cautiously growing our headcount with a priority on Essentium being a sustainable business. There has been a bit of a cash-crunch for our business and others, but we are seeing responses from every level of government with stimuli available to allow companies such as ours to lean forward. The question is: in the face of uncertainty, to do you rely on something safe, or do you try and innovate? Innovation is the best option provided you can afford to. We chose this route in an

effort to help out those on the frontlines who have to work regardless of the situation. IE: Could you elaborate on that? BT: Yesterday, Essentium delivered our first small batch of PPE to the local police department. With the supply chains in turmoil they couldn’t get their hands on any masks, even for our local hospitals. There is an alarming rate of Covid-19 amongst police officers nationwide and so the equipment could help this number increasing exponentially. This also saves the M45s for hospitals as the police force do not come into contact with airborne versions of the disease to the same degree as healthcare workers. The last thing we need is a breakdown of social services because first responders are getting sick. IE: Are you working with other companies to help increase the reach of your supplies? BT: Yes, we are. I received three calls early on from companies in similar positions. For instance, one company in Indiana had pivoted their supply chain away from producing automotive parts to producing melt blown parts for use in the manufacturing of filtration devices. They requisitioned masks from us so they could integrate the filtration media with the masks. This has created this fantastic company-to-company relationship which allows us to work together to battle this pandemic. Furthermore, the Governor of Texas has asked the National Guard to work with local businesses to help combat the mask shortage. To put it in perspective, in the state of Texas alone, there is a mask shortfall of 9 million, so the question is: what can we do to reduce this deficit? The city government also put together a conference of local manufacturing companies, which put us in contact with a local injection moulding company who have access to six massive injection moulding machines here in town, with a branch containing 27 over in Long

Beach, California. The company have had to lay people off because their response time is far too slow – 12 to 18 weeks to get tooling – so we’re working with them to help them with soft tooling to reduce their response time to about 10 days. That’s a significant turnaround. There has also been a shift in fully moving to the digitalisation of the industry in response to Covid-19. We’ve set up a branch to allow people to 3D print themselves. This disease – although horrible – has stimulated a shift for many people into the digital age. IE: What long-term effects do you think Covid-19 will have on the 3D printing industry as a whole? BT: As mentioned, it almost forces people to fully embrace the digital age. There will be a tremendous amount of activity over the next few years for manufacturing supply chains to transition and prop up capabilities in areas where they didn’t exist before. It will also help the 3D printing industry moving forward because we will see a massive emphasis on two things: network connectivity and improvements in QMS. I’m hoping Covid-19 will be a catalyst that will rapidly bring about a transition to Industry 4.0. Both supply chains and machines will need to be controlled remotely, machines will need to self-schedule and job queue and things like that. On the quality management front, the real challenge is if 3D printing will be a front for this type of manufacturing, the quality management system will have to allow for the production to take place quickly, effectively and cheaply. The current situation is tough and the best thing to do is to always have a technologically progressive mood to increase the space for innovation. We have a strong focus on culture here at Essentium, and having a strong focus on the people in your company will give them the resilience needed to make it through situan tions such as this. visit: https://essentium3d.com/ Industry Europe 7


NEWS

New developments in the Hygiene, Medical & Pharmaceutical industry

CURA: Open-Source Design For Emergency COVID-19 Hospitals

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midst the Covid-19 pandemic, an international task force of designers, engineers, medical professionals, and military experts have joined forces to work on CURA, an open-source project aimed at capacity building in Intensive-Care Units (ICU). The first prototype of CURA, whose name stands for Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments (and also “cure” in Latin), is currently being built in Milan, Italy, with the sponsorship of European bank UniCredit. It uses repurposed shipping containers to create plug-in biocontainment pods that can be quickly deployed in cities around the world, promptly responding to the shortage of ICU space in hospitals and the spread of the disease. CURA is a compact Intensive-Care pod for patients with respiratory infections, hosted in a 20-foot intermodal container with biocontainment, created by negative pressure. Each unit works autonomously and can be shipped anywhere. Individual pods are connected by an inflatable structure to create multiple modular configurations (from 4 beds to over 40), which can be deployed in just a few hours. Some pods can be placed in proximity to a hospital, for example, in car parks, to expand the ICU capacity, while others could be used to create self-standing field hospitals of varying sizes.

CURA aims to improve the efficiency of existing solutions in the design of field hospitals, tailoring them to the current pandemic. In the last weeks, hospitals in the countries most affected by COVID-19, from China to Italy, Spain to the USA, have been struggling to increase their ICU capacity to admit a growing number of patients with severe respiratory diseases, in need of ventilators. Whatever the evolution of this pandemic, it is expected that more ICUs will be needed internationally in the next few months. The response to the emergency in China and Italy so far has been to set up makeshift emergency hospitals such as tents, or build new prefabricated wards with biocontainment. While the latter option is time and resource-intensive, the former exposes medical professionals to a higher risk of contamination and adds operational strain, especially in the long run. CURA strives to learn from both approaches and to be as fast to mount as a hospital tent, but as safe as a hospital’s isolation ward to work in, thanks to biocontainment (an extractor creates indoor negative pressure, complying with the standards of Airborne Infection Isolation Rooms AIIRs). It follows the standards for COVID-19 hospitals issued by the Chinese authorities, while speeding up execution. Each CURA pod would contain all the medical equipment needed for two COVID-19 intensive-care patients – including ventilators and intravenous fluids stands. All units can be connected by an inflatable corridor. The first CURA pod is being built for test at a hospital in Milan, Italy. CURA pods are being conceived as a ready-to-use solution. Shipping containers can easily be moved through different modes of transport - from ship to rail to truck - and re-used in different parts of the world, adapting to the needs and capacity of the local healthcare infrastructure. CURA is developed in an open-source, non-for-profit framework and solicits suggestions and improvements. Contributors to date are listed below in chronological order. visit: https://curapods.org/

EU Commission Waives Custom Duty On Medical Tech T he European Commission has approved requests from Member States and the UK to temporarily waive customs duties and VAT on the import of medical devices, and protective equipment, from non-EU countries in order to help in the fight against coronavirus. This will make it easier financially to get the medical equipment that doctors, nurses and patients desperately need. The measure includes masks and protective equipment, as well as testing kits, ventilators and other medical equipment and will apply for a period of six months, with a possibility for further extension. Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy said: “In this emergency it is vital that medical equipment and devices get quickly to where they are needed. By waiving customs and VAT duties on imports of these products from outside the EU, the European Commission will help make those products more 8 Industry Europe

accessible. I want to express again my deep respect and gratitude to health workers across Europe. Today’s measure should help them receive the equipment they need to protect themselves and continue saving lives.” On 20 March, the Commission invited all Member States, as well as the UK, to submit a request to waive customs duties and VAT on the importation of protective and other medical equipment from third countries, which all those invited took up. Today’s decision takes effect retroactively from 30 January. Tools are already available under current EU legislation to help disaster victims. These tools can be used to face the health crisis brought on by coronavirus. EU customs legislation provides for the possibility to grant duty relief for the “benefit of disaster victims”. It can be applied to imports by State

organisations or approved charitable or philanthropic organisations. To grant relief, a decision from the Commission is required, following a request from the Member States concerned. Visit: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/ video/I-187934


NEWS

INDUSTRYNEWS

Siemens Opens 3D Printing Network To Medical Community

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unich-based technology giant Siemens has opened up its Additive Manufacturing Network and its 3D printers to the worldwide medical community to speed design and production of medical components in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The AM Network connects users, designers and 3D-print service providers to enable faster and less complicated production of spare parts for machines like ventilators. The Siemens AM network is available globally and covers the entire value chain – from upload and simulation to checking the design up to the printing process and associated services. Starting today doctors, hospitals and organisations in need of medical devices as well as designers and service providers with medicallycertified printing capacities can register for free access to the Siemens AM Network.

Other industrial 3D printing providers, as well as universities are also contributing to protecting against the spread of Covid-19 through additive manufacturing. PPE manufacturers are also ramping up their production capabilities. “Having worked on Additive Manufacturing for years, we offer AM solutions along the entire value chain and can print 3D parts quickly according to acute demands. To help fight Covid-19, we have opened our AM Network for

Air Liquide In Talks With EQT Over Schülke Sale

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xclusive talks between private equity group EQT Partners and Air Liquide about the €900-million purchase of its hand sanitiser brand Schülke are underway as the company ramps up its production following the Coronavirus pandemic. This deal comes as companies attempt to keep their brands from falling through in the wake of the markets drying up, making negotiations such as this rare. Christian Sinding, CEO of EQT said: “We are experiencing a short-term increase of demand, and we are doing everything in our power to distribute our product as widely as possible.” “I think the world has now learned the importance of sanitisation and good hygiene, particularly in the prevention of spreading germs and viruses. We think this trend will continue in the long term.” Schülke was put up for sale last year, a significant amount of time before the pandemic, and was given a roughly €1-billion price tag. Following the rise of Coronavirus, Air Liquide has been seeking a premium. This deal comes as the price for one of the main chemical ingredients, isopropyl alcohol, has hit record highs in Europe, reflecting a surge in demand. Many companies have shifted their production to help meet the demand on this shortage of alcohol-based gels.

The original bidding was due to start in late April, but the current events forced EQT to prematurely end the process by putting together a fully financed offer. They turned to HPS Investment Partners, a private credit investment company, to secure financing for the deal. Mr Sinding added: “Schülke is really busy working day and night to deliver these urgent supplies to the market – and our aim is to deliver something concrete and rapid. “We’re not looking to maximise leverage in this situation because it would be too expensive. EQT are using a higher proportion of equity than we would have one quarter ago.” visit: www.airliquide.com

hospitals and other health institutions needing spare medical parts to efficiently manage their design and printing requests”, said Klaus Helmrich, Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG and CEO Siemens Digital Industries. Siemens’ designers and engineers are a part of the AM Network so they can answer design requests and help convert designs into printable files. Afterwards, these components can be printed via medically certified 3D printers of partner companies that are also part of the AM Network. In addition to numerous 3D printers from partner companies, Siemens’ 3D printing machines are also connected to the network and if suitable, will also be used to locally print components and spare parts for medical devices. Printing capacities from additional service providers can easily be added to the AM Network. visit: https://new.siemens.com/global/en.html

Beauty Brands Switch Manufacturing Focus In Fight Against Covid-19

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VMH led the charge by announcing that it would be turning its perfumes and cosmetics business into a manufacturer of hand sanitiser, which will be distributed to the French healthcare system. The decision was made in response to shortages of germ-fighting gel. “In this exceptional crisis situation it is our responsibility to contribute in every possible way to the collective effort,” said Jean-Paul Agon, L’Oréal chairman and chief executive officer. “Through these gestures, L’Oréal wishes to express its appreciation, support and solidarity with all those who mobilise with extraordinary courage and abnegation to fight against this pandemic.” Fashion companies have begun participating in the fight against the virus, producing masks as the outbreak worsens. Former American Apparel boss Dov Charney offered up the management team and workforce at his Los Angeles Apparel label to manufacture masks and other medical products for “any government agency”. The company said that it is also looking into how it could pivot some of its textile manufacturing over to health materials production. At present, Inditex is only providing these products in Spain. Learn more at: www.lvmh.com Industry Europe 9


Cerulean & PCE Partnership Brings Automated End Of Line Packing Collapsible tube manufacturers now have the ability to fully automate their end-of-line processes with integrated pack and test solutions from Cerulean and PCE Group Ltd.

Incorporating six cells, the total end-of-line package includes: • • • • • •

100 per cent tube leak tester 100 per cent tube vision inspection tube tray & lid forming and loading tube packing tube tray dust sheet application tube tray palletising

The cells are available as a complete end-of-line solution or individually as expandable modules to suit most applications meeting manufacturers’ needs and budget with benefits that include: • hygiene • reduction in manual labour • 100 per cent leak tested tubes • 100 per cent vision inspected tubes Cerulean, part of the COESIA group of companies who are recognised as leaders in the field of packing technology, has been building automated tube packing machines for over 25 years and have recently partnered with PCE Group Limited, a UK-based manufacturer of automated solutions for a wide-range of industries. Formed in 1961, PCE Automation have established themselves as a market leading supplier of automation solutions, providing a vast range of product handling, assembly and testing systems. 10 Industry Europe

The partnership formed between Cerulean and PCE delivers the innovative solutions of automation and product handling from PCE and the global reach and reputation Cerulean has for delivering automated tube packing solutions. James Cook, MD of PCE says, “working with Cerulean allows us to have a world-wide reach and provide automated solutions for tube manufacturers everywhere”, Steve Frankham, MD of Cerulean, commented on the future partnership, “PCE are specialists in automation and incorporating their solutions with our own equipment brings a new level of expertise and support to our global customers.” The partnership has already seen success and new development n opportunities are already on the drawing board. For more information, visit: www.cerulean.com/en



How one firm adapted to Covid-era life in China With China and Italy under lockdown and the coronavirus officially declared a pandemic, the global economy is groaning and supply chains are disrupted. Industry Europe caught up with Ronan Ye, Managing Director of high-quality prototyping company 3ERP to get his insights on the damage done and how COVID-19 has been affecting business.

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ndustry Europe: Firstly, I’d like to thank you for chatting with us about this urgent issue. I very much hope yourself and your family are safe and sound. The city of ZhongShan, where 3ERP is headquartered, has seemingly escaped the worst of the coronavirus. In the city there have been 66 confirmed cases and thus far no fatalities. Nonetheless, what is the situation like in the city at present? Ronan Ye: Actually, ZhongShan had just two cases yesterday, they are back from Spain. After 23 days without any new cases. They have been sent to the hospital immediately, and the living garden where they live is sealed down. Government departments will arrange people to take care of their daily life for sure. If they want to buy things, what they need to do is send a message, then, they will get things delivered to their door.

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Well one month ago, it was really tough for everyone in ZhongShan. I guess same everywhere in China. Panic and pressure! That’s normal when things are unclear. Me and my family spend all the time in the house. We didn’t go out unless it is really necessary, like buying food and daily stuff. Good thing is, finally, I spend lots of time with my family. Have never done that before. Now, people are starting to calm down a little bit here. By the way, anyone who is identified as a coronavirus infected person, the country will pay everything for the treatment. As you know, it is huge amount of money for people with average income. That’s another reason that people stop worry that much. IE: What steps have you been taking to protect your staff?

