More than ever, manufacturing companies are facing increasing requirements for lower cost, high-quality, high-reliability products and shorter delivery times to meet new and emerging market needs. “The drive to automation and the requirement to optimize production equipment means that our customers in order to meet the market demands have to to be flexible, agile and responsive to technology and technology changes”, Hubert Baren says. “We supply automated production equipment around the world for the manufacturing industry. In our portfolio, we have standard systems, custom-designed assembly systems, and turnkey test and automation solutions that ensure the manufacture of high-quality products, delivered on time and on budget.” IPTE’s investment in people and hardware is complemented with the design of new software solutions critical to the manufacturing industry, just as needed for the realization of novel Smart Factory/Industry 4.0 concepts.
So have a look at the facts behind this remarkable market position of a middle-sized and worldwide acting enterprise in the field of automation, test and production engineering that started more than 25 years ago from scratch. Founded by just five engineers in 1992, the company has grown continuously both organically and through merger and acquisitions. The IPTE group currently has a staff of approximately 880 employees, more than 40 % of them give their best in design and application. All in all, they generated sales of around 127 million euros in 2018. According to Hubert Baren, the company continues to operate successfully at a high level as production automation is regarded as being a helpful and sensible solution in many industries, so a further moderate increase in sales can be expected for the year 2019.
Full range of automation gear
For example, the successfully operating branch in Portugal, based in Ovar near Porto, has now been in existence for 15 years. Under the leadership of Freerk Macor, they began with a very small team, typical for IPTE, but have ever since grown continuously. And in their fourth expansion stage, they have now reached the limits of growth on the existing site. This year, the branch will generate a turnover of 14 million euros with about 100 employees. As Freerk Macor explains, ”Our employees here design and manufacture customized machines and projects as well as turnkey solutions for the mechanical and electrical industries for all of clients worldwide. From this company site, we can serve them easily in time, with high quality and a remarkable cost-benefit ratio. With our efficient solutions, we can offer the full range of manufacturing automation: manual assembly lines, semi-automatic systems, fully automated assembly stations, and customer-specific production lines built with interlinked cells.” In addition to the subsidiary in Portugal, IPTE Spain in Reus, Catalonia, is another division present on the Iberian peninsula.
Hubert Baren further explains the vision that drives the company forward: ”Our optimally flexible solutions, which are geared to the requirements of the market, are of the highest quality. And be assured, we definitely know what we are talking about. Our technologically outstanding position and the consistent application of such industry standards as Hermes and IPC CFX stand for this. We are a strong and reliable partner for our international customers. Currently, our business basis encompasses more than 600 customers, most of them are highly significant in their field of business and technology and/or market-leading Tier One companies, the suppliers of modules and systems.”
To date, the largest market is Europe, whereas the Americas as a whole, as well as Asia, are accounting each for approximately 10 % of their sales. Broken down by application segments, around 75 % goes to automotive manufacturing, around 10 % to the industrial sector and the rest to various application areas, such as consumer, medical technology, computers, and communications.
Competence meets careful growth
The company is proud of providing reliable service with high competence and support around the globe. The focus lies, of course, on customer care, leading technology solutions, excellent price/performance ratio, and a worldwide presence, as Mr. Baren says. Reportedly, the strength is based on quality, service, expertise, and cooperation. They have built a dynamic organization, with regional locations amid the regions where their clients’ fab sites are.
The company stress their proven expertise in process technology that allows them to stand out in competition, this knowledge is the bedrock on which their business is built upon. Users can benefit from a wealth of experience and skillfulness. A customer-focused approach helps the company to meet demanding project requirements, and in order to provide the optimum solution, the company is also looking to the requirements of a solution from a process perspective. Customers can rely on the leading technology and expertise in factory automation, coupled with skillful consultancy, fast reacting on-site support, and profound after-sales services, Mr. Baren concludes. In addition to the 15 globally distributed national divisions with their engineering, production, and application departments, there is also a number of local offices for service and support at strategically important places.
One major goal for 2019 and surely beyond is the further development of process capabilities for Industry 4.0/Smart Factory. In addition, the customer base reportedly will be expanded by targeting other industrial areas. And in IPTE’s also important field of the production test of PCB assemblies, which is a crucial step in electronics production automation, fine-pitch structures down to 0.3 mm pad dimensions can now also reliably contacted with the existing line equipment. Highly needed is this as electronics miniaturization and ever shrinking board assemblies are, as experience shows, an ongoing process. (Gerhard B. Wolski)