Gartner gives the starting signal for major project
The aluminium products company is building an 8500 square metre production hall in Gundelfingen. By the time the groundbreaking ceremony is held, the costs have already risen to 30 million euros.
Thursday, 27 April 2023, Gundelfingen - Although there is still a small pile of earth with a few spades in front of the construction poster, the excavators are already ready. Because at Gartner Extrusion the starting signal was given on Wednesday noon for a new building with 8500 square metres of production area. The company, which specialises in the production of high-quality aluminium products, is building another production facility with an anodising plant for 30 million euros. Managing director Alexander Merenda speaks of a "milestone": "We are investing in the future even in difficult times in order to be successful as Gartner Extrusion and as the Gutmann Group," he explains.
The new major project is to be celebrated together. The plan is to relocate an existing press to the new production hall, which will be connected to the new anodising plant with a new storage and logistics system. In future, production will take place there in a line production with a throughput time of five days. The workplaces will be ergonomically designed at an ideal working height for the employees. "This will enable us to achieve quantum leaps in our industry in terms of customer service, productivity and sustainability," predicts Merenda.
The new anodising plant replaces the two existing old plants. These cover aluminium with a protective oxide layer. The new plant is expected to reduce gas consumption by 60 per cent, which, according to Merenda, would mean a saving of almost ten million kWh of gas per year. Gartner Extrusion's production is energy-intensive: the company needs 60 million kWh of gas and 50 million kWh of electricity annually. This makes the company the second largest energy consumer of the utility EnBW ODR in the region. In a second step, the company plans to invest in a third press. "The demand for aluminium will increase by another 50 per cent by 2050. And Gartner Extrusion has been manufacturing at the limit of its capacity with its two presses for years," says Merenda.
State parliament member Fabian Mehring thinks: "The massiveness of the investment makes it a special day in Gundelfingen, the region and the economy". He says he was instructed by the Minister of Economic Affairs, Hubert Aiwanger, to "strictly commend". Gundelfingen's mayor Mariam Gruß says: "Today's ground-breaking ceremony marks a new era for Gartner Extrusion". The expansion is a strong signal for Gundelfingen, she says.
The reason is that Gartner Extrusion is investing in a challenging economic situation. The number of incoming orders at the Gundelfingen-based company has also dropped, with managing director Merenda reporting a decline of ten to 15 per cent. But an increase is expected again in the second half of the year. "We are doing well," he assures. In the past years, production has been above capacity. But in the two years of planning, he speaks of a time between boom and recession, supply chain problems and price increases, changes in government and paradigms, war followed by energy shortages. This has been challenging and has left its mark. At the beginning, costs of 24 million euros were expected, but now it is six million more.
"So there is almost no day when I don't ask myself whether we are not completely barmy to invest 30 million euros," says the managing director to the audience at the ground-breaking ceremony. But they are an absolute specialist supplier of the most difficult, technical requirements in the aluminium industry, partners of market leaders in pneumatics and automation, for façade objects and in the automotive industry. The motto for the ground-breaking ceremony was: "Gartner Extrusion invests even in difficult times".
Author: Susanne Klöpfer (Augsburger Allgemeine)