RY: First of all, all people who come to work have to wear mask. Our company has also prepared enough masks for our staff. When they come to work, they will wear the new mask from the company. We also inspect the body temperature. And we change the mask within 4 hours. Spray the medical alcohol to the hands and feet. Spray disinfectant twice a day. In the old days, we have lunch and dinner together. But now, we take meals individually. IE: Can you tell me about ways in which the outbreak has affected your suppliers or distributors? RY: Tough. We have set up a stick rule to come back to work. And people were not able to travel freely, which mean people won’t be able to come to work on time. But our customers keep sending us orders. That


means lots of projects will be delayed. We’re complaining a lot at the moment. But when we look back, we’ll see it was the best choice. Safety comes first! IE: Have you had problems sending orders within China? What about outside of China? RY: It is a bit slower than usual, but not a big problem, unless sending in and out from HuBei Province. Sending things outside of China is fine. IE: Have local authorities been providing assistance to businesses affected by the outbreak? RY: Yes, lots of new policies have been set up which helps a lot. For example, cancelling the social insurance costs for the coming six months and lowering the interest for loans. IE: They say with every crisis also comes an opportunity as well as lessons to be learned. Do you see any of either that could apply to 3ERP as a company? RY: Lots of rapid prototyping companies are trying to expand. Luckily, 3ERP doesn’t do it in this way. Our strategy is to keep ourselves flexible and stick to the high-end market. Our goal is to deliver high-quality prototypes on the dot, and we always do. That’s our code value. It is a huge pressure when a company has to pay lots of employees when everyone is doing nothing. So I won’t be surprised if some companies have to close down. IE: What about to the global economy? What lessons can we learn?

RY: Without doubt, the coronavirus is harmful for the global economy! It is bad for sure. But I haven’t reached the level to think about what lessons we can learn for the world yet. Frankly, I spend my time and energy to think of how we can survive through this bad situation. I believe we will get through this. And I believe human beings will get through the tough situation.

we? Thinking about what you can do to keep yourself ahead of the competition is more important. That’s the reason why we are doing better in comparison with other RP companies here in China. I guess both parties will calm down in the end, and figure out a way which is good for both. IE: How to prevent the virus?

IE: Some commentators are talking about this being a pivotal point in global trade and supply structures. What do you think will be the medium and long-term consequences of the outbreak for the global economy? RY: Seriously, do you believe this kind of pivotal point saying? I believe it is what it is. Frankly, the global economy was taking a downturn, so is it really that bad? Here comes a big topic... I think over-manufacturing is creating a lot of things we don’t really need, which creates extra CO2 emissions and empties the resources of Earth. I am happy we are a prototyping company. Everything we do is custom made. We don’t create things which are not needed. I think that’s the future way of how manufacturing should be.

RY: First of all, people should understand it right. The long latent period is the most dangerous thing, because the carriers show no sign at all. Due to cultural differences, western people don’t want to wear masks. As far as I know, only sick people should wear the masks. If everyone thinks in this way no matter whether healthy or sick, it is a big problem. I would suggest not going to crowded places. If you have to, you must find a way to protect yourself. Don’t touch your eyes, noses and n mouth before you wash your hands. visit: www.3erp.com

3ERP Office ZhongShan

IE: What about the ongoing trade battle between China and the US? RY: That isn’t good for either party. China or the US will benefit from this? Seriously, I don’t think so. It is what it is. I think to do things in what place is not a decision from any organisation. It is how it has to be. For example, the lobar intensive product manufacturing has moved to the other Asian countries. What shall we do? Keep complaining? Why should Industry Europe 13


NEWS

Combining strengths

European Commission Approves UTC Acquisition Of Raytheon

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he European Commission has given its approval to the proposed acquisition of defence contractor and arms manufacturer Raytheon by United Technologies Corporation (UTC). The transaction would combine UTC’s aerospace businesses and Raytheon’s defence business. Both companies are worldwide suppliers of military systems to aircraft and guided munitions manufacturers, as well as armed forces.

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Following the proposal of the acquisition, the Commission began investigating what the impact of the deal would be. There were initial concerns that the transaction would have reduced competition in the markets for airborne radios and military GPS receivers. The results of the Commission’s investigation found that, with respect to military airborne radios, UTC and Raytheon are two major

suppliers of these systems worldwide and, in particular, the only two real options currently available to US military aircraft manufacturers. EEA armed forces procure a variety of military aircraft from US manufacturers, therefore the Commission was concerned that the concentration would result in harm to EEA armed forces, including higher prices. Concerning military GPS receivers, UTC and Raytheon are two of the very few suppliers of this core military GPS technology worldwide, including in the EEA, which in turn constitutes a critical input for a broad range of military systems. Therefore, the merged entity would have faced very limited competition from alternative suppliers following the transaction. The conclusion that the Commission reached was that vertical links between the two defence giants did not harm competition because the resulting merged entity would have neither the incentive nor the ability to restrict competitors’ access to essential input or a customer base. The investigation also looked at whether the proposed merged entity would have the ability to shut out competitors through the use of practices such as bundling, but found that there would be no incentive to do so, and nor would the company have the ability. The two defence companies, in a bid to allay the Commission’s concerns offered to divest UTC’s entire military GPS receiver and anti-jamming business, which is based in Cedar Rapids and Coralville, Iowa, United States, as well as Raytheon’s entire military airborne radios business, based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States. The intention on the part of UTC and Raytheon is to sell the divested businesses to BAE Systems, removing the overlap. The Commission’s final approval is still dependent on the two defence companies fulfilling these commitments. The investigation saw the European Commission work closely with the Department of Justice in the US, where the companies are both headquartered, as well as Canada’s Competition Bureau. visit: www.rtx.com


LINKINGUP EC Pledge: Over €7.4 Billion Raised In Funds For Vaccines

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he recent pledge announced by the European Commission to begin a globally coordinated response to Covid-19 has already raised €7.4 billion of its €7.5 billion target in just 24 hours since its launch. The initiative was officially launched yesterday by a joint effort from the European Commission and an alliance with various corporate giants who acted as signatories and investors in the scheme. The pledge was announced last week, at the onset of World Immunisation Week 2020. The ultimate aim is to ensure the collaborative development and universal deployment of diagnostics, treatments and eventual production of vaccines against coronavirus. EC president, Ursula von der Leyen said: “Today the world showed extraordinary unity for the common good. Governments and global health organisations joined forces against coronavirus. With such commitment, we are on track for developing, producing and deploying a vaccine for all. “This is only the beginning. We need to sustain the effort and to stand ready to contribute more. The pledging marathon will continue. After governments, civil society and people worldwide need to join in, in the global mobilisation of hope and resolve.” The pledging event was co-convened by the European Union, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Spain and the UK. It formed

as a result of a call to action by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other such health firms to fund a global fight in curbing the spread and ultimately dealing with, the pandemic. The EC has announced the initial pledge goal of €7.5 billion will not be enough to ensure the global distribution of Covid-19 health technologies. As a result, they will be continuing to raise funds past the initial goal to allow them to deal with the significant production and distribution costs needed. The EC has also announced that it will be committing €1 billion in grants and €400 million in guarantees on loans in the reprioritisation of various companies and technologies to fully deal with coronavirus. These grants will be going to are Horizon 2020, RescEU and the Emergency Support Instrument, as well as various external instruments. A further €100 million will be donated to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and €158 million will be going to the World Health Organization. Donors are invited to continue pledging to the Coronavirus Global Response and can choose which area to donate to – Test, Treat or Prevent – with a further option to donate the horizontal workstream of the Response itself helping global health systems deal with the pandemic. The EC has further announced its intention to release a breakdown of the funds, so donors and the public can view how the funds will be funnelled into each area.

Yokogawa Acquires Danish AI Firm Grazper Technologies

Mitsubishi Electric Acquires Swedish HVAC Distributor AQS

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apan’s Mitsubishi Electric has announced that its Amsterdam-based subsidiary in Europe has acquired all shares in Swedish comfort, process and IT cooling and heat pump distributor, AQS Produkter AB. In a press release, the Japanese firm described the Swedish market as having “promising prospects”. AQS has been selling commercial cooling and heat pump products for 35 years and, as such, the company and its employees already possess strong technical capabilities and know-how. Prior to the acquisition, Mitsubishi Electric has been selling mainly residential and light commercial products in Sweden through its Scandinavian branch. AQS has been the primary distributor Mitsubishi commercial cooling and heat pump products in the region. “We welcome AQS to the Mitsubishi Electric family. This is an exciting opportunity for us to strengthen and expand our offering on the Swedish market. The addition will complement our existing portfolio and enable us to cater even better for the high market demand for innova-

tive and energy saving chiller technology,” said Itaru Watanabe, Branch President of Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V (Scandinavia). Residential air conditioners and hot-water heat pumps have been gaining popularity in Sweden, where people are striving to combat global warming by saving energy. Also, chillers are being increasingly adopted for commercial cooling systems in the Swedish market. In addition, the data centre expansion in Sweden has significantly increased the market for IT cooling. Through the acquisition of AQS, Mitsubishi Electric said it aims to strengthen its commercial business in Sweden and also to strengthen total solutions capabilities of Mitsubishi Electric Europe by taking advantage of its new partner’s know-how. visit: www.aqsprodukter.se

apan’s Yokogawa Electric Corp has announced the acquisition of Denmark’s Grazper Technologies, a company which develops advanced artificial intelligence for image analysis. The Japanese firm says it will leverage these AI technologies within its existing businesses to develop new industrial solutions. Recent advances in deep learning and related technologies have enabled the practical application of AI in industry, and it is expected that as image identification and data forecasting accuracy continue to improve, the use of AI will only expand further. In particular, by improving the recognition accuracy for moving imagery, it becomes possible to observe the overall environment and context of the whole image, opening up new applications in the security field and for image analysis and robot operations on production lines. Founded in 2015, Grazper possesses advanced AI-based technologies for image analysis, including a solution that allows AI software to run efficiently on a field-programmable gate array (FPGA), a type of integrated circuit. The software employs image recognition methodologies that have been theorised using algorithms and 3D modelling, and it can be operated with limited computing resources. visit: www.yokogawa.com Industry Europe 15


NEWS

MOVINGON

Relocations and expansions across Europe

China’s Zijin To Invest Over €730m In Serbia

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ijin Bor Copper, the Serbian unit of China’s Zijin Mining Group, has announced its plans to invest over €730-million in the expansion of its production capacity this year

and next, Serbian energy minister Aleksandar Antic has said. Zijin says it will invest the money into the reconstruction of existing mines, and the opening of new ones, increasing the capacity of its copper smelter and strengthening the its environmental protections. Despite the coronavirus outbreak, production of copper at the mining and smelting complex is going ahead without delay, Antic said during a meeting with the general manager of Zijin Bor Copper, Jian Ximing, in Belgrade.

Renault Ends Chinese Joint Venture To Focus On Electric

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rench car maker Renault has announced that it is pulling out of its lossmaking joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Corp due to lacklustre sales, reversing a much-heralded strategy put into place by former CEO Carlos Ghosn. The automotive firm said that it would stop selling petrol cars in China and would sell off its half of the 50-50 joint venture, Dongfeng Renault Automotive Company (Drac). The sale will also transfer full control of its plant in Wuhan to Dongfeng, meaning an end to the sale of Renaultbranded cars. “We are opening a new chapter in China. We will concentrate on electric vehicles and light commercial vehicles, the two main drivers for future clean mobility and more efficiently leverage our relationship with Nissan,” said François Provost, chairman of Renault’s China business. The French automotive company has struggled to make its mark in the Chinese market compared with rivals such as General Motors and Volkswagen with sluggish sales even before the outbreak of Covid-19 crashed demand in the country. The pandemic is expected to slow grown in China even further this year. 16 Industry Europe

In January, Zijin Bor Copper said it targets a profit of €6.8-million this year. The company plans to process 437,000 tonnes of copper concentrate and produce 122,000 tonnes of anodes, 90,000 tonnes of cathodes,370,000 tonnes of sulphuric acid, 1,833 kg of gold and 11.9 tonnes of silver in 2020. The Chinese group injected €279-million in the capital of Serbian copper mining and smelting company RTB Bor in December 2018, acquiring majority ownership, and renamed it to Zijin Bor Copper. visit: http://www.zijinmining.com/

Renault is one of the hardest hit of the major car firms, closing plants across the world and considering taking out loans of up to €5-billion, which are guaranteed by the French state. Renault’s sales through the joint venture in China last year amounted to less than 20,000.Drac made only 14 cars in the first quarter of 2020 and sold just 633, down 89% from the same period the previous year. The decision to quit comes on the heels of a disastrous year for Renault, seeing its profits wiped out and the implementation of €2-billion worth of cost cutting plans. This year, the company has seen 54% wiped off its share price. Last week, Standard & Poor’s, the credit rating agency, degraded Renault’s bonds to junk, while the company cancelled dividends and said that executives would take pay cuts during the crisis. The company says that the decision to pull out of the Chinese joint venture was made before the coronavirus hit the markets. This summer, Luca de Meo, a former Volkswagen and Fiat executive, will take over the reins at Renault - almost one year since the ousting of former CEO Carlos Ghosn, who is currently in his native Lebanon, a fugitive from the Japanese judicial system. visit: https://group.renault.com/en www.dongfeng-global.com


NEWS

TECHNOLOGYSPOTLIGHT

Advances in technology across industry

Robots Help Nurses Fight Covid-19 In Mater Hospital, Ireland

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iPath is launching a pro bono automation project with the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin. The initiative will see software robots assigned to the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Department at the Mater. This development will significantly reduce the administrative strain placed upon the department by multi-drug resistant organisms or viruses such as Covid-19, enabling IPC nurses to spend more time with patients. The project will see the Mater offered free trial robot licenses for the IPC Department until the end of the year. With data being automated through software robots, the information will be processed in a fraction of the current time, disseminating patient results in minutes. It will save the infection control department three hours per day, 18 hours per week and 936 hours a year which they can now spend managing the current Covid-19 pandemic. As a result of Covid-19, the Mater expects to receive hundreds of swabs and microbiology tests in the coming months which the software robots can assist in rapid processing. The results can then be distributed to healthcare workers rapidly and

essential infection prevention and control measures can be put into action. Jincy Jerry, Assistant Director of Nursing, Infection Prevention and Control, MMUH, said: “Given that IPC nurses spend close to 30% of their day with administrative tasks, for the past few months I have been looking at ways to make software robots part of our daily jobs. With the Covid-19 pandemic unfolding now, it is crucial that all frontline staff are freed up as much as possible to spend time with patients and deal with this outbreak, rather than being in front of computers.” “Not only will automation help with this, but it will also take the strain off the hospital as it continues to process huge amounts of more routine patient data in addition to Covid-19 specific information.” “As we’ve already seen, alongside the public playing their part in physical distancing, fast diagnosis and appropriate self-isolation are crucial to preventing the spread of Covid-19. We’re confident that the project we’re embarking on will help mitigate the huge strain this outbreak is putting on healthcare organisations – not just in MMUH, but across Ireland.”

