An Alliance that works
The acquisition of the US companies Megtec and Universal has enabled Dürr to expand its market leadership in exhaust-air purification technology.
Through the acquisition of Megtec and Universal we are strengthening our position as a high-performing world market leader in industrial exhaust-air purification technology.
Ralf W. Dieter, CEO of Dürr AG
The reorganized Clean Technology Systems division now benefits from a comprehensive product portfolio. Megtec and Universal offer air pollution control, noise abatement and battery coating systems, which round out Dürr’s range. Benefits also result from the comprehensive industry knowledge: Dürr is particularly familiar with the automotive, pharmaceutical and chemical industries, while Megtec knows the packaging industry, and Universal has good contacts in companies in the oil and gas industry.
Emission limits are getting stricter almost everywhere in the world – and this also includes the emerging regions. There is a growing demand for high-performance exhaust-air purification systems. Dürr is now present in all important regions, with 1,500 highly qualified experts working to serve customers in the exhaust-air purification sector. Clean Technology Systems is planning to increase its sales to as much as € 500 million by 2021.
Today, Dürr is the only player in the market who can offer its customers all exhaust-air purification technologies and acoustic solutions from a single source. Those requiring a filter system for particulate matter and a thermal exhaust-air purification system, for example, no longer need to approach different suppliers. Dürr can provide a tailor-made technology mix from a single source.
All around the world, countries are adopting stricter environmental regulations to protect both nature and humans. Industry must therefore further reduce its emission levels – with the help of new technologies. To meet the growing demand, Dürr has acquired US companies Megtec and Universal, thus expanding its leading position as a supplier of exhaust-air purification technology. Dr. Daniel Schmitt, head of Dürr’s Clean Technology Systems division, and Kenneth Zak, former Senior Vice President of the acquired companies, now head of the division in America, explain the background of the takeover and how this benefits the customer.
DR. SCHMITT: Because we see the expansion of the division as a strategic opportunity, not just for our customers but also for us. Sales in exhaust-air purification technology have already seen encouraging growth over the last few years. With the acquisition of Megtec and Universal, we are moving to the next stage of growth. We now have 1,500 highly qualified experts working on first-class products in our exhaust-air purification section. For 2019, we are targeting annual sales of between 430 and 460 million euros. In 2018, it was 227 million euros. We expect this figure to increase to up to 500 million euros by 2021.
DR. SCHMITT: Emission limits are becoming more stringent, especially in emerging markets but also in industrial countries. There, our industrial customers need ever-more efficient exhaust-air purification systems. We are thus already seeing a marked increase in the demand for our products.
ZAK: An added fact is that, together, we are the only player in the market who can offer customers all exhaust-air purification systems from a single source. The same goes for acoustic solutions. Noise control is another area where regulations are getting stricter and where our customers need efficient and economical solutions. This is an excellent basis for future growth.
ZAK: We want to impress customers with our products and lead the Clean Technology Systems division into the future as the global market leader in industrial exhaust-air purification. We can achieve this by consolidating our knowledge as a united and strong team to develop new products worldwide that the market is waiting for.
DR. SCHMITT: Furthermore, we are now close to our customers in all important regions. Our combined, global ranges complement each other perfectly. Emerging industrial customers in Asian and possibly South American economies represent a huge market potential for our products and services. Already in 2018, 44 percent of incoming orders in environmental technology came from companies in emerging countries, with China alone making up 28 percent.
DR. SCHMITT: Aside from our existing range, we are increasingly developing optimum solutions for very different customer groups.
ZAK: A company requiring both a filter system for particulate matter and an exhaust-air purification system, for example, no longer needs to deal with several suppliers, but can purchase the ideal technology mix, suited to its needs, from us.
DR: SCHMITT: We have moved closer to our customers over the last few months. We can respond to their wishes better and faster, because our site network has become much denser. This enables us to offer ever better service. But it is not just our engineers that reach our customers faster. Spare parts are also available more quickly.
ZAK: We cannot stress these aspects highly enough. Service is extremely important to our customers and for future sales. Customers will only be loyal if their experience shows that their systems work properly. Every minute of outage costs them money.
ZAK: The technologies of Dürr, Megtec and Universal complement each other very well. There are only a few overlaps, for example in thermal exhaust-air purification systems. For particulate matter, sound control and acid gas systems, on the other hand, Megtec and Universal offer products that complement the combined range perfectly for customers.
DR. SCHMITT: Furthermore, our strengths benefit a number of very different sectors. Dürr supplies the automobile, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Megtec is particularly familiar with customers in the packaging industry, while Universal has extensive expertise that benefits the oil and gas industry.
