ENGEL is continuing to grow. For the fourth time in sequence, the injection moulding machine builder and system solution provider based in Schwertberg, Austria, was able to increase its annual revenue. At the end of March, the group of companies concluded the financial year of 2017/18 with revenues of 1.51 billion euro, an increase of 11 percent versus the previous year.
Photo: At ENGEL's company headquarters in Schwertberg, Austria, construction will continue until this autumn. The new construction will expand the northern production hall built in 2013. The new customer technology centre will be located above the assembly area.
"The production plant in Shanghai alone sold around 20 percent more machines in the 2017/18 financial year", reports Dr. Christoph Steger, CSO of the ENGEL Group, at the beginning of the Chinaplas plastics trade fair, end of April 2018 in Shanghai, where ENGEL informed the international trade press about the 17/18 financial year. Asian markets continue to have a large share in the success of the ENGEL Group, with demand especially increasing in China. "The investment climate in China is at a new high", says Steger.
In the Shanghai plant, ENGEL is building large-scale machines of the dual platen series duo, which are used in the automotive industry, among others. "The automotive industry in China continues to be the most important driver of growth and innovation", says Gero Willmeroth, President Sales and Service at ENGEL Machinery Shanghai. ENGEL in particular has grown disproportionately in the automotive lighting area. "Our customers are increasing their investment into innovative process technologies that allow them to achieve higher efficiency, productivity and quality." One example of this is the optimelt technology, which ENGEL is presenting at its trade fair booth. In the manufacturing of thick-walled LED lenses, the patented multi-layer process with external cooling significantly reduces the cycle time, at the same time ensuring a high degree of optical quality.
Whether lenses made of PMMA or polycarbonate glazing components, the substitution of materials in vehicle manufacturing aims primarily to reduce weight. Electric vehicles in China are on the rise and accompanied by innovative lightweight technologies. Until now, the focus of processors in China has been on substituting glass on the one hand and foam injection moulding on the other; composite technologies are still in the early stages. "Our customers use trade fairs such as the Chinaplas to learn about the possibilities of the wide-scale use of composite materials in automotive manufacturing, and to gauge the feasibility of new composite processes for the automotive large-scale series," states Willmeroth. "China is setting the direction and ENGEL is at the forefront here. Internationally, ENGEL is already one of the preferred partners of the automotive industry." In 2012, ENGEL established its own technology centre for lightweight composite technologies and since then has been able to achieve several significant milestones in cooperation with its development partners. At the Chinaplas 2018, ENGEL is introducing series-ready technologies for the economical production of composite components and, in addition, is providing insights into ongoing research projects.
Market position in industries further expanded
From a single source, ENGEL delivers individual injection moulding machines as well as integrated and automated system solutions, the share of which in worldwide orders continues to increase. Developing made-to-measure injection moulding solutions requires a deep understanding of both the technology and the industries, which ENGEL ensures through its Business Unit structure. ENGEL employs dedicated teams for the automotive, technical moulding, teletronics, packaging and medical industries, respectively – and this not only at the company headquarters in Austria. Last year, ENGEL also established a Business Unit structure with dedicated Business Unit managers in Asia, and has since then been continuously increasing its industry know-how locally. "With this new structure, we are continuing to expand our market position in all five business areas", reports Steger. "The feedback from our customers is very good. In many cases, we can respond even faster to requirements and requests, and support our customers in solving their very individual challenges in an even more targeted fashion."
In addition to automotive, in Asia ENGEL has increased its sales in the medical area, with health care and diagnostics being the main growth drivers, For these applications, ENGEL delivers all-electric e-motion injection moulding machines as well as hybrid machines of the e-victory series, which are produced for the Asian markets at the ENGEL plant in Korea. "In the medical area, we are seeing a trend to multi-cavity moulds, which require larger injection moulding machines to increase throughput", reports Willmeroth.
New training centre in Shanghai
ENGEL is also increasing its personnel in Asia. The ENGEL Group is currently employing a total of 950 people in its Asian production plants and subsidiaries, which is more than 20 percent more than last year. ENGEL Machinery Shanghai currently has a headcount of 490 employees. In the previous financial year, new employees were added primarily in the Business Units, service and training. For the 18/19 financial year, ENGEL has posted additional vacancies in Shanghai as well as all of Asia.
In the context of the plant expansion that was completed in September 2017, ENGEL constructed a new, larger training centre and hired a dedicated training manager. Together with his team of experienced trainers, Boris Wen is continuing to expand the seminar and workshop offering for customers in China.
6,600 employees worldwide
At the beginning of the new financial year 2018/19, the ENGEL Group is employing 6,600 people worldwide – more than ever before. More than half of these (3,700) are working in the three Austrian plants.
As compared to the previous year, there has been a slight shift in the distribution of the 1.51 billion euro in worldwide revenue. America has increased by 2 percent, to 26 percent. With currently 53 percent, Europe still represents the lion's share. Asia is at 20 percent.
From the worldwide perspective, North America – USA, Canada and Mexico – and Asia are the primary growth drivers for ENGEL, with South America also picking up speed. In Europe, Germany remains the strongest sales market and also the most important driver of innovation.
From the perspective of the industries, the strongest growth worldwide is in the packaging area, followed by technical moulding.
More capacity in the machine plants
With the largest investment programme in the company's history, ENGEL is ensuring that the growth of the company extends into all regions of the world. For a total of more than 375 million euro, by 2020 production plants worldwide will be modernised and their capacities expanded.
The expansion of ENGEL Machinery Shanghai was completed in time for the ten-year anniversary of the plant in September 2017. First of all, the existing office building was lengthened to add another 1,000 square metres of usable space. In addition, a new production hall was constructed, complementing large machine production by 1,600 square metres. The training workshop is also being newly constructed. For the apprentice workshop alone, ENGEL invested just under 1 million euro. It is equipped with state-of-the-art machines to optimally prepare the apprentices for their future profession, and it is also significantly larger than the previous one because since the beginning of ENGEL's apprenticeship programme in China, the number of apprentices has increased considerably. Currently in Shanghai, 51 young people are being trained as mechatronics engineers, CNC technicians and plastics technicians. In the summer of last year, the first apprentices of ENGEL Machinery Shanghai completed their final examinations with good results across the board and were hired as permanent employees.
The largest construction projects are taking place in Austria. At company headquarters in Schwertberg, by the autumn of this year the northern production hall there, which was constructed in 2013, will be expanded by 11,500 square metres. In addition, a new, significantly larger customer technology centre is being built.
With an investment volume of 160 million euro, the expansion of the large machine plant in St. Valentin, Austria, is by far the largest construction project. In the first stage, last year an additional hall bay was constructed that contains several offices and is otherwise dedicated to machine assembly. A few weeks ago, construction began on the new administration building and the additional expansion of the assembly area, including the tecnology centre. In the course of this work, more space will also be created for the Center for Lightweight Composite Technologies.
(Engel Austria GmbH)