Mark O’Connor, Public Sector Director Ireland at UiPath, said: “Infection Prevention & Control is critical to help people stay healthy, and while Covid-19 is top of mind, this project will continue to deliver benefits long term. At this time of heightened stress and anxiety, it’s vital to free up doctors and nurses’ time for patients wherever it can be done.” “Robotic process automation minimises, if not removes, the need for people to carry out repetitive, rules-based admin work – speeding up processes and ensuring they’re error-free. With a robot for every nurse approach, essential frontline staff will be freed to be nurses and not system administrators, being able to focus more on the quality of care – which can make a real difference when it comes to treating patients in times of need.” visit: www.uipath.com

Building A Supercomputer To Fight COVID-19

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elio AG, creator of an open platform that connects idle data centre compute to enable the quick and cost-effective execution of large-scale workloads, has announced that it is making its compute delivery network available free of charge for any research organisation, laboratory, university or other computer-intensive applications. In an effort to support the international research community, Helio is announcing that it will open its entire compute infrastructure free of charge to anyone working on COVID19 and related research or applications. This

empowers these organisations with the extra computing power needed to more effectively and quickly model solutions to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers around the world are quickly trying to understand the virus and develop an immunisation programme. What in earlier days would have been done with hundreds of manual experiments in laboratories is now often done with the aid of computers. Testing billions of combinations of substances and simulating the virus’s response requires an incredible amount of computing resources — especially when it’s needed on short timelines. To aid this process, Helio’s proprietary platform is rapidly connecting data centres across Europe to help researchers get the computing resources they need. The Helio platform connects a network of individual data centres to more efficiently perform computing tasks, such as the rendering of 3D films and animations or the simulation of physical phenomena.

Kevin Häfeli, Founder and CEO of Helio, notes, “Switzerland is very much affected by the virus, and we started to wonder how we can help. We have worked with research organisations in the past and know that often the availability of computing resources is a key challenge. To do our bit, we will open up our network for anyone to use and make our team available to help connect computing tasks on short notice.” Helio says it is currently connecting more and more data centres across Europe. Operators such as SysEleven in Berlin and Ops One in Zurich have already started connecting their infrastructure to Helio, making their spare capacity available. Christoph Buchli, CTO of Helio says: “Even though there is a surge in demand for digital services, many data centres still have a lot of unused capacity that we can make available via Helio. We will be connecting more and more data centres over the coming weeks and months.” visit: https://helio.exchange/ Industry Europe 17




Optical inspection - © Aspocomp

At the heart of the

digital revolution By tapping into the right megatrends in the PCB industry, Finland’s Aspocomp is firmly established on a fast growth track

Innerlayer Developing, Eching and Stripping (DES) - © Aspocomp

20 Industry Europe

Pattern plating - © Aspocomp

Work-in-progress - © Aspocomp


Automation, Robotics & AI Electrical testing - © Aspocomp

In

2019 Aspocomp, the Finland-based advanced Printed Circuit Board (PCB) company, celebrated its 40th anniversary. Aspocomp was founded in 1979 and enjoyed rapid growth during Finland’s cellphone boom. In 1999 it was demerged from the Aspo Group to operate as an independent listed company. Now in its 20th year as an independent company, Aspocomp sees itself at a turning point. It is expanding its business geographically and diversifying from the telecom sector to other sectors such as automotive, security and defence and IC testing. It now aims to utilise its strong partner network to serve customers during the whole lifecycle of their product. Mikko Montonen, President & CEO of Aspocomp since the spring of 2014, summarises the secret of the company’s success: “We stepped up our sales efficiency. We shifted from product-focused thinking to a service-oriented, customer-focused approach to operations and harnessed our own strengths.” The company’s strengths include the specialties of its Oulu plant: high-tech expertise, agility and suitability for producing small series that mass manufacturers in Asia are not interested in or which are simply not a good fit for their processes. “As we developed our own operations, we analysed the markets to identify new fields of business that could benefit from Aspocomp’s expertise – one of these is the automotive industry.”

Fast growing markets The automotive industry is now one of Aspocomp’s fastest-growing customer segments. Whereas a cellphone includes only a few PCBs, one car requires as many as 140 – and in the years ahead, vehicles will feature even more technology. In addition to the automotive industry, Aspocomp has heavily specialised in product development and testing of semiconductors. “Aspocomp PCBs are used in the testing of high-tech components

for 5G, the automotive industry, industrial internet, machine-tomachine and digitalisation needs in general,” says Montonen. 5G, the latest generation of mobile data, is now everywhere. It substantially speeds up data transfer and thus paves the way for great changes in many industries. For Aspocomp, this means new customers and projects in years to come. As well as continuing to develop its high-tech and high-quality operations, Aspocomp has succeeded in identifying the international megatrends that support its own operations and seizing the opportunities they open up. Many of these megatrends are based on technological development. In addition to 5G, these include robotics, artificial intelligence, the industrial internet and the defence and security industry.

Advanced manufacturing - volume production Aspocomp’s business model is based on high-tech advanced manufacturing in Finland and volume supply from Asia. Its manufacturing plant in Oulu, Finland, is a state-of-art quick-turn facility for HDI (High Density Interconnection), advanced HDI, high layercount PCB’s and special technologies e.g. different heat management technologies (Heatsink, Coin etc) As well as its volume manufacturing operations in China, India and Thailand, Aspocomp has six partners in China. All Aspocomp partners have successfully passed VDA 6.3 assessment and have TS16949 certification. They have been carefully selected to provide the best mix of different volume and technology offerings. Aspocomp’s sourcing and supply management office, located in Shenzhen, China, is responsible for daily supplier activities i.e. delivery monitoring, quality assurance and logistics. Customers utilising Aspocomp’s unique offering through full product life cycle can expect Design for Manufacturability (DFM) feedback on request, not only for prototypes, but for expected volume manufacturing as well. Industry Europe 21


Automation, Robotics & AI

Mechanical drilling - © Aspocomp

Growth strategy delivers Aspocomp was able to report on a highly successful performance in 2018. Year-on-year net sales grew 22 per cent, rising to their highest level since 2006. Growth was clearly faster than the PCB market as a whole, which is expected to grow by approximately 5.5 per cent. The CEO commented: “The customer segments selected in the current business strategy all posted strong growth, with the exception of the security and defence segment. In the telecommunications network segment, demand was strengthened by the development of the next generation of 5G technology and the launch of the first commercial networks and equipment. The segment has over 10 significant customers and total growth was 42 per cent. Development was slightly more moderate in both the automotive industry and industrial electronics segments, about 17 and 15 per cent, respectively. The semiconductor testing segment grew by as much as 54 per cent and its net sales amounted to EUR 2 million.’ Mikko Montonen added: “The ongoing EUR 10 million investment program focuses in the first stage on enhancing the capabili-

22 Industry Europe

ties of the Oulu plant, while the main focus in the second stage is to increase its capacity. Most of the first stage equipment has been ordered and installation will be completed in 2019.” The results for 2019 are expected to show net sales at approximately 10 per cent higher compared with 2018 and the operating result to be even better. “Sales remained stable despite uncertain market conditions,” said Mr Montonen, “As in the previous year, demand swung to very strong growth towards the end of September and the order book strengthened significantly from the comparison period. “Cash flow from operating activities was more than double compared to the previous year. The order book was at the record high of EUR 4.9 million at the end of the third quarter, a year-on-year n increase of 60 per cent.”

Mikko Montonen President and CEO © Aspocomp


Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

Harvesting powerful

forestry solutions Ponsse is a global leader in the development and manufacture of powerful, multi-functional forestry machinery. Since its founding in Finland in 1970, the company has revolutionised the world’s logging industry, its methods and solutions. Today its powerful ‘Bear’ harvesters and unrivalled Bison transporters lead the field, as Philip Yorke reports.

In

1970, Finnish forestry entrepreneur Einari Vidgren searched to find forestry machines sufficiently powerful for his needs. Finding none available, he decided to build his own. His uniquely robust machines quickly made Ponsse a market leader in the ‘cutto-length’ method of tree harvesting. Today his remarkable success story continues with the launch of new, highly efficient solutions for more profitable harvesting.

Ponsse specialises in the production, sale and maintenance of forestry machines specifically designed for the cut-to-length method of harvesting as well as their related information systems. Innovation lies at the heart of the company’s business, which remains independent and family owned. From the outset, Ponsse has been dedicated to meeting the precise and challenging demands of the global forestry industry as dictated by forestry owners and operators worldwide. Industry Europe 23


Optimising productivity The Ponsse range of harvesters quickly cuts and sorts both energy wood and mature trunks, at any logging site and in every environment. The company’s versatile and multi-functional harvesters guarantee the best productivity, as they adapt easily to all kinds of working conditions. In terms of comfort, its harvesters are in a league of their own. Following customers’ wishes, it has focused on the usability and serviceability of its powerful harvesters. The Ponsse harvester range consists of large machines for the largest trunks, multi-functional solutions for all types of logging sites and extreme, high-performance harvesters for the most demanding logging challenges. Whether you need a powerhouse or an agile machine for difficult terrain, the Ponsse harvester range has just the right machine for all applications. Highly efficient technical systems and dependable solutions guarantee that its harvesters are totally reliable, even in the most extreme conditions.

Bear essentials The Ponsse ‘Bear’ has the industry’s most powerful engine, as well as the most robust crane. It is serviced by two large hydraulic 24 Industry Europe

pumps, as well as the largest harvester heads on the market. This giant of a harvester offers incredible production rates in dense forests with refined ergonomics. Today this is what big bears are made of as they endure hard work effortlessly and tirelessly, year after year. In addition, the unequaled comfort of Ponsse harvesters puts them in a class of their own. Ergonomics and ease of use have a direct link to productivity. This is why the company’s harvesters focus on the operator’s comfort, machine handling and excellent visibility, something that is characteristic to all Ponsse harvesters.

Seamless control The versatile Ponsse Active Crane offers a new way of controlling the logging loader and boosting its work output. It is an innovation that the driver uses to control the grapple movement instead of individual functions, thus allowing the driver to concentrate efficiently on loader work that makes the difference. The Active Crane is easy to control by simply using two control levers, one of which controls the grapple height from the ground and the other the direction of movement. Yet another unique advantage of the Ponsse Active Crane is that the driver does not need to


Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

control all the functions simultaneously. When the desired grapple location is specified for the machine, the system performs the lifting, folding and extending operations fully automatically. In another area of activity, the company’s ‘Bison Active Frame’ has become a revolutionary new leader in forwarder markets throughout the world. Equipped with a modern Mercedes-Benz engine, a powerful loader and a strong continuously variable transmission (CVT), Bison Active Frame is a true powerhouse when it comes to the local transport of timber. This latest model is equipped with Ponsse’s unique Active Frame suspension system and has a multi-functional structure, effectively suspending any sideways movement directed at the operator.

New Boost & Save strategy

together with its customers, thus following the true Ponsse spirit, and where else but at logging sites! The company’s 50th anniversary roadshow will travel all over the world, whilst stopping at different logging sites and at more than 100 different events in 28 countries. Its European roadshow began in Finland on 23rd January and will end at the Finn-METKO 2020 exhibition in November. Ponsse will also visit various logging sites in South and North America, Russia, Asia and Australia. During the travelling roadshow, Ponsse will collect feedback from its customers and showcase their latest range of n products and services. For further details of Ponsse’s latest innovative and powerful forestry machinery visit: www.ponsse.com

These latest products from Ponsse form part of its new Boost & Save strategy, which is aimed at enabling customers to improve the productivity and cost-efficiency of harvesting through use of the right products, and the most advanced information systems, training and service. Today Ponsse is not only leading the field in technology but also in the development and manufacture of sustainable and innovative harvesting solutions for environmentally friendly cut-to-length logging. The renowned family company is one of the world’s leading forest machine manufacturers, and its customer-oriented operations are still guided by the expressed wishes and needs of forest machine entrepreneurs throughout the world.

Celebrating 50 years of innovation This year marks half a century of progress and innovation for Ponsse and the celebrations are a clear endorsement of founding forest machine entrepreneur Einari Vidgrén’s dream to build the best forest machines in the world. Ponsse will celebrate its 50th anniversary Industry Europe 25


Vice President of the Board, Financial Director of Melex Sp. z o.o. - Mr. Dariusz Gujda

Experts in electric vehicles

MELEX, a company from Mielec, Poland, is one of the longest lasting manufacturers of electric vehicles in the world. Its models are tailored made and customised to individual orders. Pope Francis on his historic visit to Auschwitz

Source: PAP

26 Industry Europe


Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

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he company’s history goes back to the beginning of the 1970s when an American engineer came to Poland to find a company that had the right infrastructure to produce electric carts for golf courses. The aircraft factory in Mielec was chosen since many innovative projects were being created there at that time. An independent department was established and named after the town of Mielec. The cooperation was beneficial for both sides: Americans received a high-quality premium product for an affordable price, while for the Polish company, at that point ‘behind the iron curtain’, payment in foreign currency was also very useful. The Mielec R&D Centre designed golf cart prototypes in 1971 and the first batch of 10 vehicles was sent overseas. Inexpensive in comparison to the competition, noiseless, manoeuvrable, easy to use and very durable MELEX soon won the American golf courses. In the second half of the 1970s the Mielec factory’s annual production grew to 10,000 units, gaining almost 10 per cent of the US market. In the middle of the 1980s, the company’s plans were thwarted by the Polish government’s declaration of martial law and the US embargo on Polish goods that ensued. MELEX reacted to the new situation by implementing product diversification, moving away from its flagship product - golf vehicles - and beginning the production of passenger and cargo models. New markets, like South America, Western Europe and Scandinavia began to emerge and in 1993, as a result of the restructuring process in Poland, MELEX became a separate company. After a few years, it found itself in trouble, which resulted in bankruptcy in 2003. However, in September 2004, the company was saved by new investors: Mr. Andrzej Tyszkiewicz, former general director of FSO (the biggest automotive factory in Poland) and his wife Dorota. The new owners introduced several much-needed changes, including increased the company’s offer and building a wide international distribution network, making MELEX became profitable again.