ZAK: Megtec also offers complementary technologies. One example is the wet electrostatic precipitator, which is used not only in the mining industry for smelting operations but also in the wood products industry.
We will respond even faster and better to customer wishes.
DR. SCHMITT: It is aimed at providing synergies to offer industry better and more efficient products. Our combined product portfolio alone is increasing our market opportunities. In addition, our cooperation will lead to substantial cost savings in procurement – not least as a result of product standardization. This will also benefit customers because components, for example, will be available more quickly.
DR. SCHMITT: We offer our products by using three brands that are all clearly part of the Dürr family: Dürr, Dürr Megtec and Dürr Universal. We operate as a unit when dealing with customers.
DR. SCHMITT: We are creating teams of experts for individual industries. Our sales people offer the entire range of our exhaust-air purification technology to customers in automotive construction, for example. Others act as designated contact points for the pharmaceutical or wood products industry.
ZAK: Absolutely. Nothing has changed with regard to phone numbers or email addresses within the companies. We are here as one team for our customers, and we are making sure that changes will not cause them any inconvenience.
DR. SCHMITT: To begin with, we prepared a list of potential acquisition candidates. The most important requirement was that they should be a good match for us. We also wanted them to help us expand our range and further penetrate markets. Megtec and Universal were among the candidates we thought most likely to fulfill this. And as it happened – shortly after that, the two companies were indeed up for sale. We did not hesitate for one minute.
In 2018, Dürr bought the industrial environmental technology business of US plant engineering firm Babcock & Wilcox. The three subsidiaries with the core brands of Megtec and Universal cost 104 million euros. They round out Dürr’s industrial exhaust-air purification range. In 2018, Megtec and Universal together achieved annual sales of roughly 200 million euros. With the acquisition being completed in the fall, Dürr was still able to book around one quarter of this in 2018. Around 860 employees work in the acquired companies. Through the expanded Clean Technology Systems division, Dürr now has three key sites in the United States. Added to that are further sites, including in China, Australia, India, Korea, Thailand and Mexico. The division is thus represented through 25 sites in 13 countries.
Whether in the chemical factory, in food manufacturing or in a plastics plant – many production processes generate contaminants which accumulate in exhaust air. This is why Dürr has been building exhaust-air purification systems for five decades. The following two examples feature customers who have clean production thanks to Dürr.
Lauscha Fiber, a company based in Thuringia (Germany), produces glass fibers. These are an important component, for example, of batteries used in cars with an automatic start-stop system. Producing the glass material in the furnace generates dust and nitrogen oxide. To reduce emissions, Lauscha Fiber wanted to modernize its exhaust-air purification system. Following a thorough search, the company became one of the first German customers opting for Dürr's → Ecopure® CCF. The system can simultaneously reduce dust, sulfur and nitrogen oxide contained in exhaust air. This is a major advantage compared to conventional systems with a multi-stage purification process, where exhaust gases have to be heated and cooled several times. Now, the dust and nitrogen oxide emissions are substantially below thresholds expected in the future. Ecopure® CCF is also low-maintenance: For the purpose of servicing, it is possible to switch off individual modules rather than the entire system, without interrupting regular operation. And in the event of a fault, service technicians are available to help immediately via remote access.
The plant of Rökona Textilwerk GmbH & Co. KG is located near a residential area. As a good neighbor – as well as to meet legal requirements – the company places great importance on ensuring that nobody is affected by any contaminants or unpleasant odors in the exhaust air.
The Tübingen-based plant manufactures its products largely for the automotive industry. The textiles are processed to ensure specific technical properties. To this end, long panels are soaked in liquid and dried at high temperatures. This generates exhaust air which must not escape through the chimney without first being cleaned. In view of forthcoming legal changes, the company opted for a new exhaust-air purification system made by Dürr. It is based on the principle of → regenerative thermal oxidation (RTO). The system heats the exhaust air to temperatures of over 800 °Celsius. Harmful hydrocarbons are converted to non-harmful, almost odorless substances.
“We avoid polluting our neighborhood and stay within current emission limits. Thanks to Dürr technology, we can even face a tightening of these emission limits with confidence.” says Rökona Managing Director Arved Westerkamp. He also appreciates the simple, automatic operation and the low maintenance requirements.
Thanks to Dürr technology, we can even face a tightening of these emission limits with confidence.
Arved Westerkamp, Rökona Managing Director
Emission regulations are becoming increasingly stringent, not only in Europe and America, but also in the Asian emerging markets, where pollution through poor air quality is on the rise. Industrial companies around the world are thus investing in technology which can be used to clean exhaust air generated by factories.