Engel Group Once Again Raised Sales
Fiscal Year Ends with Growth
2018 was a good year for Engel: The Engel Group saw out the 2018/19 fiscal year, which closed at the end of March, with a turnover of EUR 1.6 billion. The injection moulding machine manufacturer and systems solutions provider headquartered in Schwertberg, Austria, once again raised its sales, achieving a six percent increase over the previous year. “Asia and the German-speaking countries in Europe have been the primary factors behind our new sales growth,” reports Dr. Christoph Steger, CSO of the Engel Group, at the opening of the Chinaplas plastics industry trade fair in Guangzhou, China.
As stated in a press release, Engel generated 54 percent of its turnover in Europe, while Asia accounted for 21 percent and the Americas for 24 percent. Steger believes that Engel has managed to maintain its leading global position in injection moulding machines and integrated systems solutions as a result of its strong international presence, ability to innovate, and consistent focus on quality and customer service. “Custom-built systems solutions have once again grown as a share of our incoming orders. As well as our expertise in automation, investment decision-makers are focusing more and more on Engel's leading role in digitalisation and the networking of injection moulding processes.”
Worldwide Decline in Automotive Production
Despite robust growth rates characterising the first half of the 2018/19 fiscal year, Engel has noticed a worldwide decline in production since last summer in the automotive industry, its most important target sector. According to Gero Willmeroth, president for East Asia and Oceania at Engel, it is difficult to gauge the impacts of punitive tariffs and sanctions, Brexit, and the debate around regulatory limits and bans on diesel, which has resulted globally in feelings of uncertainty and a reluctance to buy. In China, the world’s largest market for cars, the automotive industry has accounted for a significant share of the decrease in economic growth since autumn 2018. “Overall, we’re expecting a sideways movement for Asia for the current fiscal year”, he stated.
Electric Vehicles Driving Growth
Particularly in Asia, the market share held by electric vehicles is continuing to increase substantially. Engel, which has its own Center for Lightweight Composite Technologies is a partner and supplier to car manufacturers all over the world in the field of lightweight construction, including in China. “We have a growing number of organomelt projects with Chinese firms,” Willmeroth said. The organomelt process makes it possible to form fibre-reinforced, semi-finished products with a thermoplastic matrix in an integrated and fully automated process, as well as functionalising these products through injection moulding. Demand for the process has been growing heavily since large-scale application began last year thanks not only to its high processing efficiency, but also, and in particular, the consistent thermoplastic approach. This makes it easier to recycle the composite components, helping to promote a circular economy.
There is also growth in the lighting sector, in which liquid silicone rubber (LSR) is increasingly being used as a lens material. At its Chinaplas booth, Engel demonstrates the potential in this application area, manufacturing LED headlight lenses from LSR in an automated process that requires no reworking. As another encouraging development Willmeroth mentioned the burgeoning demand in Vietnam. “As a result of the automotive industry establishing itself there, there are more and more suppliers – including from Korea – setting up company premises in the vicinity of car manufacturers,” he said.
Expecting Further Growth
In Asia, Engel is expecting further impetus for growth for the current fiscal year in the medical, packaging, telecommunications and electronics markets. In the latter two areas this growth is expected to stem from both camera lenses and LSR processing for smartphone seals. The all-electric and tie-bar-less e-motion TL injection moulding machines were developed by Engel for this exact market segment and have had great success establishing themselves in the teletronics industry in Asia.
Engel was also able to acquire a series of new customers in the medical and packaging sectors during the fiscal year just passed. “The introduction of the business unit structure in Asia is now well and truly bearing fruit,” commented Willmeroth. Last autumn, Engel grouped its 30 subsidiaries and more than 60 representative offices in seven regions around the world and appointed regional presidents and sped up decision-making processes this way.
Investment Program Almost Completed
Engel has almost completed its 2020 investment programme, the largest effort of its kind since the company was founded in 1945. Capacity has been increased at almost all production sites, while machinery has been upgraded. Shanghai was one of the first construction projects within the 2020 programme. The new building was inaugurated within a punctual time-frame on the plant’s tenth anniversary in autumn 2017. The expansion of its headquarters in Schwertberg was recently completed. The large-scale machine plant in St. Valentin, Austria, will also be home to a new, larger technology centre. Construction work will be completed next year. All in all, Engel has invested more than EUR 375 million in its plants around the globe. (bf)
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