in Vol. 8 - July Issue - Year 2007
Our Focus Is On Growth
Complete turn-key preservation systems (shot blasting and painting) are installed by R
Investment of 10 Mio. EUR in new areas for the production of shot blast systems at the Untermerzbach site. Completion: August 2007.
Interview with Stephan Rösler, Dipl.-Kfm, president and CEO of Rösler Oberflächentechnik GmbH
(?) MFN: Effective January 1, 2007 Rösler took over Baiker Maschinenbau AG. How will this acquisition complement the Rösler product range?
(!) S. R.: In many respects our company, Rösler GmbH, and Baiker have pursued the same technological approach to solving customer problems. However, there are differences when it comes to technical equipment details, which, of course, can have a negative effect on the overall equipment manufacturing cost. For this reason we will utilize the following strategy: Primarily, we will offer our customers the proven Rösler technology, which will then be complemented with certain features and options from the Baiker equipment range. Our goal is to supply top-of-the-line equipment with respect to quality and technology at competitive prices. However, we recognize that there are numerous Baiker customers who intend to replace their equipment or are expanding their capacity. These customers will be supplied with exactly the same equipment they have successfully used in the past. We are pleased to report that Mr. Baiker and his long-time chief engineer, Mr. Gutknecht, will continue working with us.
(?) MFN: Which goals will Rösler pursue with the acquisition of Baiker?
(!) S. R.: Baiker has been very successful in its field and has developed many applications, which will complement and expand our product range. Baiker technology will enhance our problem solving capabilities and, subsequently will help us win over new customers. On the one hand, we will increase our presence in the aerospace industry. And on the other hand, we will utilize our aerospace know-how for applications in the automotive industry. For this purpose we have created a project team that will exclusively deal with this topic. We will offer numerous innovative surface treatment solutions and systems, especially for the automotive industry. For example, the cleaning of inner, difficult to reach surfaces (cylinder heads, etc.) or the precision shot peening of stress-loaded components to significantly extend their fatigue life.
(?) MFN: You are currently expanding your manufacturing capacity at your Untermerzbach site. What is the reason behind this significant investment?
(!) S. R.: The positive financial results of our business year 2006/07 (ended on March 31, 2007) are reason to make us look optimistically into the future. For the first time in our history our sales exceeded 200 million Euro, growing exactly to 204 million Euro. This is an excellent basis for future growth. By August this year our new 9,000 square meter building equipped with modern production equipment will be ready for operation. This significant investment had become necessary because of the explosive sales growth in our shot blast equipment division. About 80% of our products are tailor-made, „customer specific“ shot blast systems. We consider this customer orientation and our excellent equipment quality as the two major reasons for our success. As already pointed out earlier, our expanded capacity will also be used for growing our air blast business, especially with innovative applications for the automotive industry. This investment is evidence of our strong commitment towards Germany as our major manufacturing location. We plan to continue expanding the depth of our in-house production activities. To cope with our growth we are also heavily investing in personnel such as additional mechanical and electronic engineers, who will undergo intensive training. Needless to say, we are also expanding and improving our after sales capabilities.
(?) MFN: Where do you see the potential for shot blasting? For example, which technologies, industries and geographical markets?
(!) S. R.: For competitive reasons I do not want to answer this question in detail, because this would mean disclosing our future market and product strategy. Let me say, however, that we consider our participation in all major exhibitions all over the world as extremely important. This year we will participate in 57 exhibitions. In addition, we take part in many important workshops, for example, the 7th MFN Asian Shot Peening Workshop & Trade Show in Singapore next November. Exhibitions are an essential part of our overall strategy.
(?) MFN: Would it not have made more economic sense for Rösler to build manufacturing capacities in so-called “low cost/low wage” countries?
