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10 months ago

MDA Technologies 5/2015

MDA Technologies 5/2015

INTERVIEW I DRIVE

INTERVIEW I DRIVE TECHNOLOGY ation, as easy as that Company name: Lenze SE Headquarters: Aerzen, Germany Turnover: € 634 million Employees: 3,366 worldwide Products: inverters, motors and gearboxes, Automation systems and drive solutions About With its intelligent solutions and services in machine automation, Lenze gives its customers a crucial advantage in an intensively competitive market. Bolstered by the expertise of over 500 machine specialists, the Lenze Group gives it customers the opportunity to achieve real increase in productivity and efficiency. Continued expansion and internationalization Along with innovation and stable market position, one of the key factors for Lenze’s future growth is internationalization. We talk with Christian Wendler, CEO of Lenze Group regarding various international topics concerning the growth opportunities in the machinery and automation industry. Considering the Geo-political developments in major world economies, it seems the markets are going to remain volatile even for the mechanical and manufacturing industry in general. What is your opinion in regards to this? Wendler: First of all we believe, we should look more differentiated towards this instead of a general trend. So, in a detailed analysis, differentiation seems appropriate amongst development of different regions and development of different industry segments. All over, we believe there is still an increasing trend in the growth of machinery as well as automation industry. We also foresee growth in mature and emerging countries. As reported, in Europe we see development where certain states recovered from the economic crisis, so there is definitely increasing demand. Then there are areas like Turkey who benefit right now from long term positive trends as well as we believe that there is a recovery coming up in China within a couple of years, after some initial disturbances as we are seeing right now. In general, this is more project oriented business so this will certainly drive opportunities as well as create volatilities. In the end what does this mean for Lenze, Lenze will stay much focused, we will invest over next few years in a number of key regions and growing industry segments. For the coming years, what specific sectors and which emerging markets will be of prime importance for you and Lenze group all together? Wendler: For regions like India, China and North America, we will specifically create focus industries and within these focus industry sectors we will not just attract highly talented people but we will also invest in these areas. Industry segments like textile, consumer goods packaging and certainly intralogistics will be of high importance for us. We believe that over the mid-term, the automotive factory supply will outgrow. So in the end we expect despite a small drop in the growth forecasts as compared to the past in the machine building industry, we can grow faster than this basic industry trend. For example MDA Technologies 5/2015 27

DRIVE TECHNOLOGY I INTERVIEW 01 At the company conference in Stuttgart, Dipl.-Ing Frank Maier and his associate, showcasing the operational and technical features of the new i500 frequency inverters automotive industry, which is still strong in Europe but highly growing in Asia and particularly in India. Intralogistics and consumer goods packaging sector go hand in hand, as packaging and the need for packaged food grows in highly populated countries, this will create demand for logistic centers and services and therefore also for our products. In regards to USA, how do you see the TTIP (trans-atlantic trade and investment partnership) impacting Lenze’s position in Germany/European and the American markets? Wendler: First of all, as you already know Lenze is already highly engaged in the US. In the late 90s we acquired a fairly wellknown brand AC Tech, and since then we have built up a strong infrastructure in the US. We have production and logistic centers near Boston and Chicago areas, where we are very positively situated and we also have a vast network of distributors. So this existing structure will help us to grow further more in the US in any case. And specifically to TTIP, which is highly discussed in Europe, we are in general highly in favor of lowering the transnational bureaucracy. So we feel that with TTIP the international trade on both the sides of the Atlantic will increase. This will certainly help machine makers to export more machines to US. There is another aspect apart from the technologies of scale, it is the unification of certain technologies 02 Christian Wendler, CEO, Lenze Group, and technical standards will certainly help us to create a global product. We are definitely looking forward to TTIP. With China, further lowering its growth forecasts to 7 %, how does Lenze react to that, should we expect any change in your strategy for China? Wendler: Well, first of all, China has lowered its GDP analysis. This sometimes differs from our markets. In the end, we have to accept that there is no endless and on-going growth opportunity of 15 to 17 % per year. So 7 % sounds like a more realistic level. As I just mentioned, there is a certain de-coupling between growth forecasts of GDP and those of the machinery or automation industry. So we feel we are in more favorable position because the need for automation and improvement of quality in tools and machinery, along with general need for increase in productivity will create a certain momentum for our products. Having said that, we can feel a slight dip in the markets, from the numbers that we see in the industry and the indicators, we see a decline in China over this year and probably next year. But, over the mid-term we expect that this will create a positive momentum. I would clearly see this as a temporary adjustment, specifically in regards to our type of products. Amongst emerging markets, India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi and his ‘Make in India’ campaign seem to be in full swing, how attractive is the Indian market for you, and how do you plan to further increase in India? Wendler: First of all, the Indian market has been and still is a highly attractive. In India we have year on year growths of about 35 %. Lenze has therefore a high engagement in the country already. We have invested a lot in the last few years. We have our assembly and logistics center, a very capable sales force along with applications and service force. We will invest further more over the course of next year in India. Because it is my firm belief that the industries of food, packaging, textile will have a high growth momentum. To top it all, the announcement of PM Modi to reduce the bureaucratic hurdles and provide better economical and operational zones all over India will drive more investments and create high momentum. So we look forward to hopefully good times for India. We also appreciate the efforts being taken to strengthen the Indo- German bilateral relations, as we saw during the visit of Chancellor Angela Merkel to India in beginning of October. In fact, I had the pleasure to meet PM Modi when he was in Hannover, and I can only say he is a very impressive person and we wish him all the success. I agree with Modi’s vision and actions, this is exactly the right step for India to go forward as this will trigger further investments. Certainly also with Lenze, we are looking forward to the situation and if we feel there is a further sustainable perspective then we will certainly invest more there. Finally, what according to you, are the growth drivers in terms of products and innovation for your company for the coming years? Wendler: Over the last couple of years we have invested a lot in the field of servo motion and automation. We have also re-launched a new gear box series and we are currently in process of launching our latest product fully scalable frequency inverter drive ‘i500’. So it is important to serve the market with easy to operate but still highly sophisticated products. The next trend is certainly driven by Industry 4.0. Where we see that intelligent systems, intelligent axis servo motion with PLC capabilities and motion control capabilities will be the next driver for us. We are currently re-designing our series there to be even more competitive. The current design philosophy is to have a most cost effective product but also create a certain level of flexibility to the product. And flexibility today is driven a lot by software features. This, combination of software flexibility and cost competitive hardware creates the advantage for us, it will allow us to fulfill the requirements of flexibility, individualization and cost effectiveness. Christian Wendler, many thanks for sharing your views and vision with us. Photographs: Teaser Fotolia, Lenze www.lenze.com

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