Detmold, 19 December 2018. Detmold-based electrical engineering company Weidmüller expects total sales of over EUR 820 million for 2018, supported by a very good market environment in the first half of the year. This was announced by the company at this year’s press conference for the annual financial statements held at its headquarters in Detmold. “Looking back, our investments in the development of know-how in automation and digitalisation, in the repurchase of our sales companies in North America and in other important growth regions have paid off,” explains Weidmüller Speaker of the Executive Board Jörg Timmermann. With the expansion of the “u-mation” automation system, the acquisition of a majority stake in the visualisation solution provider GTI in the summer and the cooperation with Austrian specialist KEBA, Weidmüller has continued along its chosen path. “We want to continuously expand our market position in the areas of automation and IoT and are constantly developing our portfolio accordingly,” explains Volker Bibelhausen, Weidmüller’s new Chief Technology Officer since 1 September 2018. As in previous years, Weidmüller will present its final annual results at the Hannover Messe trade fair next April.
Chief Technology Officer Volker Bibelhausen, Speaker of the Executive Board Jörg Timmermann and Chief Sales Officer José Carlos Álvarez Tobar (from left to right) are more than satisfied with 2018 due to the strong growth.
Intelligent digital solutions based on IoT-compatible components, software and services
Weidmüller now offers a wide range of communication-capable components for the provision and processing of process data. “We have noticed that many customers no longer associate Weidmüller solely with passive components, but also with digitalisation topics such as industrial analytics. Customers also appreciate our solution competence in panel building,” explains Weidmüller Chief Marketing and Sales Officer José Carlos Álvarez Tobar. This is also reflected in sales – with a growth rate of more than 25%, the Automation Products and Solutions division, which mainly deals with solutions for automation and digitalisation, is making an ever greater contribution. “At the SPS IPC Drives in Nuremberg at the end of November, we presented an automation solution in a demonstrator that was completely controlled for the first time with systems from Weidmüller,” explains Álvarez Tobar.
Greater focus on smart connectivity, industrial infrastructure and services
At the same time, the digitalisation trend in industry is also reaching purely electromechanical components such as connectors. In the future, these will collect and communicate data at system interfaces, which will lead to new services and increase availability. “Connectors are becoming smart, assuming additional functions and, as an example, will be able to increase availability and safety in DC voltage distributions in the future,” explains Bibelhausen. The company responded to these trends by establishing the Smart Connectivity Competence Centre in Lemgo in October, where developers are working on topics relating to the transformation of industrial infrastructure and the digital description of products. In addition, Weidmüller’s services are playing an increasingly important role. “With our services, we aim to enable customers to optimise their processes and workflows. In the area of connectivity consulting, for instance, we have built up an experienced team that advises customers on panel building and field cabling,” says Bibelhausen.
New customer and technology centre intended to promote collaboration and development
In future, customers will be able to experience the solutions and services on the staggered floor of Weidmüller’s new customer and technology centre. The almost 12,000 square-metre building places a strong emphasis on sustainability, energy efficiency and modern workplace design. The new customer and technology centre has innovative office and conference rooms in which employees can work on an interdisciplinary basis. “The digital transformation will change the way employees and customers work together. The CTC opens up completely new possibilities for collaboration – both within the company and with customers,” explains Timmermann. During the conception of the building, individual offices were deliberately omitted in order to create an open working atmosphere. The new team offices are intended to strengthen cooperation and the exchange of ideas, and are facilitated by the open space concept and break-out zones.
Cautious outlook for 2019
Despite several sources of uncertainty, the Weidmüller Group’s Executive Board is confident for 2019 as a whole but expects growth to slow significantly. The German Central Electrical Engineering and Electrical Industry Association (ZVEI) anticipates growth of 4% in 2019, while the Association of German Machinery and Equipment Constructors (VDMA) forecasts an increase of 2%. “There are many uncertainties that make us look to the future with caution. “In addition to currency effects, these include rising material costs and imponderables due to increasingly protectionist trade and economic policies, the fallout of Brexit negotiations and political developments worldwide,” says Timmermann.
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