In the September 2023 issue of ISMR, Alexander Veidt (CFO, CLOOS Group), outlines the company’s strategic priorities and latest innovations as well as trends in global welding markets. The welding, robot and automation specialist, Carl Cloos Schweißtechnik GmbH (CLOOS), is focused on global growth and opening new markets.
ISMR: Please give a brief background to your company and explain your strategic and technical objectives?
AV: We have a broad product portfolio which ranges from robust manual welding technology, collaborative robots and scalable automation solutions to innovative data management. CLOOS creates a link between technology, process and product for manufacturing companies, plants and production facilities all over the world.
Automation is by far our largest business sector but we are continuously expanding and strengthening all our business areas. Our budget for Research & Development is already above the industry average and will increase further this year. Whether for new and further development of welding equipment, welding processes or our automation components, our focus is always on the individual requirements of the customers. With many years of expertise, we understand our customers' tasks and offer them the most efficient solutions.
ISMR: Please outline any recent successes or achievements and the reasons for these?
AV: We are proud that we are continuously expanding many long-standing partnerships with our customers. For example, the KION Group relies on CLOOS automation solutions. In total, the Group uses more than 70 CLOOS robotic systems at eight manufacturing sites worldwide. A complex robot system for the automated welding of forklift trucks was initially developed for its Czech manufacturing site in Stříbro. This concept has now been transferred to several production sites worldwide.
We also inspire new customers with our high-end solutions. At the beginning of February, we welcomed a delegation of commercial vehicle manufacturers from Turkey to our headquarters in Haiger, Germany. Around 40 participants learned about product innovations and further developments at CLOOS with a focus on the automated welding of truck trailers. We were able to convince several manufacturers of our expertise and they have now already placed orders for robot welding systems with us.
ISMR: What are your views on the current global business climate for sheet-metal welding professionals?
AV: Despite the generally difficult conditions in the machine-tool engineering sector, we can look back on very successful years. And we continue to grow further.
We have an exceptionally high order backlog and benefit from stable high demand. Nevertheless, the general level of demand is currently not as high as in the last two years. We are experiencing a slight restraint in some markets.
ISMR: Which issues are of prime importance for your customers at the moment and how are you addressing these issues for them?
AV: Delivery times are an important issue for our customers right now due to the generally tense procurement situation, both for investments (such as large robot systems) and for welding equipment. Therefore, we are currently expanding our procurement portfolio significantly.
Through global sourcing and more active procurement, we will continue offering strong economic solutions for our customers in the future. We also want to provide suitable solutions for our customers more quickly through standardisation.
ISMR: What is your focus/vision over the next few years? Do you project any growth in turnover for this year?
AV: Our focus remains on global growth. In the Group, we expect growth this year to at least match the previous year's level. On the one hand, we are intensifying our activities in our core markets. On the other hand, we are opening new markets, both in terms of industries and countries. Already today, CLOOS has an export rate of more than 80 per cent.
Besides important markets in Germany and Europe, the number one growth market is still China. We are also currently experiencing high demand for automation solutions in North America. Cooperation with our shareholder, Estun, offers even more opportunities for the growth of our company.
The CLOOS Group closed the 2022 financial year with good results. We were able to increase turnover orders by nearly 30 per cent (to more than 200 million euros) compared to the previous year.
To read the rest of this interview in the September issue of ISMR, see https://joom.ag/asNd/p32