Ziehl-Abegg is investing $A25.61 million (16 million euros) in the expansion of its production buildings at the manufacturer’s Kupferzell site in Germany.

The expansion includes investing in new machines.

Ziehl-Abegg CEO, Peter Fenkl, said the new machines allow for faster and error-free production of modern industrial fans:

“The global markets will continue to need high-quality electric motors and fans in the future,” he said.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact, Fenkl said sales are close to the previous year. 

“A higher than average 8.6 per cent increase in sales across the industry in 2019 provided a solid foundation,” he said.

“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 8,400 square metres 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,” Fenkl. Said.

“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.”

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.

With this investment, the company is further expanding the resilience of its supply chains and the high level of value added at this location.

Fenkl said it also represents a high level of vertical integration.

“We will continue to build on this strength whilst at the same time driving the digital business forward,” he said.

”Ziehl-Abegg motors and fans have been Industry 4.0-compatible for many years, 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. “

Fenkl said during the 2008 global economic crisis, sales fell 17 per cent and then increased by more than 20 per cent the following year.

“That was only because we have very good products as well as motivated and qualified employees,” he said.

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,” Fenkl said.

“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.”

Touring the site, the German Minister for Economic Affairs, Dr Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, praised the investment in fan manufacturing.

“The new construction project is a clear commitment to Baden-Württemberg as a location for manufacturing and innovation,” she said.

“Our state needs companies like Ziehl-Abegg SE that take on a leadership role in our economy, particularly during difficult times.”

Key project data

Cost of construction: 16 million euros (building with 10 loading ramps)
180 additional jobs for employees
Additional utilisable area: 8,400 square metres, 1.000 of which is for offices
Total previous production area in the Business Park: 44,240 square metres
Total number of employees in the Business Park approx. 850 (in total 2,400 in Hohenlohe, 4,300 worldwide). 

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