Welcome to the AFG Corporate Center!


Welcome to the AFG Corporate Center!

The magazine of AFG Arbonia-Forster-Holding AG Autumn/Winter 2007/2008

On the attack Page 4

Breaking into

new international

markets with


Welcome to the

AFG Corporate Center!

■ Heating Technology and Sanitary Equipment Pages 14 – 19

■ Kitchens and Refrigeration Pages 20 – 27

■ Windows and Doors Pages 28 – 35

■ Steel Technology Pages 36 – 43

■ Surface Technology Pages 44 – 49

Customer-friendly Page 26

Forster kitchen

centres take over


Clever Page 45

Stories from the

world of hard

chrome plating


n Prelude

Editorial ............................................................................. 1

n In a nutshell

News ................................................................................. 2

n Focus

Aqualux: Welcome to AFG! ................................................ 4

Steel – a material with a promising future ........................... 8

n AFG Arbonia-Forster-Holding AG

Already in full swing: the AFG Corporate Center ............... 10

New director for the Corporate Center .............................. 11

Learning from the best: AFG shares practical expertise ...... 11

New build: environmentally friendly coil transfer station .... 12

Inside the amazing new AFG ARENA ................................. 13

n Heating Technology and Sanitary Equipment

New underfloor convectors from Arbonia .......................... 15

Prolux premiere at the «BadeWelten» exhibition ................ 16

New training centre inaugurated in Stříbro ........................ 16

German Weather Service relies on Therm X2 ..................... 17

Bulgaria’s Ambassador visits Kermi in Plattling ................... 18

The Kermi training centre:

growing more and more popular! ..................................... 18

Bavarian Minister of State Huber visits Kermi ..................... 19

n Kitchens and Refrigeration

Miele Kitchens with Dross & Schaffer ................................ 21

Kitchen mile A30: top trend kitchen for living .................... 22

Selecting the most fascinating Miele kitchen ..................... 23

Bruno Piatti AG: a new managing director ......................... 24

Piatti focuses on energy efficiency ..................................... 24

Piatti: multi-media kitchen ................................................. 25

Successful dual distribution system .................................... 25

Forster kitchen centre Arbon: in a new and inviting design 26

New product – Forster wash terminal ................................ 26

n Windows and Doors

EgoKiefer plastic windows XL ® with top eco-efficiency ....... 29

Increased production capacity for EgoKiefer

plastic windows XL ® .......................................................... 30

EgoKiefer plastic window: «70% energy saving –

automatic ventilation!» ..................................................... 31

MINERGIE-P with EgoKiefer plastic window MPR3 ............. 32

Modern, integrated communication for EgoKiefer

sales outlets ...................................................................... 32

Product pass for external doors ......................................... 33

Highly polished chromium steel: the queen of steel frames 34

Cash Employer Award 2007: 2 nd place for RWD Schlatter 35

New product from Planet GDZ AG .................................... 35

n Steel Technology

Forster precision steel tubes in fine form ............................ 37

Forster tubes on the road .................................................. 38

Faster processing for enhanced customer service ............... 39

Successful metal construction planner seminar .................. 40

Security and personal protection with Forster unico ........... 41

«My job? To stand around and look good» ........................ 42

n Surface Technology

Selective influence on the surface structure ....................... 45

New premises: STI Westside Center in Steinach ................. 46

Highlight: 20 m long application roll .................................. 47

New CEO .......................................................................... 47

The latest process diagnostics in thermal spray technology 48

STI | Hartchrom provides surface treatment for Maybach ... 49


AFG WORLD, the magazine of AFG Arbonia-Forster-

Holding AG, appears three times a year in four

languages in Switzerland, Germany, the United

Kingdom and the Czech Republic, as well as in

other countries around the world.

Circulation 22,000

Editorial address

AFG Arbonia-Forster-Holding AG

Editorial AFG WORLD

Dr. Christoph Schönenberger

P.O. Box 134

CH-9320 Arbon

T +41 71 447 41 41

F +41 71 447 45 88



Concept/Layout/Text Editorial:

E,T&H Werbeagentur AG BSW, CH-9401 Rorschach

Printing: Druckerei Flawil AG, CH-9230 Flawil

Title image: The AFG Corporate Center

end of November 2007.

Focus Prelude

Paving the way to a successful

future with vision and foresight

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear employees

Growth and dynamism continue unabated at AFG. With the

acquisition of Aqualux Products Holding Ltd and the associated

strategic cooperation with Multiway Asia in Hong Kong and

China, the next step has been taken to strengthen the international

operations of AFG. As such, this represents an effective

implementation of the company’s corporate strategies. As the

leading supplier of a wide range of bathroom, shower and

«wellness» equipment to the UK market, Aqualux will not only

strengthen our Division Heating Technology and Sanitary Equipment,

but it will also provide a boost to the group as a whole.

This acquisition will unlock new markets and enhance our presence

in countries with very promising growth potential. Aqualux

has a strategic partnership with a company in the southern

Chinese province of Guangdong, which will enable us to further

boost our standing in Asia. This will generate interesting synergy

potential with the Division Kitchens and Refrigeration, which

aims to meet the rapidly growing demands of the Asian population

for improved quality of living with innovative concepts and

products. We are already present at a number of exhibitions in

the Far East. Extending «joie de vivre» to the bathroom as well

as the kitchen, our company is on course for growth which is set

to remain rapid in the future. We would like to extend a warm

welcome to the senior management and colleagues of Aqualux,

and we look forward to a partnership which will be characterised

by a drive towards innovation and high awareness of quality.

