From a one-man company to a global player

by Hans Diederichs

“At the last EuroBLECH, the degree of digitalisation within the industry was already high. This was the starting point for the future of smart sheet metal working. Now it is time to firmly establish and optimise these digital production processes and enhance their efficiency and flexibility”, says Evelyn Warwick, EuroBLECH Exhibition Director, on behalf of the organisers Mack Brooks Exhibitions. “At EuroBLECH 2020, manufacturers of machines, IT systems and tools for sheet metal working have the possibility to present themselves to a global audience of visitors ready to invest. Visitors at the show are specifically looking for flexible and cost-efficient solutions in order to operate successfully in a competitive environment”, explains Evelyn Warwick. “The sheet metal working industry is in the process of a dynamic development and innovative technologies are playing an important role. Therefore, exhibiting companies are interested in larger stand spaces this time in order to present a lot of new machines. We are hence expecting a further growth in exhibition space for EuroBLECH 2020”, explains Evelyn Warwick.

An exhibitor brochure with detailed information about the exhibition, stand options and prices is now available from the organisers in three languages. The detailed exhibition profile, most important facts and figures as well as relevant information for exhibiting at EuroBLECH are also included. The brochure can be requested directly from the organisers or on the show website Companies interested in exhibiting at EuroBLECH 2020 can also reserve via the new online reservation form on the website.

Source and photo: Mack Brooks

As early as the 1970s, KASTO was one of the most innovative suppliers of metal sawing and storage technology for industry and trade. The solutions of the family business from Achern in Baden-Wuerttemberg are in demand – not only on the home market, but also beyond national borders. KASTO therefore relies on internationalisation in order to provide a high standard of service to customers and markets outside Germany. This was a pivotal step to ensure the future success of the manufacturer.

In 1977 KASTO founded its first branch in France. The company's current main site in Obernai, Alsace, is only a few kilometres away from the German headquarters – this makes the general organisation easier and ensures short distances. Target industries included steel trading, window construction and the aviation industry. The new branch quickly became a success – and today KASTO France has 30 employees, who serve around 4,000 customers in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and North Africa, achieving a considerable proportion of KASTO's steadily increasing foreign turnover.

A short time later KASTO dared to cross the pond and opened another branch in Pittsburgh, USA. The fluctuating economic development in the USA resulted in this site experiencing both highs and lows – and the "Steel Belt", the region around the city with its then booming steel industry became a "Rust Belt" in times of crisis. Since the end of the 2000s, however, Pittsburgh has been on the rise again, with numerous technology companies settling in and around the city. The American KASTO Inc. with around 40 employees and an extensive spare parts warehouse is also the contact for KASTO users in Canada. In 2018, the company inaugurated a new showroom with a Technology Centre in Chicago. Among other things, customers can see machines and digital solutions in advance there and carry out test cuts.

At the beginning of the 1990s, many companies invested in the new German federal states due to strong demand. KASTO also established a plant in Schalkau, Thuringia. In 2003, the company positioned itself on the British market. Today KASTO UK's 13 employees provide support for customers in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Finland and the Middle East. This means that the company's geographical and corporate stance is broad enough to cushion the economic risks of the UK's impending EU withdrawal.

When KASTO took its first steps on to the Asian continent in 2015, the company realised that protectionism, legal restrictions and administrative hurdles were among the greatest challenges on its route to becoming a global player. KASTO eventually succeeded in establishing itself in Asia, opening a branch in Singapore in 2015, and another in Taicang, China in 2018. Customers benefited from a much faster and more flexible service – and from employees who were familiar with the respective countries and cultures and who spoke the local language.

2016 saw KASTO move into less exotic, but equally attractive regions, with the establishment of a branch in Rheinfelden, Switzerland. Although it is not far from Achern to Switzerland, it is still very advantageous to have a presence in Switzerland, because it facilitates faster customer service and the speedier supply of spare parts. At this time, KASTO now has its own subsidiaries in six countries. However, no more will be added in the foreseeable future. This is also due to the excellent cooperation with numerous independent KASTO agencies in many countries of the world – from Norway to South Africa and from Brazil to New Zealand. The oldest of these is in Japan and has existed since 1965.

Over the years, much courage and commitment have paved the way for KASTO to become a global player. Nowadays, saws and storage systems from Achern can be found in every corner of the world: on La Réunion in the Indian Ocean, for example, or on the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Trinidad, on the Greek Cyclades, in Namibia, Oman and even New Caledonia in the Pacific. These KASTO products sometimes must deal with extreme environmental conditions in Finnish Lapland, for example, in the mountains of Nepal or in the Sahara in Algeria – and this can make delivery, installation and of course operation challenging at times. However, the high quality and robust designs of the KASTO solutions ensure that they always carry out their tasks reliably – anywhere in the world.

For the future, the manufacturer has set itself the goal of continually strengthening its international locations and expanding the constantly increasing share of foreign sales.

Source and photo: KASTO

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