In 2012, Bühler AG took over the Žamberk production site from Rieter, which until then had mainly manufactured machines and parts for the textile industry. Until 1990, production belonged to Elitex and they manufactured spinning machines and winding equipment. In 1994, the site became Rieter Elitex, and in 2004, just Rieter.
At the beginning, Bühler manufactured products primarily for its Milling Solutions (MS) division, including filters, airlocks, vibro dischargers, as well as control cabinets for plants and much more. Over the years, the portfolio grew and so did the importance of the site in Europe. Today, Žamberk plays a central role in Bühler's production network and is a leading example of applied production technologies such as robotics or automation.
A site of success for 10 years
"It is with pleasure and a little pride that we look back on 10 successful years in Žamberk and look positively into the future at a site that masters a large product portfolio, is very well organized, and responds flexibly and innovatively to challenges and changes," says Stefan Scheiber, CEO of Bühler Group. He joined the celebration with two other members of the Bühler Executive Board, Holger Feldhege, COO Manufacturing, Logistics & Supply Chain, and Mark Macus, CFO.
"With Žamberk, we are in the European market and can efficiently produce cost-sensitive and sophisticated products. What was already important 10 years ago, has gained additional significance in the past two years," says Holger Feldhege.
In Žamberk, Bühler primarily produces machines and products for the Bühler Group, but with up to 20% of its capacity, also for third-party customers, for example for the textile and automotive industries. Comprehensive production ranging from materials procurement to machining, sheet metal processing, surface treatment, and final assembly, including control engineering and on-time delivery of the finished goods in Bühler quality, distinguishes the site and makes it crucial for other Bühler sites. The production facility manufactures individual parts for other Bühler manufacturing sites in Europe at up to 30% of its capacity. The diversity of jobs and professions offered by the production site goes hand in hand with the size of its portfolio.
Celebrating success and leading into the future
In addition to 10 successful years of the site and its employees in the Bühler network, there was another anniversary. Jiri Appeltauer, the previous Production Manager of Žamberk, had already been working at the site for 32 years when he took over in 2012. He celebrated his 30th anniversary as head of the site and handed over his successful legacy to Andreas Schachtner, who will take up this challenge in addition to his current role as Head of Business Development in Manufacturing, Logistics & Supply Chain (MLS) from July 2022.
To recognize and celebrate both anniversaries and the leadership handover, all employees along with the municipal council of Žamberk, and school and university leaders from the region were invited to the festivities. Following speeches by the management and a tour of the plant, Jiri Appeltauer officially handed over operational management to Andreas Schachtner. "It is a good feeling to know that this important site will continue to be in good hands. The current challenges of the market require skill and a good sense of how the site needs to develop," says Holger Feldhege.
"The Žamberk site has continuously increased its importance for the Bühler network. This is also thanks to the successful and future-oriented management of Jiri as well as the dedicated and highly qualified employees. For the region, the Žamberk plant is a beacon in terms of apprenticeship training and cooperation with local institutions. We sincerely thank Jiri for his commitment and wish Andreas all the best for his additional task," says Stefan Scheiber, CEO of Bühler, in his address.
Well positioned for growth
Žamberk will continue to play a central role for Bühler's European sites. "The developments of the past two years and the resulting challenges for production operations have strengthened our resolve on positioning ourselves in Europe in order to minimize risks such as production stoppages and supply bottlenecks," says Stefan Scheiber. In order to remain effective and flexible, we still need well-trained employees and specialists.
At the open house on Saturday, interested people from the region had the opportunity to view the entire site and learn more about the many job opportunities at Bühler. Andreas Schachtner and Jiri Appeltauer were available to answer questions and provide information about the comprehensive training and continuing education programs offered.
Andreas Schachtner is optimistic about the future of the Žamberk site: "I am looking forward to continuing our good contacts with the educational institutions in the region that Jiri has built up and cultivated. Recruiting skilled workers and experts is becoming increasingly difficult; however, I am convinced that Bühler will remain an attractive employer for the region with its extensive educational offerings, stable market environment, and modern and competitive production," he says. "Through training and continuing education, we are continuously developing ourselves. We give our apprentices confidence early on and open opportunities for them in the international working world because we want them to work later as cosmopolitan, innovative and versatile employees, whether in Switzerland or elsewhere in the world."