When the 2017 EMO closed its doors, German Wankmiller, chairman of the management board at GROB, talked about how the trade fair went, how GROB-Werke is faring at present and about its prospects for the future.
GROB traditionally does well at the EMO in Hanover. Once again, we headed off to Hanover with great expectations this year. How would you sum up 2017?
The 2017 EMO has also proved to be a great success for our company. We have received excellent feedback about the advancements we have made to our technologies from all our key customers, from the automotive industry through to SMEs. Our new products, such as the F-series, the dual-spindle machines with a pallet changer or the G1050, have been given the thumbs-up by our customers, which would suggest that the prospects for them are good. We also ascertained that the view within the market is that we are also on the right track with our machines and systems for "electromobility" components. Many of the delegates from the automotive industry discussed electromobility projects with us during the trade fair. Consequently, we firmly believe that our company is very well equipped for the future.
What were the highlights of this trade fair for GROB?
Our highlight on the first day was most definitely the visit by the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. After that, visits by highly influential delegations from the national and international automotive and supply industry were especially important to us. Not to mention the repeated positive feedback that our GROB trade fair team received from third parties, which is so important for us at any trade fair.
The theme of "networking" was discussed ahead of the event. Did you discover anything new about this topic at the trade fair?
The theme of "networking" was actually vigorously debated, attracting interest from many sides. It has always been, and still is, important to us that our software and our platform reflect customers' actual requirements and applications, and that our developments have not passed the market by.
The theme of "electromobility" already plays a great role at GROB. How was this topic tackled at the trade fair, and what is your assessment of the development from a mechanical engineering perspective?
The topic came in for close attention at the trade fair quite simply because the automotive industry has been unveiling and implementing alternative designs of power units for some months, and the mechanical engineering industry has been compelled to respond accordingly. That said, we discovered that GROB was evidently the only exhibitor at the trade fair which is already in a position to implement this technology successfully on the basis of its specific expertise.
The EMO has also always been a benchmark for technological developments and an opportunity to see how you measure up against your competitors. And how do you think GROB measures up against them after this trade fair?
There is nowhere better than the EMO for comparing yourself against your rivals as the whole mechanical engineering sector is on show, and everyone is exhibiting their very latest developments. We can claim to being one of the few manufacturers to have exhibited an array of new machines for processing new parts and for the lightweight construction of cars. The expansion of the design series to include a large model and our know-how in electromobility, of course, are key factors; not to mention the fact that we are leading the way on "Industry 4.0"-related software.
Will GROB be returning to the EMO again in 2019?
We certainly will. The EMO is an excellent platform for dialog with customers and provides the basis that we need for the further development and market assessment of our new products so as to ensure that our company is in good shape for future challenges.
Mr. Wankmiller, thanks for taking the time to talk to us.