Celebrities also use MELEX vehicles Nearly 150,000 MELEX electric vehicles have been sold so far. The company employs 170 highly qualified and experienced employees and is constantly developing its dealer network in Europe and around the world, thus gaining new sales markets. The largest number of MELEX vehicles goes to Scandinavian countries, where they have been sold for 25 years by the company’s dealer AB NOMACO. They are popular as internal transport meaning in harbours, shipyards, ironworks and factories; they also serve as vehicles servicing bike paths and maintaining urban greenery. About 250 vehicles go from Mielec to the Scandinavian market every year. The Balkans are another important market. WAWA d.o.o., a company from Croatia, accounts for around 10 per cent of MELEX’s total vehicles - mostly passenger vehicles, as the Adriatic coast is a popular tourist destination. With a similar number of sales in Western Europe, Electrocar BV, a company from the Netherlands, is responsible for Benelux countries and western Germany. MELEX electric vehicles have had a few famous riders too, including the late Pope John Paul II, US President Donald Trump, football legend Diego Maradona and Hollywood actress Sharon Stone.

Wide electrifying offer MELEX offers more than 100 different models that are used in a variety of industries. These are cargo, passenger and special vehicles, from three model lines and with four different wheelbases. The range also includes vehicles homologated in category L7e (MWRE7A, MWRE8A), which can ride on public roads. The most popular MELEX products are cargo models with special features such as aluminium containers or made with sandwich plate, and coming with various features including; electric and hydraulic lifters, cargos with netting boards and tilts. Isotherms are great for catering or for transporting suitcases and bedding, towels, etc.

Industry Europe 27


in the hotel industry. Another category, which enjoys recognition among customers are 4-, 6- and 8- passenger models, which are also used in the tourism industry. The double A-frame with springs and 13” wheels significantly improves comfort and manoeuvrability, and the modern design its aesthetically pleasing. The passengers can move around easily in areas that are inaccessible to combustion vehicles such as old towns, city centres, parks and nature reserves.

Small truck, N.TRUCK The company creates new model lines to meet the growing requirements and expectations of its customers and is now work-

ing on its new N.TRUCK model line. The aim of the project is to develop a modular utility vehicle, with an electric drive, weighing in at 3.5 tonnes (DMC), to be used for transport in urban and industrial areas with a load capacity of up to 2 tonnes. The model will be made in three versions of the chassis length. Engine power starts from 10 kW, and the maximum speed is 50 km/h, with an average distance of up to 120 km (75 miles). N.TRUCK will be equipped with unique options such as: smart battery replacement, contactless recharge system, four-wheel drive, front and rear turn axles in long models. Additionally, it will have heating, air condition, audio system, larger display, parking sensor, rear back up camera, adjustable steering column, remote diagnostics and vehicle monitoring system. The 3-phase on-board charger will remain at around 80 per cent charge after just one hour. This small electric truck will be used for city driving. Serial production of N.TRUCK line is set to start in 2021, on the company’s 50th anniversary. MELEX is anticipating a large number of new orders for N.TRUCK in a short time, and has invested in a new facility, equipped with modern equipment, in which production of n the new line will start. For more information, visit: www.melex.com.pl

HELLA HELLA is a global, family-owned company listed on the stock exchange that employs roughly 39,000 members of staff at over 125 locations in 35 countries. The HELLA Group develops and manufactures lighting and electronic components as well as systems and, as a technology leader, is an important partner of the automotive industry and the aftermarket for more than one hundred years. In the Special Applications segment, HELLA furthermore develops products for specialist vehicles. With almost 8,000 people working in research and development, HELLA is one of the most important innovation drivers on the market. HELLA has achieved sales of 7.0 billion in FY 2018/2019.

28 Industry Europe

Andrzej Duda- President of the Republic of Poland visiting Melex


Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

Taking autonomous

driving further ZF is a German technology company and a specialist in the development of intelligent drive systems for passenger cars and commercial vehicles. The company is at the cutting edge of artificial intelligence research (AI) in digital connectivity, full automation and software, as Philip Yorke reports.

T

he ZF Group was founded by Ferdinand von Zeppelin in 1915 and began by trading as Zahnradfabrik Friedrichschafen, later abbreviated to ZF. The company has evolved from a supplier specialising in aviation technology to a global technology company focused on research and advanced manufacturing technologies in the automotive and avionics industries. Today ZF continually enhances its systems in digital connectivity automation and sophisticated software that allows vehicles to see, think and act independently. In 2018, ZF achieved sales of around 40 billion euros. The group has a global workforce of more than 150,000 with 230 facilities located in over 40 countries worldwide.

Putting safety and comfort first Fully automated and autonomous driving are important technologies in helping make the traffic of the future safer, more efficient and more comfortable. Depending on the application, the market demands different solutions. For the time being, intelligent assistance functions, so-called Level 2+ systems, have the greatest potential for passenger cars. In contrast, fully automated systems of level 4 and higher will likely become established in commercial vehicles and urban passenger transport. This is proven by new orders which ZF has received from car and commercial vehicle manufacturer, the company told Industry Europe. Industry Europe 29


ZF is an attractive partner when it comes to the realisation of automated and autonomous driving in a wide range of applications. CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider explained why at the recent 2020 CES International Trade Fair: “ZF already offers complete systems at different prices and performance levels and is active in all relevant fields of application with passenger cars, commercial vehicles, and industrial technology.” The company has scaled its broad technology offering to meet virtually any requirement. “With ‘ZF Co-Assist’, we are making a Level 2+ system for the first time, with safety and comfort functions familiar from the luxury classes that can be achieved for inexpensive vehicle segments,” said Scheider.

vehicles, we are already seeing strong demand for systems that make fully automated driving to Level 4 and higher possible.” While the use of fully automated passenger cars in public transport still depends on regulations, commercial vehicles can already operate in highly automated modes within closed areas or defined lanes. In addition, driverless transport at depots or in urban passenger transport offers savings potential that leads to a rapid amortisation of system costs. Based on the ZF ProAI supercomputer, ZF is currently developing the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) for a Level 4 system for an international commercial vehicle manufacturer. The market launch is scheduled for 2024/25.

Unlimited potential

Futuristic software solutions

Earlier this year, ZF received a major order from a renowned Asian car manufacturer to supply its Co-Assist Level 2+ entry-level system for passenger cars from the end of 2020. ZF’s scope of supply includes system and software development, as well as sensor technology and central electronic control unit. By combining an advanced sensor suite including cameras and radars with a central control unit, functions such as adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, lane change assist, lane keeping assist and traffic jam support are enabled. “For passenger cars, we see unlimited potential in Level 2+ concepts for implementing automated driving functions and making them accessible to all drivers,” explained Scheider.

ZF is also setting the course for faster and more comprehensive software development: Together with Microsoft, ZF plans to adapt the speed and quality of its processes with futuristic solutions in software engineering orders to enhance the existing level of major IT companies. This change will enable ZF to use its global resources more efficiently and respond more effectively to its customers’ needs. In its cooperation with Microsoft, ZF uses Azure Cloud services and developer tools as well as Microsoft’s experience in agile software development. In the future, ZF will also be a supplier of pure software products in the automotive market. “The mobility industry continues to undergo major changes. This is the reason why ZF must also continue to change, develop and drive transformation. We have to be able to convince our customers with innovations that offer them – and ultimately the end consumer – added value. And in the future, this will increasingly include software products and services,” commented Scheider.

Delivering more The ZF Group is also delivering more in the development of fully automated commercial vehicles. Scheider added: “In the case of commercial 30 Industry Europe


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Advanced dynamic systems In January this year, ZF won the prestige contract to provide Advanced Drive-System Units (ADU’s) for the new 5 bladed Airbus H145 helicopter. Series delivery begins shortly. The new version of the Airbus H145 raises the bar concerning performance, maintenance and comfort. The transmission as well as ADU parts, which are used on the new H145, are produced exclusively by ZF and make a significant contribution to setting these new standards.

The H145´s new five-bladed rotor brings a significant increase in useful load, with the maximum take-off weight raised to 3,800 kg and a useful load now equivalent to the aircraft’s empty weight. The simplicity of the new bearingless main rotor design will also ease maintenance operations, further improving the benchmark serviceability and reliability of the H145, while improving ride comfort for both passengers and crew. For further details of the ZF Group’s latest innovative technologies and intelligent drive systems visit: www.zf.com

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Strong link American automotive components manufacturer BorgWarner has created 600 jobs by investing 15 billion forints (44.4 million euros) into their three production plants in Oroszlány in Hungary in the last three years. BorgWarner Oroszlány Kft today is a strong link with great future prospects within BorgWarner’s global operation. Edina Beale reports. 32 Industry Europe


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ne of the most important challenges in all industries today is to create solutions that will enhance a cleaner and more energy efficient world. Companies in the automotive industry have a major task to deliver energy saving transport solutions and BorgWarner has been focusing on this area for decades. They have developed technology systems that improve the efficiency of the vehicle, reduce emissions and increase performance. The R2S two-stage turbocharger system is a prime example of their pioneering solutions. It uses an electric actuator instead of the traditional vacuum technology to move the valves, so the vehicle responds quicker whilst significantly reducing emissions.

Dynamic growth BorgWarner has been manufacturing innovative technologies in Hungary for many years. Located 76 km (47 miles) outside of Budapest, the Oroszlány facility produces state-of-the-art turbochargers for gasoline and diesel engines. The factory was established in 2001 in order to assemble turbochargers to serve the Audi factory in Hungary but soon began to manufacture the products themselves. The company has seen dynamic develop-

ment ever since and today the Oroszlány site is the second largest turbocharger production site in Europe. In 2017, the 14,000 metres squared production area of the turbocharger producing factory has been extended by another 7,000 metres squared. This unit, now operating at full capacity, required an additional 350 staff. The company’s current product portfolio includes BV turbochargers with variable turbine geometry, turbochargers with waste gates for diesel and gasoline, and turbochargers with twin scroll. The products from this business unit are used by manufacturers of personal cars, light/medium/heavy trucks and commercial vehicles and serve many globally renowned European automotive companies including Audi, Volkswagen, Fiat, GM, Volvo, the PSA group and BMW. The Hungarian factory does not only impress with its size but also with its modern energy efficient operations. The facility uses waste heat from air compressors and furnaces and will recycle rainwater for watering lawns as well as condensation wastewater. Additionally, the building uses linear fluorescent lamps (LFLs) in most of the production and office areas, and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) in the remaining parts of the facility to reduce energy consumption. Industry Europe 33



Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

Extending product profile In addition to turbocharger production, now there are two more business units in operation on the Oroszlány complex, which covers an area of 35,000 metres squared and employs more than 1,400 people. In 2015, BorgWarner opened its TTS production facility to provide capacities that allow the company to meet growing customer demand with localised production. They began to manufacture hydraulic pumps for ‘pre-emptive’ AWD systems, complete transfer case units for Jaguar Land Rover and related spare parts for OEMS. BorgWarner’s AWD solutions contribute to enhanced vehicle traction, improved driving dynamics and better fuel economy. Later in the same year, another business unit, BorgWarner Emission Systems was established to manufacture advanced products including exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) tubes, valves and coolers as well as thermostats – all key technologies for modern engines aimed at reducing emissions.

Good prospects Attila Bogár, the managing director of BorgWarner Turbo Systems Kft, has been working for the firm over eight years. He has always been interested in innovative car technologies as his career has always been connected with the automotive industry. Mr Bogár believes the two main components essential to achieve success are quality and reliability. He sees incredible opportunities in innovations in the automotive sector: “The field of innovations in this industry is extraordinary as changes are obvious and very fast; therefore there is no need to look back decades but enough to examine the new developments at the end of the year.” The managing director also highlighted the ideal geographical position and large capacities of the Oroszlány campus which attracts car manufacturers like Audi, Mercedes and Opel operating in Hungary as well as Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive suppliers. According to Mr Bogár the future prospects of the automotive industry will be largely influenced by the stability of the Eurozone in the next few years. Contrary to Europe, Asia and parts of China

can expect more stable and dynamic growth in this sector. Quality requirements and regulations are additional factors that will influence the pace of production. The increase in energy prices are forcing manufacturers to produce vehicles that are more efficient but at the same time smaller in size – 1.6 litre engines instead of 2 litre ones are already available on the market. The opportunities will change according to market needs.

Safe operation winner With its dynamic development and high-quality standards of operations, BorgWarner Oroszlány Kft has set an example for other international BorgWarner sites. Whilst constant expansion the company has managed to maintain their focus on safe operations and has won the Work Safety prize on several occasions. This is a prestigious award for completing one million working hours without accidents that require reporting. The Hungarian firm is the only company among BorgWarner’s 74 global factories that has won this award five times in a row. With this recognition the company received a USD 20,000 prize, which was donated equally between the local fire n and ambulance services and a kindergarten.

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Electrifying innovation Musashi Hungary is a major supplier of precision parts for European car manufacturers. The increasing demand for electric passenger vehicles has accelerated its plans for the development of innovative electrified mobility products. Spearheading this drive is its recent acquisition of Aquarius Electric Supply Solutions and the move to gain a major shareholding in the JM Energy Corporation, as Philip Yorke reports.

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usashi Hungary Manufacturing was established in March 2000 as a subsidiary of the Japanese MUSASHI Seimitsu Industry Co. It is the group’s second biggest European manufacturing unit in Europe. The reason for setting up the Hungarian plant was to supply automotive parts to European car manufacturers as a tier one and tier two supplier. By doing so, the company was able to enhance its reputation for high level precision products. The factory was commissioned in the summer of 2001 in Ercsi, Hungary, with an initial productive area of 7,000 square metres. It began by producing ball joints for the advanced steering systems for Audi vehicles. Further supplier contracts assured the company’s continuous growth and heralded the launch of two new production lines in 2004 (Audi control arms and Daimler camshafts). In addition, a major Fiat contract was won in 2005. As a result, the total production area of the plant was increased to 10,000 square metres. Following its recovery from the global recession in 2008, the company has been producing camshafts for Jaguar-Land Rover, and manufacturing ball joints for various new Volvo models.

Forging global vision The Musashi Seimitsu Industry Co. recently announced that it acquired all the shares of Germany’s Hay Holding GmbH. This move supported the company’s strategic plan: “Musashi Global Vision 2020” which emphasises the strengthening of its existing high-precision forging technology, the expansion of its global production and sales network, and the optimisation of its global operations. The Hay Group was founded in 1925 and is based in Germany. It is the largest forging and machining company in the European Union. The company owns state-of-the-art forging presses which enable high speed mass-production volumes. This, in addition to many very large forging presses of between 3,000 to 5,000 tonnes, has extended its capability to give the company a competitive edge through its unique production lines for large powertrains. Through this transaction, the company expects to expand its business platform in Europe, thus increasing its presence in the global marketplace. Furthermore, it will help the company to achieve additional synergies in the key areas of production, R&D and sales.

