Professional precision

FFJ 0317 face squareFace Time - A German family business has built equipment for 75 years. Thomas Baral and Achim Kunz, managing directors of B+S GmbH, discuss industry developments.

A German family business has built equipment for 75 years. Thomas Baral and Achim Kunz, managing directors of B+S GmbH, discuss industry developments

April 2020 - Q: Since the company’s inception in 1945, Burghardt + Schmidt has experienced continued growth. What have been some of the most important changes?

Kunz: Looking at the history of B+S, the roots of our company lie in the narrow field of precision slitting lines and slitting machines for longitudinal slitting. Therefore, the expansion of the product range and the increase of our vertical range of manufacture were essential to today’s success. Special mention should be made of the integration of Schnutz GmbH, a traditional German company for high-performance levelers, and DAA DELTA Technik GmbH, our expert for automation technology. This enables us to supply our customers with complex systems from a single source. It also simplifies the logistical processes and enables individual production of machines and plants.

Q: What are some of the interesting new technologies developed by B+S?

Baral: Thanks to our innovations, we are currently the market leader and continue to develop our technologies. Particularly noteworthy here are our slitting lines, which are individually tailored to customers’ needs and deliver the high-quality cuts, precise width tolerances and elevated winding quality. In the field of leveling machines, the B+S Group also holds four patents for stretch-bend-leveling machines, which are also very popular with our customers. In addition, our service offers advantages for our customers, such as high adaptability to unique requirements.

Q: In the last 10 years, the company has been able to increase its turnover tenfold. What factors contribute to this success?

Kunz: We are a medium-sized company that relies on a team of 65 employees. The know-how of this competent, high-performing team is our great capital. That is why we attach particular importance to a high vertical range of manufacture, produce in house if possible and avoid outsourcing. Our core business is also assembly and consulting—both in pre- and after-sales service. The fact that the next family generation is already in the starting blocks and actively supporting us in our daily business also makes long-term planning easier. Our customers reward this accordingly because this reliability and constancy also creates the necessary trust for a good partnership.

Q: You have machines in more than 25 countries. Do you plan to continue to expand worldwide?

Baral: Although a large part of our market is naturally located in Europe, the demand for reliable machines from the B+S Group is increasing. Therefore, we are considering expanding our production and administration areas and further expanding our international locations. China and the United States are large and interesting markets in this respect. There is also an increasing demand for high-precision slitting lines in Brazil, Vietnam and India, and we recently started negotiations with Mexican companies. In addition, we plan to supply South Africa with a free trade agency, but these are only initial considerations. We don’t want to rush into anything because personal contact with our customers on site is important to us.

Q: In the automotive industry, more emphasis is being placed on hybrid drives, hydrogen and e-mobility. In other sectors, industry 4.0 and digitalization are advancing. What does this mean for the B+S Group?

Kunz: We see each of these developments as an opportunity for our company. Because they all have one thing in common: they require electricity. And where electricity is needed, copper must also be precisely processed. In the automotive sector, for example, 48-volt technology will generate an increasing demand for our systems, as will the increasingly important use of lightweight aluminum for car bodies.

We also have had our eyes on the integration of peripheral systems for several years now and are therefore well prepared. It is precisely these aspects of preventive maintenance and plant safety that must not be lost sight of, and we are continuously working on this. MM