Brückner in 2020 – Second most successful year ever 

Hygiene & food safety drive worldwide demand for packaging film 

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Brückner's highly efficient film stretching line
Brückner's highly efficient film stretching line Photo Brückner

Brückner Maschinenbau, based in Siegsdorf, Germany, is the market leader for large production lines for the manufacture of a wide variety of flexible plastic films used for high-quality packaging materials and in technical applications. In terms of incoming orders, the past fiscal year was the second most successful in the company’s history. More than 45 lines were sold by the end of 2020 for an order intake of almost Euro 800 million. It was a significant increase compared to the previous year 2019, in which more than 30 lines were sold for approximately Euro 500 million. As the new orders will only become relevant for sales in the following year, a significant increase in sales of over Euro 550 million euros is expected in 2021 compared to Euro 400 million in 2020.

Brückner premises in Siegsdorf, Germany Photo Brückner
Brückner premises in Siegsdorf, Germany Photo Brückner

One reason for the very pleasing business development is that topics such as hygiene and food safety have become much more critical in the packaging sector worldwide – and particularly in Asia. (As Susanne Bluml wrote for us in her recent interview with Reinhard Priller.) In addition, food retailing and mail-order trade have recorded international growth. This also increased the demand for Brückner film stretching lines, on which the highest quality packaging films are produced, and for the related services.

The outlook for the next few years also gives cause for optimism. Stefan Neumann, the company’s chief financial officer, says, “Our order backlog extends well into 2023. In addition, we are currently pleased about two major orders from China.” 

Brückner CFO Stefan Neumann Photo Bruckner
Brückner CFO Stefan Neumann Photo Bruckner

With the long-standing customer Jiangsu Hengli New Materials, the quality leader in the polyester film industry in China, multiple contracts over a five-year term were signed – an order volume that significantly exceeds the average annual volume of Brückner Maschinenbau. 

The complete package comprises dozens of BOPET lines for packaging films, optical and industrial films, ultra-thin specialty films, and special BOPET thick film lines. The framework agreement covers a total of 15 different line types, including an exceptional laboratory line.

In addition, one of the leading manufacturers of battery separator films, Shenzhen Senior Technology Material, has now ordered eight more special lines from Brückner. Here, Brückner was able to convince the customer of its latest technology, which is also be used in battery production in Europe. 

In any case, Brückner is confident that, in addition to the booming packaging sector, technical films and their production lines are also rising. Future topics here include battery separator films and films for medical and high-temperature applications, solar panels, or organic and printed electronics. 

Fittingly the company from Siegsdorf recently received an award for its innovation management – Brückner Maschinenbau was chosen in a scientific selection process for the Top 100 innovators and is now officially one of the 100 most innovative companies in the German medium-sized businesses. 

When it comes to plastics and the environment, Brückner is convinced that the future will continue to belong to plastics if used and reused sustainably. Helmut Huber, COO Sales & Project Management, says, “As part of a circular economy, the undeniable advantages of plastic can be combined absolutely well with the sustainability goals of a modern society. We are working intensively to ensure that films can be produced on our machines with the lowest possible use of resources and the highest possible recyclability.” In doing so, Brückner also cooperates in various consortia with partners along the entire value chain, from raw material manufacturers to brand owners. Examples of this are the R-Cycle or PrintCYC initiatives.

Brückner COO Helmut Huber Photo Brückner
Brückner COO Helmut Huber Photo Brückner

Brückner plant commissioning
and service even during the pandemic

To ensure that the lines sold are also installed and commissioned on schedule worldwide, Brückner coordinates all trips as part of a unique Corona crisis management system. Huber states, “In close coordination with our company doctor and our teams in the respective countries, we make sure that all rules and precautionary measures are observed: before, during, and after the trip. Employee safety always takes precedence over short-term business success. Nevertheless, traveling in these times demands a lot from our employees – the keyword is quarantine. We are therefore more than grateful that the willingness of our colleagues to travel abroad remains high – this is extremely appreciated by our customers.”

The service provider for film stretching technology, Brückner Servtec, also based in Siegsdorf, was able to increase its order intake by an impressive 60% in orders for line upgrades. Overall, incoming orders are at a record level of around Euro 70 million, again significantly increasing over the previous year (Euro 60 million). This naturally has a positive impact on sales in 2021, for which a record figure of around Euro 71 million is expected, compared to Euro 53 million in 2020. 

A major global customer has also recently placed extensive modernization orders with Brückner Servtec to significantly increase the sustainability of production. This involves a total of four production lines in the packaging film sector, spread over three continents. In addition, the plant modernization will ensure the processing of raw materials, enabling a circular economy. 

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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