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Pioneering high-energy-density solutions Since its establishment in 1938, Musashi has been exploring creative manufacturing techniques based on its founding spirit to contribute to the development of global society through the provision of trusted and attractive precision products. The acquisition of JM Energy this year is a milestone on its journey to support the global society. The JM Energy Company is engaged in the development, manufacturing, and sale of lithium-ion capacitors (LiC’s). It owns one of the few mass-production infrastructures in the world for LiC energy storage devices, with unique product characteristics brought about by its combination of electrical double layer capacitors and lithiumion batteries. This combination offers high energy-density, a high chargedischarge rate, optimal safety, long life, and minimal maintenance.

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LiC production has been globally adopted for energy regeneration in electric vehicles. For these automotive applications, LiC is fully compatible with fuel cells and forms part of the optimal battery system. This means that is environmentally friendly and offers high-power and efficiency. With the ongoing development of higher energy density products, Musashi expects its advanced LiC products to create new markets and become a key device in the ‘smart society’ of the future. In the automotive industry, quantitative needs for power storage devices are increasing and are based on the continuing progress of electrification. Due to multiple factors, such as future technological innovation, resource issues, and strict environmental and safety regulations, the available forms of power-storage devices are expected to see greater diversification.


Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

With these objectives in mind, Musashi decided to acquire energy storage devices that offer advanced R&D capabilities, new production technologies and infrastructures. These are expected to grow in the near future, and Musashi aims to develop new businesses as a result by providing unique energy solutions, in order to meet the various needs of today’s ‘smart society’.

New synergies Earlier this year, Musashi entered into a strategic partnership with Aquarius Engines, an Israeli start-up that develops super-lightweight power generators. Aquarius Engines provides various new electric supply solutions for the increasing demands of electrification in the automotive industry.

Satisfying this new market will be achieved by the optimisation of small, lightweight, and low-cost linear-free piston engines. This new agreement enhances Musashi’s synergies in the area of electrified mobility products, including the production of reduction gear units. In addition, it expands its business domains by incorporating evolutional electrical supply systems to be jointly developed with Aquarius Engines. Such advanced systems will also serve as a power backup in 5G stations or for improved access to electrical systems, thereby offern ing wide ranging solutions for broader social issues. For further details of Musashi Hungary’s latest products and services visit: www.musashi.hu

PRECISION GROUP The Precision Group today is a global engineering company employing over 2500 people and supplying camshafts, injector components, brake parts, balancer shafts, prismatic components to all leading OEMs around the globe and also supplies complete electric drivelines to various customers around the world. The company has consolidated revenues of over $100 million in FY19-20. Housed in a 45-acre green campus at Solapur, PCL (Precision Camshafts Limited) has a capacity to cast ~9 million camshafts per year and machine about ~3 million camshafts per year. PCL has several international experts at its engineering centers in Germany and the US and has 300+ dedicated engineers that deliver product lines to meet the shifting automobile landscape and generate the most efficient solutions.

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Driving into Tomorrow

As a global specialist in delivering superior automotive interior solutions, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors is re-defining the way people feel inside their vehicles. This has not been achieved in isolation - Yangfeng’s supply chain has been recognised as their partners for global success.

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Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

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anfeng Automotive Interiors (YFAI) specialise in automotive interiors. Headquartered in Shanghai, the company has approximately 110 manufacturing plants and technical centres in 20 countries and more than 32,000 employees worldwide who design, develop and manufacture interior components for all automakers. The company was established in 2015 as a joint venture between Yanfeng, one of the largest automotive suppliers in China and Adient, the major player in automotive seating. Its mission is to provide solutions that not only meet but exceed customers’ expectations. YFAI supports all major automakers in the differentiation of their vehicles through its innovative technologies and advanced engineering and manufacturing capabilities. The product portfolio includes cockpits, door panels, instrument panels, overhead consoles, lighting technologies and more.

Innovation leader As innovators, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors stays on top of trends, such as autonomous vehicles and urban mobility. These developments call for revolutionary changes in vehicle interior styling, feel, comfort and functions. Last year, the company unveiled the Experience in Motion demonstrator 2020 (XiM20) —Yanfeng Automotive Interiors’ fully autono-

mous rideshare concept, covering information, displays, lighting and interior ambience, all reacting to passenger needs. This awardwinning concept is a reflection of the most in-depth primary research the company has done to date. “Approaching this next iteration of the XiM demonstrator, we knew it was critical to evaluate users’ wants and needs within the vehicle and outside of the mobility context,” said Han Hendriks, Chief Technology Officer, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors. “The insights gleaned from our research defined what impacts consumers’ quality of life and what creates memorable, engaging experiences. With the XiM20, advanced technologies and product innovations complement intuitive design, providing flexibility and comfort for the autonomous rideshare passengers of tomorrow.” The XiM20 showcases technology integrations that stimulate the senses without overwhelming passengers with an array of options and features. By camouflaging the demonstrator’s screens and navigation systems within the surfaces of the vehicle using Smart Surface Technologies, passengers can choose whether or not to engage with the innovations around them. R&D and the focus on innovation is one of YFAI’s key strengths and a factor behind the company’s global success. This was recognised in December 2019, when the YFAI received the Automotive

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Hoffmann + Voss It’s not fashion, it’s sustainability! Based in Viersen, Germany, Hoffmann + Voss has been honoured as a distinguished supplier by YFAI – but what does that mean? Hoffmann + Voss is a family owned company, which recycles and compounds engineering plastics, mainly for the automotive industry, but also for electric and electronic applications, household and furniture. In fact, we’ve been pursuing this ‘sustainability-thing’ from the very beginning, we started in 1962! And today it is definitely in our DNA – we live it. We regard waste as a raw material with value, and we produce high-quality re-compounded materials with it. And of course, we have an eye not only on mechanical, rheological and thermal properties, but also on odour and emissions – we do batch-based tests! We focus on automotive interior parts – this is where our re-compounded materials find their function! And finally – we listen to our customers. Long-term solutions grow from deep knowledge of recycling and polymers combined with comprehension. Any questions left? Give us a call! Tel: +49 (2162)-4838-671

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Automotive & Heavy Vehicles

INNOVATIONS Award 2019 as one of the most Innovative Automotive Suppliers for Interior and Interface. As such, Yanfeng continues to research various ways in which the passenger experience can be redefined to suit OEMs’ specific requirements and ideas as well as how innovative operating concepts can be implemented in a customisable and sophisticated design.

Stronger in partnership The company has always been aware of the key role the supply chain plays in its global development. In March 2020, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors recognised the excellent performance of its European suppliers with the Supplier Award. Key rating criteria for the award were quality, cost, logistics, development, technology, and service. Depending on their total rating they have been recognised as Supplier of the Year, Distinguished Supplier, or Supplier Excellence. A total of 14 companies received the awards in various categories at the European headquarters in Neuss, Germany. Industrias Garita S. L. was named Supplier of the Year for its outstanding performance in YFAI’s metal-stamping commodity group. This supplier from Spain received the best rating and was also recognised for their sense of urgency, flexibility and proactive approach. The Distinguished Supplier award was presented to four companies: Total Research & Technology Feluy from Belgium; German suppliers Grammer Interior Components GmbH and Hoffmann und Voss GmbH, and Maier S. Corporation from Spain. Nine suppliers were honoured with the Supplier Excellence award in the categories of Service, Customer Satisfaction, Quality, Technology and Innovation. In the Service category, the Chinese company Cosco, P.E.T. Logistics N.V. from Germany, Industrias Alegre S.A. from Spain and the Belgian supplier ECA N.V. received awards. Two German companies, Benecke-Kaliko AG and Vogel GmbH Kunststofftechnik, received Supplier Excellence awards in the Cus-

tomer Satisfaction category. The award in the Quality category went to Halung GmbH & Co. KG, also in Germany. In the Technology and Innovation category TMG from Portugal and Actuator Solutions GmbH from Germany were the winners. “We are pleased to recognise our top suppliers, and their teams, for their hard work and dedication. For us, they are important partners who play a key role in shaping our success globally,” said James Bos, Vice President Global Procurement for YFAI. Together with its suppliers, the company is set, not only to design best-in-class interiors, but also to push the boundaries of what it means to relax, work and play inside vehicles - transforming how people experience vehicle interiors where look, feel and function are seamlessly integrated to enable end-user experiences that are functional and emotional, life-changing and defining. True n to the company’s culture - Global. Collaborative. Innovative.

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Hungary’s cab specialist With its advanced manufacturing technology and capacity to expand production, Hungary’s Agrikon Kam is looking to rapid growth in its European markets

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GRIKON KAM Kft was established in Hungary in 1993 when its predecessor company, the state-owned Mezőgép, was privatised. Since the 1970s the factory has been producing cabs for Claas harvesters and this business has since been developed to include specialised cabs for a diverse range of applications and international customers. Today AGRIKON KAM is focused on the complete or partial assembly of cabs for combine harvesters, forage harvesters, trac-

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tors as well as cabins for construction machines such as grapples, telescopic loaders, road rollers, wheel loaders. It also produces welded and partially mounted main units for these machines, such as inclined bearing structures, various ancillary structures and other welded assembled and painted components. AGRIKON’s manufacturing site at Kiskunmajsa covers around 70,000 square metres, of which 36,000 square metres is built-on. In addition to this, AGRIKON has a 60,000 square metres of free


Construction & ENGINEERING

industrial area that can be used for any development purpose. The current operation produces some 25,000 units a year but the facility is capable of producing as many as 40-45,000 cabs or cab units a year, giving it a huge potential to expand production for new customers. Today Agrikon’s international business has grown to include the supply of cabins and other components to Claas production operations in Hungary, Germany and France. It also supplies cabs to JLG in Belgium, Zetorand and Ammann in the Czech Republic, Zao Argrotechmash in Russia, Kramer, Hako, Multicar and Terex in Germany as well as to Liebherr in Austria.

Advanced manufacturing With more than 50 years’ experience of specialised cab manufacturing, Agrikon Kam has developed an integrated manufacturing

process that uses state-of-the-art technology to carry out almost every step of the cab manufacturing process in-house. The production process today begins with the manufacturing of parts from steel base materials with laser machines for sheet and tube and profile cutting. The parts are then welded in various welding positions, welding lines, special welding machines and welding robots. The plant’s 14 welding robots range from flat pre-welded units to full cabinet welding. Surface treatment of welded components is provided by various painting equipment (e.g. cataphoretic primer-painting line (KTL), plastic powder coating, wet finish paint lines). The painted cabs are then assembled in strips in the state-ofthe-art 6,200 square metre assembly hall. Agrikon Kam also operates a state-of-art range of measuring machines. A brand-new measuring room houses 3D measuring machines and scanners that enable complete cabin frames to be

Industry Europe 45


measured with total accuracy. Other equipment includes a vibration testing meter, electric test equipment and a, water tightness test cabin. The paint quality of components is tested for its resistance to salt spray and many other environmental impacts. After packaging, the complete products are shipped from the company site by truck or by direct rail transport from the factory’s own rail siding. All Agrikon manufacturing processes employ the latest manufacturing technology to ensure the company’s competitiveness. A 10-million euros investment programme in recent years has seen the introduction of laser machines, program-controlled bending machines, advanced welding machines, welding robots, advanced

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painting lines, and advanced assembly plant and measuring technology, The investments have also included Pro Engineer, CREO 2 and CATIA V5 design software. All of this is complemented by the in-house logistics process, which guarantees the highest quality of customer service.

New measurement technology A recent development in Agrikon’s critical metrology capabilities has been the introduction of the Creaform HandyPROBE optical measurement system. “Throughout our production process we need to carry out measurements in a huge range, from small parts with mm dimensions


Construction & ENGINEERING

to the assembled cabs and complex welded structures,” explained an Agrikon Quality Controller. “For this purpose, we were searching for a solution that is easy and fast to operate and can be deployed directly on the shop floor without building a separate measurement room. Having considered all the possibilities, we chose the Creaform HandyPROBE optical measurement system.” HandyPROBE is an innovative dual camera optical measurement system that eliminates the disadvantages of probes and their physical connections and is therefore able to carry out any measurement tasks quickly and easily. Thanks to the dynamic reference, both the camera and the workpiece can be moved

without recalibration during the measurement process, which in turn shortens the measurement time considerably. This enables Agrikon engineers to move the system freely and walk around the long, welded structures without any of the restrictions associated with stationary devices. In the last ten years Agrikon has become one of the most significant driver’s cabin manufacturers in Europe. It currently has the largest production capacities in its field in the whole of eastern and central Europe. The management believes that its proven capabilities and its installed capacity now offer the opportunity to expand annual producn tion to meet the needs of new customers throughout Europe.

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Advancing autonomous, high-tech robotics Nilfisk is a major global supplier of professional, premium cleaning products for a broad range of manufacturing industries. A new strategic partnership with a leading Danish university is destined to keep the company at the forefront of robotic technology and sustainability, reports Philip Yorke.

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ith its headquarters in Denmark, Nilfisk operates sales companies in 45 countries worldwide. Together with a strong global distributor network, the company markets and services its products in more than 100 countries across five continents. Nilfisk is one of the world’s leading providers of professional cleaning equipment and services, with over 5,600 employees and an annual turnover of more than EUR 1.2 billion. Today Nilfisk is listed as a large cap company on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange. Nilfisk was founded over 100 years ago and from the outset, based its philosophy on a clear and simple vision: to produce and market products of the highest possible quality worldwide. For over a century now, Nilfisk has done just that by adapting to the changing needs of global markets and its customer base with innovative products and solutions. 48 Industry Europe

With an unrivalled, global sales force with proven sales channels, it has established strong customer relations and partnerships across the globe and continues to strive to be at the forefront of technological advancement in order to meet its future customer needs and challenges. Today Nilfisk’s key product lines include floor-care equipment, vacuum cleaners and high-pressure washers, as well as a wide range of domestic vacuum cleaners and high-pressure washers, all of which are designed to meet the specific demands of its clients worldwide.

