Automation innovator maintains stable operation during COVID-19 crisis
- global sales in 2020: 923 million euros (+2%)
- 4,500 employees worldwide (+3.5%)
- investments in research and development: 70 million euros
- growth despite protracted coronavirus crisis
Verl, Germany, April 14, 2021 – Beckhoff Automation generated global revenue of 923 million euros in 2020. This corresponds to a slight growth in turnover of 2% compared to the previous year, in which the company achieved revenue of 903 million euros. In a very challenging year due to the coronavirus pandemic, this is a noteworthy success and evidence of the high acceptance of PC-based control technology across markets and industries. The company also increased its staffing by 3.5% and currently employs 4,500 people worldwide.
“Despite being a difficult business year for the entire industry, our annual sales increased with an uptick of 2% to 923 million euros. That is not too bad, and we are satisfied,” Hans Beckhoff reports. “For 2021, we see a very positive business development with currently double-digit growth rates on the horizon; the global economy is currently on a very dynamic growth path in many business sectors! Therefore, the expansion of our production capacities and the increase in productivity are particularly important this year. In addition, we will continue our investments in research and development and training with full intensity.”
Ensuring and expanding production capacities
Beckhoff Automation has been taking the best possible precautionary measures since the beginning of the pandemic to minimize risks associated with COVID-19 and has since been able to maintain 100% of the company's activities without restriction. “We have not had and do not plan to have any reductions in hours for our employees, so we are operating at full capacity,” reports the managing owner. In fact, because further strong growth is expected, Beckhoff plans to expand production capacities for individual product ranges by up to 30% in 2021.
Beckhoff USA positioned for rapid growth in 2021
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Beckhoff USA actually grew by 5% in 2020. In addition, Beckhoff USA has seen rapid acceleration of order intake from new and existing customers in the first quarter of 2021. The Beckhoff subsidiary has made exciting inroads with leading manufacturers in the semiconductor, battery and electric vehicle manufacturing industries.
Beckhoff China drives strong sales development
2020 was the most successful year in terms of revenue for the Chinese Beckhoff subsidiary since its foundation, with impressive growth of around 28%. Beckhoff China now contributes 20% of the company's total revenue. Wind turbines, machines that produce solar modules and batteries, and general mechanical engineering continue to be the main success factors.
Varying sales development in other countries
Business in Germany and Europe recorded a single digit revenue decrease, which was mainly caused by the decline in deliveries and exports for series machine construction. This is mainly due to the capital goods sector. “Overall, global developments led to a slight increase but less growth than we were used to in recent years,” Hans Beckhoff concludes.
Undeterred, Beckhoff continued to expand its sales network. In the U.S., Beckhoff opened a new Process Industry Technical Center in Houston last year. This gives the company a branch office in a globally important center of oil and gas production. Business in the process industry is to be further expanded from this office location. In Denmark, Beckhoff moved into its own new headquarters. “Our goal is to be close to our customers everywhere. That's why our sales networks are constantly being expanded and condensed,” Hans Beckhoff reports. “We are increasingly investing in our own buildings in our foreign branches to further strengthen the local identity.”
PC Control enables modern vaccine production
PC-based control technology has a wide range of applications, especially in the biotech and medtech sectors currently. Beckhoff technology is ideally suited for this purpose and is being used by many companies to produce goods that are urgently needed during the pandemic. The spectrum ranges from the development and production of vital respiratory equipment to diagnostics and testing, to the manufacture of medical masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE). As another example, a machine manufacturer for vaccine production and filling also relies on PC-based control technology from Beckhoff.
Machine learning for industrial applications
AI is a current highlight of Beckhoff control technology. At Hannover Messe 2019, Beckhoff had announced the integration of Machine Learning (ML) into the TwinCAT 3 automation software. Last year, Beckhoff had an effective beta phase and a very successful market launch. The first customers are already using the Beckhoff solution. The special feature here is the execution of ML models directly in the TwinCAT real-time environment which means that there are no limits to the applications of ML in a machine.
During Hannover Messe Digital Edition, innovations and further developments will be presented in all Beckhoff product and technology areas. New, more powerful CPUs for Industrial PCs, new I/O signal types as well as Bus Terminals optimized in terms of performance and cost will be featured. Additional highlights will include newly expanded rotary and linear motor series as well as associated drives, exciting expansions in XTS and XPlanar motion systems, and extensive new TwinCAT software functions.