Lossburg, Germany-based Arburg GmbH & Co. KG is in a growth mode, not only physically with expansions and acquisitions but in terms of sales returning to levels of past years.
The company now has more than 3,300 employees worldwide, which is about 200 more than a year ago, and sales are trending upward.
"We are very satisfied with the incoming orders this year, and our production capacity utilization is likewise good. The order backlog already stretches into next year," Jürgen Boll, managing director of finance controlling IT, said during a Fakuma 2021 news conference.
Because machine demand has led to increased delivery times in some places, Arburg is building up a small stock of warehoused machines in Lossburg to meet urgent requests for standard machines, such as the Allrounder golden electric, Boll said.
"We are also feeling the strain in the area of steel and aluminum sheets, as well as electronic components," he said, but it hasn't led to other problems.
"We have not had any production stoppages to date and were and are always able to deliver as planned," Boll said. "The reason: Our supply chain strategy. We have planned ahead and stocked our warehouses well. We also benefit here from our central production location with a high proportion of in-house production as well as short, stable and reliable supply chains. This gives us a high degree of flexibility, when we have to react quickly in the event of parts availability bottlenecks."
On a euro basis for machines and peripheral equipment through August 2021, sales were twice as high as in the same period in 2020, Boll said.
"From today's perspective, we will again exceed 700 million euros ($808.9 million) in consolidated turnover in 2021. So we are heading back towards the 2018-2019 level," Boll said.
Germany continues to be Arburg's largest single market and sales are picking up in other parts of Europe, according to Gerhard Böhm, managing director of sales and service.
"After the very deep trough in 2019 and a slight recovery in 2020, all countries are recording very pleasing growth this year," he said. "Italy has returned to its old strength and automotive-heavy countries such as the Czech Republic are also recording significant growth."
Böhm described sales in the United States as "still very good."
"Compared to the other countries, there was no significant slump here in 2019-2020, so that in the past difficult period, the good business in the USA was an important support for us," he said.
The Asian countries of Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia continue to be heavily affected by COVID-19 with strict regulations in place, Böhm said.
"Nevertheless, we managed to get to a very decent level of incoming orders," he said.
Meanwhile, Arburg is expanding its presence in China. Last year the company opened the Arburg Technology Factory (ATF) in Pinghu.
"For us, factory means that Allrounders made in Lossburg are customized on site in Pinghu on short notice," Böhm said. "But factory also means that machines are automated by our local turnkey team and expanded into high-quality production systems."
The 2,300-square-meter ATF has space for more than 60 injection molding machines. This facility allows Arburg to shorten delivery times and further expand the automation business.
Looking at sales by sector, Böhm said the automotive industry is picking up again with many new projects related to electromobility.
"Many pilot plants are just starting up," he added. "It will still take some time before these products and models go into mass production, but if you look at the road maps of the major OEMs, it quickly becomes clear that further investments will be made in the next two to three years."
However, Böhm cautioned, "It remains to be seen to what extent the current production stoppages due to the lack of semiconductors will influence the overall situation."
Arburg is satisfied with the sales to the medical technology and packaging industries and is "well represented" in the electrical/electronics sector, Böhm also said.
Developments in the field of additive manufacturing (AM) are favorable for Arburg, too, he added, noting that Arburg is working with partners and customers on exciting projects in the medical technology and automotive sectors.