Feintool resists currency effects

The global automotive industry was on good form overall in the first half of 2015. The North American market remained at the previous year’s high level, while automotive production in Europe recovered slightly from the prior-year low and the Asian market continued to grow, though at a slightly slower pace. Estimates indicate that global automotive production expanded by 1% compared with the previous year.

Satisfactory business situation
On a currency-adjusted basis, consolidated sales rose by 4.3% year-on-year to CHF 243.7 million. Both of the Swiss manufacturing facilities suffered a considerable decline in earnings amounting to CHF 3.3 million owing to the Swiss franc’s appreciation against the euro. Overall, however, the Group generated EBITDA of CHF 28.3 million and an operating result (EBIT) of CHF 14.6 million. This is equivalent to an EBITDA margin of 11.6% and an EBIT margin of 6%. This performance is the result of the systematic focus on fineblanking and forming, and continued internationalization with production facilities in all the major automotive markets. Net income for the period under review came to CHF 7.4 million.

Free cash flow amounted to CHF -10.4 million. This includes expenditures for investments – e.g. in company-owned infrastructure and in the purchase of a new production facility in eastern Germany – totalling CHF 19.8 million.

Orders received in the investment goods business fell by 4.1% to CHF 44.3 million in the first six months of the year. However, the second quarter showed an increase – albeit at a low level – of 9.6%.

All segments and regions positive
Sales in the parts manufacturing segment (System Parts) rose 3.2% to CHF 211.9 million. All regions continued to grow in terms of their local currency. On a currency-adjusted basis, sales were up 8.8%. Europe accounted for 50.5% of sales. The US share was 39.4%, while that of Asia came to 10.1%. Changes from the previous year are heavily influenced by currency translation into Swiss francs.

With third-party sales of CHF 31.8 million, the Fineblanking Technology segment contributed 13% to the Group’s sales.

Optimistic outlook
Feintool expects a generally positive business performance in the second half of the year too. Based on current overall conditions, sales of around CHF 500 million and an EBIT margin of between six and seven percent seem realistic. For the medium term, the company is reiterating its objective of lifting sales to CHF 600 million and operating margin to 8%.

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Faster, more complex, cheaper: Automotive suppliers have to manage this balancing act – Feintool makes it possible with its tools. One big topic is increasing cost pressure spanning the entire supply chain from OEMs to parts suppliers. In this situation, the faster companies can produce, the better. Feintool has already broken speed records with its presses, which run up to 200 press strokes per minute – but only with the right tool.

For this purpose, Feintool has developed the Speed tool concept. Here, the part is not cut completely; a few places are left connected to the strip. It is then transported with the strip, pressed out in the next step and removed from the tool with a conveyor belt. This ensures that the parts do not land in the tool space and have to be blown or cleared out. This saves customers one thing in particular: time.

To guarantee fast and low-cost production nonetheless, Feintool has developed innovative rotary and lateral transfer tools. These are characterized by the fact that as many process steps as possible – for example, deburring and forming – are integrated into the tool. This happens “out of strip,” that is, outside of the strip. Two exactly identical parts are cut out on a strip, which are transferred to the left and right to the next process step. There, the exact same operation takes place simultaneously on both sides. Due to the symmetry and the synchronism of the actions, the forces are lifted and tilting moments are avoided.

Feintool’s nearly 60 years of experience ensure that the right tool can be found for every part and every press. The fineblanking experts can attend to their customers throughout the entire part development process, including with simulations, 3D-printed sample parts and prototyping. The customers receive a part that meets their requirements and can be produced as cost-effectively as possible. Feintool then develops and builds the right tool.

Feintool is present for the entire process: Feintool tests the tool, assists with setting it into operation and starting up production on site. It is also glad to help with maintenance.

Feintool is an internationally operating market leader in the technologies of fine blanking, forming, and sheet metal punching for processing steel sheets.

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