ElringKlinger acquires tool/die-making specialist; opens Suzhou plant


Germany-based ElringKlinger AG has had two significant events in June this year. It has taken over the business operations of the insolvent tool and die-making company Maier Formenbau GmbH, based in Bissingen/Teck, Germany, and expanded its operations in China with a plant opening in Suzhou.

ElringKlinger acquired, effective from June 1, 2016, all assets of Maier Formenbau GmbH required for the continuation of business operations (asset deal). In taking over the business operations, ElringKlinger has further strengthened its current expertise and capacity levels in the area of tool- and die-making.

"Following the acquisition of Hummel-Formen GmbH in 2011, this latest takeover is to be seen as the next logical step. It adds to our skillset in the best possible way and allows us to stand our ground as a technology leader in the field of tool- and die-making," says Jürgen Weingärtner, who as Head of Technical Service is responsible for tool- and die-making within the ElringKlinger Group. The additional resources are to be used primarily for the purpose of developing and producing tools and dies in the Shielding Technology division.

Maier Formenbau GmbH specialises in the manufacture and repair of technically complex injection-moulding tools. The company employs 42 people and generated revenue of EUR6 million in the 2015 financial year.


Meanwhile, ElringKlinger has further expanded its business in China. The automotive supplier officially opened a new plant in Suzhou, which includes a production facility as well as a new administration building, canteen, and staff rooms. Among the products made at the plant are innovative lightweight components made of plastic.

The Dettingen-based company has been operating in China since as early as 1993. Having initially focused solely on the production of cylinder-head and specialty gaskets, ElringKlinger now manufactures its entire product range in the Far East.

Following the acquisition of the Swiss SEVEX Group in 2008, Suzhou (near Shanghai) became the 45th site operated by ElringKlinger worldwide. The company built a plant there back in 2009. In response to buoyant growth within the Chinese automobile market, however, ElringKlinger had to relocate its operations and expand its production capacity. Some 27 km from the former location the company built a new high-tech plant covering an area of around 67,000 sq. m.

"China has become the most important market in the world, particularly for the automotive industry. Our new plant in Suzhou is designed to meet these strong levels of demand and will help us serve our customers quickly and efficiently," says CEO Dr. Stefan Wolf.

The new building is around 30,000 sq. m. in size, with three-quarters being allocated to manufacturing operations. Among the parts to be mass-produced in Suzhou are innovative lightweight components.


"These products are structural components or polymer-metal hybrids for cockpit and frontend applications. They are produced with the help of a combination tool and are referred to as HFH parts," says Wolf. "HFH" stands for hydroformed hybrid, i.e., hybrid components manufactured by means of hydroforming and plastic injection-moulding. Not only do they weigh less than comparable components made of sheet steel, they also boast superior precision in terms of shape and dimensions with minimal tolerances.

The new site will also produce components made of the high-performance plastic PTFE, thermal shielding systems, and lightweight plastic parts and modules. Additionally, the company has established local resources for research and development. "Suzhou is more than purely a production site for ElringKlinger. Rather, we also see it as a genuine center of innovation," the company's CEO explains.

The site also includes an additional 700 sq. m. of floor space for offices and conference rooms, a staff canteen, and locker rooms for the 370 people currently employed there. The headcount is to be expanded to 500 by the year 2020.


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