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Competition: World trip with truth check

Would you like to find out more about the Dürr Group’s worldwide activities and take on a little challenge? Then take part in our historically hair-raising competition!

Around 125 years ago, the world seemed even smaller—including in business life. After having founded his metal shop for roof flashing in Cannstatt in 1896, Paul Dürr worked mainly in Stuttgart and the surrounding area. Today, the Dürr Group has 121 locations in 33 countries, generates over 80% of its sales abroad and feels just as much at home in China, Brazil and the USA as it does in Germany.

There is much to be told about our worldwide network and how it originated. We have compiled information from the Group on each country. However, one or two details that made us suspicious have wangled their way into the carefully researched data. Time for a truth check.

Fact or fake?

Now it’s up to you: Can you find all five countries hiding little fibs? Click through the world map and read the country reports carefully. If you can detect all the misinformation, you will have the chance to win one of three attractive prizes.

It's worth taking part! Because this is what you can win:

“Down under”, HOMAG Australia supplies the wood and furniture industry with machinery, know-how and services. In addition to headquarters in Sydney – which, by the way, also houses the operations of MEGTEC Systems Australia –, there is sales, service and administrative staff deployed throughout the country. A couple of years ago there was an unprecedented peak in demand in the Australian market. The reason: The first kangaroo obstacle course was about to start in the country and the wooden obstacles that the marsupials had to overcome were to be manufactured – what else would you expect – on HOMAG machines.
HOMAG Austria GmbH, a sales and service company in the Salzburg region, is the Dürr Group’s sole representative in Austria. With hundreds of joineries and an innovative timber construction industry, the local market is strongly characterized by craftsmanship and medium-sized businesses. However, it is precisely smaller companies with their demand for technically sophisticated solutions that are important innovation drivers for HOMAG.
Brazil was the first country in which Heinz Dürr and his father Otto founded a foreign subsidiary. The reason for this was a major order from VW do Brasil, for which the company wanted to be as close as possible to the customer. The early move to Brazil in 1964 was not only a sign of the international performance capability of the plant manufacturer, but also a model for the establishment of further foreign subsidiaries in other countries in the years that followed. Today, four other corporate brands besides Dürr serve the South American market from Brazil: AGRAMKOW, CPM, HOMAG and Verind. Dürr has planned a very special volunteering activity for the anniversary year 2021: In coordination with the local monument protection authority, an experienced team of painting specialists will support the restoration of the world-famous statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro.
In Bulgaria, HOMAG Group Trading forms a central hub for the Woodworking Machinery and Systems division. Acting as an extension for all HOMAG purchasing activities in Southeastern Europe, the subsidiary handles services such as supplier searches, inquiry and quotation processing, quality assurance and logistics.
In Canada, the Dürr Group is very streamlined in structure. A large part of the market is covered from the USA, benefiting from the North American Free Trade Agreement. The company with the greatest on-site presence is HOMAG, which offers its customers from the woodworking industry as many as three contact points spread across the country, all equipped with a showroom. An operarting business unit of Dürr’s Environmental Systems division is based in Waterloo, Ontario. With the acquisition of the Canadian technology provider Cogiscan Inc. at the beginning of 2021, the Dürr Group also expanded its range of products and services for the digitalization of production processes.
The largest market, largest volume of sales, largest number of employees outside Germany – for the Dürr Group, China is a country of superlatives. Who knows whether Dürr could have foreseen this when they received the first small orders from the Middle Kingdom at the beginning of the 1980s? One thing is certain: Dürr recognized the gigantic potential in Asia’s largest country earlier than its competitors and has become an accepted partner in the emerging economy. In order to cater for the growing importance of the Chinese market, a great deal has been invested in the expansion of the local presence in recent years. Dürr and Schenck opened modern campus locations and HOMAG has significantly increased its local clout with the acquisition of HOMAG China Golden Field, the world’s largest sales organization for furniture production plants.
Czech Republic
In the Czech Republic, Schenck is flying the Group flag – not in the form of a foreign company, but as a branch of Darmstadt-based Schenck RoTec GmbH. The two locations collaborate closely due to the legal and organizational affiliation. In addition to sales and service, the branch also offers contract balancing in its own balancing center and targets customers from the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
