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ENGEL’s worldwide course of growth continues

In the 2015–2016 financial year, ENGEL was again able to achieve an increase in turnover. Worldwide, the ENGEL Group with headquarters in Schwertberg, Austria, generated 1.25 billion euros in turnover. For ENGEL's current financial year, the numbers continue to point to growth. “The order books are well-filled,” reports the ENGEL management. In the 2016–2017 financial year, almost 100 million euros are being invested in the further expansion of facilities and capacities. Austria is one area of focus for investments.

 

All of the company's regions and fields of business contribute to ENGEL's continuing success. “In the 2015–2016 financial year, we were able to consolidate our excellent market position in Europe and have expanded our market shares in Asia and America even further,” reports Dr. Christoph Steger, CSO of ENGEL Holding. Despite the overall slight slowdown in growth and the decline in a few individual markets, ENGEL is expecting order intake to remain at a high level for the 2016–2017 financial year.

ENGEL’s extensive system solution and technology expertise belong to the significant factors sustaining this growth. “The European markets, in particular Germany, are still the motors for innovation,” emphasises Steger. “And even in America and Asia we are delivering more and more tailor-made solutions for sophisticated applications which include not just the injection moulding machine, but also automation, process technology or mould technology.”

Another factor for success is the quality. “The same high standards for quality apply in all ENGEL Group factories,” says Dr. Peter Neumann, CEO of ENGEL Holding. “Our staff also have a high level of qualification worldwide. We achieve this through our own apprenticeship programmes and extensive continuing education measures.” More than 5200 staff members were employed by ENGEL as of the close of the 2015–2016 financial year that ended in March. ENGEL is hiring further employees on all continents.

 

ENGEL in the international markets

Asia: the most important growth market – high-tech is in demand

Asia is the most important growth market for ENGEL, although the overall growth in China, the largest market there, continues to slow down. The trend towards greater quality, the pressure on prices that is also increasing in Asia, and the new challenges facing society are making it necessary to invest in advanced technology and automation in an increasing number of areas. ENGEL is benefiting from this trend. “Electromobility is increasingly coming into focus in Asia,” says Dr. Stefan Engleder, Chief Technical Officer at ENGEL Holding, naming an example. “Similar to Europe, research institutes and material producers in Asia are pushing ahead with innovative composite technologies. In our Center for Lightweight Composite Technologies, ENGEL engages in intensive collaboration with customers and partners to develop economical processing methods for the new materials.”

Lightweight design is not only a motor for innovation in automobile manufacturing. The consumer electronics industry is also closely investigating composite materials with the goal of making their products lighter and thinner. “We are presenting the next step in this development at the K trade show,” says Engleder. “Thermoplastic fabrics will for example replace magnesium frames in laptops and thus not only improve the product characteristics, but also lead to an even more efficient manufacturing process. We see enormous potential in this area.”

Teletronics follows the automotive industry as the second-strongest contributor to turnover for ENGEL in Asia. Growth motors include the fields of infotainment, vehicle assistance systems, automotive electronics and precision optical components. “With our all-electric, tie-bar-less ENGEL e-motion TL injection moulding machines, we have gained a very good foothold in the market for precision optical parts and have been able to assert ourselves several times against Japanese competitors who have dominated the market until now,” says Engleder.

Packaging is also on a growth course. Above all, China and India have a great need for efficient and sustainable solutions for the fabrication of caps and closures for water and carbonated beverages. In the all-electric ENGEL e-cap machine series, ENGEL successfully combines high throughput with high energy efficiency. Besides caps and closures, great opportunities are opening up in the large container business due to the increasing substitution of plastics for sheet metal.

Particularly close collaboration between ENGEL and the processors is already necessary in the project planning phase in order to adapt the injection moulding solutions to the individual requirements of the customers and the specific demands of the different national markets and industries. ENGEL is therefore continually investing in the further expansion of its worldwide sales and service network. Beyond that, ENGEL is consistently strengthening the specialist expertise of local staff. In Shanghai, ENGEL has already established an automation centre, opened its own mould technology department, and strengthened the application technology department. Now ENGEL is building up the company infrastructure for the whole of Asia in order to provide consulting services that are even more industry-specific.

 

ENGEL has been present in Asia for 30 years

ENGEL had recognised the great potential of the Asian continent very early and established its first subsidiary in Hong Kong in 1986. At the Chinaplas trade show in Shanghai in April of this year, ENGEL celebrated 30 years in Asia. In this time, further sales and service subsidiaries were established successively in Singapore, Korea, India and Thailand. In Vietnam, ENGEL will be opening its sixth subsidiary in Asia by the end of the year.

ENGEL is the only western injection moulding machine manufacturer producing machines at multiple sites in Asia for the local markets. In 2001, the production plant for injection moulding machines with low and medium clamping forces was opened in Pyungtaek City, South Korea. Since 2007, ENGEL has been producing large-size machines at its plant in Shanghai, and with the founding of WINTEC as a secondary brand in 2014, a third plant in Asia was established in Changzhou, China. In the meantime, the ENGEL Group achieves 85 percent of its turnover in Asia with its local production.

