Prepare for growth

The KIRCHHOFF Group is going to continue its course of growth. For the two biggest business areas, KIRCHHOFF Automotive and KIRCHHOFF Ecotec, sustainable investments in the latest systems and new plants are planned for the upcoming year.

The second KIRCHHOFF Automotive plant in Romania is being built near the town of Piteşti. In the future this plant will supply stampings to both the KIRCHOFF Automotive plants in Europe, as well as our customers in Eastern Europe. The strategic importance of this plants’ location plays a crucial role. It is just 25 km away from the Dacia plant, and 130 km from the Ford plant in Craiova. The plant will also be close to a newly planned motorway that will link Romania and Hungary. KIRCHHOFF Automotive is investing roughly EUR 10 million in the plant measuring 3,100 sqm. The initial operation is planned for the end of 2018.  E-mobility will become more important in the next year. Innovative solutions for E-mobility have become a crucial competitive factor. The business areas of Automotive and Ecotec for communal vehicles have recognized this trend early and developed new products for the growing market of electric drive technology. As such, the Automotive business area presented a highly regarded hybrid battery housing made of steel/aluminum which is scalable to different E-vehicles at the IAA in autumn. A cost effective design, a flat structure, passive safety, thermo-management, electromagnetic compatibility, tightness, and corrosion protection are the main features of this innovative lightweight concept for the safe housing of the high voltage battery modules. The Ecotec Group worked intensively on the realization of electrically driven compactor trucks, on air pollution control technologies for the filling of waste disposal vehicles, and on comfortable one-man-driven vehicles. The companies are going to present many vehicle models with an ecological clean drive technology at the international leading trade show IFAT in Munich in May 2018. The energy capacity of the compactor trucks or road sweepers can be determined and provided according to the application profile. An enhanced version of the air cleaning system, the Clean Option Technology, will be presented in 2018 and can contribute to the well-being and safety of the operating staff. When emptying the bins particle flaws with ash (?), viruses and mould can develop. With the Clean Option Technology those particles are detracted from the air.  The end of 2017 is also characterized by growth. KIRCHHOFF Automotive was able to increase its revenue by 3.5 % to 1.5 billion Euro due to the strong global economy and the stable sales numbers in the automotive industry. The companies of the KIRCHHOFF Ecotec business area, FAUN, ZOELLER and HIDRO-MAK, also look back at a generally satisfying business year with an increase in turnover of 6 %.  For the latest vehicle models that are being introduced to the market by OEM’s in 2017, KIRCHHOFF Automotive has produced a wide range of innovative components. However, it was not only strongly invested into the development of innovative products in 2017; the global production capacity also increased. In preparation for the biggest production start at KIRCHHOFF Automotive, plant extensions in Querétaro/Mexico and Tecumseh, Michigan/USA were carried out. A new 3,500 sqm hall in Querétaro, in which new welding systems for assemblies for GM will be produced, was finished in September after a construction phase of only five months. In the Polish Gniezno, a new assembly plant started operation in 2017. This was built in record time of only one year. This plant supplies the VW plant in Wrześnian with a multitude of complex components for the car body of the new VW Crafter. In the plants in Iserlohn and Attendorn, comprehensive restructuring measures were carried out this year—all in preparation for extensive customer projects in 2018. Thereby, the plant in Attendorn is going to manufacture, in cooperation with the location in Iserlohn, a wide range of structural parts for a new battery driven vehicle model in 2018. In Iserlohn a complex bumper for a new E-vehicle will be produced.  The companies of the KIRCHHOFF Ecotec business areas, FAUN, ZOELLER and HIDRO-MAK, were able to stabilize their market position in 2017 and found new alliances. Markets like South America and Australia enhance the customer base. Particularly on the South American continent, the side loader technology was very popular. Those are modern systems with which large containers can be lifted out of the ground, without the driver leaving his seat. Above a clean city, below the recyclable materials are collected. The new founding of the IoT specialist, KOCO solutions AG located in Zug/Switzerland, strengthens the business area with efficient web-based fleet management solutions. With KOCO connect the customer is offered a modular, individually configurable software system with versatile features for optimizing the waste logistics. Three companies of the KIRCHHOFF Ecotec Group simultaneously celebrate their 25th anniversary: the road sweeper production plant FAUN Viatec GmbH in Sachsen, the plant for lift and component production ZOELLER Systems in Ricany/Tschechien as well as the Polish production plant ZOELLER TECH.  The KIRCHHOFF Group with the four business areas of Automotive, Ecotec, Mobility and WITTE Tools were able to increase their revenue this year by more than 6 % to 2.1 billion Euro. The number of employees also grew from 11,500 to 12,300.

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