In 2012 Beckhoff Automation achieved worldwide turnover of 408 million euros. That corresponds to a reduction in turnover of 12 % compared with the previous year, in which the Verl, Germany-based company achieved a turnover of 465 million euros. Nevertheless, the company is satisfied with this business development, as a correction was expected following two boom years characterised with a steep increase in turnover of almost 100 %. The number of Beckhoff employees has risen by 5 % to 2,200 worldwide. Apart from the continuous increase in personnel, the expansion of administration and production facilities as well as the consolidation of the national and international sales network, Managing Director Hans Beckhoff relies above all on a technological lead through innovation. Therefore, the fields of research and development in particular have grown and will expand further still in 2013.
The export share was about 55 % of the total turnover; of that, 27 % was attributed to Europe (excluding Germany), 16 % to Asia, 10 % to North America and 2 % to the remaining countries worldwide in which Beckhoff operates.
National and international expansion
Beckhoff is currently represented in 62 countries worldwide by 30 subsidiary companies and sales partners; the expansion of the sales network is currently driven forward by opening new branch offices. In Germany, the Baden-Württemberg region will acquire a further office in Crailsheim to achieve even better proximity to customers in the region. Additional regional sales offices are planned as well. Export activities are being driven forward intensively by strengthening and extending national branch offices. Following the opening of Beckhoff subsidiary companies in Hungary and New Zealand in 2012, two new locations are planned for 2013 in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Site expansion and extension of production capacities
Beckhoff also expanded its facilities in different locations in 2012. An additional administration building with floor space of 12,000 m2 opened at the company’s global headquarters site in Verl. Moreover, a new training and education centre was opened. A new laboratory building for EMC tests and equipment certification is due to open in 2013. The Beckhoff drive technology division is expanding at the Marktheidenfeld, Germany production site where the production and administration areas are being doubled with the opening of a new building. Also, with the completion of a new office building in Savage, Minnesota near Minneapolis, the course has been set for increased sales growth at the company headquarters of Beckhoff USA.
Increasing the technological lead: investments in research and development
In parallel with the expansion of sales and office space, Beckhoff is also expanding its research and development capacities. Out of a total of 2,200 employees working for the company, over 750 are engineers. Leveraging this valuable pool of talent, Beckhoff has made it a goal to substantially expand R&D activities once again in 2013.
To avoid a lack of junior employees, Beckhoff dedicates itself strongly to training new employees. At present there are 98 apprentices and 66 students at the company. “We invest about 2.5 million euros annually into the education of young, talented people,” says managing director Hans Beckhoff.
PC-based control technology as the basis for Industry 4.0
Entrepreneur Hans Beckhoff sees promising growth opportunities worldwide with PC-based control technology in mechanical engineering and plant construction as well as in building automation and process technology. “With our control technology, which is based on PC Control, both we and our customers are ideally positioned to follow the high-tech strategy pursued by the German government under the key word ‘Industry 4.0.’ The convergence of IT and automation technology is an essential underlying principle of both Industry 4.0 and PC Control. We are pleased that this concept is now making further inroads into the awareness of the general public and, in particular, of technical experts. We are sure that German industry as well as the international automation community will benefit greatly from this philosophy, as Beckhoff customers have already been enjoying many of these benefits since the beginnings of PC Control more than 25 years ago.”