 

North America: automobile boom gives the plastics industry a boost

Aside from Asia, North America is currently one of the most dynamic regions in the world. Car sales figures and overall consumption are remaining at a high level. Other factors include a renewed appreciation for goods produced in the country and the fact that the sometimes very old machinery is now being modernised and brought back to a competitive level with innovative technologies. “We are expecting the very positive investment climate to continue,” says Steger. Due to the fact that ENGEL had already appointed Business Unit managers for North America two years ago, it is now in a good position to participate very successfully in the upswing.

The booming automotive industry in the USA has two evident centers of activity: the Southeast and the Detroit area. In Detroit, ENGEL is in collaborative partnerships with two Technology Centers, SA Engineering and Hi-Tech Mold & Engineering. At both facilities, there are ENGEL machines available for trials, technology demonstrations and development projects. The range of possibilities is broad; the largest ENGEL machine available is an ENGEL duo 3500 US.

At the technology centre operated by SA Engineering in Detroit, ENGEL will be hosting the first trend.scaut in North America in late June, taking into account the fact that the automotive industry in North America is of great significance. In Europe, the ENGEL automotive conference has long become established as one the most important networking events in the industry.

Mexico is also benefitting from the automobile boom in North America, partly as a kind of prolonged assembly line for the USA, but also because of the strong domestic demand.

 

Technical Moulding, Medical and Packaging also see strong growth

All ENGEL Business Units in North America are benefitting from the machinery modernising and reshoring trends. In the area of technical moulding, it is above all toy manufacturers that are relocating their production back from Asia. In the building and construction sector, new investments are very often entrusted to ENGEL. For example, the tie-bar-less ENGEL victory and ENGEL e-victory injection moulding machines provide significant added value in the production of large fittings.

In the packaging market, replacement investments play an important role, because processors can only maintain competitiveness in the mid-term by employing highly efficient injection moulding solutions. Another factor is the trend towards high-quality functional packaging that places high demands not only on the efficiency of the injection moulding machines, but also on their precision.

For the medical sector, North America is of great fundamental importance. On the one hand, it is the largest market worldwide for medical technologies. On the other, the USA is next to Europe the most important motor for innovation in this industry.

 

Europe: large market share consolidated further

In Europe, ENGEL successfully continued to consolidate its large market share in the 2015–2016 financial year, and was even able to significantly expand its share in the packaging sector. Among other things, this was due to large projects in the area of beverage caps.

Germany remains one of the markets with the highest turnover for the ENGEL Group. The sales and service subsidiaries in Nuremberg, Hannover, Hagen and Stuttgart are showing continued positive development. The ENGEL Deutschland Technologieforum Stuttgart – the youngest of the four German subsidiaries – has more than doubled its personnel since opening in April of 2013.

But not all machine projects that are ordered and carried out in Germany remain in the country. ENGEL customers often plan for them to go directly to their international locations. In Spain and France, this kind of cross-border business also makes up a large share of the very good results achieved in the 2015–2016 financial year. Italy continues to profit from a strong domestic market.

 

Investments in worldwide locations

The company headquarters are at the focus for investments

Altogether, ENGEL is investing almost 100 million euros in different company locations in the 2016–2017 financial year. The largest part will remain in Austria. Construction work on a significant expansion of the company headquarters in Schwertberg has been underway since the summer of last year. While construction was still ongoing, the scope of the expansion was enlarged. Instead of two, the new building will now have three upper floors. The new building is connected with the technology centre that was completed in 2009 and provides more than 10,000 square metres of floor space. Of these, more than 6,000 square metres are reserved for new offices to strengthen the sales and service teams. A new apprentice workshop is being built on approx. 1,300 square metres, and around 300 square metres will be available for day nursery facilities.

In September, the day nursery will be the first to move into the new building, followed by the ENGEL apprentices. The machines for the new apprentice workshop will already be installed in July. The apprentice workshop at the company headquarters is already one of the most modern in the country and has received numerous awards. In time for the start of the next school year, it will gain even more on attractiveness. “We want to provide optimal working conditions for our staff from the first day on,” says Peter Neumann. “With lots of daylight and an open room atmosphere, the new apprentice workshop will provide an even brighter working environment. Beyond that, the workplaces are designed according to the most recent ergonomic findings.”

More than 150 young men and women are receiving training in eight technical professions at ENGEL in Austria. With a retention rate of 98 percent, the in-house professional training is an important factor in terms of securing skilled workers. The apprentice workshop in Schwertberg serves as a model for the worldwide apprentice trainee programme of the ENGEL Group. ENGEL also provides training in technical professions at its German site in Hagen, at its component plant in Kaplice in the Czech Republic, and at its large-size machine plant in Shanghai, China.

