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The two companies have been connected for a long time, Festo has been supplying Eichenberger for at least 25 years. When Kurt Husistein started looking for potential buyers as part of the succession plan, he had specific ideas: he wanted to sell to a manufacturing, preferably family-run company. Festo was an ideal candidate for him.
And was Festo looking for a company that would support the strategic business area of electromechanical drives?
Correct. Festo has been producing electromechanical drives for over 20 years. Our mechanical engineering customers should be able to concentrate on their core competencies, Festo supplies the appropriate subsystems. Regardless of the technology, we offer both pneumatic and electromechanical solutions. With Eichenberger, Festo can significantly increase the depth of added value in the strategic business field of electrical automation. The takeover also ensures that the necessary mechanical components are supplied.
So will there be Eichenberger in all electromechanical Festo products in the future?
We will develop new products together, we have great ideas. In the second week after the takeover, we had a visit from Festo developers at Eichenberger, who were happy to finally be able to discuss some of these ideas openly. The first joint projects are now well on the way.
How will you deal with the other customers that Eichenberger has served so far?
Our declared strategic goal is to continue to maintain and develop these customer relationships. This is not just for business reasons. We can learn from the technical challenges we face here and develop ourselves. They are often a source of inspiration. We also consider ourselves responsible to these customers. Many projects cost three to six years of joint development work, and switching from one supplier to another is not that easy from the customer's perspective. We don't leave you alone. Incidentally, both Eichenberger and Festo represent this attitude, which corresponds to their understanding as a family-run company.
Will you keep the Burg site in Switzerland?
Yes! Festo is clearly committed to the location, although the company maintains two other locations in Switzerland: there is a production plant in Biel and a sales company at Lupfig, which looks after all Swiss Festo customers. Both production and sales are located here in Burg. This is new for Festo, but it is exciting. The company has firmly committed to further developing both. The production processes alone are so complex that they cannot be easily relocated. In addition, man and machine form a unit here that cannot be separated. And the people here in the upper Wynental are very strongly rooted in the region.
Will Festo stick to the Eichenberger brand?
I can definitely answer this question with yes, at least for the next five years. The Eichenberger brand is so strong, especially in Germany, it must continue to exist. However, what will be in the future is in the stars.
What challenges do you see as managing director of Eichenberger for the coming years?
The size and global presence of Festo alone of course offer enormous potential. It is important, together with Festo, to define a suitable growth strategy. It is also important to further expand our competitiveness. For our particularly demanding customers, we consider how we generate added value for the customer in every development project. The solutions have to be clever and competitive.
There are exciting tasks ahead of us, which I personally look forward to!
Thank you very much, Mr Hager.
* Ute Drescher is editor-in-chief of construction practice.
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