SECO/WARWICK, one of the largest global manufacturers of metal heat treatment equipment, celebrated 2023 as a year of growth with an expansion of production capacity. During a record year, the Group produced 15% more solutions than in the previous year, and invested in production capacity development, expanding its plants by as much as 60%. During the same period, employment in the Group increased by over 6 percent.
SECO/WARWICK increases production capabilities
The SECO/WARWICK Group maintains its position as one of the leaders in the metal heat treatment industry. In 2023, its solutions were selected by top tier global companies including: Siemens, Marle, Skana, Assan Alüminyum and PWR Australia. SECO/WARWICK delivered furnaces to five continents, often making deliveries to several locations from different production halls.
“This year was crucial for us due to the increase in production capacity. We focused on development which will provide us with production freedom in the coming years. We will be able to fulfill orders from all over the world faster and more efficiently. We currently have production halls with an area of 12,000 m2 in Europe. In Asia, we have expanded the production space to 13,500 m2, similarly in the United States – to 13,500 m2. To sum up, our production plants today consist of halls with a total size of 39,000 m2, exactly as much as 5 full-size soccer. The effects of these investments were already visible last year. We increased production by 15%, and in my opinion, this is just the beginning. We are ready to fulfill a larger number of orders and, what is extremely important, we are also very well prepared logistically to handle them,” added S. Woźniak, the Group’s CEO.
Surprising production facts
In 2023, the SECO/WARWICK Group produced equipment for leading companies in the aviation, automotive and commercial heat treatment industries. Among the historically completed orders, there were many solutions that could aspire to be entered in the Guinness Book of World Records.
For example, one of the vacuum furnace chambers, manufactured for the nuclear industry, measured 32 meters long. The furnace is used for the heat treatment of stainless pipes. The furnace chamber length is equal to the longest bus in the world, carrying as many as 350 passengers.
Another furnace manufactured by the SECO/WARWICK Group for purifying 5G graphite, was designed to reach a record temperature of 2400°C. If we were to reach for other records, in the experimental SECO/WARWICK thermonuclear reactor, a single charge (and it was a coil) weighed as much as 120 tons, which is exactly as much as 40 Indian elephants.
“Two R&D departments (in Poland and the United States) are constantly working on improving solutions and technologies to adapt solutions to customer needs. With well-developed product standards, we have an excellent base of experience which allows us to implement unusual projects, which are often not undertaken by other manufacturers,” adds S. Woźniak.
New locations, new possibilities
In 2023, companies belonging to the SECO/WARWICK Group produced 15 percent more solutions than in the previous year. This is the result of investment in production. Previously, the Group had 21 thousand m2 in production halls, and thanks to investments in China, India and the United States, this number has now increased to over 39 thousand m2.
“This is a response to market needs and the growing number of orders. In addition to significantly increasing production space, we also opened new offices in India, China, and Poland. Our development is also associated with an increase in employment. Last year, we employed 860 people worldwide, over 6 percent more than in 2022. Our data shows that after the pandemic and a temporary recession, industry is rebuilding. We are optimistic when it comes to forecasting sales and an increased demand for our furnaces,” commented S. Woźniak.
North America – SECO/WARWICK’s three strong pillars
The SECO/WARWICK Group includes three companies operating on the American market – SECO/VACUUM, RETECH and SECO/WARWICK USA. RETECH (celebrating its 60th anniversary last year) expanded its production and office space by over 100%.
RETECH’s new production facility is in Tonawanda, New York, a suburb of Buffalo. This is a very advantageous location, just 20 minutes from the current office. The facility will be used for furnace assembly and factory testing. Additional R&D furnaces will be installed soon to help test innovative solutions. We started the moving process in December last year, and we are currently waiting for crane installation, which should take place in the coming days. We will start production immediately. In the first phase, we will produce spare parts, electrical components for our furnaces and furnaces for R&D purposes,” said Earl Good, Managing Director of RETECH.
SECO/WARWICK development in Asia
Last year was also important from the SECO/WARWICK Group Asian company’s point of view. The Chinese branch has opened a completely new production hall in the Xiqing Economic Development Area (XEDA) in Tianjin. The company specializes in the production of CAB lines, vacuum furnaces, and vacuum metallurgy solutions.
“Currently, we can produce 20 CAB aluminum brazing lines, 5 vacuum furnaces and 2-3 vacuum metallurgy furnaces per year. Both of our production plants are 10,000 m2, so we have doubled our area. We are also systematically increasing employment to meet production challenges,” said Yedong Liu, Managing Director of SECO/WARWICK China.
The Indian company also recorded dynamic development. Later this year, it will start producing continuous aluminum brazing lines. SECO/WARWICK in India will also produce vacuum solutions, meeting the demand for these furnaces in this part of the world.
“The new assembly hall in India is located 30 km (about 18.64 mi) from the center of Pune and is in close proximity to our main suppliers, partners, and subcontractors. In India, we will focus on the production of vacuum equipment, CAB lines, as well as service and parts. We will soon launch CAB line production. The finished solution should leave our hall in the third quarter of 2024. The first Indian-made vacuum furnace will be delivered to customers at the beginning of 2025,” commented Binoy Koshy, Managing Director of SECO/WARWICK India.
According to the report Interact Analysis, the report forecasts that in the next five years (2023-2028), machine production will grow faster than the entire production sector. In both Americas, vehicle production growth rates are expected to average 3.8% compared to just 2.4% for industrial production. In Asia, both sectors will grow by 3.9% and 2.9%, respectively, and in Europe by 3.6% and 2.4%. Although vehicle production may show negative dynamics in 2024, a rebound can be expected in 2025, followed by sustained growth until 2028.
This is a good growth prospect for the machinery manufacturing sector in the coming years. The industry is rebuilding and there is an increasing demand for metal heat treatment equipment. Hence, the SECO/WARWICK decision to dynamically increase production space and, consequently, production capacity, is promising. SECO/WARWICK estimates that the trend related to increased demand for metal heat treatment furnaces will continue in 2024.