With its own childcare centre, ENGEL is making it even easier for its staff to balance family and professional obligations. There are already 13 children registered for the day nursery although it has not opened yet, and interest continues to be high. In the future, two groups of up to 24 toddlers up to age three will be cared for. The day nursery will have its own garden that will not only serve as a playground, but also provide space to grow its own vegetables for the breakfast breaks.

Further building measures for the Schwertberg site are already in planning. The focus lies on increasing capacities for assembly. Among other things, the North Hall that was built in 2013 will be expanded. “More space will be created above all for the middle clamping force segment,” says Stefan Engleder. “Another area of focus for the planned investments is the customer technology centre. In the future, we will have even greater capacities for customer trials and technology demonstrations in Schwertberg.”

 

More capacity for large-size machines in St. Valentin

Parallel to the expansions at the company headquarters, construction work has begun at the location of ENGEL's large-size machine plant in St. Valentin in Lower Austria. By late summer of this year, two warehouses will be completed, and then in the autumn, work will start on an additional production hall. This will be erected in the south of the site and be connected to the existing halls, significantly expanding the capacity for the manufacture of large-size machines.

The ENGEL Center for Lightweight Composite Technologies located in St. Valentin will be provided with more space in the course of expanding the facilities at that site. A second, even larger ENGEL v-duo machine was already taken into operation at the technology centre in the spring of this year. Now the facilities can cover an even broader spectrum of fibre composite material applications for ENGEL's own development tasks as well as for projects with customers and partners.

 

Equipping Kaplice for further growth

The component plant at Kaplice in southern Bohemia is being equipped to increase the machine assembly capacity. By the autumn of 2017, production floor space will be more than doubled. The company's facility in the Czech Republic is its centre of excellence for sheet-metal processing and electrical fitting. Among other things, control cabinets, machine frames, housing parts and conveyor belts are produced in Kaplice. “It is only due to our very high vertical manufacturing range that we are able to deliver a consistent high quality worldwide, and yet also flexibly fulfill the increasingly individualised requirements of our customers,” says Engleder. “The Kaplice location therefore plays a key role in ENGEL's global production network.”

In addition to a new production hall, an even larger administrative building is being constructed, because the number of employees is not just growing in production, but also in administrative areas.

 

Shanghai: more space for assembly, offices and the apprentice workshop

In Asia, the focus for investments this year lies on Shanghai. There also, both the production facility and the office wing will be significantly expanded by April of 2017. Construction of the production hall has already begun. It will provide 1,600 square metres for additional CNC processing machines. 450 square metres of floor space is being added for offices and the apprentice workshop. Since 2014, ENGEL has been providing vocational training in Shanghai. It built its own apprentice workshop for the programme there and entered a cooperation agreement with a local educational institution for the theoretical instruction. In setting up a dual vocational training programme, ENGEL is emerging as a pioneer in China. “The interest in our training programme is very high,” emphasises Peter Neumann. “We were able to expand our training programme sooner than expected.” At present, more than 30 apprentices are receiving training as CNC and plastics technicians. In the coming school year, ENGEL will also be accepting mechatronics trainees in Shanghai.

 

ENGEL breaks new ground in professional training

First trainee programme spanning three continents

Professional qualification has always had a high priority at ENGEL. The focus is not limited to apprentices, but also includes young academics for whom ENGEL also offers trainee programmes and final thesis projects.

ENGEL is breaking new ground with its international trainee programme. After a six-month introductory phase in Austria, the participants in the two-year programme will work at the ENGEL plants in the USA, China and Korea, as well as at two ENGEL subsidiaries. During this time, the trainees will become familiar with the ENGEL products and technologies and acquire industry-specific expertise and leadership competence. “Our goal is to get young people excited about gaining international experience and to promote intercultural understanding,” says Christoph Steger. “When they have successfully completed the programme, we will offer the graduates a challenging job in our international sales operations.” Five young men and women will be admitted to the programme this September. The applicants come from Europe as well as America and Asia. The prerequisites for participation in the international trainee programme are a technical or business degree and a maximum of three years of professional experience.

ENGEL will be conducting the international trainee programme regularly.

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Starting in September, the occupants will then move into the new building in Schwertberg.

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ENGEL is investing almost 100 million euros in its company locations in the 2016–2017 financial year. The largest part will remain in Austria.


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By late summer of this year, two warehouses will be completed in St. Valentin, and then in the autumn, work will start there on an additional production hall.


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Within the worldwide ENGEL Group, the plant in Kaplice is a centre of excellence for sheet-metal processing and electrical fitting. The administrative building in the South will be expanded, and the production hall will grow towards the North and East.


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In setting up a dual vocational training programme, ENGEL is emerging as a pioneer in China. The apprentice workshop in Shanghai is being refurbished in the course of the expansion work.

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