Strategy 2025: Continued implementation of targeted measures in 2022

GF's Strategy 2025 focuses on profitable growth, portfolio resilience and a "go for the full potential" spirit within the organization. This is in line with GF's vision to become a sustainability and innovation leader providing superior customer value.

In 2022, GF generated 63% of sales with products and solutions that have a social or environmental benefit for its customers (2021: 60%), reflecting progress made toward reaching the 70% target by 2025. This is a clear sign of the importance that GF places on sustainability, which it supports by enabling the safe transport of water and gas, empowering sustainable mobility and advancing energy-efficient and clean manufacturing.

GF is also strengthening its capacity for innovation; currently, around 1200 employees are working on future applications. The company is continuously expanding its innovation ecosystem with a wide range of customers, suppliers, universities, digital platforms as well as start-up incubators and systematically measures its success in terms of innovation by monitoring roadmaps and conducting bi-annual deep dives. GF strives to learn from all stakeholders, in line with its purpose of becoming better every day.

With its Culture Movement, GF launched an initiative that is having a transformative impact on how its people operate by helping them embed the GF values into their daily work. GF also continued to provide Global Operational Excellence programs, with Lean-6 Sigma and others, focused on creating business impact by driving operational improvement activities globally.

Here is a summary of the activities of the three divisions in 2022, the second year of the five-year strategic cycle.

GF Piping Systems

In 2022, the division expanded and aligned its global R&D and offsite manufacturing footprint in the Americas, EMEA and Asia, focusing on high-value solutions and innovations for Industry, Building Technology and Utility. The division is well on track to achieve its 2025 innovation targets, while ensuring new products positively contribute to its sustainability objectives.

To support the goal of increased customer proximity, the division has invested significantly in the Global Industries sales organizations dedicated to marine, microelectronics and data center segment. It also invested in specialized sales teams focused on non-revenue water, industrial cooling and process automation. In partnership with customers, the division is developing customized solutions within its worldwide prefabrication and engineering facilities network and with its partners, enabling business models like "Water as a Service".

The introduction of a learning culture at GF Piping Systems in 2022, with the motto "Try. Fail. Learn and Evolve", encourages an open-minded approach to pushing boundaries and providing the framework for accelerated innovation and growth. Additionally, the new Global Academy, local Full Potential, and customer service programs allow the organization to improve domain expertise and increase customer proximity and operational excellence.


Interview with Joost Geginat, President GF Piping Systems

How do these business highlights of GF Piping Systems in 2022 reflect progress against the Strategy 2025?

The positive correlation of our solutions between sustainability impact and higher margins is a win-win-win, for GF, for our customers and for the environment. Consequently, we continue developing high-value solutions with a positive sustainability impact.We have invested in R&D, sales and product management to boost our innovation capabilities. At GF Piping Systems, we have also strengthened the sales and marketing organization globally in our focus areas of process automation for water treatment, efficient cooling, non-revenue water and hygiene for potable water. Additionally, we are investing globally in our production capacity and have reinforced our offsite manufacturing hubs.

What innovation in 2022 stands out for its benefits in terms of sustainability?

The maritime industry is increasingly looking to thermoplastic piping systems to meet more stringent sustainability targets. Due to their lightweight, modern and long-lasting insulation techniques and material properties, they can make ships of all sorts more efficient, while simultaneously reducing costs. In 2022, following six years of development, we introduced the HEAT-FIT, a unique pipe jacket system that can cope with the strict fire resistance regulations of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and now ensures thermoplastic piping systems are resistant to temperatures of around 1’000°C for at least 30 minutes under pressure.

What will the division focus on in 2023?

In order to safely complete construction projects in today's fast-paced world, there are numerous challenges that need to be overcome, including shortages of skilled labor, time constraints, cost overruns, quality concerns and physical space limitations on job sites. Thanks to our worldwide network of offsite manufacturing and prefabrication hubs, we are well placed to sustainably support our customers, wherever they are. The Global Industries teams will continue to drive tight project execution while expanding our global industries strategy and R&D efforts to make flow solution applications even more sustainable. We will also further develop our "Full Potential programs" in various countries to ensure their strategy execution drives regional market development.


GF Casting Solutions

Sustainable mobility has become one of the main pillars of the division, which is successfully integrating innovation and sustainable solutions.

