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Annual Report 2016

Non-financial performance indicators

Alongside economic goals, all business units of the technotrans Group also pursue non-financial goals. The non-financial performance indicators presented below play a major role in the sustained success of the group.


technotrans subscribes to the principles of sustainable business development. The group parent and its subsidiaries treat employees, suppliers and business partners in a fair and respectful manner. They advocate the protection of the environment and of the earth’s resources, and are mindful of their social responsibility. They bind their employees into a culture of unfailing regard for the law and for ethical standards.
technotrans accepts that responsibility worldwide in a variety of ways, for instance through its commitment to the Global Compact initiative of the United Nations (UN), or through the group-wide code of behaviour introduced in 2011. We always base our actions on the THINK-LEARN-ACT corporate philosophy that is actively practised throughout the entire group. The UN Global Compact is a strategic initiative that seeks to promote corporate social responsibility and sustainability in organisations and enterprises. Its centrepiece is ten universally acknowledged principles spanning human rights, labour standards, environmental protection and anti-corruption measures.

technotrans has been a member of this initiative since 2006 and plays an active role in furthering its long-term goal – defining the social and ecological aspects of globalisation – while also consciously measuring its activities and strategies against these standards. Implementing the ten principles is a permanent challenge in our day-to-day work. technotrans upholds the protection of human rights, advocates compliance with worldwide labour standards, and rejects child and forced labour. By offering approved student internships to young people, we offer them an opportunity to get to know the world of work during the school holidays through arrangements that meet all the statutory requirements, so that they can form a better picture of their own career direction. In the group companies we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind against employees in our company (whether based on gender, skin colour, nationality, religion, social background, disability or other aspects). We adopt a zero tolerance stance towards any such misconduct at the workplace. technotrans has also set itself the goal of making family and working life compatible. Our employees are appointed solely on the basis of their qualifications – and nothing else. Checks are regularly carried out to assess whether the guidance to that effect, as laid down for instance in management manuals or compliance guidelines, has been followed. This audit again brought to light no departures from the application of the principles in respect of labour standards and human rights in 2016.

technotrans is internationally successful. But all over the world there are the weak, who will have no future prospects if they are not supported. Children and young people are in an even more precarious position. They need help particularly urgently. That is why technotrans has been an active supporter of Friedensdorf International (Aktion Friedensdorf e.V.) since 2011; it performs constructive work with long-term benefits for the future. This charity attends to children from war-torn and crisis zones, supporting them with medical and psychological help, education, projects and relief supplies.

In its economic activity, technotrans consciously seeks to help the environment by preserving resources. The company develops technologies that redefine the benchmark and are designed for energy-saving components and low-emission solutions. technotrans is currently exploring a highly promising solution for sustainable energy storage technology in stationary and mobile applications. Environmental protection and sustainability in both product development and the use of resources will continue to be a high priority.

Corruption is a danger to everyone. It hampers development, deepens poverty and has a devastating effect on society, both economically and socially. High quality and reliability have built up technotrans’ good reputation in the markets and repeatedly facilitate its access to new customers. To protect the group against potential losses, technotrans maintains transparency and implements internal control mechanisms. One particular priority is compliance with our company-wide, binding set of anti-corruption guidelines. For that reason, technotrans will continue to do all in its power to support the Global Compact through its business activities and strategies, and will make adjustments as necessary to bring itself into line with those principles.


The primary characteristics of the corporate culture are short decision-making paths, a strong team emphasis and flat hierarchies.

The number of employees in the technotrans Group at the end of the financial year increased from 828 to 1,252. The figure of 1,069 employees expressed as full-time equivalents at the reporting date of December 31, 2016 reflects technotrans’ huge propensity to invest in vocational training as well as the growing popularity of part-time employment.

technotrans was again able to respond flexibly to temporary fluctuations in the level of orders in 2016 by means of time accounts and temporary employees, with time credits then earned or used as necessary. The German production locations saw a volume-led increase in capacity in the production-focused areas in the year under review. Taking account of the planned growth, we consequently only plan further increases in capacity in isolated cases.

Revenue per capita reached € 153 thousand (previous year: € 152 thousand) in the past financial year. This key performance indicator therefore falls short of former levels and from an operational perspective is not yet satisfactory. However from a strategic viewpoint it is still important for technotrans to hold onto qualified expertise carriers in order to unlock new markets and as a basis for future growth.

technotrans traditionally treats training as a very important matter. On the one hand we aim to continue recruiting juniors from within our own ranks. On the other hand it is in the interests of both society and the company to respond in a timely manner to the challenges of demographic change. The fact that society is growing older and that skilled staff are in short supply is already having an impact. This development will become even more marked over the next few years.