In Denmark, primarily the increasing activities of the HOMAG Group in the solid wood sector are having a noticeable impact. In 2020, System TM, the leading supplier of optimization and system solutions for the woodworking industry, became part of the corporate family. The next step towards establishing the company as a leading technology partner for sustainable construction with solid wood was taken just a few months later. The HOMAG Group took over the Danish company Kallesoe, a specialist in high-frequency presses for the production of cross laminated timber boards, which are used for the construction of walls for timber houses. With its Woodworking Machinery and Systems division, the Dürr Group is now represented by three companies in Denmark. Also present locally: AGRAMKOW, the filling technology specialist belonging to Schenck.
Bienvenue! In France, there are several subsidiaries of the Dürr Group to welcome you – among them the niche supplier Datatechnic S.A.S, a company acquired in 2009 that specializes in balancing equipment for turbochargers. Dürr, Schenck and HOMAG not only serve the local market from France, but also other French-speaking countries, especially in Africa.
The Dürr Group has its roots in Cannstatt, now a city district of Stuttgart. It was there that master tinsmith Paul Dürr founded a metal shop for roof flashing in 1896, which has developed into a global player over 125 years. The company’s fortunes continue to be steered from Germany. All three sub-groups – Dürr Systems, Schenck and HOMAG – as well as Dürr AG are headquartered there. In addition, there are many other locations throughout the country. With around 8,500 employees, almost half of the workforce is employed in the Group’s home country.
United Kingdom
Dürr was already active locally for the tradition-steeped British automotive industry at an early stage. Since 1971, the company has had a subsidiary in centrally located Warwick near Birmingham. From there, all the automotive plants of the customers were well within reach – at that time, large orders came mainly from Jaguar, Rover and Rolls Royce. Later, as more and more Japanese car manufacturers established businesses in the UK, the customer base grew. Today, Schenck, Megtec and Universal are three more representatives of the Dürr Group in the United Kingdom. Schenck has even been entrusted with royal responsibility: Since 2004, the Queen’s crown has been balanced once a year on a Schenck machine.
In India, the Dürr Group has been represented by a subsidiary since 1997. The capacities in Chennai were gradually expanded in order to be able to serve both the local market and the customers in the nearby Southeast Asian countries, where Dürr was not yet present with its own companies at that time. Through the acquisition of Schenck, HOMAG and Megtec/Universal, locations in other Indian cities were added: Bangalore in the south, Pune in the west and Noida in the north of the country. By the way, the workforce of the Dürr Group in India is younger than the average: Approximately half of the employees there are under 35 years old. The Group-wide average is seven years older.
Although Dürr built a paint shop in Indonesia as early as 1975, the densely populated island state really moved into focus decades later when expansion into the Southeast Asian markets was driven by the promising growth prospects. In 2014, a subsidiary was established in Bekasi. Four years later, HOMAG also set up an office at the same location.
CPM, Verind and Olpidürr: Why is it that the names of the Italian subsidiaries hardly allow us to recognize the connection to Dürr, if at all? The answer can be found a couple of decades in the past. In order to gain a foothold in Italy’s tradition-steeped automobile industry in the 1950s and 60s, Dürr initially relied on collaboration with local family businesses. The collaborations turned into majority holdings and the partners became part of the Group. Schenck Italia and HOMAG Italia, however, are also foreign subsidiaries in the southern European country whose affiliation to the parent group is obvious. No knowledge of the corporate historical background is required here.
Dürr’s connections to Japan date back to the late 1960s. At that time, Heinz Dürr entered into the first licensing agreements with the Japanese company Nihon Parkerizing, a manufacturer of chemicals for surface treatment. Since 2001, Dürr has had its own subsidiary in the country. The high-tech expertise is the door opener to the market, which is difficult for foreign companies to access. The company presents its new developments in application technology in a technology center. While HOMAG is also represented in Japan with its own company, Schenck relies on a long-standing joint venture with the Japanese machinery manufacturer Nagahama Seisakusho to meet the demand for balancing technology.
In the 1970s, the Southeast Asian region was initially supplied with Dürr products by licensees and sales partners, since market studies showed that the economic region did not offer sufficient volume for a company of its own. Times have changed. Over the past 20 years, economic development has gained significant momentum in the ASEAN states, including in Malaysia. A local presence has become a must in this high-growth market. Both Dürr and HOMAG have been demonstrating their proximity to customers there for some years now.
