Plansee Powertech: Opening ceremony for our new building

Plansee Powertech AG in Seon, Switzerland, recently held the opening ceremony of a newly constructed facility. Attendees included the Chief of Government Dr. Urs Hofmann and other representatives of the Aargau Department of Economic and Interior Affairs.

Opening ceremony with employees at December 17th 2018

In his welcome address, Frank Müller, Managing Director of Plansee Powertech AG, commented: "The way that energy will be supplied in the future will change—there will be fewer major power plants and more decentralized energy producers. As a manufacturer of safety components for the power transmission and distribution sector, we must be ready for the change in energy policy." With the new building, the company has created the conditions for flexible, competitive and highly automated production that also offers more manufacturing capacity.

A tour of the facility provided insights into how Plansee's high precision components are manufactured: the process involves pressing metal powder and sintering (compressing) it at high temperatures. Using state-of-the-art welding technology, the different components are joined, forming ready-to-install components which then undergo a finishing machining step.

During the opening celebration of the new facility Frank Müller commented: "This new hall is the culmination of our efforts to make the high wage location Seon competitive." In the early 2000s, the company had come under pressure as a result of competition from China and a strong franc. "Following a wave of consolidations in Europe, we are now the only western supplier of switching contacts and have quintupled our production volume over the last 20 years," Müller added. Müller did not signal that the expanded manufacturing space would create new jobs. "The requirements with regard to the employees' skills and expertise, however, will increase," Müller stated. In the years ahead, the production processes will be automated further. A detailed analysis of the manufacturing data is expected to produce ideas for process improvements. Additionally, unique identification of each and every of the approximately 500,000 components produced annually is intended to ensure seamless traceability of every single product.

Plansee Powertech was founded in 1960 as Elektrometall AG in Seon (Canton of Aargau). The company produces switching contacts made of tungsten-copper, copper-chrome and tungsten carbide-silver materials. The components manufactured in Seon are used worldwide in the substations and load distribution stations of utility companies and ensure safe power supply. In 1983, Plansee Powertech became a member of the international Plansee Group headquartered in Reutte, Austria. 95 percent of the company's production is exported. The Seon location has approximately 100 employees.