Driving innovation through collaboration Aalborg University is a major Danish university and Nilfisk has recently announced a new strategic partnership with them. Joint research, skill sharing and access to the top technology graduates


Construction & ENGINEERING

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are the primary goals of its latest innovation collaboration. The on-going scarcity of technological resources today forms the background for the new partnership between Nilfisk and Aalborg University. The partnership entails joint research and an innovation hub where Nilfisk will be hiring a number of specialists over the years ahead. In addition, there will be close collaboration between the technology specialists at Nilfisk and leading researchers from the Computer Science, Electronic Systems and Energy Systems departments at Aalborg.

Increasing demand for autonomous products Nilfisk estimates that up to 10 percent of the company’s global revenue will come from sales of autonomous products and solu-

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tions within the next five to seven years. This requires a significant investment in the right technology competences. The partnership with Aalborg University is yet another step on this journey for Nilfisk. The engineering departments at Aalborg University are recognised internationally for being among the best in Europe. The university has a strong international network and represents some of the leading researchers within the growing field of robotics. Aalborg University has a proud tradition of cooperating with private companies. Governed by a clear strategy on integrating knowledge collaboration in both research and teaching, Aalborg University represents around half of all products entering global markets from Danish universities.


Construction & ENGINEERING

Optimal hygiene for Wuhan Following the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Wuhan, China, Nilfisk has agreed to donate a specialised range of high-tech cleaning products to the new Huoshenshan Hospital in China. Huoshenshan is a hospital that specialises in national health emergencies and was built in Wuhan over a period of just 10 days in response to the outbreak. The hospital is operated by the Chinese authorities and is designed to isolate and treat patients infected with the 2019-nCov Coronavirus. The Nilfisk equipment arrived at the hospital on February 4th and is now being used by the T&RAIN Group, in order to clean the hospital following the building and construction work that took place. This will ensure that all facilities provide an optimal standard of hygiene for incoming patients, who began arriving this week, according to the China Daily newspaper. Serdar Ülger, Group Senior Vice President of Nilfisk, who is responsible for sales in Asia and Pacific, said, “We are deeply saddened to see the current development of the Coronavirus in China and beyond. As a global company, with a strong presence in China, we want to act responsibly and support the communities in which we operate. In this case, we are putting our products to work at the much-needed Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan.” Nilfisk offers a range of professional cleaning products designed specifically to clean hospitals across the world, including floor-cleaning machines, vacuum cleaners and high-pressure washers. Nilfisk has donated a range of these advanced cleaning solutions to Wuhan, and they will be used over the days ahead at the Huoshenshan Hospital before it is closed to prevent further spread of the virus.

is used, so that operators quickly learn what it really means to be green. Nilfisk Ecoflex ensures that companies make the most of their resources and allows them to develop a sustainable cleaning routine. The Ecoflex system operates so efficiently that it dramatically lowers the environmental impact of commercial cleaning. Flexible and green cleaning with Ecoflex easily fits into any daily cleaning routine. Different areas, floor types and facilities require different cleaning. With the ability to easily select the right blend of brush pressure, water and detergent, it is possible to tackle any cleaning challenge. It is now possible to effortlessly switch between water-only cleaning, or to different cleaning intensities at the touch of a button. Default start-up mode is green, as well as being low-flow and detergent-free. The latest Nilfisk Ecoflex System combines good business sense with an ecological conscience. Now Nilfisk customers have the n option to clean with just water or with minimum detergent. For further details of Nilfisk’s latest innovative cleaning equipment and services visit: www.nilfisk.com

Eco-friendly flexibility Recently Nilfisk launched ‘Ecoflex’ a new cleaning system that ensures that customers will use significantly less detergent and water. It will increase productivity as users maintain a faster one-pass cleaning schedule without compromising on the levels of cleanliness. Companies will also save on training as Nilfisk’s Ecoflex is very easy to operate, thanks to its simple, one-touch control panel. Ecoflex will significantly reduce environmental impact wherever it Industry Europe 51


With more than 60 years’ experience in the design and production of machines for the processing of marble and granite, Italy’s Gaspari Menotti Technologies is now a global leader in the industry

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Construction & ENGINEERING

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aspari Menotti was founded in 1956 in Carrara, in Tuscany. The area is famous for the white and blue-grey marble quarried there and has become the world centre for marble and granite quarrying and processing. The marble from Carrara was used for some of the most wellknown buildings in Ancient Rome, including the Pantheon, Trajan’s column and the column of Marcus Aurelius. It was also used in some of the most famous sculptures in Renaissance Italy, including Michelangelo’s David, as well as for London’s Marble Arch and the Victoria Memorial. Gaspari Menotti is one of the longest-established companies in the region producing a range of machinery fundamental to the processing of marble and granite including gang saws and slab and tile processing lines. Such machines are the result of 40 years of experience, research and the production of hundreds of machines. The company has a tradition of pioneering the most advanced technology in the industry that has been subsequently applied throughout the world. Today Gaspari Menotti stands out for its advanced technology and original design of its wide range of machines that offer proven reliability and efficiency to meet the most demanding market requirements. Long experience, a commitment to the highest quality and continued investment in research and human resources have enabled the company to remain a leader in the marble and granite processing industry through the world.

Complete range Gaspari Menotti today specialises in the production of the latest machinery, plant and tools for quarrying, working and moving natural stone. These include diamond wire saws, band saws, circular block

saws, circular cross-cut saws, stone cutting machines, milling, grinding and polishing machines, surface finishing machines as well as complete production plants for memorials, tiles and slabs. The GMW multiwire range represents excellence in sawing granite slabs thanks to a structure that prevents vibration and preserves the life of the wire, a simple and intuitive management system together with unrivalled reliability. A range of models are available in different measurements and cutting size capacity. These machines offer customers simplicity in the use of the diamond wires, high automation, a wide range of cutting parameters and the option of saving the cutting parameters. They are suited to all cutting requirements and offer the option of changing the slab thickness easily. The Gaspari Menotti PGM2200 Mirror slab polishing machine, available for both marble and granite, represents the cutting edge in its category thanks to a solid and compact structure, an attractive design and the latest-generation technological solutions. The PGM2200 is the culmination of over 50 years of Gaspari Menotti’s experience in the field of processing and polishing natural stone. It offers an incomparable finishing level, thanks to the option of having up to 176 abrasives (22 heads, eight swinging arms each) with lower consumption than other machines on the market. This is possible thanks to a special spindle moved by an 11kW motor, which allows the user to immediately save 88 kW/h and 200,000 kW/h over the space of a year The tradition of excellence that has always distinguished Gaspari Menotti is also demonstrated in the construction of its marble gang saws which are available the three different models suitable for every production requirement: The company sees its DGS 2000/2500 gang saws for marble as a simple answer to a complex problem – one that meets completely

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Construction & ENGINEERING

all modern sawing requirements. The result is a sturdy, reliable gang saw able to achieve high production levels, while also being very innovative. The range comprises the DGS, the classic gang saw (80 blades with a lifting block); the TDG gang saw (80 blades with a fixed block and descending blade holding frame); and the FEM gang saw (40 and 50 blades for processors who require high flexibility rather than large production volumes).

Global markets Gaspari Menotti’s machines are mainly used by manufacturers of granite and marble products for the construction industry. The company’s biggest European market is Italy, followed by Spain and Portugal, but its major markets are worldwide. It supplies its products to the USA, Turkey, China, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Taiwan and North Africa. It is also planning to expand its business throughout Africa in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Angola and Namibia. Current production is equally divided between machines and systems for processing granite and those for marble. Demand differs

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significantly across the world - Italy and Turkey, for example, have a high demand for marble processing machines, while Brazil, India, North n Africa, China and Taiwan mostly require machines for granite.


Metals, Metalworking & Mining

New dawn for electro-mobility

Hammer Aluminium Industries (HAI) specialises in casting and aluminium extrusion and is a renowned Austrian success story. Since the company was founded in 2007 it has been a major force in its field through its commitment to excellence and the strategic adoption of new technologies. The company’s three core divisions - Casting, Extrusion and Processing - are setting new benchmarks for soft metal foundries worldwide, as Philip Yorke reports.

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T

oday HAI employs over 1,200 people. Founded in 2007, the company has its headquarters in the Upper Austrian town of Ranshofen and operates five other facilities in Germany and Romania. The ambitious, family-owned company combines the dynamics and innovative spirit of a young enterprise, with the experience of a traditional business. In its three production divisions of Casting, Extrusion and Processing, HAI registered sales of around EUR 550-million in 2019. HAI products are not only to be found in the automotive industry, but also in the construction sector, transport technology, electrical engineering, machinery and plant engineering, as well as in aviation and medical applications.

Systematic expansion In another major advance, the official signing was held recently for HAI’s takeover of the extensive Hydro Criș plant in the Romanian town of Chișineu-Criș. With this acquisition, HAI is systematically expanding its capacity and taking another step forward in the strategic development of its core divisions. This takeover ensures significant expansion in the extrusion sector with the addition of two extrusion presses covering an area of 140,000 square metres and 10,000 square metres of building space respectively. The new HAI facility in Chisineu-Cris offers the group additional production capacity of more than 22,000 tonnes per annum. These additional capacities have been acquired in order to meet the growing demands of its customers, with high capacity utilisation being predicted for 2020 and 2021. These capacities in the extrusion sector also relieve the company’s plants in Soest and Ranshofen, thus enabling further growth there with its longstanding, existing customer base.

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Strategic significance The new facility is also strategically significant as it is located less than 20 km from HAI’s major Santana plant. However, the new facility does not just offer synergy with an existing subsidiary. “We have taken over a well-oiled infrastructure, as well as 200 employees and their know-how. That makes this investment much more calculable and lower risk than a new development on a greenfield site,” said HAI’s CEO Rob van Gils. The new premises have already been supplied with extrusion billets from HAI’s Santana plant, so the takeover has now further increased the value-added chain in Romania for the HAI Group. This is yet another milestone in the consistent growth strategy of the soft metals group. The acquisition increases the size of the workforce to approximately 1,400 employees across its seven sites. With a total of ten extrusion presses, HAI now has an extrusion press capacity of some 100,000 tonnes per annum. In combination with an annual foundry capacity of 200,000 tonnes, this underscores HAI’s claim to be one of the leading players in the European aluminium industry.

Meeting the challenges of e-mobility Last year the HAI Group also opened Hall 4.0 - a new production hall at its headquarters in Ranshofen. The investment was designed to meet its current and future requirements in the digital age and further extend its innovative technological expertise. Hall 4.0 meets the future challenges of eMobility and covers an area of 4,000 square metres. The high-tech production hall is fitted with state-of-the-art technology for high-end production lines. This new facility meets the requirements for increasing digitalisation


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as part of the transition to Industry 4.0. The new, fully automatic production line was developed and implemented in cooperation with Fill, the machinery and plant engineering company based in Gurten, Austria. The growth in eMobility brings new challenges as well as exciting opportunities for automotive suppliers. Today, aluminium profiles with specific material properties are being demanded by the automotive industry, in particular for eMobility. Among other products, profiles for battery cases will also be manufactured in future at the newly opened production line. These profiles feature outstanding crash-impact properties, heat resistance and specific heat transfer profiles. With this HAI is also securing its position for the future as an innovative and reliable partner of the automotive industry.

An on-going commitment to the Ranshofen site With the opening of Hall 4.0, HAI is making a clear commitment to its Ranshofen location. Following investments in a 6,300 square metre solar power system and a modern 41-meganewton (MN) extrusion press in 2018, the opening of the new hall represents the culmination of the company’s multi-year investment offensive at its main facility. “Commissioning of the new production hall in Ranshofen is a great day for the whole HAI family. The major investments of recent years are fundamentally important for us in continuing to create future-proof jobs and building on the commercial success of the HAI Group through innovation,” added van Gils. The family-owned light metal alloy specialist can therefore justifiably take a positive view of its future position in this innovationn driven industry. For further details of the HAI Group’s latest innovative products and services visit: www.hai-aluminium.com Industry Europe 57


A passion for machine precision Emmegi is a specialist in the design and manufacture of precision machinery for the processing of aluminium, PVC and steel. The company continues to see strong growth in a highly competitive marketplace. Its recent acquisition of the Elumatic Group further strengthens its place as the manufacturer of choice for a broad range of manufacturing industries, as Philip Yorke reports.

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Metals, Metalworking & Mining

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he Emmegi Group is an industrial company that was founded in Italy in 1977. Since its inception, the company has continued to build on its reputation for accuracy and precision. Emmegi excels in a fast expanding, and diverse international market. Its broad portfolio includes machinery for industries such as automotive, high pressure tech, hydrothermal, sanitary, and gas-valve applications. Located in Italy’s Marche region, Emmegi is recognised for its passion for engineering excellence and devotion to its customers’ requirements. Accuracy and precision are combined at Emmegi to produce the finest machine precision for standard, turned metal parts. These can be combined with a high degree of customisation. Back in 1995, Emmegi’s quality was acknowledged by its certification to ISO 9001, thus further endorsing the expertise of its highly skilled workforce.

Innovative process optimisation Technological innovation is an asset that over time changes a company’s level of performance, thus driving industries towards more advanced solutions. In relation to the Emmegi Group, this means advanced, multi-spindle lathes and single spindle lathes with numeric controls that meet high production volumes, whilst maintaining quality excellence and consistency throughout the production process. In addition, specific machines can be tailor-made to provide various types of product finish. There are also many complementary processes, such as galvanic and thermal treatments with statistical process controls that act in accordance with pre-determined customer CP and CPK indexes. Today Emmegi delivers unrivalled customer service and true production process optimisation. High precision tools and process equipment designed for every production phase are stored in two separate automated warehouses. A tracking system also ensures complete transparency and operational optimisation. Furthermore, a complete recording of the manufacturing process parameters and results related to batches produced is available at all times. Through-

out its manufacturing process activities, Emmegi thinks and acts ecologically. In recent years the company has produced dedicated machinery that respects the environment and the need for energysaving and greener production quotas.

