German leads firm primed to herald ‘Industry 4.0’ in the Philippines

GERMANY is known worldwide for its top-quality products in engineering and technology.

A major promoter of the European country’s superiority in the field of engineering and manufacturing is Thyssenkrupp, a conglomerate based in the town of Essen.

The company was established after the 1999 merger of steel producer Thyssen AG and Krupp, which is renowned for its fabrication of steel, artillery and ammunition, among others.

Its largest shareholder is the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, a major philanthropic entity founded in honor of the former owner and head of Krupp, from whom the company was named after.

Aside from steel manufacturing, Thyssenkrupp’s product portfolio ranges from machines and industrial services to high-speed trains, elevators and shipbuilding.

A subsidiary, Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, fabricates frigates, corvettes and submarines for the German and foreign navies.

Recently, the German engineering giant opened its Philippine office at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. The chairman of the executive board, Dr. Heinrich Hiesinger, led the inauguration rites.

“Going to a market in an area with an average growth motivated us. Of course, we will start small in the Philippines. We will [however] grow our presence bigger in the long run,” Hiesinger said during a media roundtable.

Interested in PHL infra

THE chairman pointed out that there are numerous opportunities in the Philippines, especially in the country’s infrastructure sector, as it is hard pressed to beef up its current infrastructure and to cope up with its more progressive neighbors in Asean.

“There is so much potential in the Philippines, especially given the focus on infrastructure development. Infrastructure investments will certainly create greater [potential] in the cement industry and power sectors—areas where we have long been supporting [this] country—and we intend to continue such to further help drive its growth,” Hiesinger explained.

He said the German industrial entity is keen on joining the country’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program by entering the cement manufacturing and power generation sectors. (The Board of Investments expects the Philippines’s current demand for cement to double to 40 million metric tons by 2020.)

In both fronts, Hiesinger shared that Thyssenkrupp aims to provide innovative solutions and services to interested parties in the country.

“We will partner with local companies because they know more [about] the local conditions, and that will shorten our learning curve,” he pointed out.

4th Industrial Revolution

FURTHERMORE, Thyssenkrupp’s program for the Philippines involves beefing up the country’s power-generating capabilities, given the anticipated upsurge in energy requirements to support these infrastructure projects.

Hiesinger further stated that his company is also excited on the digitalization initiatives of the country and emphasized that the company has a lot to offer in terms of technology solutions, such as online platforms, cloud computing and machine-to-machine learning—elements that are applied in its elevator business.

The German executive noted, “Germany has long established its leadership in industrial research and development, and we are keen to contribute to emerging economies like the Philippines through technology, innovation and allied processes,” and underscored that Thyssenkrupp is active in driving “Industry 4.0,”—the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies—in its businesses.

(Wikipedia refers to such as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which encompasses cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things, cloud computing and cognitive computing.)

Continuous innovations

HIESINGER also highlighted that Thyssenkrupp has strong capabilities in the defense industry. He relayed that his company is interested to join the country’s defense-modernization program, specifically in shipbuilding.

Since Thyssenkrupp manufactures high-performance frigates, compact corvettes and diesel-electric submarines for coastal and open-ocean operations, he shared with the BusinessMirror that “we have the expertise and engineering [acumen] to build ships for the Philippines, in collaboration with the local shipyards.”

As of late, the company has supplied its products to the navies of 20 countries. It has, likewise, introduced continuous innovations, such as air-independent fuel-cell propulsion, which provides submarines with greater endurance and enhanced underwater stealth.

Nevertheless, Hiesinger said Thyssenkrupp is keen on participating in the modernization program of the country’s Armed Forces.

“This is [an issue involving sovereignty], and we have to wait for the invitation of your government regarding this matter,” he concluded.

Image Credits: Jimbo Albano

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Rizal Raoul S. Reyes has covered technology, science, business, property and special reports. He had working stints with the Business Star, Manila Bulletin and Independent Daily News.


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