Dürr is taking customer proximity literally. New foreign companies are therefore usually established where car manufacturers make investments. This is also the case in Morocco. Dürr equipment can be found in all Moroccan automobile plants. Alongside South Africa, Morocco is now the most important location for the automotive industry on the African continent. One of the great advantages of the North African country is its proximity to Europe.
Dürr’s second foreign subsidiary was established in Mexico in 1966. Interfinish, as the company was then called, was quickly able to establish itself in the market. Within ten years, Dürr received orders in Mexico for the construction of six complete painting lines. Today, Dürr de México is the leading supplier of painting and final assembly technology to the Mexican automotive industry. The modern site in Querétaro also accommodates the activities of the Group subsidiaries Schenck and AGRAMKOW. Two hundred kilometers further north, in San Luis Potosí, is where the colleagues of Dürr Universal are based. The site is ideally suited for agave cultivation, thanks to the climatic conditions. Several rare specimens of the plant genus grow around the company building. From these, Dürr regularly distills a first-class mezcal for its employees.
In order to ensure that “everything runs smoothly” in the Benelux countries, Schenck holds the fort in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Carl Schenck Machines en Installaties B.V. offers local customers advice and support in all areas of balancing and diagnostic technology.
New Zealand
In 1973, Dürr installed the country’s first electrophoretic dip coating system in a suburb of Auckland. Although the connection to the Pacific island nation goes back a long way, Dürr has not “settled down” there in the course of all these years. In 2015, it was ultimately the HOMAG Group, acquired one year earlier, that established small but healthy roots in New Zealand.
A subsidiary was founded in Poland in 1990 with the aim of driving expansion into Eastern Europe after the fall of the Iron Curtain. In the year of its foundation, Dürr Poland had 13 employees. By now, there are several hundred. HOMAG also has two subsidiaries in Poland with a large workforce, which is why the Eastern European country ranks third within the Dürr Group in terms of workforce size with just under 1,200 employees. Recently, capacities for in-house engineering services in particular have been significantly increased.
As early as in the 1960s, Dürr succeeded in establishing stable economic relations with Soviet customers despite the Iron Curtain. In 1967, a first order was received from Moscow, and a few years later a delegation of Soviet politicians visited Dürr’s headquarters in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Since 1989, Dürr has supported automakers setting up operations in Russia. The foundation of a subsidiary of its own took place in 2007. Today, in addition to Dürr, HOMAG is also on site with sales and service activities as a contact partner for Russian customers.
From its central location in Singapore, the activities of HOMAG Asia extend across the entire Southeast Asian area, ensuring that customer support and service in this fast-growing region are always provided from the immediate vicinity. AGRAMKOW, the filling technology specialist belonging to Schenck, also uses Singapore as the starting point for its sales and service activities in Southeast Asia.
In Žilina, an important industrial city in the northwest of Slovakia, Dürr opened a service center in 2006 – after having previously built a paint shop there for the Korean customer KIA. In addition to consulting, their range also includes services and modernizations as well as support in the implementation of new vehicle models – not only for automotive customers in Slovakia, but also in the Czech Republic and Hungary.
South Africa
Would you have thought that the South African subsidiary is one of the oldest Dürr branches abroad? In fact, Dürr has been in the country since 1971. At that time, it was mainly the German automakers who set up branches in South Africa – and consequently Dürr did as well. Today, the company enjoys close and long-standing relationships with the most important players in the South African automotive industry. By the way, predominantly right-hand drive vehicles are produced on the Cape.
South Korea
In order to strengthen its activities in the dynamic Asian market, Dürr founded the joint venture Shindürr in 1995 together with its South Korean partner Shinhang. Eight years later, the company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Dürr, which has since been operating on the South Korean market from Seoul as Dürr Korea Inc. The company mainly serves customers from the automotive industry, but also from the chemical sector and general industry. HOMAG and Schenck are represented in South Korea by a sales and service company.
