“The global markets will continue to need high-quality electric motors and fans in the future,” said Ziehl-Abegg SE’s CEO Peter Fenkl. That’s why the Künzelsau-based company is now investing $18 million (16 million euros) in the expansion of its production buildings at the Kupferzell site.
“The new construction project is a clear commitment to Baden-Württemberg as a location for manufacturing and innovation. Our state needs companies like Ziehl-Abegg SE that take on a leadership role in our economy, particularly during difficult times,” said Minister for Economic Affairs Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut.
The Hohenlohe industrial company has also been affected worldwide by the corona crisis: sales are close to the previous year. “However, a higher than average 8.6 percent increase in sales across the industry in 2019 provides a solid foundation,” said Fenkl. In the current year, the Hohenlohe-based company will benefit from the wide range of applications which contain Ziehl-Abegg products. In particular, in the current year the Drive Technology Division, which manufactures electric motors for elevators, is enjoying one record high order intake after the other.
In the new building, an additional approx. 8,400 sq-m of production area will be created for the manufacture of the state-of-the-art generation of energy-efficient electric motors.
“The durable and efficient electric motor has been our core area of expertise for more than 100 years,” said Fenkl. Ziehl-Abegg is simultaneously the leader in the technology of biomimetic fan design. However, since many geometries with ideal aerodynamic characteristics cannot be realised in steel or aluminium, the company is expanding its composite materials area. “It is essential for us to create extra space for additional composite material injection moulding machines” says Fenkl. Overall, Ziehl-Abegg is expanding its production facilities or optimising existing plants worldwide: both in Schöntal-Bieringen where the aluminium casting operation is based, as well as at its locations in America and Asia. “Corona has demonstrated in particular that we and our customers must take a close look at the use of long delivery routes,” he said.
“Ziehl-Abegg SE epitomises the ‘stand-out’ characteristic of our economy in Baden-Württemberg: rooted within the region but with a global operation”. With this investment, the company is further expanding the resilience of its supply chains and the high level of value added at this location,” said Hoffmeister-Kraut.
The Hohenlohe-based manufacturer of electric motors and fans is a traditional embodiment of a high level of vertical integration. “We will continue to build on this strength whilst at the same time driving the digital business forward.” Ziehl-Abegg motors and fans have been Industry 4.0-compatible for many years, i.e. they can be integrated into and controlled in networks via Ethernet or Bluetooth. Ziehl-Abegg is pressing ahead with this trend of integration with its own Cloud solution. “To this end, we have been looking for a highly experienced and innovative partner,” said Fenkl, explaining the partnership with Telekom. “The responses from our customers show that we really have our finger firmly on the pulse.”
“During the 2008 global economic crisis, our sales fell 17% and then increased by more than 20% in the following year — that was only because we have very good products as well as motivated and qualified employees,” said Fenkl. Against this background, Ziehl-Abegg is now purposely investing on a countercyclical basis. “When the corona and resulting economic crisis is over, we will be able to ‘hit the ground running’ once again!” The new building offers us the opportunity to increase the current number of employees at Ziehl-Abegg in the Hohenlohe Business Park from just over 800 to more than 1,000.