"Without graphite, we would still be sitting in caves today!"

Interview with Marco Balzer, CEO of GTD Graphite Technology GmbH

GTD company premises in Langgöns
Plenty of space: The 12,000 m² company premises in Langgöns

Graphite is an extremely versatile material that, due to its physical properties, is suitable for numerous applications across various industries. As a medium-sized, innovation-driven company, GTD Graphite Technology GmbH manufactures a wide product portfolio from high-quality materials of the parent company. The graphite specialists from Langgöns in Hesse are very close to their customers and also support them in the development of new products.

"Without graphite, we would still be sitting in the cave," says Marco Balzer, who has been with the company since 2014 and responsible as managing director for GTD Graphite Technology GmbH since the beginning of 2023. "All semiconductor processes from the production of silicon to coating and refining are always dependent on graphite and other materials like CFC and WAFC."

The raw material is sourced by GTD from the Japanese parent company Toyo Tanso in the form of blocks or powder and is shaped into the desired form using different technologies.

Marco Balzer, Managing Director of GTD Graphit Technologie GmbH
Marco Balzer, Managing Director of GTD Graphit Technologie GmbH

“We manufacture components from raw powder to the finished product, so-called PTS parts, meaning ‘press to size’. Other parts are produced from blocks supplied by the parent company, which we process into shape using sawing, turning, milling, and waterjet cutting – the usual machining technologies.”

Versatile in use

Thanks to their outstanding material properties, graphite and carbon are almost indispensable. They have high temperature resistance and thermal conductivity, are extremely chemically resistant and dimensionally stable. Thus, the range of applications spans from graphite for spark erosion of sawed, ground, and milled square bars, head electrodes, and precision-sawn plates to cooling fins electrodes, round bars, and foil plates, up to electrode blanks with drilling patterns.

GTD Charge Carrier
Outstanding material properties: Charge carriers...
GTD Semiconductors
...and semiconductors

Graphite and CFC materials for high-temperature applications are used, among other things, in the construction of vacuum furnaces, in the heat treatment of steel, as well as in high-temperature brazing and sintering. The product portfolio for the semiconductor industry includes heaters, support crucibles, heat shields, and insulation components for the growth of single crystals, as well as susceptors for silicon epitaxy and for MOCVD reactors. In addition, GTD supplies components and systems made of ISO-graphite or CFC material for photovoltaics, bearings and seals, as well as graphite molds for non-ferrous metals and precious metals.

Multiple certifications

The company now known as GTD Graphit Technologie GmbH was founded in 1991 by Ulf Rosenblatt and was later taken over by the Japanese Toyo Tanso Co. Ltd. In 1997, its own manufacturing was established, and in 2007/2008, a new building with a production area of 4,500 m² was constructed on a 12,000 m² site. The thermal heat treatment started in 2013, and the pressed-to-size production began in 2018.

GTD Granite Powder
Basic material for many products: graphite powder, electrode blanks, graphite square rods, and head electrodes

Today, the company, which is certified according to DIN ISO 9001, 14001, and 50001, employs a team of 94 staff members, which is expected to increase to between 100 and 110 in the medium term. The main industries that GTD supplies are medical and automotive technology, semiconductor industry, metallurgy, and toolmaking. The catchment area includes the DACH region as well as Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

Known in the industry

"The users know us," says Marco Balzer happily. "Nevertheless, we employ six field sales staff who look after our customers in direct sales." Furthermore, GTD uses various marketing channels, for example, with stands at trade fairs such as GIFA in Düsseldorf, Achema in Frankfurt, or at semiconductor trade fairs.

Other marketing activities are conducted through the parent company Toyo Tanso, a local advertising agency, and presence in social networks like LinkedIn or Xing. "In addition, we collaborate with schools and universities and also employ working students," explains the managing director.

GTD Electrode Blanks
GTD Graphite Square Rods
GTD Head Electrodes

Growing with the Customers

The continuous digitalization of the process chain arms GTD for future tasks. Marco Balzer: "We have an ERP system and are in the process of digitalizing goods flow and production planning. Our machines are largely automated and we have VDA ordering interfaces." The transition of 20% of the customers to recyclable packaging is seen by the managing director as an important sustainability goal. "We are always at eye level with our customers and look for solutions together with them," Marco Balzer identifies reasons for the success of GTD. "Moreover, we have been on the market for more than 30 years."

Another key to success is the committed and motivated team. "We are also at eye level with our employees," assures the managing director. "We maintain an open and constructive cooperation." Marco Balzer also sees securing the site in Langgöns and a sufficient number of employees as tasks for the coming years, just like supporting the generational change within the workforce. "Our goal for the future is to revive the local-to-local idea more strongly and to keep our customers locally, to bind them to us, and to grow together with them," says Marco Balzer.