The number of apprentices in the group increased to 116 (previous year: 80) at December 31, 2016. The proportion of apprentices at the German group companies was therefore around 11 percent. A conscious effort is made to offer additional apprenticeships for high-school graduates as an attractive alternative to “studying in overcrowded lecture theatres”. The range of vocations for which technotrans now provides training is correspondingly diverse:

For many years technotrans AG has been punching above its weight in the standard of training it provides for juniors. In this area the focus in the 2016 financial year was on the development of a new careers website, the launch of e-recruiting for technotrans AG and gds GmbH, plus the integration of asylum seekers. At the Sassenberg location, the company created both initial placement places and additional apprenticeship places specifically for refugees.
In order to broaden the horizons of its apprentices during their training, technotrans encourages exchanges between the apprentices and their colleagues at neighbouring businesses. It also aims to promote specialist exchanges within the group.

technotrans is a technology company. That is reflected in the qualifications of its employees. Not counting the apprentices, 47 percent of employees have undergone training leading to qualifications, 17 percent have an engineering qualification and 20 percent have an academic background. technotrans is furthermore a young company: around 49 percent of the workforce are under 40 years old, and only 6 percent are over 60. The average age is just under 40; this figure has therefore come down slightly compared with the previous year.

The specialist and social expertise of a company’s employees are its most valuable asset. By way of personnel development, internal and external training as well as vital advancement measures were again provided for employees in 2016 to keep them well qualified for the challenges of the future. technotrans will continue with its systematic personnel development in this area over the coming years.

To make it easier for employees to balance working and family life, a few years ago technotrans established a partnership with a municipal kindergarten at the Sassenberg location in order to provide flexible child care options for children who have not yet reached school age. The arrangements are aimed especially at women who would like to keep pursuing their career objectives while bringing up a family.

Personnel expenses in 2016 rose to € 52.9 million (previous year: € 42.2 million) in particular following the inclusion of new participating interests. Of this sum, € 8.2 million was attributable to technotrans’ increased scope of consolidation. The remainder of this extra amount results from the pay increase made in the financial year on the one hand and from the capacity buildup in the growth-driving technology areas of the production plants on the other hand. One-off severance payments were higher than in the previous year, rising from around € 0.1 million to € 0.3 million. The personnel costs ratio for the group (personnel expenses as a proportion of revenue) was 34.9 percent (previous year: 34.3 percent). The aim is to reduce the personnel costs ratio once more in future.

The remuneration of employees is a reflection of their individual positions within the company. They are each allocated to grades, which in turn comprise a number of remuneration bands. Annual decisions on percentage pay increases are negotiated between the Board of Management and the Works Council. Pay increases averaging 3.0 percent were agreed for the 2017 financial year.

The employees’ profit share is in addition tied to the EBIT margin. Upward of an EBIT margin of 5 percent, a bonus is paid out to those who are not entitled to a management bonus. Performance-related pay components e.g. for service technicians were also introduced. There have been other fringe benefits such as employee-financed occupational health insurance cover for all employees at German locations since 2014; this provides top-up insurance cover where there are gaps in the cover afforded by the statutory health insurance schemes. In 2016 technotrans participated in a workplace health management pilot project for the Sassenberg location and has also been supporting employees in their pursuit of various fitness activities since 2015. In the future, too, technotrans will be increasing its efforts to promote health management.

Throughout the group, managers receive (management) bonuses that are agreed individually in their contracts and depend half on the attainment of company targets, and half on their personal performance. They receive part of annual pay increases in the form of shares. There are no other incentive schemes involving share components.

Corporate Communications

Open, transparent corporate communications are a central aspect of good corporate governance. As well as clear, intelligible content, this aspect entails equal access to information about the company for all target groups. Within the technotrans Group, a distinction is drawn between internal corporate communications that are limited> to within the group and external communications that are aimed at the outside world, such as customer communications, public relations (PR) work and financial market communications.

Employee communications

Communication with employees is fundamental to the success of a company. Its aim is to optimise organisational processes, encourage the employees to maintain dialogue, inform and motivate them, and bind them to the company. Typical media used in employee communications are the intranet, newsletters, e-mails, meetings and the telephone. Internal corporate communications are handled across locations, and therefore worldwide, over the intranet. Employees are kept up to date about relevant developments and are informed of strategic changes of direction through employee meetings. Within the group, systematic internal communication across all locations is of huge importance for corporate cohesion.

Performance reviews are also commonly used tools: line managers conduct these face-to-face meetings with their employees once a year (possibly more frequently). The employee receives feedback on their performance and is given perspectives for the future.

Customer communications

technotrans uses customer communications to address existing and potential customers, with the purpose of winning them over to its products and services and building up a long-term relationship. A variety of measures and tools are available for that purpose: as well as product PR, the battery of tools available includes advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing, personal communication and shows.

