Ljunghall’s all-star cast
Specialising in the production of die-cast aluminium products, Metallfabriken Ljunghall AB supplies goods to a number of companies across Europe.
The organisation produces some 16,000 tonnes from its manufacturing facilities every year, supplying some of the automotives industry’s main players, such as Scania, Volvo, Renault, Ford and Audi as well as blue-chip organisations in other market sectors, including Electrolux, Ericsson and Bang and Olufsen.
One of the key reasons that the company has built up such an impressive client portfolio is its commitment to quality in every product that it manufactures. This philosophy is based on solid craftsmanship and innovation from the development stage and the desire for constant improvement of working practices. The close working relationships with customers are also integral to Ljunghall’s prosperity as Hans Linner, the managing director, explains: “How closely we work with a particular client is up to them but the relationship we have with many of them is very close. Some of them are very keen to maintain a very close connection with us so we often give advice and input that will help them secure cheaper parts from their suppliers.”
Having been installed as the managing director in March, Hans is a relative newcomer to the company. However, boasting an extensive background in the engineering industry with companies such as ITT Flygt, Volvo Construction Equipment and, most recently, Finvenden Powertrain, his credentials cannot be in question. Having replaced the outgoing Lennart Bergqvist, Hans has been suitably impressed with what he has seen so far. “There is a very high level of skill at the company, especially with regard to the tooling operations. Because of this we are able to produce massively complex aluminium parts very competently – that creation of good quality products is a huge strength,” he says.
The same could be said for the company’s recent acquisition of Drop-Press, which is one of the fastest growing aluminium die-casters in the Czech Republic. Based in Caslav, which is situated just outside Prague, it specialises in finished machined components and supplies to the European automotive and telecom markets. The agreement, which was finalised in November last year after 12 months of negotiations, will see the two companies overlap in production capabilities, making back-up production possible in case of capacity shortage or interruption at the facilities in Caslav or Sodra Vi.
Commenting on his expectations for the company, Hans says: “The operations in the Czech Republic are very important to us because it means we can be competitive in the lower segments of the market that require simpler parts. It is also beneficial because Drop-Press has a number of customers that we do not work with here in Sweden. By informing them that we have bigger machines at our facility in Sodra Vi that are capable of producing very good parts on a larger scale, we have the opportunity to develop those partnerships.”
As well as presenting the opportunity to expand the business, the deal will also give the employees of the two companies the chance to develop their skills and experiences in an international environment. “One of our priorities is to develop the relationship between Ljunghall and Drop- Press,” says Hans. “We will be establishing synergies between them, which will allow us to strengthen both of the companies. By concentrating on the production of larger parts here in Sodra Vi and smaller to medium parts in Caslav, we have every chance of utilising a number of possibilities in the Czech Republic and consolidating our position in Sweden.”
Commenting on the conditions of the industry and his hopes for the future, he continues: “I believe that the business is very good at the moment, the production volumes are at a very high level and while the automotive sector is experiencing a very slight decrease, the trucking industry is very strong and looks like it will become even more positive in the future. To take advantage of that we need to improve in all areas, we are introducing an improvement programme across both companies shortly, so I am confident that we can develop in all areas and increase our position in the market. Looking forward I’d like the company to become stronger and deliver higher profits.”
Hans has every reason to be positive; as well as incorporating a subsidiary in one of Europe’s fastest developing regions in the automotive industry, he is confident that Ljunghall could soon secure a number of new contracts. “A number of quotations have been given to companies in the market, which they are currently considering. We should hear back definite decisions before the summer and we expect to gain some good new business for the company,” he states. It would be a more than fitting start to a promising tenure.
Products: Die-cast aluminium
Sites: Sweden and Czech Republic