This is certainly the case with the new name it has chosen to represent all of the group companies. “Precision Surfacing Solutions encapsulates perfectly what we do,” says Mr. Mantel. “We design and manufacture highly advanced machines to finish the surface of precision tooled parts to extremely narrow tolerances. In other words, we provide the final ‘fine tune’ to the surface.”
There are very few other companies that can achieve similarly fine tolerances in surface finishing, which makes Lapmaster Wolters one of the leaders in a highly specialized niche. Through the rebranding exercise, the company is aiming to create a unified brand under which to merge its various products and any new acquisitions in the future.
Demand for its expertise is growing, in particular in high-tech areas such as semiconductor manufacture, where its surfacing machines are used to polish silicon wafers. “We are considered the number one supplier in this particular niche, which also means that demand is particularly high,” confirms Mr. Mantel. “This can clearly be seen in our turnover development over the past few years. Just 18 months ago, turnover was around 37 million EUR. Currently, we are looking at a result of 50 million EUR for 2017, rising to 70 million EUR in 2018. Our site in Aschaffenburg will likely report sales of 40 million EUR in 2017 with a similarly strong increase in turnover expected for next year.”
Much of this strong growth has also come from its buoyant performance in export markets. Around half of sales for Lapmaster Wolters in Rendsburg are generated in export markets while the figure for the subsidiary in Aschaffenburg is around 40%.
“Our machines have applications in very diverse branches of industry,” says Mr. Mantel. “Our customers are drawn from sectors as varied as glass making, car manufacturing, hydraulic engineering, compressor manufacturing as well as semiconductor production, while our machines are sold to customers around the world.”
Whether the need is for precision sizing, flatness, parallelism or surface finishing, Lapmaster Wolters has the solution. “We create customized turnkey precision surfacing solutions utilizing the latest conventional and superabrasive techniques,” says Mr. Mantel. “Each solution is designed to meet the customer’s exact needs and is assembled from a modular set of standard components.”
Lapmaster Wolters can mine its intense expertise and long experience in precision surfacing with abrasive media, a technology developed and refined by Lapmaster Wolters over the past decades, to supply cost-effective, marketleading solutions.
“We try to meet the majority of requirements from our standard range wherever possible,” says Mr. Mantel. “We work closely together with renowned manufacturers who supply the abrasive media used in our machines to ensure their optimal performance.”
Automation is a key challenge for the future to which Lapmaster Wolters is responding with cooperations with other manufacturers aimed at developing complete solutions. “Our ultimate goal is to supply complete production lines rather than merely focusing on machines for the final steps in the process,” says Mr. Mantel. “We also want to continue to diversify the scope of our existing expertise and the industries we can supply.”
Amongst the sectors the company is targeting are consumer electronics and optics. “We see opportunities for our surfacing machines for polishing spectacle lenses,” says Mr. Mantel. “We already have the necessary expertise within the company, and by capitalizing on synergies between the various groups, we can better meet the needs of our customers.”