The Schuler Group, the specialty builder of metal-forming machinery, reported it is streamlining its organization in Germany but continuing its internationalization effort. “We are following our customers to their foreign markets and thus laying the foundation for us as a German company to remain the global leader in metal-forming technology after two record years,” stated CEO Stefan Klebert.
Earlier this year the group completed a capacity expansion at its Chinese factory in Dalian, where it manufactures metal stamping machines and pipe forming presses, among other designs. However, it aims to streamline manufacturing in Germany, and also reduce “vertical integration” and increase flexibility.
One effect of the streamlining effort will be closing Schuler’s in-house foundry at Göppingen, Germany, which has been in operation for nearly 130 years.
The gray and ductile iron foundry is noted for producing large castings for frames and footings of machine tools, metal-forming machines, and automotive parts. Casting sizes range from 50 to 32,000 kg (110-70,500 lb.) Other capabilities include machining, heat-treating, testing/QC, and patternmaking.
Schuler stated that the foundry had been operating at a loss for several years, and no potential buyer has emerged to keep it operating.
About 100 workers will be affected by the closing, among an estimate 350 to be impacted by the wider effort to streamline the German organization. At its plant in Weingarten, Schuler will focus manufacturing on “core competencies,” mainly engineering services. Plants in Waghäusel and Erfurt will have their range of products reduced, while Göppingen will be the center for press production. Schuler expects to achieve synergies by centralizing the administrative functions of the operations at Erfurt, Göppingen, and Weingarten.
The group budgeted €50 million ($68 million) for the restructuring, and estimated it will achieve savings of €15-20 million ($20.5-27 million) annually in the coming years.
At the same time, Schuler’s board approved construction of a new Engineering and Technology Center at Göppingen, to cost an estimated €40 million ($54.4 million) and employing about 750 by 2016. “This is a clear sign that Germany will remain our home base,” according to Klebert.
“Schuler has enjoyed exceptional growth in sales and earnings over the past few years. The board of management and workforce realize, however, that we have to adapt our structures to remain successful in future. And it’s always better to make such changes when times are good,” the CEO concluded.