uUncertainties characterize the view into the future. After a profitable yr 2021 – gross sales rose by 9.5 p.c to 1.312 billion euros and had been thus slightly below the pre-corona stage – the Schunk Group from Heuchelheim, which is energetic in mechanical engineering and gear expertise, is more and more affected by provide bottlenecks. “Till lately we had been capable of fall again on well-stocked warehouses. Now they’re empty,” says Arno Roth, CEO, when presenting the 2021 annual report.
Worse nonetheless: “We do not know which provider will ask for which worth subsequent time or whether or not he’ll hoist the white flag tomorrow.” The order books are “extra full than ever earlier than”. Nonetheless, stories the supervisor, work at the 67 areas round the world has come to a standstill at occasions. Typically there are parts that solely price a couple of cents however will not be obtainable, which paralyzes manufacturing strains. “Materials availability is our bottleneck.” Roth sees this growth jeopardize as much as 50 p.c of earnings for the present yr. It’s important to discuss to prospects about worth will increase.
Operation in fine condition
The corporate, which is additionally an essential provider to the automotive trade, is reacting to the disaster in something however hesitant method: “By 2025, we are going to generate a 3rd of our gross sales with improvements – merchandise which might be new or not but on the market at all.” , declares Roth. Expressed in numbers, the gross sales goal for market improvements would then be 572 million euros, it is stated.
The expertise group with headquarters close to Gießen is in fine condition regardless of the antagonistic circumstances. Schunk has no financial institution loans, the fairness ratio is given as 69 p.c, the relaxation are provisions. There have been no layoffs throughout the corona pandemic at the 67 areas in 28 international locations, however there have been short-time work. A corona bonus was paid to every of the 9,000 workers worldwide, and along with a revenue share, which is staggered based on the size of service, the workers acquired an annual bonus of a most of 4,500 euros. The group, which is a world market chief with a few of its merchandise, distributed 25 million euros to the workforce.
The Ukraine struggle burdens Schunk not directly. The deleted enterprise in Russia accounted for just one p.c of gross sales, the enterprise is concentrated in Europe. 31 p.c of gross sales are generated in Germany, 28 p.c in the remainder of the continent. The CEO sees progress alternatives above all in Asia/Oceania (beforehand 25 p.c) and the USA (beforehand 15 p.c). The areas in Texas and China are subsequently being expanded.
Due to its broad positioning in ten enterprise areas – carbon, ceramics, fiber composites, sintered metals, quartz, environmental simulation, air con expertise, ultrasound, optics and lasers – which provide services and products in supplies expertise and mechanical engineering, Schunk is comparatively crisis-proof. The CEO factors out that the firm invests round 100 million euros in improvements yearly. In 2022 it should even be 174 million. Two innovation facilities have simply been opened: one in Heuchelheim, the different in neighboring Reiskirchen. “This is our future,” says the CEO.
He considers 3D printing and bipolar plates manufactured from graphite to be very promising. Hydrogen and oxygen are introduced collectively in these hearts of gas cells. They’re wanted in vehicles, buses, trains and ships. Schunk has succeeded in lowering the weight of the bipolar plates by 70 p.c and at the similar time doubling the effectivity. In mechanical engineering, the historically conservative group, which is aiming for a average annual improve in gross sales of seven p.c, is benefiting from the electromobility megatrend and the related robust progress in the battery market. The subsidiary Weiss Technik makes a speciality of air con and environmental simulations. It manufactures drying rooms for battery manufacturing in addition to climatic chambers and cupboards for battery exams. Schunk’s stability sheet has a destructive influence on the indisputable fact that the automobile trade is at the moment focusing closely on its luxurious lessons, which signifies that gross sales quantity is misplaced for the provider. Arno Roth is satisfied that the development in direction of e-mobility ought to be grist to the Schunk mill.