Machine Tools and Automation Systems
The Machine Tools and Automation Systems division achieved total revenues of €238 million in the financial year 2017. This represents a sales increase of €19 million, or 8.7 %, compared with the previous year.
The inflow of orders to the German machine tools industry in 2017 remained at the high levels seen in the previous year. According to the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association, the increase in orders from abroad has successfully compensated for the downturn in domestic orders. There was a particularly strong increase in orders from Asia and North America. However, the growth dynamics in Europe were notably less favourable.
The financial year saw varying performances among the individual product ranges within the Machine Tools and Automation Systems division. While sales in machine tools rose by 16.5 % compared with the previous year, automation systems reported a nearly 10.8 % drop. The tools business dipped slightly, while contract manufacture achieved a 13.0 % sales increase.
Clear growth in the USA
Liebherr’s sales developed differently among the various regions. While business in Germany slightly declined, in the remaining Western European markets, the division saw sales increases, some of which were substantial. Italy and Spain saw particularly strong growth. In the Far East / Australia region, the division reported a €9 million (11.3 %) increase in sales, ending the year at €84 million. The financial year was also marked by particularly strong development in the USA, where the division achieved a sales increase of 37.9 %.
The average, global market share for Liebherr gear cutting machines amounted to around 17.0 % in 2017, though it accounted for up to 40.0 % in certain markets. Liebherr is one of the world’s three leading suppliers in the field of automation systems, where it holds an average market share of 35.0 %.
The Machine Tools and Automation Systems division once again developed and introduced numerous new products during the past financial year. Among the gear cutting machines, the LS 180E, a fully electronic gear shaping head for spur and helical gears, was presented at EMO, the leading trade show in Hanover (Germany). A further innovation is the LC 280-alpha hobbing machine which offers quick and attractive delivery times thanks to its modular building block system.
The past year also saw a new focus on the areas of pallet-handling systems and robot applications. The first orders have already been received in these product ranges.
Liebherr also expanded its portfolio of automation systems. For example, the LP 100 gantry robot system was specially developed for use in engine construction, where a strong trend towards downsizing drive-train technologies is under way.
The past year also saw a new focus on the areas of pallet-handling systems and robot applications. The first orders have already been received in these product ranges. The presentation at EMO in Hanover (Germany) had a particularly positive effect on demand for the new PHS Allround pallet handling system.
Full-service solution skiving3 ready for the market
The division also made progress with Skiving3, a gear skiving process that was developed to market readiness in 2017. At EMO, Liebherr debuted this full-service solution, consisting of a machine, tool and process. Meanwhile, automated bin-picking for handling unmachined parts continues to be met with great interest. As a result, developments have continued in this area, such as the integration of an optical sensor with stereo camera technology.
Currently, preparations are under way in China for the possibility of local production. Customer proximity and a local presence will sustainably strengthen the division’s competitiveness in the Chinese market.
The Machine Tools and Automation Systems division invested €5 million over the past year, including in new measuring technology for use in production. For the financial year 2018, the Machine Tools and Automation Systems division expects continued growth in sales.