The division is well on track to achieve its divisional strategic targets. 2022 was characterized by new project acquisitions, with electric vehicles accounting for more than 50% of new business. Operational performance improved significantly and many new projects were ramped up during the year. The division´s global presence was strengthened by the divestment of the joint venture in North America, a new partnership with the Mexican market leader Bocar Group, and the opening of a new factory in Shenyang, China.

The division engaged with key customers in early-stage development projects. The competence in product and process development was in high demand, especially in the context of the transition to e-mobility.


Interview with Carlos Vasto, President GF Casting Solutions

How do these business highlights of GF Casting Solutions in 2022 reflect progress against the Strategy 2025?

With its Strategy 2025, GF Casting Solutions is focusing on sustainable mobility. Positive feedback from the market and our successful acquisitions of new orders confirm that this was the right strategic direction. The transition to e-mobility has triggered a large number of new vehicle development projects, both at established OEMs and new entrants. GF Casting Solutions is contributing with its expertise in development and industrialization.

What innovation in 2022 stands out for its benefits in terms of sustainability?

GF Casting Solutions, together with key customers, has been able to develop innovative large structural parts that combine several assembled parts into one big casting. This reduces complexity in production and the weight of the final product, with a substantial positive effect on CO2 emissions in production, as well as in the use of the final product. The shift to e-mobility calls for a re-design of the vehicle structure. Designing new components for these body structures is the division's core competence and opens up new opportunities for sustainable innovations.

What will the division focus on in 2023?

The division will launch many new products in 2023, but it will place particular focus on the extension of its foundries in Europe as well as on the production ramp-up in Shenyang (China). In addition, GF Casting Solutions will roll out its approach to innovation across the entire organization with a continued focus on sustainable mobility.


GF Machining Solutions

GF Machining Solutions sharpened its focus on intelligent solutions that support the sustainability goals of its customers.

The division is well on track to achieve the targets set out in its divisional strategy. For example, in 2022, GF Machining Solutions increased the speed of its numerous, successful launches, raised the rate of machine sales with intelligent automation from 15% to 40% and succeeded in ensuring that 100% of the new products it developed had sustainability benefits for its customers.

The division strengthened its customer focus and is continuously improving and expanding its competence centers around the world. Many of these are specialized, for example, in the medical or aerospace market segment. Today, the division is an innovation leader in electrical discharge machining (EDM), laser and automation/tooling.

In 2022, GF Machining Solutions also launched digital and more sustainable manufacturing solutions like wire and spool recycling, laser texturing machines to replace chemical etching and solutions to increase the energy efficiency of its machines. The worldwide R&D teams were reorganized and are ready for scale-up.


Interview with Ivan Filisetti, President of GF Machining Solutions

How do these business highlights of GF Machining Solutions in 2022 reflect progress against the Strategy 2025?

We presented many exciting machine technologies and new digital solutions at IMTS and JIMTOF, two leading technology exhibitions. The market launch of the AgieCharmilles CUT X, GF Machining Solutions' new wire-cutting EDM solution, is a good example. Operating the machine is easy for experts and beginners alike. During the exhibitions, we also introduced the new customer service platform, My rConnect.

Another example is the introduction of the Liechti Turbomill 500g to reduce costs in precision airfoil manufacturing. These highlights were possible thanks to the successful combination of our three focus areas.

What innovation in 2022 stands out for its benefits in terms of sustainability?

We made a lot of progress in terms of our intelligent machining applications in EDM. Our "Spark Track" technology measures and optimizes sparks on wires, thus avoiding wire breakage (ISPS) and optimizing wire consumption (iQ Wire). Because secure energy supplies were a big topic in 2022, we improved our Econowatt system, which enables our machines to significantly reduce their energy consumption during standby mode, without compromising machine readiness and precision.

What will the division focus on in 2023?

GF Machining Solutions will focus its efforts on core technologies and features required for the target segments in order to maintain its competitive advantage. Innovations in digital solutions, automation and advanced manufacturing will complement the solution offering.

Intelligent manufacturing and services is a growing market. We are responding to this renewed demand with a fully integrated digital infrastructure based on Econosuite – a common suite of indicators and functions that facilitate sustainability performance management and with My rConnect, a unified customer service platform that provides comprehensive services, including live remote assistance.

We expect the aerospace market to continue its recovery and are ready to support the growth of our customers with new and dedicated solutions.