There were smiling faces all around in Mindelheim, Germany, last November 15 when Airbus landed its biggest-ever order with a $49.5 billion deal for 430 airliners, the same day Grob’s in-house exhibition kicked off there. Known for its flexible automotive production systems, the 6,000-employee company has been constantly growing its universal vertical machining centers business. Alexander Attenberger, head of Grob’s international universal 5 axis machining center sales, said during the event that his segment of the company recently has been experiencing growth in the aerospace and tool and die industries.
While 35 percent of all globally sold automotive cylinder heads are said to be made on Grob’s production systems, which consist of modular vertical machining center and special-purpose machines interlinked with automation solutions tailored to each customer’s needs, the company has set its eyes on the aerospace industry and its universal 5 axis vertical machining centers business, which currently accounts for 10 to 15 percent of global sales. “We certainly want to grow this product line and see huge potential in the aerospace and die and mold industries, as well as the growing importance of electromobility,” Mr. Attenberger said.
He believes that the technological transition in vehicle drive systems is not regarded as a threat to the company, but as a chance to develop a new market. Consequently, Grob acquired Italy-based DMG Meccanica, a manufacturer of machines and systems to produce stators for electric motors, alternators and generators in January 2017.
While the electromobility industry is yet to take off, Grob currently sells approximately 30 percent of its universal 5 axis machining centers to the aerospace industry, 30 percent to automotive, 10 percent to die and mold, and 30 percent to other industries including medical, energy and general engineering.