Second most successful business year ever
28 Apr 2021
Desire for hygiene and food safety increases worldwide demand for flexible packaging films
Brückner Maschinenbau, based in Siegsdorf, Germany, is the world market leader for large production lines for the manufacture of a wide variety of flexible plastic films, used as high-quality packaging materials and in technical applications. In terms of incoming orders, the past fiscal year was the second most successful in the company's history. More than 45 lines sold by the end of 2020 (2019: more than 30) mean an order intake of almost 800 million euros, a significant increase compared to the previous year (approx. 500 million euros). As the new orders will only become relevant for sales in the following year, a significant increase in sales to over 550 million euros is expected for 2021 (2020: around 400 million).
One reason for the very pleasing business development is certainly that topics such as hygiene and food safety have become much more important in the packaging sector worldwide – and particularly in Asia. In addition, food retailing and mail-order trade have recorded international growth. This also increased the demand for Brückner film stretching lines, on which the highest quality packaging films are produced, and also for the corresponding services. The outlook for the next few years also gives cause for optimism. Stefan Neumann, Chief Financial Officer: "Our order backlog extends well into 2023. In addition, we are currently pleased about two major orders from China."
With the long-standing customer Jiangsu Hengli New Materials, the quality leader in the polyester film industry in China, multiple contracts with a term of five years were signed, with an order volume that significantly exceeds the average annual volume of Brückner Maschinenbau. The complete package comprises dozens of BOPET lines for packaging films, optical and industrial films as well as ultra-thin specialty films and special BOPET thick film lines. The framework agreement covers a total of 15 different line types, including a very special laboratory line.
In addition, one of the leading manufacturers of battery separator films, Shenzhen Senior Technology Material Co., Ltd., has now ordered eight further special lines from Brückner. Here, Brückner was able to convince with the latest technology, which will also be used in battery production in Europe in the future.
In any case, Brückner Maschinenbau is certain that, in addition to the booming packaging sector, technical films and their production lines are also on the rise. Future topics here include not only battery separator films but also films for medical and high-temperature applications, solar panels or organic and printed electronics. Fittingly the company from Siegsdorf recently received an award for its innovation management: Brückner Maschinenbau convinced in a scientific selection process for the innovation competition "TOP 100" and is now officially one of the 100 most innovative companies in the German medium-sized businesses.
When it comes to plastics and the environment, Brückner is convinced that the future will continue to belong to plastics if they are used and reused sustainably. Helmut Huber, COO Sales & Project Management: "As part of a circular economy, the undeniable advantages of plastic can be combined absolutely well with the sustainability goals of a modern society. We are working intensively to ensure that films can be produced on our machines with the lowest possible use of resources and the highest possible recyclability." In doing so, Brückner also cooperates in various consortia with partners along the entire value chain, from raw material manufacturers to brand owners. Examples of this are the R-Cycle or PrintCYC initiatives.
Plant commissioning and service even during pandemics
To ensure that the lines sold are also installed and commissioned on schedule all over the world, Brückner coordinates all trips as part of a special Corona crisis management system. Helmut Huber: "In close coordination with our company doctor and our teams in the respective countries, we make sure that all rules and precautionary measures are observed: before, during and after the trip. Employee safety always takes precedence over short-term business success. Nevertheless, traveling in these times demands a lot from our employees – keyword quarantine. We are therefore more than grateful that the willingness of our colleagues to travel abroad remains high – this is extremely appreciated by our customers."
The service provider for film stretching technology, Brückner Servtec, also based in Siegsdorf, was even able to increase its order intake by an impressive 60% in orders for line upgrades. Overall, incoming orders are at a record level of around 70 million euros, again a significant increase on the previous year (60 million euros). This naturally has a positive impact on sales in 2021, for which a record figure of around 71 million euros (2020: 53 million euros) is expected.
A major global customer has also recently placed extensive modernization orders with Brückner Servtec, to significantly increase the sustainability of production. This involves a total of four production lines in the packaging film sector, spread over three continents. In addition, the plant modernization will ensure the processing of raw materials, enabling a circular economy.