A dominant event in 2016 was the drupa, which takes place in Düsseldorf every four years. Under the motto of “Partner in Print”, innovations in cooling and liquid technology were showcased on a stand covering 190 m². Four areas that were particularly in the spotlight were cooling for digital and UV printing, sustainable and resource-friendly solutions, and connected, smart control systems. technotrans’ renown as a systems supplier to the printing industry stretches back decades. In the field of digital printing, too, the technotrans Group’s solutions span areas ranging from project planning to plant commissioning. These include one-off or downstream processes, for example, such as cooling for a folder or toner/oil separation. The presentations of the “omega.line” and “smart.chiller” were particular highlights of the show presence. These product series are used for cooling digital printing presses efficiently and thus boost profitability for the user. The spotlight was also on unique cooling modules for applications with highly reactive UV inks. Reliable and efficient cooling of the UV LED dryers guarantees durability and consistent results. An ink supply system for highly reactive UV inks with patented piston sealing system was also on show. It is particularly worth mentioning two combination units for dampening solution preparation and ink roller temperature control in this connection. For small to medium formats the performance-controlled “alpha.c eco” is ideal, and for medium to large formats there is the “beta.c blue”. Both offer smart-energy cooling concepts for continuous adjustment of the cooling output to actual requirements. Low-resource solutions such as the “alcosmart AZR opt” for high alcohol metering precision were also shown at the drupa. The presentation of smart systems that simplify both operation and monitoring provided a glimpse into the future. These increase process reliability and plant efficiency.

technotrans premièred a new control concept for uncomplicated and reliable operation either locally or remotely, in a nod to “Industrie 4.0”, at the drupa in Düsseldorf. Intelligent data connectivity for ink batch management was also on show. A large number of established products underwent detailed improvements for the drupa, to improve efficiency and also save materials and time. The next drupa will be held in 2020, again in Düsseldorf.

At the AMB, technotrans presented its first combined unit for additive manufacturing. The toolsmart series is already established in the sphere of filtration and temperature control of machine tools. The “omega.line” is used in a variety of areas such as laser cooling. technotrans developed this combined unit that straddles the two product series specifically for use in additive manufacturing. Like the entire toolsmart series, the system for industrial 3D printing is modular in design and particularly compact in build. 3D printing is transforming the way processes work in very many industries. It must be reliable and safe. technotrans guarantees that with the new solution. The peripherals have a tried-and-tested basis: the toolsmart series. The “toolsmart.line” not only saves space, it also pays because there is a single control function for the various different processes. A cooling system can for example cover a wide range of areas in processing. As well as reducing the outlay, it minimises resources and spares the environment. technotrans presented further products for the metal processing industry on the AMB stand. technotrans was able to declare its presence at the AMB a success: the level of interest in the new combined unit was way beyond expectations. It has already registered for the next AMB.

At the InnoTrans, which took place from September 20 to 23, 2016 in Berlin, technotrans presented cooling solutions for efficient electric mobility for bus and rail vehicles. The spotlight was on mobile and stationary cooling solutions. technotrans has identified electric mobility as the future form of transport and offers customers the right battery cooling. This cooling comprises user-specific cooling and temperature control systems for mobile energy storage devices such as lithium-ion batteries and supercapacitators/ultracapacitators as well as stationary cooling systems for battery charging points, inverters and battery containers. On the back of its success in 2014, technotrans participated in the InnoTrans for the second time, presenting the extended product range of the “zeta-line” modular cooling units. As well as its own exhibits, many technotrans systems were on show on the stands of other high-profile exhibitors. The zeta.line has proven itself in the field and is now a well-established product on the market. technotrans offers the battery coolers as certified standard units – including with comprehensive railway certification. They are compact and lightweight, can be customised for numerous areas of application and cover many different performance categories. As well as mobile units, technotrans presented stationary cooling systems for charging stations, inverters and battery containers. They likewise enable compact integration into existing housing designs and are usually based on cooling concepts with fine-tuned water-glycol circuits. The sound-optimised version reaches a cooling capacity up to 900 kW and is installed all around the world by technotrans service teams.

GWK Gesellschaft Wärme Kältetechnik mbH (part of the technotrans Group since September 2016) presented four new products at the K 2016 in Düsseldorf in the autumn. These include a product series for non-central cooling, a modular-design multi-circuit temperature control system, a universal temperature controller generation for advanced injection moulding tasks and a live demonstration of the development status of how GWK products are intelligently connected. The new “weco wd” series heats and cools in a single unit. The energy-efficient chillers with free-cooling function and integrated temperature control circuits add non-central cooling to the GWK portfolio.

