With two rows of material handlers giving a standing ovation, a large crowd was greeted at the Terex Fuchs production centre in Bad Schönborn, Germany, yesterday. The special occasion? The tech company’s 130 anniversary. Managing director Dominik Vierkotten admits it’s an impressive milestone. ‘But we are keeping our eyes ahead.’
Terex is a thriving company by any means; it saw its turnover increase 31% this year. Fuchs has become a go-to brand for recyclers and scrap yard operators alike, serviced by more than 60 distributors all over the world.
Taking big leaps
‘We are investing more and more in R&D every year to deliver new, robust and intelligent solutions,’ Dominik Vierkotten told Recycling International. ‘Innovation is taking bigger and quicker leaps, after all,’ the businessman observed. By investing a significant sum in new technology – and also in expanding its global workforce – Fuchs hopes to be ‘fit for the future’, he commented.
E-mobility, big data and artificial intelligence are three major themes that will play an important role in the company’s R&D efforts in the years to come. ‘It’s not just Google and Apple that have to think about these developments. Such trends will have a huge impact on recyclers and recycling tech companies as well,’ Vierkotten argued. ‘We have to be proactive.’
Match for mega shredders
Down the line, Fuchs material handlers will be designed to be even more modular. This will enable engineers to customise the best features of each type and create ‘hybrid’ solutions on demand. ‘A recycler in America may want a different engine or other tyres, for example, to suit the terrain and a specific business model,’ pointed out Fuchs operations director Matthias Bürkel. This approach could be applied to even individual components.
He added that it takes about three days to complete the production of a single Fuchs handler at the Bad Schönborn site. A ‘big series’ MHL 370 unit, which are in high demand right now, can even be finished in less than two days. These are a ‘great fit’ for mega shredder plants.
‘Of course, no machine leaves our site without first passing a rigorous round of testing,’ Bürkel noted. ‘This takes about a day, then our crew gives the green light for shipping.’
He added with a grin that ‘unique colours’ like lime green, purple and pink are sometimes requested for the booms and undercarriages. These custom paint jobs are done in-house so Fuchs has full control over the entire production process.
Exciting new markets
So where are the material handlers off to? ‘We just delivered another unit to a loyal customer in Spain. But we’re also growing our customer base in South America,’ said Vierkotten. ‘And Asia is definitely a very exciting region for us. We’ve been focusing more on that market for two years now.’
North America is already well represented by Fuchs, and there are a various German recyclers that have been placing orders for over sixty years. ‘Ultimately, we want long-term partnerships and steady, sustainable corporate growth,’ underlined Terex company president Kieran Hegarty.