After a successful 2018 in which GHI has doubled its growth forecast, reaching almost 20% growth and surpassing 30 million euros of turnover, this year the investments of GHI will be focused "to the improvement of our facilities and processes with the goal of increasing our efficiency and productivity ", according to José Domingo Berasategui, General Manager of the company.
To the aforementioned growth in last year’s turnover was added the reinforcement of the workforce with more than 25 new employees. The firm also expanded the resources allocated to innovation, which by 2019 will exceed 1.5 million euros. Primarily, this amount will focus on digitisation and industry 4.0, areas for which GHI have created a specific department.
Leader in Spain and international leader in its sector, the Biscayan company GHI Smart Furnaces has important portfolio projects for this year, in which GHI will also seek to consolidate its position through a strategy based on constant innovation, a trained and committed human team, technology 4.0 and collaboration with customers, suppliers and technology centres.
For this part, among the main technological milestones of GHI in 2018 include the supply of the "largest in the world" rotary tilting furnace with which the firm has beaten, for the second time, a world record. It was a project subsidised by the Basque Government in which the company has worked together with Befesa and Tecnalia. Result: the development of an equipment of 65 tons of capacity that exceeds by 30% its previous record and which is equipped with a multi-door system and 4.0 technology that makes it "more efficient and automatic". The furnace started in September and GHI already has a new order to supply another 65 tons rotary furnace this year for the same customer.
The firm is also in the process of patenting the 'On Stamp' rolling beam furnace for hot stamping, developed with one of the leading suppliers of automotive components worldwide. It is about, according to Berasategui, installations that are in constant evolution, so that each one of the eight furnaces supplied until now has notable improvements.
Another relevant event in 2018 was the recognition of GHI as one of the 'Hidden Champions' companies by the “Diputación de Bizkaia” and “Beaz”. These companies are industrial SMEs with a history, a product or a star technology and a high level of export that allows them to have a relevant position, sustained growth and profitability above the industry average.
In this regard, its solutions include the fact that, as a result of its commitment to maintaining a constant innovation process, 80% of sales in recent years correspond to new product, increasingly more comprehensive and with clear competitive advantages. The strategic focus of the company in three main segments - hot stamping, aluminium recycling and wheel heat treatment plants - has also facilitated today's multiple references to the world's technological forefront.
Finally, underline that non-technological innovations have also been an important chapter in recent months. Among others, the company has made an adaptation of its production facilities and offices based in lean manufacturing principles, as well as the implementation of a new ERP. It has also carried out its connection to the natural gas network, which has facilitated that since early 2018, its equipment has already been tested both cold and hot, thus achieving the assembly and start-up times in the facilities of the customer have been reduced to one third of the previous time and that the number of incidents has significantly decreased.
The development of its 'Smart Furnace' model and its 'Beyond 4.0' platform for data capture and monitoring also focused a good part of GHI's work during the past year. It is worth noting that GHI accomplished the 100% connection in 'Beyond 4.0' of the first complete plant for aluminium recycling in Europe, composed of seven aluminium melting furnaces and their auxiliary equipment.
With regard to the present 2019, GHI will continue to deepen the improvement of energy efficiency, automation and digitalisation of its furnaces while continuing to be immersed in projects related to industry 4.0, with the aim to have smart furnaces to ensure its features throughout its useful life.
And as the trend for the future also passes through the after-sales technical service and industry 4.0, for both areas it has created separate departments (Customer Care Service and 4.0 Engineering), with the aim of improving its value proposal.