On the basis of its own, clearly positioned brands, Ringfeder Power Transmission offers technically leading products and systems for use in the areas of mechanical power transmission as well as energy and shock absorption.
Internationally leading brands
Ringfeder Power Transmission has about 20 product lines among its Ringfeder, Tschan, Henfel and Gerwah brands. The division’s shaft and hub couplings account for the largest share of turnover. These types of couplings are commonly used in cranes and hoisting devices. Shrink discs comprise another of the division’s products and can be found in transmissions for industrial use. The division’s friction springs is the product category on which the business was founded nearly 100 years ago. Currently, it accounts for less than one-quarter of the division’s turnover. Friction springs are used, for example, in the aerospace industry as damping components in the system for adjusting the position of the wing flaps, and as overload protection in emergency exit systems. Friction springs are also used to earthquake-proof buildings, bridges and power plants.
Ringfeder Power Transmission has more than 4,000 customers worldwide. In simplified terms, the division targets customers in 16 different segments. Among the largest segments are mines, metals and energy production. The fastest growing segments are pumps and foods. In addition, the division is concentrating on increasing its exposure in the industrial automation segment. It also aims to grow in the aftermarkets of several of its customer segments.
The market is highly fragmented with few major players. Ringfeder Power Transmission has a major competitive advantage thanks to its size, expertise, broad product portfolio and high-quality products.
The mining, oil and gas industries are among the most important market segments for Ringfeder Power Transmission. Demand from these segments largely correlates with the trend in commodities. In the Asian and South American growth markets, industrial manufacturing is steadily growing, which drives demand for Ringfeder Power Transmission’s products. In the mature Western European and North American markets, constantly higher rationalisations drive the need for automation, which benefits the division.
Interview with Thomas Moka
"On the right path with higher profitability."
Division Manager at Ringfeder Power Transmission
In 2018, sales and profitability improved. How would you like to comment on this?
We’ve had a good year, where we continued to work on the restructuring program we launched in 2016. We also reached all the goals we set for the program in 2018, which was a major contributing factor to our improved profitability. With the exception of South America, we had a strong global economy in 2018, which contributed to the great demand for our products. For example, after many years of hard work, we saw fantastic growth and sales in our Indian market, and North America also had a tremendously positive trend. I am proud that we were able to deliver these margins in 2018, when access to raw materials and longer lead times had an adverse impact on our profitability. I can say that we are now on the right path.
How do you view market consolidation and increasing competition from low-cost manufacturers?
Market competition is tough, and our margins are under pressure from low-cost manufacturers. Moreover, we can see that some of our main competitors are growing through consolidation. Ringfeder is a market leader in many areas, with well-known brands and attractive products, which is a major strength for us. However, the level of competition requires us to continuously work with our product development, where we are focusing on product updates, making our products more economical, and
designing customized solutions instead of individual products. We have also put a great deal of work into improving our logistics process and shortening turnaround times in order to make ourselves competitive.
What do you think of Ringfeder Transmission’s opportunities moving forward?
I have a very positive picture of our future potential. In 2018, we observed stable growth in automation and motion control, and in several other of our markets. One of our great strengths is that we are a global player that can offer a carefully selected product range to widely different customer segments. We will continue to build on this, while it is important to focus on the individual customer; this means we must have a strong local presence and different strategies for different markets.
Have you had any interesting customer collaborations during the year?
The first thing that comes to my mind is that we have supplied one of our couplings to a well-known manufacturer of large, high-quality cruise ships. Our coupling is located in a crane in the building where the vessels are manufactured. The crane is used during manufacturing operations to lift in place various components of the cruise ship and it must cope with very heavy loads. We secured this order by being the supplier that could deliver the fastest. I believe the fact that this customer has turned to us will open the door for future collaboration.