When the dimensions get a little bigger and an airplane has to be painted instead of a car, then it’s a job for the Dürr team in Spain. In 2017, Dürr Systems Spain became the center of competence for the aircraft industry within the Group. Yet the Spanish foreign subsidiary also builds on decades of experience from projects in the automotive industry. It was in fact founded back in 1974 – at a time when Dürr was expanding worldwide. HOMAG also has two pillars in Spain: HOMAG España provides services for all woodworking machines in the country, and HOMAG Machinery Barcelona develops and produces panel cutting systems for the entry-level sector.
The Dürr Group has only one location in Sweden – and it’s a fairly new one to us. It was not until the US company Megtec/Universal became part of the Clean Technology Systems division that this flag was added to the world map. MEGTEC Systems AB, based in Gothenburg offers, for example, offers solutions that filter particulate matter from a variety of manufacturing processes. The colleagues in Sweden, however, not only want to enable their customers to do business in an environmentally friendly way. Attention is also paid to the company’s own CO2 footprint. To avoid having to use too much energy for lighting in the darkness of the Scandinavian winter months, a more sustainable alternative is used at the site in the north with thousands of the company’s own fireflies.
North of Zurich, in the small municipality of Höri, the Dürr Group’s only Swiss subsidiary is located: HOMAG (Schweiz) AG. From here, consulting, sales and service are handled for the particularly quality-conscious Swiss market, where the primary emphasis is on individual solutions.
The automotive markets in Southeast Asia offer very promising prospects for growth. Dürr’s legal entities in Thailand work closely together with the foreign subsidiaries in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam in order to be perceived by OEMs as an efficient local partner. So far, Japanese automakers have dominated the ASEAN region, but other manufacturers have also set their sights on the Southeast Asian countries.
Without causing a stir, Turkey has developed into one of the most important supplier and production locations for international automobile manufacturers in recent decades. Luckily, Dürr has been present locally since 2007. In addition to foreign car manufacturers, Turkish companies are increasingly entering the market. Incidentally, the sales and service activities of HOMAG are also located at the site in the Izmit/Kocaeli industrial center.
As the world’s largest economic power, the USA is also of particular importance to the Dürr Group. Thus, it is no surprise that the Group has a correspondingly large presence there, including in the Detroit metropolitan area, the heart of the US automotive industry. Probably less well known, however, is the circumstance that it was a fact-finding trip to the US in 1949 that encouraged Otto Dürr in his decision to venture into plant engineering. Incidentally, the largest order in the company’s history also came from the land of opportunity. In 2003, General Motors ordered three paint shops as a package. In 2017, Dürr opened a modern campus location in Southfield, Michigan, where several divisions work hand in hand under one roof.
In Vietnam, both the automotive and furniture industries are showing an upward trend. Both markets offer enormous growth potential. That is why the “Group twins” DURR VIETNAM COMPANY LIMITED and HOMAG VIETNAM COMPANY LIMITED were established in 2019. Gaining a foothold in the Vietnamese market provided the Dürr team with one or two instructive insights. For example, the unconventional search for suppliers via Facebook turned out to be very successful.

How to participate in the competition

Send an e-mail with your first and last name and the five countries where you think there’s been a bit of a fib to 125years@durr.com by July 15, 2021. If you have solved the task correctly, your name will automatically go into the lottery pot. The winners of the prize draw will be informed by e-mail shortly after the closing date. Good luck!

Eligible to participate are individuals who have reached the age of 18. The personal data of the participants will only be collected, stored and used for the purpose of carrying out the competition. No data will be passed on to third parties. The data protection regulations will be complied with. Participation is only possible within the participation period. Entries received after the closing date will not be considered in the draw. The winners will be determined after the closing date by means of a random draw among all participants who have solved the task correctly. The winners of the draw will be promptly informed by e-mail about the prize.
If the winner does not respond after two requests within a period of four weeks, the prize can be transferred to another participant. In the event of winning, the winner agrees to the publication of his/her name and place of residence in the Dürr & More online magazine. Any costs incurred for shipping the prizes will be borne by Dürr AG. Participation in the competition is free of charge. No cash payout. The judges’ decision is final. German law shall apply.

Anna Waibel
Corporate Communications & Investor Relations
Dürr Aktiengesellschaft
Carl-Benz-Str. 34
74321 Bietigheim-Bissingen