(!) S. R.: In today’s globalized world a company can no longer be successful without outsourcing certain goods and services to international suppliers or foreign subsidiaries. However, as popular as the relocation of manufacturing operations has become for economic reasons, one should not overlook the disadvantage of such activities. To consider the relocation of complete manufacturing operations as the general solution for solving cost problems and increase production efficiencies in my opinion is wrong. However, in isolated, special cases it does make sense to transfer certain products or complete manufacturing operations to low cost locations.
For our company with its current structure relocation would not be of any interest. With our product range I consider it to be more effective to concentrate all company functions in one location. This ensures high quality, because the complete manufacturing process, from engineering to sales, from components supply to assembly and all the way to after sales service is located under one roof. This guarantees high product quality without any information loss due to the interface problems one finds frequently in companies who outsource certain manufacturing functions. I believe this is the reason, why we can offer our customers by far the biggest equipment range and a much better product with regard to price and performance compared to some of our competitors who have manufacturing facilities in Eastern European countries. Of course, we maintain a worldwide network of branches and distributors to provide the best possible service to our customers. With our 24-hour hotline our process specialists and service engineers can quickly be on our customers’ premises anywhere in the world. Moreover, each sales branch within the Rösler group has its own test lab equipped with state-of-the-art Rösler equipment. This equipment is exclusively utilized for processing trials with parts from our customers to provide innovative, and at the same time, practical and repeatable surface finishing solutions. This applies equally to our mass finishing as well as our shot blast division.
By the way, I feel that the manufacturing location Germany is much better than some people make us believe. For this reason we support the initiative “Pro location Germany”.
(?) MFN: Research & Development enjoys a high priority in the Rösler group. Where is the main focus in your R &D activities?
(!) S. R.: This is a rather broad based field and covers our complete product range. It extends, for example, from the development of new mass finishing media all the way to research into new materials and new blast wheel technologies.
Our development activities also extend to various countries and include some of our branches and foreign universities. In one specific case we have a very interesting research project for a potential new technology that offers very good prospects for the future.
Within the Rösler group we spend about 3.5 million Euro annually. I consider this as a major factor for our future success.
One of our latest developments is the double magnetic separator. We are going to display this innovative product at GIFA in Duesseldorf (the largest worldwide foundry show). The mix of blast media and sand is guided past two magnetic drums, which are considerably wider than conventional magnetic separators. A sophisticated guide/distribution system ensures that the media/sand mixture is distributed over the complete width of the drums, which creates a very thin layer of media and sand. This, in combination with the strong electro magnets in the drums produces an extremely effective cleaning effect, i.e. removal of sand from the media. With our new double drum magnetic separator we achieve a cleaning efficiency of up to 99.7%.
(?) MFN: Rösler is no doubt a market leader, when it comes to automated mass finishing or shot blast systems. How much importance do you foresee for automation of such systems in the future?
(!) S. R.: In view of worldwide pressure for cost reductions in practically all markets segments, especially in the automotive, aerospace and foundry industries, partial automation of individual production steps is no longer adequate. At the same time, shorter product life cycles, a growing product variety and increasing cost pressures require more flexible and economical manufacturing systems. Integrated automation concepts that cover the complete manufacturing process are essential for survival and success of a company. We see a huge potential for automation with respect to increasing production volumes, productivity and cost savings. Moreover, fully automatic and repeatable manufacturing processes not only increase product quality and minimize product defects, but they also contribute to increased safety at the work place and have a positive ecological effect. One of our specialities is the supply of automated shot blast systems utilizing robot technology. Another of Rösler’s strengths is automated mass finishing systems that can be fully integrated into manufacturing lines by utilization of special parts loading, transport and unloading components. There is practically no customer problem that cannot be solved with one of our special systems. We offer a wide range of industry specific finishing solutions that help to successfully operate in an economically difficult environment.
We at MFN would like to thank Mr. Stephan Rösler for this interview.
Rösler Oberflächentechnik GmbH
Tel. +49.9533.924-802, Fax +49.9533.924-300