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Cimos Group says it is starting to implement Industry 4.0 philosophy into some of its factories as the mainly vertically-integrated supplier looks to build on its turbocharger component business.

Industry 4.0 – along with huge challenges posed by shifting workforces in a booming manufacturing and supplier sector – was a key theme of last week’s Central and Eastern European Automotive Forum organised by Adam Smith Conferences in Prague where the conference was addressed by key players in the region.

Cimos, whose turbo business unit comprises turbo-compressor housings, back plates, inserts, turbine housings, central housings and nozzles, recently (14 October) agreed a EUR110m (US$121m) takeover by TCH Cogeme, with the transaction expected to be closed in first quarter of 2017, when all conditions precedents are fulfilled.

“We are a pretty integrated supplier, having foundries, forgeries and stamping plants,” said Cimos Group powertrain director, Aljosa Kovac in the Czech capital. “Half our business goes to OEMs and half to powertrain Tier 1s.

“Cimos is the biggest turbocharger component supplier in terms of diversity of products; Bosch, Mahle, Audi and Renault are customers [among others]. We are vertically integrated in terms of aluminium casting and forgings.

“Industry 4.0 is not so much into the Group yet, but we are starting on assembly and machining lines and we connect data to our customers as [a] framework for every product they get.”

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Cimos is headquartered in Koper on the Slovenian Adriatic coast and its 4,600 employees generate EUR320m sales. The supplier also has a plant in Togliatti, Russia, where it provides components to AvtoVAZ.

“We mostly like projects where we are nominated from the conceptual design,” added Kovac. “For megatrends our leitmotiv will be our performance in lightweight design – we contribute to eco trends by decreasing mass.

“We have taken out 2.5kg from a flywheel [for example], still keeping the function.”

Some of the conditions to be met by the Cimos acquisition are approvals of the necessary agencies for protection of competition and agreement with the Croatian State agency for deposit insurance and bank resolution.

“After the conclusion of the transaction, TCH Cogeme will immediately provide Cimos with EUR20m fresh capital  in order to support and foster the planned investments for the modernisation of production and completion of the continuing turnaround process,” said TCH CEO, Gino Berti.

“We will do our best to gain as soon as possible new orders for Cimos that the company lacked in the last years, also due to its uncertain operational and financial situation. The existing key customers of Cimos are also willing to support us.”

“We are deeply satisfied after a process which has lasted for more than a year, the sale and purchase agreement with TCH Cogeme was signed.

For his part, Cimos CEO, Gerd Rosendahl added: “Given the situation Cimos was in the last few years, this is a very important step to regain the confidence of our customers, suppliers and all other stakeholders that have stood by Cimos in this difficult time.”