Better together Under the umbrella of the Italian conglomerate, Cifin Holding, Elumatec AG, a leading international machine manufacturer is joining the Emmegi Group to create a new heavyweight in the industry. Cifin Holding, which also owns Emmegi, announced recently that it had acquired Elumatec AG and its subsidiary companies. Following the transfer of ongoing business operations together with the necessary assets of the “old” Elumatec GmbH on a trust basis to Elumatec AG, the acquisition by Cifin Holding is another important milestone for the company. The acquisition by Cifin Holdings ensures that the Mühlacker location will remain in operation for many more years to come. Tobias Hoefer, Supervisory Board Chairman of Elumatec GmbH, said: “In light of the results we achieved today, our decision to lead Elumatec on a sustainable path of restructuring, has proved to be the correct course of action. Since the founding of the new Elumatec AG, the company’s value and the value provided for investors has increased significantly. This was made especially clear in the investor Industry Europe 59


process that was launched half a year ago and managed with great efficiency by the team at Cornelius Treuhand. As a result, today Elumatec is a model of successful restructuring.” Britta Hübner, CEO of Elumatec AG, said: “Our restructuring concept is a resounding success, making it possible for us to continue operating in the global market at full capacity and without the burdens of the past. Cifin possesses an outstanding understanding of our market. This industry solution comes at just the right time. It ensures continuity and growth for our company.” Cifin President Valter Caiumi added: “This acquisition enables both companies to achieve solid growth and a much stronger presence in this economic sector. With ingenuity, expertise and innovative technology, we can increase the added value for our customers, who stand to benefit above all from this outstanding combination.” In addition to its headquarters and production facility in Mühlacker, Elumatec maintains a sales and production facility in Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as an existing sales and service network of more than 30 subsidiary and second-tier subsidiary companies worldwide. Today the holding company is led by Valter Caiumi, who serves as president, alongside his siblings Andrea and Paola, who sit on the Management Board. Cifin’s brand portfolio includes a number of synergistic companies including Emmegi, Tekna, Emmegisoft and Keraglass. The companies controlled by the holding represent market leaders in the production of processing technologies for aluminium, PVC, light metal and glass. In addition to the company headquarters in Soliera (Modena), Cifin Holding also owns production facilities in Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Suzhou (China). Following its acquisition by Cifin/Emmergi, Elumatec AG has become a major player in the manufacture of machines for processing aluminium, PVC and steel profiles. With its extensive product 60 Industry Europe

range, the company covers the entire spectrum of industrial applications, from small craftsman’s businesses to industrial profile processors. Today the company’s custom-designed and modular machinery concepts provide flexible and individual industry solutions for all manufacturing sectors. For further details of the Emmergi Group’s latest products and services visit: www.emmergi.com



Innovation in aluminium extrusions Exalco S.A. continues to invest in the advanced technology that has made it one of Greece’s most important industrial enterprises

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xalco is not only one of the major players in the aluminium profiles industry in Europe, it is also one of the largest industrial companies in Greece. It is therefore committed to continuous investment in the latest technology to develop innovative solutions for its customers throughout the construction industry as well as to optimising its own production processes. This commitment was evident in the company’s decision to invest in renewable energy systems with the installation of a 500 kWp solar array at its factory in Larissa, in the Thessaly region of Greece. More than 1,750 Hanwha Q.PLUS-G4.3 multicrystalline solar modules were installed in just two months in Summer 2018 by the Greek solar distributor and EPC Company Active Energy Solutions. These 60-cell modules boast a power capacity of up to 290 Wp and offer a versatile and reliable solution to customers looking to generate long-term yields. The modules deliver excellent performance even in low-light conditions and harsh climates – making them even more effective in the fierce sun that shines on the Exalco plant’s rooftop for most of the year. Exalco S.A. has been at the heart of the Greek aluminium industry since it was established in 1973. Today it is an integrated industrial operation producing aluminium profiles for all modern structural and architectural needs. It has developed an extensive sales network in both its domestic and its foreign markets and holds the leading position in the field of Greek aluminium extrusion. As well as its main production plant at Larissa, Exalco also operates two subsidiary companies outside Greece - Exalco Romania SRL in Bucharest and Exalco Bulgaria SRL in Sofia.

Advanced production The production facilities at Exalco’s 52,228 metres squared Larissa plant comprise five extrusion presses (of 1,100 tonnes, 1,600 tonnes, 1,750 tonnes, 2,200 tonnes and 2,840 tonnes respectively) with a total annual production capacity of 45,000 tonnes, as

well as a section producing extrusion dies. Just over a year ago a new KAUTEC extrusion line of 1,700 MT force for 7” billet was installed and successfully started up at the Larissa plant. The plant’s fully automated surface processing and anodising unit has a capacity of 6,000 tonnes annually and a new INOX colour anodising unit has a capacity of 9 tonnes daily. Coating facilities include a vertical system unit producing 10,100 tonnes annually and a horizontal coating system unit producing 5,000 tonnes annually as well as a powder coating system unit for wood and imitation marble with the V.I.V. DECORAL method. Exalco’s current product range includes aluminium profiles for general structural and industrial applications, aluminium systems (ALBIO) for doors, windows, building facades, atriums, and many other architectural constructions, aluminium Shading Systems (Albio Solar) and aluminium Railing Systems (Exrail System). The company also produces aluminium Composite Panels EXALCOBOND, aluminium systems for support bases and aluminium frames for photovoltaic parks, rooftops, roofs and industrial roofs.

Innovation continues Among Exalco’s latest products is a new aluminium system for entrance doors, Albio 135 Super Thermo. This system, which breaks new ground in the European extrusion industry, offers the highest insulation (Uf = 0,6 w/m2K), compared with corresponding systems, and sets new standards in any new building or renovation project. It also ensures maximum protection thanks to a quad-locking mechanism which ensures burglary protection and security. It can also support new door technologies such as fingerprint recognition, digital insertion codes etc. Another new innovative product is ORAMA, a sliding system for doors and windows featuring a minimal 2 cm vertical profile to give a sense of freedom, together with excellent thermal qualities. Exalco has also invested in one of the most exclusive production process technologies in the world. This is a new machine which Industry Europe 63



Metals, Metalworking & Mining

applies a special rubber double extrusion directly on to the profile to ensure a perfect fit and the complete sealing of the frame. This integrated product significantly reduces the installation costs and construction times of window frames. Exalco is the only company worldwide that owns this technology.

Projects across the world For some years after its foundation Exalco focused on meeting the needs of its domestic market in Greece. Soon, however, the reputation of its products led to a much increased export activity and brand awareness worldwide. Today it exports 75 per cent of its production to five continents. Its strong presence in the Balkans is established through its subsidiaries in Romania and Bulgaria but today Exalco extrusions can also be found in countries throughout the world, including France, Nigeria, Canada, America, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab

Emirates. From the huge glass Ehgo skyscraper in France, to the ING office building in Bulgaria and from the Cargo Airport in Qatar to the Tadawul skyscraper in Saudi Arabia, Exalco has delivered its technologically advanced extrusion products to major construction projects of all kinds. This January, Exalco was awarded the most important prize by the Hellenic Business Association, the leading Greek institution in the field of entrepreneurship. For the 19th time, the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry honoured business excellence, its values and corporate success stories. Exalco was recognised for its unrivalled export activity and its international presence. In fact, Exaclo is responsible for 30 per cent of all Greek exports. The grand opening ceremony of the UEBA 2020 Awards took place at the Athens Concert Hall in the presence of Greek President, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, and the Minister of Development and Investn ments, Adonis Georgiadis.

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Experts in speciality CNC lathes Based in Wroclaw, Poland, FAT S.A., is a leading European manufacturer of conventional and computerised numerically controlled custom-made lathes. The company is a member of HACO Group from Belgium, the world leader in sheet metal working machines.

F

AT was established in 1945. The company was founded on the ground of two former German businesses: Gustav Trelenberg’s Metal Works and Friedrich Heckmann’s Machine Works. The origins of both companies reach back to the 19th century. Initially, FAT produced machine tools, and mostly low and medium-sized conventional lathes. Up until the mid-1990s the company made and sold more than 50,000 machines. 1998 was a milestone year for FAT as the company was taken over by Belgium’s HACO Group, an internationally renowned CNC machine dealer and manufacturer. Founded in 1965, and originally famous for sheet metal and woodworking machines, the passing of time has made HACO into more than just a manufacturer of press brakes and shears. Since the mid-1990s, it has evolved into a company that produces not only 66 Industry Europe

sheet metal machines, but also larger and more complex machine tools, such as lathes and special machines. With the takeover of FAT, HACO was able to offer the machines for the treatment of very large profiles and parts, affordable lathes and milling machines. The Wroclaw-based firm has focused on the production of both conventional and CNC controlled flatbed CNC lathes. Since 2001, its product line has been extended with a modern slant bed CNC Lathe and multifunctional turn- mill centres. “Our machines are easy to operate thanks to high-level controls. They are also suited for machining a wide variety of different materials”, points out Mr. Ireneusz Ostrowski, the company’s sales and marketing director. FAT employs 200 people in its Wroclaw facility. In 2017, FAT purchased Design Technologies International, a company from


Metals, Metalworking & Mining

Raciborz, Poland, which specialises in designing and manufacturing the modern, large size, numerically controlled machines used in the energy, aerospace and defence industries. In October 2019, FAT appointed a new CEO, Mr Stijn De Burghgraeve.

Manufacturing from A to Z “Based upon our long term experience in lathe production, we are able to construct the highest quality lathes at very competitive prices. Our machines are manufactured from A to Z in our factory in Wroclaw. More than 90 per cent of their mechanical parts are produced locally. The machines are equipped with high quality devices (electrics, electronics, wiring, bearings, ball screws, tools) delivered by the best world class suppliers, both from Poland and other countries. Cooperation with high-profile, class leading companies is a must for us, as our machines are ever more technologically advanced and they require components of the highest quality”, says Mr. Ostrowski.

A great example of the company’s high capabilities is a 22 metre long and 3 metre wide monster lathe (TUR 4MN) with a capacity of 90,000 kg. This huge CNC lathe, which weighs 450 tonnes, was made for the Ellwood City Forge in the US, a major force in the global open-die forging industry. Another example of FAT’s technological advancement are impressive lathes FTM 1000 x 7500, FCTS900 x 3100 and FCT700 x 5000, a modern turning-milling centres designed and manufactured for foreign customers. These multi-purpose machines are equipped with modern tooling systems like milling heads, special tool turrets, tool magazine integrated with an automatic tool changer, an exceptionally big spindle bores, special solutions for using long boring bars, sub-spindles and other elements which enable efficient and precise machining. The biggest of these lathes has a maximum capacity for machine elements up to 7500 mm in length and up to 1000 mm in diameter. The shipping of such a large machine was a big logistic challenge for the company due to the machine being sent in one

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piece. The whole operation ended with success and the machine safely reached the shipping port. At the recent EMO Hannover in September 2019, FAT debuted the new generation of the TUR 560 SMN x 2000 CNC Lathe. This has been the company’s most popular model for a number of years. The machine now has a new updated modern and ergonomic design that comes with improved chip removal and new colours. As one of the first in the world, it uses the latest generation of Siemens Sinumerik CNC controls. The

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integration of Sinumerik ONE in the TUR 560 SMN maximises the productivity and efficiency of the machine thanks to the seamless interaction between the virtual and real worlds. “We are moving towards bigger and bigger special projects, toward large machines with advanced technology. Our aim is to provide huge stand-alone machines and to manufacture complete production lines for complicated machining operations to include turning, grinding, boring, milling and other complex operations. We


Metals, Metalworking & Mining Brammer Powered by Rubix Brammer S.A. is Polish brand and part of Rubix Group – Europe’s largest supplier of industrial maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) products and services. The leading industrial distributor by market share and the only one with pan-European footprint, carrying all premium brands. As a multi-specialist, provides products and services, backed by a growing digital business. Brammer S.A. offers specialist expertise in specifying, providing and installing an unrivalled scope of industrial parts, with a tailor-made service for all customers. Find out more at www.brammer.pl

build each machine according to the individual requirements of the customer and we offer special, non-standard solutions with lots of options for customisation. Recently we have built and dispatched the 20-meter-long multi-axis lathe with 15 meters turning capacity to Sweden. And now, we are building two more such machines for our customers in Austria and Russia,” Ostrowski added.

Well-known worldwide On the domestic market the company does not have any competition, it is the undisputed market leader. FAT is also one of the European leaders in its sector. With an international sales network, over 80 per cent of

FAT’s production is sold abroad. Its main foreign markets are Western European Countries. The company’s machines are also well-known beyond Europe, in North America, Africa, Australia and Asia. FAT’s foreign sales are realised through a network of more than 30 local dealers who have a thorough knowledge on the local market conditions. The growing number of orders for more and more sophisticated machines makes FAT plan to move its production to the outskirts of Wroclaw, where the company is to build a new, ultra-modern, compact factory. For more information, visit: www.fathaco.com

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Creating a global growth platform Under new owners and with a new CEO, Italy’s Forgital is opening a new chapter in its history of delivering mission critical components to its customers.

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Metals, Metalworking & Mining

I

n May 2019 Forgital, the Italian manufacturer of large forged and machine components for use in the aerospace and industrial sectors, announced that global investment firm The Carlyle Group had reached an agreement to acquire the entire shareholding in the company. Established in 1873 with headquarters in Vicenza, Italy, Forgital is a specialist manufacturer of machine-finished forged and laminated rolled rings, made from several different materials, including steel, aluminium, titanium and nickel-based alloys. They are used in several applications across many industries, including aerospace, oil & gas, construction, mining and power generation. Thanks to its reputation for advanced technology, high-quality products and world-class customer service, Forgital has established and grown strong relationships with key global aeroengine manufacturers. Forgital employs over 1,100 people across nine facilities in Italy, France and United States and through its dedicated global salesforce. Nadir, Roberto & Giorgio Spezzapria, who are fifth generation members of the company’s founding family, commented: “We are all excited to have Carlyle investing in Forgital to start a new phase of growth and development for the company which will be supported by the passion and full commitment of our management team and

all our employees whom we would like to thank for all their commitment to date. We are equally confident that Carlyle’s aerospace and industrial sector expertise and global network will play a significant role in Forgital’s continued growth.” Filippo Penatti, Managing Director, Carlyle Europe Partners, added: “We admire Forgital’s strong business model, manufacturing excellence and high capability to innovate. In partnership with the experienced management team and talented workforce, we look forward to supporting Forgital’s expansion through the creation of a global growth platform, notably in the aerospace sector”. In September, when the acquisition was completed, Luca Zacchetti was announced as Forgital’s new CEO. He said: “I am delighted to join Forgital, a Group with an outstanding reputation for advanced technology, high quality products and world-class customer service. I look forward to contributing to its further international expansion alongside the company’s talented team.”

Innovation and expansion Innovation has always been the driving force at Forgital. The company points out that investments in research, modern productive installations, sophisticated monitoring systems and special attention Industry Europe 71


for people and environment are at the heart of all its operations. Although its history of entrepreneurism dates back to the second half of the 19th century in Italy, its growth in modern times has been driven by significant industrial investments and expansion in European and worldwide markets and, more recently, through the acquisition of two French leading companies in the sector, which became Forgital FMDL and Forgital Dembiermont. The dynamic expansion has been confirmed by the most recent initiatives which include the takeover of the services company, RTM

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Breda and the creation of Fly, the high-tech machining shop that is dedicated to the production of components for the aviation and aerospace industries.

