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The Rupp Report: More Investment For The Future

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

In mid-July 2010, Groz-Beckert officially opened its new Technology and Development Center (TEZ) in Albstadt, Germany. The TEZ will serve as a platform for research and development, strengthening systematic thinking, innovation, and synergies in close cooperation with machine producers, machine users and partners. An important role also is played by training and further education.

Facts And Figures
The planning started in the spring of 2005. In October 2006, the renowned Munich architectural office of Henn GmbH was awarded the contract. The construction work, realized by various local contractors, proceeded according to plan. This was also thanks to the commitment shown by the relevant authorities and the people involved in the project within the company itself.

The TEZ is Groz-Beckert's biggest-ever construction project, and the facts are impressive: 27,000 cubic meters (m3) of concrete, 3,200 metric tons of steel and 700 metric tons of steel girders were used, while almost 8,000 square meters (m2) of flat and sloping roofs had to be covered. The interior space amounts to 136,000 m3. The floor space covers an area of 5,000 m2, and the total area covered by the TEZ amounts to 25,000 m2, including 14,000 m2 of usable space.

Big Investment
With regard to sustainability, the TEZ surpasses in several respects the strict energy-saving requirements already in place. Structural materials were selected with conscious regard to environmental compatibility and durability. Emulsion-based materials were largely eliminated and the steel roofs were powder-coated, to prevent any rainwater contamination by heavy metals. The building is said to be the proof of the manner in which Groz-Beckert assumes economic, ecological and social responsibility.

The investment in the TEZ amounts to roughly 70 million euros. In choosing Albstadt as its location, Groz-Beckert says it has made a commitment in favor of its headquarters and the surrounding region. All the company's core competencies -- including development, design, process technology and lab technology -- are centered here, and especially at the TEZ. The center will thrive on the know-how transfer from production in Albstadt and from instant access to all services. Moreover, the site features a qualified education infrastructure and, as ever, a profound level of textile expertise.

The Services
Research and development, applications consulting, sound education and further training, a comprehensive interchange of ideas -- all these aspects and more are taken into consideration at the center, Groz-Beckert states. A main focus is on five technical centers for the most diverse textile production methods, including knitting, weaving, felting, tufting and sewing.

The company notes that machines and installations close to production are fixed components of these technical centers, adding that they enable application technology experiments as well as short batch runs and production of special series as a service for partners. It also is possible to test Groz-Beckert products under actual production conditions. In addition, customers and partners can work together at the centers to develop products, and processes can be optimized.

A further, central area of the TEZ is the Groz-Beckert Laboratory. Apart from lab services for the most diverse sectors, the lab provides a special section devoted to the new "Textile Product Technology -- Technical Textiles" study course. The TEZ also includes an apprentice workshop, various meeting and conference rooms, developer offices, and a 275-seat auditorium.

System solutions and services augment Groz-Beckert's diversified range of products. The company is also opening a card clothing service for nonwovens and a consulting service for sewing-machine needles, and expects the TEZ will provide additional synergies and momentum.

Systems Thinking
The TEZ has as its main goals not only a greater emphasis on thinking in systems, but also the encouragement of research and development, innovation, synergies, and the integration of training and further education, Groz-Beckert reports. In its effort to bring qualified new employees on board just in Albstadt, the company continually provides training for 30 commercial and 145 technical apprentices, and achieves a training quota higher than 9 percent.

August 17, 2010