Manager restaurant Bonfiglioli Germany GmbH, Neuss:
"In Germany, we have a good mix of German virtues and Italian creativity."
Bonfilijoli speaks the Italian company name, Bonfiglioli he is written: So well-sounding are now again the numbers. The Italian drive specialist and his German daughters are doing better. The momentum is supported by restructured business units, the expansion of activities as a solution provider and the focus on green energies. Development Scout talked to Thomas Becker not only about planetary gears, which are the manufacturer's butter and bread business.
development scout: In Europe, you had 2009 sales declines of 50 percent. That sounds above average.
Becker: Bonfiglioli has different business areas in which we are on par with our competition. The mobile applications have made an enormous impact and thus influenced the overall result.
development scout: You would like to expand your activities as a solution provider. Where do you see the interface for your solutions?
Becker: That depends on the industry. In the field of mobile applications, we supply the completely adapted hydraulic solution and thus completely cover the mechanical equipment. This includes, for example, the adaptation of special translations and designs with the right hydraulic motor. In the industrial sector our solution goes from the special mechanical gearbox via the corresponding motor to the electronics in the form of frequency converters and control components. We have been able to establish ourselves in this area in recent years and are therefore right in the middle of the expansion. Before Bonfiglioli has run the pure process business. We are moving more and more away from the associated large quantities - to the application-oriented solution.
development scout: Are your production capacities in the current order situation again as close as this is partly the case with your market companions?
Becker: Yes, we are already coming back to the limits. After our problems of vertical integration during the crisis caused us problems, we drew conclusions here. Now we have integrated the external suppliers more closely and now manufacture corresponding parts internally and externally. This will allow us to react very flexibly to cyclical fluctuations in the future.
development scout: What role does the Asian market play in which wind energy currently represents a boom market?
Becker: We have invested a lot in India and China in recent years. Already in India, 600 employees already work today. In China, we are currently building a production facility for pitch and azimuth gearboxes. But that's not such a simple business because especially in China, the regional manufacturers are very strong. Nevertheless, we want to grow double-digit here. This is also necessary to be able to generate the original sales figures.
development scout: How innovative is Bonfiglioli?
Becker: We are working on many innovative topics: In the construction machinery sector we are dealing with the electrification of the drives. Here we see a considerable potential in replacing the hydraulic drives. It will not be easy, because the market is very conservative. In the field of wind turbine transmissions, we see standardization as an important cost reduction approach. Even if the transmission is not the most innovative part of a system, it would be very innovative to standardize the far too many variants by means of standardization. An unusual concept was developed by our Business Unit Mobile & Wind: Instead of the usual combination of sprocket and pinion, the direct drive is favored. This is a very innovative approach, I am curious what will become of it. At the Hanover Fair 2011 we will present various innovative new products, about which I would like to reveal nothing.
development scout: How Italian is Bonfiglioli Germany?
Becker: In Germany we have a good mix of German virtues and Italian creativity. This is reflected in our strong commitment to meeting the needs of our customers. The creativity will certainly be reflected in our new corporate design, which I may announce today for 2011.
Interview by Editor in Chief Angela Scheufler.