When Tradition Meets Future

Interview with Ralf Waibl, Executive Board FUTRONIKA AG

FUTRONIKA Areas of Competence
The competencies of Futronika AG: Metal processing, mechanical engineering, powder coating, CNC machining

Contract manufacturing plays a crucial role in various industrial sectors. Companies are increasingly relying on contract manufacturing to be more flexible in responding to market requirements while simultaneously strengthening their core competencies. FUTRONIKA AG masters all procedures of metal and sheet processing and takes on contract and order manufacturing for customers from around the world along the entire value chain. From consulting to planning and design, purchasing, production, and surface finishing to assembly and shipping, the company does everything from a single source, so that customers have only one contact person.

As a full-service provider in the field of mechanical engineering, metal and sheet metal processing, as well as powder coating, FUTRONIKA AG stands out for its service, quality, reliability, flexibility, fair prices, and trust. "We are in demand when it comes to the complete package," says board member Ralf Waibl. "We have significantly reduced delivery times since we have everything in-house. Additionally, we maintain a good relationship with our customers. If they benefit from us, then we ultimately benefit as well."

Over 90 Years of Tradition

The roots of FUTRONIKA AG date back to 1926 when Zelenka GmbH was founded. A key development was the founding of WAIBL GmbH by Gerd Waibl. "My grandfather started his own business in special machine construction with a small workshop," recounts Ralf Waibl, the 3rd generation of the family. "In 1999, my father Dr.-Ing. Armin Waibl took over the company and consistently invested in its development and growth. In 2003, he also started with sheet metal processing and founded futureblech GmbH."

Ralf Waibl, Executive Board FUTRONIKA AG
Ralf Waibl, Executive Board FUTRONIKA AG

In 2014, the acquisition of Zelenka took place, with which the group's range of services was expanded to include system manufacturing and powder coating. In 2016, Ralf Waibl was appointed to the management. Since 2018, futureblech and Zelenka have been operating as FUTRONIKA AG, which moved into the new company building in Hofolding, in the immediate vicinity of WAIBL GmbH, in 2019.

The group of companies employs just under 90 people and generates a turnover of over 15 million EUR. With the departure of Armin Waibl in April this year and the simultaneous admission of son Michael Waibl to the management, the generational change to the 3rd generation is complete.

FUTRONIKA AG Michael and Ralf Waibl
The 3rd generation of the management of FUTRONIKA AG: The brothers Michael Waibl and Ralf Waibl

Investments in the Future

FUTRONIKA AG produces components, enclosures, and machines at the highest level. From consultation through planning and design, procurement, production, and surface finishing to assembly and shipping, the contract manufacturing company provides all services in the metalworking sector from a single source. Regardless of whether individual parts, prototypes, larger quantities, or series parts are being manufactured, the company enables fast, precise, and reliable metal processing with uncompromising quality at its production site in Germany.

"In 2020, we were able to take a major step towards mechanical engineering and have meanwhile taken over the assembly and construction of entire machines," adds Ralf Waibl. "Especially for mid-size series, we are the better alternative to foreign providers. We have significantly reduced delivery times, as we have everything in-house or can offer it within the company group, and especially during the coronavirus pandemic, we have thus won many customers."

FUTRONIKA takes over the mechanical engineering, metal and sheet metal processing, as well as powder coating for customers from different sectors such as medical technology, semiconductor technology, additive technology, aviation, and the construction industry. WAIBL GmbH specializes in CNC machining and is a strong partner in custom machine and prototype construction. Customers not only benefit from advantages such as service, quality, reliability, flexibility, and fair prices but also appreciate the broad positioning, especially as the trend towards outsourcing is increasing once again.

Powder Coating Plant of FUTRONIKA AG
The powder coating plant of FUTRONIKA AG enables pretreatment based on nanoceramics

Staying Competitive

With the next family generation, further development within the company has been advanced. In the past ten years, digital transformation has been a focal point; processes have been optimized, and sequences automated.

"There is still a lot of potential in automation," says Ralf Waibl. "For this purpose, we hired two IT staff to help us in developing our own software. In addition, we regularly invest in our machine park to be up-to-date with technology and work more energy-efficiently and environmentally friendly. However, there are some tasks, such as welding - that can hardly or not at all be replaced by automation when it comes to small series. Certain manual tasks will remain, and that is also in our intention because we are inherently manufacturers."

For over 90 years, FUTRONIKA AG has been supporting the industry with contract manufacturing and wage labor. This long-standing tradition is intended to continue in the future. For this, Ralf Waibl wishes for more support from politics: "The bureaucracy is growing and growing, which is a major hurdle for smaller companies. This cost factor is particularly a disadvantage internationally. For example, a 4-day work week is basically feasible. But with a requirement of a maximum of ten hours of work per day, it is not possible. There are always situations where we need to process peaks at short notice. With more flexibility, we could make the whole thing more attractive, thus setting counterbalances to home office options or the advantages of office jobs. Against office jobs and the possibility of home office, we have no chance in mechanical engineering. Politics talks a lot with the industry, but the smaller medium-sized sector is a completely different area. Often, different solutions are needed for this, so that we can strengthen the economy in Germany in the long term and make jobs more attractive."

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