This past year, the Schunk Group turned over 1.065 billion euros. Compared with last years 988 million euros, this means an increase in sales of 7.8% for the technology group headquartered in the German city of Heuchelheim. This is not only the highest turnover in corporate history, but also the first time we have hit the billion mark, states Dr. Arno Roth, Chairman of the Board of the Schunk Group, summing up the figures. Schunk was primarily able to achieve these record results because it focused its structures more closely on the respective markets and provided its different customer industries with support more in line with the market requirements than before, which were the most important reasons for the excellent fiscal year of 2015 according to Dr. Roth. This demonstrates the success of the Schunk Group as a technologically sophisticated niche supplier that provides its customers across the globe with high-tech solutions in a number of highly specialized markets. As a result, the Schunk Group is one of the most important industrial companies in Hesse, Germany, and one of the largest industrial employees in Middle Hesse.
Growth in all business units and all regions
Particularly favorable for Schunk sales have increased in all business units and in all regions. The Weiss Group division has seen especially strong growth in the double-digits. Weiss has distinguished itself as a world market leader in its niche segment in environmental simulation and climate technology and enjoys both the trust and acceptance of its customers. If you compare our turnover distribution across the globe, Schunk has seen notable growth in the Americas and Asia, continues Dr. Roth. Schunk defined these regions as strategic growth regions, now recording exceptionally high growth there.
Schunk wants to continue growing
In 2015, the number of employees increased slightly to around 8,100, which can also be traced back to the acquisition of testing facility manufacturer Imtech ATS and its employees. ATS is a global manufacturer and supplier of complete systems and test bench modules used primarily in the automotive and supplier industries to test and simulate environmental conditions. The unit is now part of Weiss Umwelttechnik headquartered in Reiskirchen, which has now been expanded to include locations in Hamburg, Stuttgart, China, and Thailand.
For the years to come, Schunk expects employee figures to continue growing, especially in Germany, Western Europe, and Asia, where the creation of new jobs is planned.
Innovation: the key to success
Schunk has stepped up its efforts to bring its innovations to market. To this end, the technology company has established its own internal innovation competition where the best new products are determined across all fields.
One Schunk innovation distinguished in this way is the IntrinSiC 3D printing method that marks a breakthrough in the production of design elements made of industrial ceramic. Components that were once impossible due to their complexity and size can now be produced using silicon carbide material via 3D printing. The new production technique is especially attractive to manufacturers of components requiring a particularly high degree of rigidity and strength. Compared with other materials such as steel, ceramic, which is virtually as hard as a diamond but relatively light, barely expands at high temperatures and offers extreme dimensional stability. With traditional production techniques casting, pressing, or pultruding a custom shape was not possible in top quality. The later diamond-hard silicon carbide is first available in powder-form and is mixed with a binding agent. Using CAD design data, a 3D printer then models the desired component layer by layer. Following special pre-treatment, firing, and some fine-tuning, the desired product is ready. 3D printing with IntrinSiC is significantly faster and uses less material than conventional technology. The technique is attractive to customers from a wide variety of industries, with customer queries submitted from all over the world and numerous samplings having been completed Schunk intends to use this to gain additional market shares in the high-tech field of high-performance ceramics.
Schunk shares profit with employees
Our innovations show that the creativeness and commitment of Schunk employees is crucial to our success, emphasizes Dr. Roth. This year, all staff members were once again given a share of the profit, up to 3,750 euros for employees in Germany.
At the same time, Dr. Roth emphasizes that Schunk employees benefit from excellent basic and further training, as well as outstanding staff development. Last year, a trainee at subsidiary Weiss Umwelttechnik was voted the best mechatronics technician for refrigeration technology in Germany. For existing employees, the company created the CAMP staff development program, which systematically prepares employees for managerial functions. Even future CEOs go through this program. And this year, the Global Graduate Program will launch, aimed towards those with high potential, which will train highly qualified university graduates with international experience. This shows me that we as a company offer excellent basic and further training, and room for growth for young people, Dr. Roth says in summary.
Outlook: Sales target of 1.5 billion euros by 2020
Schunk has assessed the economic outlook for 2016 to be mediocre, whereby the company proved in 2015 that it can grow faster than the markets. We have a good strategy for the entire company and I am confident that 2016 even if the economy isnt that great will be even more successful than 2015, says Dr. Roth. This brings us one step closer to our goal of achieving sales of 1.5 billion euros in 2020.
Schunk has reinforced this growth target with an investment volume of 91.5 million euros for 2016, which is intended to benefit shipping at the Heuchelheim location, establish a sheet metal processing center in Reiskirchen as well as a new office and canteen in Austria, and to expand the location in Mexico.