DAMME, Germany—Boge Rubber & Plastics Group had a busy 2017, expanding in all regions of the world.
The automotive supplier of rubber and plastic parts opened its first production facility in Mexico, its second site in China and a second production hall in Slovakia.
All of the moves are in response to increased business from major automotive original equipment manufacturers, which the company has had more freedom to chase since being sold to China's Zhuzhou Times New Material Technology (TMT) by ZF Friedrichshafen A.G. in 2014.
"As a global supplier, we have to follow our customers," Boge CEO Torsten Bremer said. "Our customers invest into new sites in emerging markets for two reasons: to make the cost balance better and to exploit these growth markets. These two reasons are the same for us. It's not just following what we did before, we're expanding our footprint as well as we expand our portfolio with a new degree of freedom from when we were spun off from ZF. Our new shareholder gives us a lot of freedom to look for new applications of our competencies. We're not limited to automotive. Even though we're doing more than 95 percent automotive today, we can look into other businesses and expand our lightweight composite material portfolio."
That material portfolio focuses on two main areas: parts for rubber-to-metal bonding applications and plastics. Its rubber-to-metal business accounts for about 83 percent of its sales primarily focused on powertrain and chassis applications, the latter accounting for two-thirds of Boge's overall sales.
While plastics only accounts for 17 percent, Bremer said that number has grown from 5 percent in the last five years.