2019 was an active year for GF, characterized by successfully completed projects, site openings, as well as major events organized by highly motivated employees.
GF pools its expertise in additive manufacturing in order to leverage its unique position on the market. A competence center established for this purpose has been operating since January under the name “AMotion Center” in Stabio (Switzerland) and is managed by GF Casting Solutions and GF Machining Solutions. The center has been successfully audited to obtain the NADCAP certificate, the highest possible level of certification in the aerospace industry. With the additive manufacturing process, highly complex components can be produced using metallic 3D printing.
Newly formed GF Executive Committee
At the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting on 17 April 2019, two changes took place in the GF Executive Committee (from left to right: Pascal Boillat, Carlos Vasto, Andreas Müller, Joost Geginat, Mads Joergensen): CFO Andreas Müller took over the position of CEO from Yves Serra, who has reached retirement age. Mads Joergensen, who served as CFO of GF Piping Systems for many years, became the new CFO of GF. Yves Serra was elected to the Board of Directors at the Meeting.
A significant anniversary
GF’s own “Iron Library” (Eisenbibliothek) celebrated its 70th anniversary in spring this year. It was founded on 31 December 1948 on the initiative of Ernst Müller, Director of GF at that time. The Iron Library in Klostergut Paradies, near Schaffhausen (Switzerland), is dedicated to preserving the cultural and historical heritage of GF, together with the Corporate Archives. It is one of the world’s largest specialist libraries for the history of iron and steel as well as the history of technology in general.
For the mobility of the future
If Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has his way, in future people will be transported around the globe at breathtaking speed. At the Hyperloop competition in Los Angeles (USA), among the many participants the Swissloop team of the ETH Zurich (Switzerland) showed how this vision could be realized with a transport capsule. GF, as a main sponsor of the Swissloop team, supplied the team with a casting component, developed by GF Casting Solutions, to cool the pod’s drive system. During the competition in July, the transport capsule reached an impressive top-speed of 252 km/h in the vacuum tube - rushing straight to the 2nd place.
Strengthen competitiveness in Europe
In 2019, GF has swiftly undertaken actions to ensure its competitiveness in Europe and decided in July to shift approximately 300 jobs from the location in Werdohl (Germany) to Romania and Austria. The light metal casting plant in Werdohl has suffered from the changing market conditions and the shift by customers in their range of products. As part of the strategic focusing of its portfolio, in October, GF Casting Solutions divested its iron foundry in Herzogenburg (Austria) to the company MRB FerCon GmbH which was founded by former GF managers. GF thus completed its withdrawal from the automotive iron casting business in Europe, which had already been announced in December 2018, in line with GF’s strategy.
Expand presence in the marine business
In August, GF Piping Systems acquired Global Supply Co. Inc. in Hallandale (USA), a company specialized in services for the shipping industry, for example retrofitting cruise ships. This acquisition will allow the division to expand its presence in the promising US marine sector.
Investments at several sites
GF invested around CHF 100 million in the new innovation and production center of GF Machining Solutions in Biel (Switzerland). The divisional headquarters, opened in September, offers space for around 450 workplaces and has more than 13’000 m2 available for production and assembly (pictures 1 and 2). After about two years, in October, GF Casting Solutions opened a new administration building in Pitești (Romania) for about 40 employees. GF Piping Systems inaugurated its modernized headquarters and the new customer training center in Schaffhausen (Switzerland) in November (picture 3). Within the same month, GF Casting Solutions celebrated the inauguration of the new Tool Technology and Manufacturing Center (picture 4) in Suzhou (China).
Half a million Swiss francs for clean drinking water
More than 1’000 GF employees and business partners from the USA (pictures 1 and 4), Germany, Indonesia, and Switzerland (pictures 2 and 3) took part in GF’s “Walk for Water” in September. The charity run brought in donations of around CHF 350’000, which GF topped up to CHF 500’000. This amount was donated to the “Water Mission” aid organization, a long-standing partner of GF. The money will be used for projects in Indonesia and Malawi.
Capital Market Day well visited
With the motto “Innovations for today and tomorrow”, GF gave about 50 analysts and journalists in Biel (Switzerland) an in-depth insight into current innovative projects geared to sustainability and efficiency on the Capital Market Day in September. With various exhibits, the three divisions presented their latest applications in the areas of water hygiene, lightweight vehicle and engine components, as well as the additive production of complex and lighter products.
Joint venture in the Middle East
In November, GF established a joint venture with Corys Investments LLC in Dubai (UAE) and Egypt Gas, Cairo (Egypt). The new company Egypt Gas GF Corys Piping Systems will invest in a new production facility for plastic pipes and fittings near Cairo. It aims to participate in the rapidly growing market for gas and water distribution in Egypt. The start of commercial production is planned for 2021.