Aerospace history à la BÖHLER 3 minutes spent reading
Aerospace

Aerospace history à la BÖHLER

Volkmar Held

Far-seeing strategic technology decisions, personal commitment and the response to market developments marked the beginning of the BÖHLER aerospace success story in the 1980s and 1990s.

The BÖHLER aerospace story started out small. Wolfgang Emmerich, voestalpine Edelstahl strategist who has been with the company since 1986 remembers the dates and connections.

Modest beginning

In the past, the aerospace segment was only a modest business field for BÖHLER. The company delivered special steel forgings and steel bars for customers in the European aerospace industry. At the beginning of the 1990s, it earned less than EUR 10 million in this industry. Back then, BÖHLER focused on products for building steam turbines. In 1981, what was then the world’s largest spindle press was put into operation solely for power plant construction. It was used for near-net-shape forging of large turbine blades. But after a market collapse, there were no more orders for the precision machine.

Establishment of the aerospace business field

Bohler Parts in Airplanes

Bohler Parts in Airplanes

The search for new application fields for BÖHLER know-how benefited from the experiences with precision forging, from the aerospace boom in the mid-90s and from personal commitment. The then Head of Sales, Herbert Puschnik, was able to convince Boeing management in Wichita to use forged components “Made in Austria” rather than investing in making their own. A win-win situation for both companies. BÖHLER Schmiedetechnik acquired a top customer and Boeing benefited from the Austrian supplier’s technological edge when it came to low-waste, near-net-shape forged parts. And as a customer, the European Airbus company also benefited from this experience advantage.

 

Constant success under a common brand name

After the establishment of BÖHLER Schmiedetechnik GmbH & Co KG in 1991, the company increasingly focused on the aerospace industry as a core business. The establishment of a separate company made it possible to fully concentrate on the special forging business and quickly implement the necessary measures to grow the aerospace business.

Spindle thread when installing the press for the first 31,500 ton spindle press, source: BÖHLER Edelstahl

Spindle thread when installing the press for the first 31,500 ton spindle press, source: BÖHLER Edelstahl

Another measure resulted from plans to expand capacity. A second, larger spindle press was built. This press combined high forming energy with high forging precision, another technological advance. In 2007, the large spindle press was ceremonially inaugurated.

The success of strategic planning and operative expertise can be seen today. Aerospace deliveries account for more than 90% of BÖHLER Schmiedetechnik’s total revenue . The BÖHLER companies’ concerted focus on the aerospace business field, which will be apparent at Paris Air Show 2015, ensures that this success continues.

 

 

The aerospace boom in the 90s (source: DER SPIEGEL 36/1998, p. 110)

The aerospace boom in the 90s (source: DER SPIEGEL 36/1998, p. 110)

Böhler Schmiedetechnik revenue in the aerospace industry

Böhler Schmiedetechnik revenue in the aerospace industry

The Special Steel companies BÖHLER Edelstahl, BÖHLER Schmiedetechnik, BÖHLER Bleche and Böhler PROFIL, joined by voestalpine RFC for the first time, will exhibt at Paris Air Show 2015 in Le Bourget under the umbrella brand “Böhler Aerospace”. At the world’s largest trade show from June 15 to 21, the companies will present their combined expertise  as reliable suppliers of high-quality materials and components for the aerospace industry. 

"Technological leadership and the courage to make strategic decisions opened the doors to the aerospace industry for BÖHLER companies. "
ZitatWolfgang Emmerich

Further Information: