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GF Machining Solutions at a glance

GF Machining Solutions is one of the world’s leading providers of complete solutions for the tool and mold making industry and manufacturers of precision components. The portfolio includes milling and EDM machines. The division also offers spindles, laser texturing, laser micromachining, additive manufacturing, automation and tooling, as well as digitalized solutions.

Key figures

CHF million

2020

2019

 

 

 

Order intake

706

954

Orders on hand at year-end

147

177

Sales

725

972

Sales growth %

–25.4

–8.8

Organic growth %

–21.6

–7.5

EBITDA

34

71

EBIT

20

57

Return on sales (EBIT margin) %

2.8

5.9

Invested capital (IC)

197

256

Return on invested capital (ROIC) %

7.8

18.4

Number of employees

3’192

3’358

Number of employees

3’192

Sales per region

in CHF

Sales per segment

in CHF

Strategy review  
2016–2020

GF Machining Solutions increased its profitability as a result of differentiation through dedicated solutions in milling, laser, and electrical discharge machining for the aerospace and medical industries. The first business-relevant rConnect products were launched on the market in 2019. The division also expanded its digital services and products, for example through life remote control and Spark Track.

Streamlined footprint

In December 2019, GF Machining Solutions moved into its new 32’000-square-meter plant on 51’550 square meters of land in Changzhou (China), with dedicated assembly lines for milling machines and a team of 200 employees. GF Machining Solutions inaugurated its new headquarters in Biel (Switzerland) in September 2019. Approximately 450 employees work at the new site, which also integrates the former Ipsach Center of Competence, Nidau milling production site, and Luterbach Step-Tec facilities under one roof. In Canada, Mexico, and Italy, new locations with showrooms have opened, which are also shared with colleagues from GF Piping Systems.

Extended technology portfolio

With the acquisition of Microlution Inc. in Chicago, Illinois (USA), GF Machining Solutions has gained remarkable expertise in micro-machining producing tiny features with extreme accuracy. After the full integration of Liechti Engineering, a five-axis milling machine specialist that produces machines for blades and bladed disks for aircraft engines and power-generating turbines, the portfolio was further expanded to fulfill customers’ requirements in many aerospace subsegments.

Innovation processes improved

GF Machining Solutions has developed many new and innovative solutions for its customers in recent years. One of these is Spark Track, GF Machining Solutions’ latest EDM software monitoring system that adjusts the rate and intensity of sparks along the length of the wire, and, in doing so, prevents heavy wear from occurring at any point on the wire – thus extending its life and preventing breaks. These innovations were possible thanks to the design thinking process.

“Our diversified structure has helped us to successfully navigate the pandemic.”

graphic
Ivan Filisetti, President of GF Machining Solutions

What is the key learning for GF Machining Solutions from the past strategy period?

We were on track to achieve our strategic goals until the combination of a trade war and a pandemic dampened the global economy. However, our diversified structure and strong presence in China have helped us to successfully navigate the pandemic.

How has COVID-19 influenced the five-year strategy of GF Machining Solutions in 2020?

Despite the challenges, our approach to the market has been validated. The strength and spirit of the entire GF organization has kept us in a strong position. We reacted quickly and with decisive measures to ensure uninterrupted customer service and employee safety.

Which of your market segments surprised you during the past strategy cycle?

During the last strategy period, we learned that no industry is 100% safe. For many years, the aerospace segment seemed invulnerable, but the almost complete halt of travel over an extended period proved otherwise. Some subsegments of aerospace, such as solutions for helicopters or projects for new engines, continued to thrive during the crisis, and we are confident about the potential of this segment overall, since individual and more sustainable mobility will remain a priority for many people.

What do you want to focus on in the next strategy cycle?

We will take the challenges for the Strategy 2025 into consideration, and will focus on the opportunities in the medical, digital, and services segments. Overall, we strongly believe that our offerings that replace the need for chemicals and our energy-efficient machine tools will successfully establish themselves in the market.

GF Machining Solutions Success Story

A customer who thrives on innovation and environmentally friendly manufacturing, a market that never stands still, and a product line that excels at precision and speed: How GF Machining Solutions and Providence Texture grow into new markets together.

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