The equipment series is also practical to combine with central solutions. The “integrat 80” is the successor to “integrat plus” and has been updated to the latest technical standards. The modular-design multi-circuit temperature control system for segmented mould temperature control offers substantial leeway for all temperature control tasks. High energy efficiency thanks to frequency control of the pumps and flow rate measurement at up to 140 °C that is not susceptible to contamination were among the highlights. GWK also presented a universal temperature control device for advanced injection moulding tasks. The newly designed series was developed based on the “teco cs 90e” and represents the state of the art in terms of quality, control accuracy plus ease of maintenance and servicing. In parallel with its ongoing product development activities, GWK is pushing forward smart connectivity between its products and with customer environments in the spirit of “Industrie 4.0”. The current development status was presented live at the show. The aim is to strike up a dialogue with potential partners in order to channel their requirements into further developments. This year the companies of the technotrans Group are holding a joint presentation at the Fakuma – the international trade fair for plastics processing – in Friedrichshafen. It will take place from October 17 to 21, 2017.

The EuroBLECH show in Hanover in autumn 2016 surpassed all expectations. As well as drawing more visitors to the stand, the solutions for stamping and forming technology generated more promising conversations than at the previous show two years earlier. technotrans found this a highly encouraging endorsement of its chosen path. The highlight of the show was the low-mist spray lubrication system spray.xact. As a full-liner in the field of spray lubrication, technotrans offers a full range of products for the lubrication of coils, blanks and mouldings. Oils, emulsions and corrosion inhibitors are all used here. In the spray lubrication process, spray.xact functions without the need for any compressed air and is therefore especially economical because no extractor is required. An optional spray pattern optimiser was also developed. This will make it possible to achieve very high-quality results in the forming of vehicle body outer panels or when spraying very narrow patterns, for example. technotrans has also broadened the scope for worldwide remote access to control a lubrication system. If servicing is required or in the event of operating errors, technotrans’ experts have swift online access to the system with the result that downtimes can be significantly minimised. In coming up with this solution, technotrans is responding to the fact that it is increasingly common for a user to have systems installed in other countries. This year’s Blechexpo in Stuttgart will once again provide a platform for showcasing the systems to a large specialist audience.

technotrans will again have a presence at a large number of industry exhibitions, congresses and specialist conferences in 2017, where they will take the opportunity to present solutions for cooling and liquid technology. We also welcome the opportunity to talk to our suppliers and other business partners at shows. The current show calendar can be viewed on our website at

Public Relations

Public relations (PR) work is another form of external corporate communications. Communication with the media – also labelled press relations – has the purpose of raising the profile of the technotrans Group and portraying it positively in public. Press releases to disseminate product information or user reports supply essential data about products and users. This builds trust and is an authentic means of fostering credibility. We also generate content along modern channels of communication such as social media. For example we feed relevant information tailored to the specific platforms of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Xing, google+ and YouTube. In a recent venture, the apprentices have even set up their own blog to provide insights into the working life of an apprentice. This platform gives young people and potential new employees suggestions about vocational qualifications and enables them to gain an impression in advance about their future path and the mileposts in their career at technotrans.

In both communication in general and in every area of corporate communications, there is evidence of the trend towards Communication 2.0/3.0: as well as traditional print media, digital and mobile media – and therefore the trend towards dialogue instead of the customary monologue – are becoming ever more important. technotrans nevertheless retains its faith in classic advertising and places advertisements in relevant trade publications in order to continue promoting the brand and draw attention to its presence at industry exhibitions, for example.

Financial market communications

Communication with investors, analysts and shareholders is covered by the “Investor Relations” area. Comprehensive financial information about technotrans, e.g. in the form of Annual Reports, Quarterly Communications and Interim Reports, capital market presentations plus ad hoc information and press releases, is made available to the target groups concurrently in German and English.

The shares of technotrans AG have been traded on the stock market since March 1998. As a company listed in the Prime Standard segment, the highest possible standards of transparency must be met. The shares of technotrans AG were converted from bearer to registered shares in October 2008. Since the switch, it has also been possible to communicate directly with our company’s shareholders. Knowledge of the shareholder structure furthermore paves the way for even more targeted investor relations work. We continued to devote considerable energy to corporate communications in the year under review.

Transparency and credibility are the cornerstones of communications with the capital market. All publications are also made available promptly on the internet. Regardless of whether someone is a shareholder or is merely interested in the company, and whether they hold a large or small number of shares, we provide them with written reports as well as explain individual aspects and answer questions in telephone conferences or face-to-face talks. The result of an information policy that is candid and open to scrutiny is a relationship of trust with all capital market operators, based on mutual respect, and our company values it very highly.