Because the company Burgmaier in Allmendingen wants to keep pace with digitization and changes in the automotive industry, it has developed a strategy for the future. Some changes have already been implemented. Meanwhile, the company continues to grow: Over the past 20 years, the Burgmaier Group has grown on average by around ten percent per year.
In the financial year 2017/18, the Burgmaier Group’s turnover was 128.4 million euros – the highest ever. For the financial year 2018/19, the company plans to generate sales of 142.6 million euros. “In the future, growth will continue in the long term,” says Clifford Howald, Managing Director responsible for the entire commercial area. The changes in the automotive industry are taken as an opportunity in Allmendingen – the capabilities in the high-precision production of metal parts to be extended to other applications.
An example: “We have won first orders in the field of steering for electric cars,” says Karl-Hugo Schick, the managing partner, whose grandparents founded the business in 1931. In the field of steering growth is strongest, because a number of new contracts have been won, which also has to do with the fact that ZF Lenksysteme now belongs to one hundred percent to Bosch, Burgmaier’s largest customer. In addition, they have won the first order in the consumer sector: “Next year, we will manufacture for the company Dyson a brand new product from the beauty care sector,” says Schick.
No declines in diesel products
But Burgmaier remains primarily a supplier to the automotive industry. “For diesel products that we manufacture, we still can’t see declines,” explains Schick. Especially in the truck sector, there is still strong growth, because China currently has a large demand. What is new is that Burgmaier has recently been producing not only individual parts but also assembly parts, i.e. parts that are assembled, such as a check valve for Daimler models.
Because of keeping pace with digitization, Burgmaier has invested, among other things, in a business intelligence system that brings together all the data and IT systems in-house. In times of digitization, it is also possible that a colleague in Slovakia sets up data glasses for a problem and thus an employee in Allmendingen can contribute to problem solving on the screen, explains Schick.
In order to be fit for the future, Burgmaier has developed a strategy for the year 2025 with an external consulting firm and an internal team. Accordingly, Burgmaier wants to expand the assembly business, sees opportunities in sensor technology in cars, because here more precise parts would be needed, but also in recreational vehicles. In the field of e-bikes we have already received initial inquiries, says Schick.
Additive Manufacturing is coming
In addition, Burgmaier enters into additive manufacturing: In the fall, a 3D printer will come to Allmendingen, explains the managing partner, and parts would be produced this year. Also the aluminum die casting would be expanded – namely, it increasingly demanded lighter parts for vehicles.
Because the planned growth is only possible through extensions and there is no room for maneuver in Allmendingen or Laupheim, another production hall will be built from late summer in Slovakia. In Allmendingen Burgmaier also invested in a training and qualification center with more than 1000 square meters of space, including classrooms – because for the future they have to win the best brains. The company is also investing in new technology for temperature control during production at the Allmending location – Burgmaier also wants to increase energy efficiency. In total, Burgmaier is investing 15 million euros in the current financial year, six million euros of which in Allmendingen. The company wants to position itself for the future so that it can respond flexibly to new developments.
Burgmaier has four locations: In addition to Allmendingen, there is one in France, one in Slovakia and since 2004 also in Laupheim. In total, the company has 738 employees. The location in Allmendingen is the parent plant, with currently 338 workers. All 31 apprentices in technical and commercial occupations as well as those who are doing a dual degree course are also in Allmendingen. Here, as well as in Laupheim, special qualification programs are also offered, for example, for newcomers without specialized knowledge to operate machines. The turnover in Allmendingen alone amounts to 47 million euros, in 1995 it was still 14 million euros. The Burgmaier Group makes 64 percent of its turnover in the passenger car sector.