German filtration specialists MANN+HUMMEL is increasing its global footprint. Over the past 10 years, the company focused on closing gaps between NAFTA and Asian countries by establishing new companies and production sites or extending existing plants in countries such as USA, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Bosnia, India and China.
 
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Issue: Mar 2011


Filter manufacturing and technology goes global



by Alan Tran




German filtration specialists MANN+HUMMEL is increasing its global footprint. Over the past 10 years, the company focused on closing gaps between NAFTA and Asian countries by establishing new companies and production sites or extending existing plants in countries such as USA, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Bosnia, India and China.
 
The €2 billion-a-year group has 13,000 employees in 41 locations across the globe. Production takes place at some 30 sites. The company’s strong expansion strategy is evident in the construction of two manufacturing plants in Jiading (Shanghai) and Jinan, China, and the ground breaking for a second production site in Bawal, India – which all took place in 2010. 

The company says the Jiading plant is one of MANN+HUMMEL’s largest and most advanced technical manufacturing sites in the world. It manufactures a full range of filtration products including MANN-FILTER for the independent aftermarket, in addition to complex intake manifolds systems or crankcase ventilation systems.

MANN+HUMMEL is a development partner and original equipment supplier to the international automotive and mechanical engineering industries. The group’s product portfolio includes air filter systems, intake manifold systems, liquid filter systems, cabin filters and cylinder head covers made of plastic with many integrated functions for the automotive industry, as well as filter elements for vehicle servicing and repair. The company’s aftermarket brand, MANN-FILTER, is one of the strongest filter brands in the world. The company’s product range also includes industrial filters, a series of products to reduce carbon emission levels in diesel engines, membrane filters for water filtration, as well as filter systems, complete lines and units for the conveying, dosing and drying of free flowing plastics.

Automotive Industries (AI) asked Alfred Weber, CEO of the MANN+HUMMEL group, to tell us about the group’s strategy in the worldwide automotive market and how they planned to achieve it.

Weber: We are 70 years young, and still full of energy. We want to achieve leadership in filtration in all our segments worldwide and we have inspired and skilled people to turn this vision into reality. It is our goal to pursue our continuous growth and to double our 2009 sales by 2018 to 3.4 billion Euros. Our customers operate all over the world and so do we. We are very experienced in successfully managing complex international projects across geographic and cultural borders. We have a high standard of quality in production process as well in the aftermarket. MANN-FILTER elements for passenger cars, trucks and the industrial sector manufactured in Europe, Asia and the Americas are highly reliable.

AI: Why are the Indian and Chinese markets so critical to MANN+HUMMEL?
Weber: There is a tremendous demand for mobility in these two fast-growing countries to support their economic development. Multi-billion dollar government programs to develop infrastructure, individual and industrial needs require more vehicles, more construction machinery and more water treatment systems. There will therefore be a great demand for filters and filtration systems including servicing. 

AI: What kind of growth do you expect in Asia?
Weber: Along with our sales growth we expect to shift sales share. While we will continue to grow in Europe, which generates 60% of our turnover, stronger growth will be in Asia and the Americas in the future equaling half of our European sales, with Asia and the Americas accounting for 25% each.

AI: Are affected by the increase in industrial vehicles?
Weber: Yes. The US, the BRIC countries and the Next 11 countries are in our sights for this segment. Our customers expect the commercial vehicle market to grow about 50% by 2015. A few months ago we opened a production site in Jinan, China, where we produce mainly for our customer, China National Heavy Duty Truck Corporation (CNHTC), the biggest manufacturer of heavy trucks in China.

AI: Your Chinese headquarters in Jiading, Shanghai, has made use of the latest green technologies – why was this so important to the company?
Weber: MANN+HUMMEL owns a green logo and a green attitude. Respect for people, our planet and our environment is one of the core values in the company. We continuously improve our products, our production processes and our facilities to conserve resources and promote ‘green’ behavior. Jiading is our newest location, and therefore one of the most advanced of our production sites.

AI: How advanced are the products manufactured in this plant?
Weber: We manufacture a full range of filter products there, from spin-on filters to complex intake manifolds fitted with high pressure fuel rails. Manufactured products include air filter systems, air filter elements, oil and fuel filters, intake manifold systems, crankcase ventilation systems and coolant reservoirs. Jiading is the only location outside Germany to manufacture our cabin air filters. We are strengthening the before- and after-sales and logistics support, and develop high quality, localized products to serve our Chinese customers.

AI: What is the company’s automotive products strategy?
Weber: We spend around 4% of our sales in R&D, especially in concepts, products and technologies to support e-mobility. Since the traditional engine will last for a while, we continue optimizing solutions for fuel and diesel engines; yet it is our focus to contribute to reduce emissions and weight. This means that we work on solutions made of new materials, such as on a bio base or recycled materials. 

AI: Tell us how your global automotive sector strategy is modified for different regions.
Weber: We changed the global orientation of the group and strengthened the regional focus. Following the internationalization phase, we are now working on extending the regional organizations to meet the requirements of changing markets more quickly. For example, we started production in India (Tumkur near Bangalore) in 2006. In addition, we strengthened the region with the launch of MANN-FILTER, established a local R&D center for localization in Bangalore, and broke ground for a new manufacturing site in the greater Delhi area, in Bawal. It will start production in 2012, and will produce our core products. The major focus will be on components for passenger car and motorcycle segments, as well as the commercial vehicle and three-wheeler sectors. The location of the plant will improve delivery times and reduce transport costs, with improved access to OEMs in the northern part of the subcontinent.

AI: Please tell us about some of the innovations that have emerged from the R&D department at MANN+HUMMEL.
Weber: We developed a new generation of cabin air filters which was launched in Japan. The cabin filter of the future prevents particles, gases and odors, as well as allergens and micro-organisms from entering the vehicle interior. One of the next steps could be that this multifunctional product will even be spreading pleasant scents throughout the vehicle. A further example for innovation is an acoustic filter. When driving, sometimes you are keen on hearing the sound of the engine to improve and enhance the driving sound experience.



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