- Business-sector related decline in sales to EUR 670.9 million in 2020
- Expansion of capacities in Mexico and Slovakia - Third plant in China
- Core automotive business: Growth through new orders for platforms of next-generation drive concepts
- Innovations in the field of electromobility and agribusiness
Damme (23 April 2021). The turnover of the automotive supplier BOGE Rubber & Plastics developed slightly above the trend in the industry in a difficult economic environment with worldwide pandemic-driven lockdown and fragile supply chains in fiscal year 2020. The global supplier of vibration control technology and plastic modules, headquartered in Damme, Lower Saxony, Germany, generated sales of EUR 670.9 million with around 4,000 employees, thus 15.6 percent less than in the previous year. This roughly corresponds to the decline in production figures in the global automotive industry which amounted to 15.9 percent with 74.7 million units produced.
Since 2014, the BOGE Rubber & Plastics Group has been part of the Chinese CRRC Group, the world's largest manufacturer of rail vehicles and rail industry accessories. "Since BOGE has been part of CRRC, we have definitely had the greatest challenges to overcome this year. During the pandemic, the health of our employees and safeguarding our delivery capability had top priority," emphasizes CEO Dr. Torsten Bremer. BOGE Rubber & Plastics Group employed about 4,000 people at the end of last year, of which about 1,600 were in Germany, about 1,100 in China and about 850 in Slovakia. Reducing the pandemic-related risks was not the only priority for BOGE: "In this situation, it was also important for us to maintain and confirm our position as a reliable and systemically important technology partner for the automotive industry," the BOGE CEO states. The topics of delivery capability and securing liquidity, with at the same time intensified internationalization, have marked the automotive supplier's fiscal year 2020. "In an environment characterized by considerable short-time work due to the pandemic, we stabilized our liquidity, and our customers were able to rely on our delivery capability at all times." BOGE, present at eleven locations worldwide, including three each in China and Germany, has significantly expanded its capacities at the San Luis Potosí (Mexico) and Trnava (Slovakia) plants. A large number of new projects were acquired for both locations. In addition, the third plant in China, located in Wuxi, started operations.
Dr. Bremer's forecast is cautiously optimistic. Depending on the further development of the pandemic as well as still ongoing disruptions in the supply chain, bottlenecks in components and raw materials as well as the limited availability of overseas shipping containers, he expects a low double-digit percentage increase in sales in the fiscal year 2021 compared to the previous year. The figures for the 1st quarter of 2021 confirm this trend: sales increased by 11 percent compared to the first quarter of the previous year. BOGE plans to invest around EUR 28 million in 2021, mainly in Germany, Slovakia and China.
For the future, Dr. Bremer sees good opportunities and that increasingly in the field of developments for industries other than the automotive business, BOGE expertise can be successfully exploited. "Especially for the agricultural machinery sector, which is very strongly represented in the vicinity of our headquarters in Damme, our technological know-how can be of great benefit, be it, for example, vibration damping for large booms or vibration control elements with integrated sensors," Dr. Bremer names some possible applications. In the marine sector, BOGE is also recording initial successes: BOGE has developed a complex double-cardanic coupling system in cooperation with the LUX Werft. With this new technology concept from BOGE, higher torques can be transmitted, and this with lower weight, higher service life expectancy and reduced maintenance expenses. Another new product are the flexible couplings. The BOGE teams from Bonn and Mühldorf have made the breakthrough with a major order in the passenger car original equipment market. The decisive factor for the nomination was the high technical performance of the flexible couplings combined with a compact standard design.
As a leading company in the field of vibration control technology based on advanced elastomer materials as well as lightweight modules, BOGE gives high priority to research and development. In the 2020 fiscal year, development expenditures amounted to around EUR 31.5 million that is 4.7 percent of total sales. One year ago, the BOGE Rubber & Plastics Group moved into an Innovation Center at the university campus in Osnabrück under the umbrella of the parent company, CRRC New Material Technologies GmbH. Here, the focus is particularly on special applications for electromobility and the agricultural industry. Digital product development is also playing an increasingly important role at BOGE. With the help of virtual simulation instead of real prototypes, the overall development time is significantly shortened, while at the same time saving costs. As far as future drive concepts and electromobility are concerned, BOGE is very broadly based: BOGE has received strategically significant new orders from renowned car manufacturers for key platforms of future drive concepts, i.e. battery-electric as well as plug-in hybrid vehicles.
The range of electromobility solutions extends from engine and chassis mounts to battery housings with EMC protection (EMC = electromagnetic compatibility) and ultra-light transmission mount modules to lightweight electric brake pedals. The new product segment "plastic components and modules in the engine compartment" is picking up speed. A number of new orders in the plastics segment are ensuring additional growth - including at the Damme location. "Overall, even in a difficult phase, we have set the course to strengthen our market position. As a technology provider, we will continue to digitalize our processes and make our contribution with intelligent solutions to shape the transformation of the automotive industry jointly with our customers," Dr. Bremer explains the future role of the BOGE Rubber & Plastics Group.