Components for aero engine and space The Forgital Group’s activities in the aerospace sector began with the project for the Ariane IV launcher and developed along with Ariane V, Vega, PSLV and GSLV programmes. In recent years The Forgital Group has entered the aero engine market and the restricted circle of companies qualified in the supply of important airplane engine components – turbojet and turboprop – for the most important aircraft currently in production. Today the Forgital Group provides components for the manufacture of jet aircraft engines, space launchers, satellites and orbital stations. FLY itself was founded in 2008 as a dedicated operation for the production of components for the aviation and aerospace industry. In eleven years, it has grown from just five employees to almost 200 and from a production site of 5,000 sq./mt to a plant now exceeding 25,000 sq./mt. FLY has developed into an innovative machine shop able to complete Forgital’s production chain by allowing the transition from the supply of single components into the supply of complete finished and fully assembled components destined to the aviation and aerospace leaders worldwide. Forgital’s aerospace business took a major step forward three years ago with the award of a contract from Rolls Royce for components for the RR Trent XWB engine. The very first Trent7000 Fan Case Assy Mod-


Metals, Metalworking & Mining

ule, which will equip the Airbus A330 Neo aircraft family, was delivered to the Rolls Royce headquarters in Derby, UK, in 2016. For this module, Forgital provides titanium components for the Front Fan Case and the Mount Ring. At that time Forgital Group President Nadir Spezzapria said: “Six years ago, when we decided to accept this challenge together with the Province of Trento, in Grigno there was only a meadow. Today FLY will close 2016 with a turnover of about 100 million euro. It is all the result of the great work done over the years.”

Serving many sectors

development projects in Europe. Today its Power Generation business provides components for steam turbines, gas turbines, nuclear power plants, hydro power plants and wind power plants Commenting on this September’s news of the acquisition, Carlyle Group’s Filippo Penatti is confident that the new management team will drive further international expansion. “We are excited with the appointment of Luca Zacchetti as CEO. We worked well and successfully together in two prior Carlyle investments, including AVIO. His experience in the aerospace industry together with his passion for Forgital’s business will contribute to fuelling the n Group’s platform development.”

The Forgital Group is also a major supplier of products for the oil and gas industries. These include components, such as connectors, riser flanges and submarine well-heads for offshore wells. For surface applications it supplies ball valves components for gas and oil pipelines. In fact, it was the first company in the industry to develop the mass production of rolled (rather than cast) balls for ball valves Forgital components for the transmission markets include bearings, gear wheels and shafts that are widely used in port and naval cranes, crane trucks, cranes for the building industry and excavators The Forgital Group’s operations in the power generation sector go back to the early seventies with its involvement in nuclear energy

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Major boost for sustainable

smelter development

The KCM Group of Bulgaria is the largest producer of lead and zinc alloys in Europe. Its privatisation ten years ago heralded a new era of investment and a renewed commitment to the production of environmentally friendly products. The new 65-million-euro loan from the European Investment Bank (IEB) will increase the group’s production capabilities by more than 25 per cent and enhance its sustainable production processes, as Philip Yorke reports.

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Metals, Metalworking & Mining

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urope’s leading non-ferrous metal smelter company, KCM 2000 is located on a 900,000 metre square site between Plovdiv and Asenovgrad in Bulgaria. The company was established in November 1961 as a state-owned business. However, in July 2000 a contract was signed between the country’s Privatisation Agency and KCM 2000 for the sale of an 80 per cent stake in KCM AD. Today KCM is the largest producer of lead and zinc in Europe and the acknowledged leader in the production of non-ferrous and precious metals in South Eastern Europe. The group’s annual production capacity of lead is around 70,000 tonnes and almost 100,000 tonnes for zinc. The company employs over 2,000 people and is one of the largest industrial groups in Bulgaria. The KCM Group forms an integral part of the holding structure of KCM 2000 AD, which brings together its hightech affiliate companies to work for greater sustainability, smelting innovation and entrepreneurship.

EIB delivers key support Recently the EIB delivered its most significant support to date for Bulgarian industry with a major contribution towards the expansion of more environmentally friendly production of lead and zinc. This is

under its ‘Investment Plan for Europe’ strategy. This financial support amounted to a 65-million-euro loan to KCM AD in order to increase the company’s production capability by over 25 per cent. This investment involves the construction of a new state-of-the-art lead refining plant and a modern zinc electrolysis unit. These will be designed to replace the existing outdated production plants. In turn, the investment will also ensure much improved environmental performance, as well as increasing the recycling rates of waste materials and providing improved working conditions for all. The company’s use of recycled materials will also increase significantly, resulting in more efficient and sustainable production processes. KCM’s zinc is used in galvanised steel products, and the production of die-cast alloys as well as for brass and bronze components, whilst its lead-based products are primarily manufactured for the automotive and industrial battery sectors.

New sustainability levels This significant new financial agreement is backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which lies at the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. This is also known as the Juncker Plan. Thanks to its financial guarantees, the EIB is

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action go hand in hand with the ambitious social and employment targets of the European Union” she added.

Boosting energy-efficiency

in a position to support a patent-holding company in a ‘cohesion region’ in an effort to render its production processes more sustainable and more environmentally friendly. “European support can do a lot to push heavy industry to new sustainability levels,” said EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova. “Backed by the Investment Plan for Europe, our loan will help KCM to make better use of natural resources and decrease the energy intensity of its production cycles. Both measures will make the company more competitive, and will secure around 2,000 jobs in one of Europe’s top industrial regions. This shows that the circular economy and climate 76 Industry Europe

Following the confirmation of the EIB loan, the European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni said: “Making our traditional industries eco-friendlier and more modern is the key to boosting energy efficiency. With 65-million-euros in EIB financing under the Investment Plan for Europe, KCM can upgrade and update its manufacturing processes. This investment will help to support approximately 2,000 jobs in the region.” KCM will use the EIB loan for its technological upgrade programme planned for 2020-2023. The programme provides for the modernisation and expansion of the company’s lead and precious metals refining unit and zinc electrolysis unit. The project will also increase the recycling capacity for different types of secondary waste lead and zinc materials by 15 percentage points. Secondary materials currently make up some 20 per cent of the total refined lead and zinc output, whilst the project will bring the share of secondary materials to about 35 per cent. This is a high percentage by EU-standards, other European primary smelters currently report a recycling share of only 10 per cent to 15 per cent. Prestigious Best-Practice award At the 25th Annual Meeting of the EBRD Board of Directors, KCM 2000 Group received the regions’ prestigious Environmental and Social Best-Practice Award. Akfen Holding awarded first place to KCM AD, Plovdiv, and the award was presented to Mr Rumen


Metals, Metalworking & Mining

Tsonev, CEO of the KCM 2000 Group. KCM stood out among the 16 finalists for its commitment to the environment, safety and innovative energy-saving practices. The criteria was based on agreed performance indicators following the implementation of its largescale EBRD-funded investment project. This was called the ‘Process Innovation and Production Increase’ (PIPI) programme. These ambitious sustainability projects meet the best European and world standards and guarantee the responsible and sustainable use of raw materials and resources. KCM’s Environmental and Social Best-Practice Award is an acknowledgment of its proven civil and corporate contribution to the environment and to society as a whole.

Focus on safety and health The KCM 2000 Group strives continuously to improve the health and safety of its employees through safer and more modern working practices. A risk management strategy is in place that is based on the use of its own methodology for risk assessment, control and monitoring. The KCM Group also has its own Occupational Health Service where all practicable and reasonable measures are taken to improve the working environment and operating conditions for employees. The company also carries out its own regular educational programs, aimed at enhancing the health and well-being of its staff. Health and safety training, as well as periodic medical examinations and risk monitoring, are also provided for all employees regardless of their role within the group. For more details of the KCM Group’s latest innovative products and services visit: www.kcm2000.bg Industry Europe 77


Promoting Sustainable Living Unilever, the global giant selling fast-moving consumer goods under 400 brand names, is striving to make sustainable living commonplace. Last year, the company launched another set of green initiatives and intensified its efforts to promote sustainability in everyday life. Romana Moares reports.

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Textiles, Home & Personal Care

U

nilever, the British-Dutch transnational consumer goods company, has a true global footprint. With its portfolio of food and beverages, cleaning agents, beauty products, and personal care products used by 2.5 billion people every day, Unilever’s brands have become a household name in around 190 countries. This gives the group a unique opportunity to create positive change and to promote sustainable living for consumers throughout the world. In 2010, the company defined the Sustainable Living Plan that sets out to decouple the company’s growth from its environmental footprint, while increasing a positive social impact. The Plan has three main goals: to help more than a billion people to improve their health and wellbeing; to halve the environmental footprint of its products; and to source 100 per cent of its agricultural raw materials sustainably and enhance the livelihoods of people across its value chain. The Plan aims to create change across the value chain – from operations, to sourcing, to the way consumers use and dispose of the products. At the beginning of 2020, Unilever is well on track towards achieving its ambitious goals.

Responsible partnerships As global awareness of sustainability and environmental issues increases, so does demand for products that are ecological - from

raw materials to recycling. Unilever has responded to this demand in a comprehensive manner - its sustainable sourcing commitments aim to give consumers confidence that the products they buy contain ingredients from sustainable sources. Unilever has achieved impressive results in this respect. In 2020, the group is expected to reach around 70 per cent sustainable sourcing overall and to reach around 95 per cent sustainably sourced for its 12 key crops. Also, in 2020, all purchased materials – including plastics and mined minerals – will be sourced responsibly in line with the group’s Responsible Sourcing Policy. Driving sustainability through the supply chain is high on Unilever’s agenda - most recent examples include the agreement with JD Logistics signed in January 2020, to explore smart and sustainable solutions in the supply chain, and to create a framework to identify opportunities for innovation and sustainable growth, from plastic recycling and collection, to state-of-the-art 5G delivery solutions for millions of customers across the world, and develop less carbon intense transportation initiatives. Marc Engel, Unilever’s Chief Supply Chain Officer said: “The agreement with JD Logistics is an excellent opportunity to drive future-fit supply chain solutions around the world. At Unilever, we are always working to deliver better, more sustainable products for our consumers. Together with JD Logistics, we can leverage

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our collective expertise and scale to give consumers better and informed choices and drive sustainable and responsible growth.”

Environment-respecting production In addition to wanting to know where products come from, consumers are also interested in the technology and methods used to produce them. In this respect, Unilever has committed to reduce CO2 emissions from energy used in its factories below 2008 levels by 2020, even although production volumes have significantly increased. By 2030 the group wants to become carbon positive – eliminating all fossil fuels - in its manufacturing.

80 Industry Europe

In September 2019, Unilever announced that its factories, offices, R&D facilities, data centres, warehouses and distribution centres across five continents are now powered by 100 per cent renewable grid electricity. “The climate emergency is one of the most urgent challenges we’re all facing. Our team have worked hard to secure renewable energy contracts for our sites across five continents, accelerating the delivery of our 100 per cent renewable energy targets,” affirmed Marc Engel. The impressive achievement has been helped by the investment in energy efficiency programmes, which have led to a reduction


Textiles, Home & Personal Care

in total energy consumption of 28 per cent, and to the halving of carbon emissions per tonne of production since 2008, as well as the introduction of on-site solar electricity generation.

Sustainable living brands Together with operations, sustainability has been the core topic of the group’s R&D efforts. The list of products reflecting the increased focus on sustainability is long and extensive and span across all brands. Recent examples include the group’s compressed deodorants for its Sure, Dove and Vaseline brands. They offer people the same deodorant protection but with 50 per cent less gas and 25 per cent less packaging, cutting the carbon footprint per can by approximately 25 per cent. Dry shampoos are another innovation targeting GHG emissions and water use. Compared to washing hair with shampoo in heated water, using dry shampoo reduces GHG emissions by approximately 85 per cent. To meet consumers’ demand for products with more natural ingredients, Unilever continues to grow its naturals and organic portfolio. For example, a number of brands have launched naturals extensions including Dove, Sunsilk and Dirt is Good; and the company has acquired brands that are well known for their use of more natural ingredients such as Seventh Generation, Schmidt’s Naturals, Mãe Terra, and Sir Kensington’s.

Towards a waste-free world On the packaging front, Unilever has confirmed that by 2025 it will halve its use of virgin plastic, by reducing its absolute use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes and accelerating its use of recycled plastic; and help collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells. This commitment makes Unilever the first major global consumer goods company to commit to an absolute plastics reduction across its portfolio. By 2025, the group is committed to 100 per cent of its plastic packaging being reusable, recyclable or compostable. Alan Jope, Unilever CEO, said: “Plastic has its place, but that place is not in the environment. We can only eliminate plastic waste by taking radical action at all points in the plastic cycle.”

“This demands a fundamental rethink in our approach to our packaging and products. It requires us to introduce new and innovative packaging materials and scale up new business models, like re-use and re-fill formats, at an unprecedented speed and intensity.” Implementing this approach, last year (2019) Unilever announced its participation in Loop™ – an innovative waste-free shopping and delivery model for reusable packaging innovations and refillable product formats. Products are shipped directly to consumers and are then returned and refilled. The system brings together major brands and retailers with the idea of shifting from a model that is ‘disposable’ (where packaging is thrown away or recycled after use) to one that is ‘durable’ (where packaging is reused and any leftover product is either recycled or reused).

Recognised world leader In light of the continuing social and climate challenges we face, global giants like Unilever have the power to set an example and pave the way for companies to take responsibility for their environmental footprint. And that is what Unilever has been doing with passion. Unilever’s efforts in the field of sustainability and a greener world have been globally recognised by many awards. Just recently, Unilever has been highlighted as a world leader in corporate sustainability by global environmental non-profit CDP, achieving a place on its ‘A-List’ for climate change, protecting forests and water security. Based on data submitted through CDP’s questionnaires, the list recognises those companies that are working to develop a sustainable economy through their actions to mitigate climate risk, protect forests and enhance water stewardship. CDP’s annual environmental disclosure and scoring process is widely seen as the gold standard of corporate environmental transparency. “We’re delighted to have been recognised as a leader in water security, and the fight against deforestation and climate change,” says Marc Engel. “Unilever is committed to working with NGOs, governments and the wider industry to change the way the world n does business.”

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