“In 2008 we had a very good business performance, while the next year we lost almost 20 percent of the revenues. Nevertheless, the owners went straight on, thinking the company will soon need a bigger production site: They were right.”
B&R Automation completed its building expansion investment in the heart of the economic downturn and emerged stronger than ever, Gucher said—thanks in large part to the strength of the packaging machine business, as well as its adherence to standards.
“The new building and production lines will support our growth for the next 5 years,” Gucher continued. “Our 2011 turnover is about 400 million euros; we hold 162 offices in 68 countries and have 2,300 employees and 120,000 machines in the world use our systems. We had an increase of 20 percent in business in 2010 [over] 2008 (+47 percent over 2009) and for the future we expect an annual increase of 15 percent in sales till 2014, up to 600 million euros.”
B&R believes the packaging industry will be the main driver of its growth. “About 40 percent of the demand for this sector—whose value is around 433 billion euro globally—comes from the food market; while 18 percent from beverage,” said Maurizio Tarozzi, B&R global technology manager for packaging solutions.
Tarozzi cited Freedonia Group’s 2011 research which said the packaging machines market will grow about 4.7 percent annually through 2014, and 49 percent of the demand will come from the Asia-Pacific Region; China alone will absorb 41 percent. Labelling and coding machines, filling and form/fill/seal machines will see the fastest in growth through 2014, according to Freedonia’s projections.
B&R supports open standard solutions including Ethernet Powerlink—as an open bus protocol for data exchange. “For the same reason [of open standards,] we are involved in the PackML project,” said Gucher. Thanks to PackML, packaging machines coming from different producers can exchange critical packaging data, he said.
Ilaria De Poli, firstname.lastname@example.org, is an editor at “Fiera Milano Editore,” a magazine covering automation and manufacturing in Italy.