Focussing on life philosophies instead of products

We can learn a lot from our involvement in new markets. In these

markets, the technological advances which have developed more

gradually in our traditional markets are catching up at a phenomenal

rate. Thanks to the dynamism of this situation, it is much easier

for us to see the clear direction that the customer demands of tomorrow

will take: away from the product and towards a philosophy

of life. Modern consumers are no longer in awe of technically

sophisticated systems – instead, this is something they take for

granted. Comfort, warmth, freshness, wellness and cosiness are

what it is all about. Our products will only be successful if they are

developed, manufactured and marketed according to the needs

of our end customers. This approach is summarised by our motto

«AFG goes global, acts local». We have to adapt to the needs of

the customer in every market.

Bureaucracy slows things down

Today’s visions are tomorrow’s reality. Today, AFG is successful

because we were able to anticipate our customers’ requirements

and because we took these requirements seriously. However,

we now need to identify the developments which are set to take

place tomorrow, so that we can plan a suitable strategy to take

us into the future. The dynamism of the market strongly opposes

any form of bureaucracy. Companies who rely on slow­moving

decision­making processes and get caught up in a false interpretation

of «correctness» will face an increasing struggle to keep

pace with success in the future. Our rigorous approach favours

streamlined processes which are unobstructed by red tape and

ensure consistently high quality from the strategic planning

stage right through to operational implementation.


Among other things, this has made it possible for the Corporate

Center in Arbon to be built in record time. The new headquarters

will bring together the group management, the general secretariat,

the finance department, human resources, the information

technology department and the sales departments of Arbonia

and Forster Tubes and Profile Systems. The Corporate Center,

which provides a total of 250 state­of­the­art and brightly lit

workplaces, was ready in time for a Christmas move­in. As a

result, communication distances will be shorter and we will be

able to serve our customers even faster. With the Corporate

Center, we have given ourselves a new face at AFG – a new face

which reflects our belief in both Switzerland and Germany as

industrial sites. At the same time, this also shows that we are

purposefully continuing on our path of global expansion. For us,

the creation of modern jobs and workplaces is an expression of

how high we value our workforce.

A lot has been achieved, but one or two things

have had to wait

We set ourselves ambitious targets for the business year 2007.

Although we didn’t quite manage everything, we did achieve

a lot. We have continued our focussed drive to expand the

international presence of the group. According to our mediumterm

plans, we aim to market 50% of our products in the two

domestic markets of Switzerland and Germany, while the

remaining 50% are intended for global markets, and we have

taken great strides in this respect. We have seen sustained

growth in terms of our activities in the Middle East and the Far

East, as well as in the new EU member states in Eastern Europe.

Our strategy of structuring the business across five divisions in

a way which makes us less susceptible to fluctuations in the economic

situation has proved highly successful in the business year

which is coming to an end. We shall be controlling our investments

similarly in the years to come. I would like to thank all of

our employees all around the world for their continued friendly

and active involvement. Good cooperation with our suppliers and

with the authorities at all of our sites has been the foundation of

our successful business activities. Once again though, in 2007 it

was our customers who were at the heart of our commercial

operations, our innovations and our services. It is down to them –

and them alone – that we were able to sell around CHF 1.4 billion

worth of products from our 16 production sites in 2007.

I would like to hold on to these thoughts of gratitude and wish

you and your family a successful new year.

Yours sincerely

AFG Arbonia­Forster­Holding AG

Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO

Dr. Edgar Oehler


Forster Profile


a handy new CD!

Forster Profi le Systems has put together a new CD for customers

containing planning documentation for all systems in

the form of PDF fi les. This handy tool will provide architects

and planning offi cers with a clear overview of the many potential

applications for Forster systems, and it also doubles up as

a quick reference tool which can be used to look up spe cifi c

information. The CD is available to order from www.forsterprofi

le.ch/news or from your adviser/consultant. «

It’s offi cial: AFG website

beats rivals in survey

Deciding that it was time to fi nd out just how good the websites of 480 large

Swiss companies are, students at the Zurich College of Business closely scruti-

nised their sites with the help of Zurich media publisher Edition Renteria in

May and June 2007. The outcome: with 67 marks awarded from a possible total

of 78, the website of AFG Arbonia­Forster­Holding AG (www.afg.ch) was second only

to Swisscom, taking 2 nd place in the overall ranking ahead of Georg Fischer, Atel,

Holcim and Sulzer. AFG is the unchallenged leader in the category «Listed construction

companies», followed by Holcim, Allreal and Geberit. «

Starting to make its mark in Germany:

EgoKiefer XL ® window technology.


RWD Schlatter

receives top

employer award

RWD Schlatter AG came second at this year’s CASH Employer

Award. Even though this was the company’s fi rst attempt at

winning the prestigious CASH Employer Award, RWD Schlatter

immediately came away with the «silver medal» – an impressive

recognition of the solid, future­oriented corporate cultu re

of RWD Schlatter. CEO Roger Herzig was very pleased – although

he was quick to point out that «the term Employer

Award is slightly misleading, as this fantastic prize would not

have been possible without the

exceptional level of commitment

displayed by all of our

employees». «

EgoKiefer: taking XL ® to Germany

EgoKiefer started exporting their

innovative XL ® plastic windows

to Germany in August 2007.

The 45 large XL ® windows were used

by the company HAGOS – the world’s

largest supplier of components for

chimneys and tiled stoves – at the company’s

headquarters in Ismaning near

Munich. The EgoKiefer XL ® windows

were installed on­site by an authorised

dealer. In order to ensure that the highquality

EgoKiefer windows could be

The website ratings in the

«Handelszeitung» trade periodical,

issue 43 dated 24 th – 30 th October.

installed to the required high EgoKiefer

standards, the fi tters were trained beforehand

on­site by an EgoKiefer installation

expert from Switzerland.

The excellent response to the project

in Ismaning has already opened up

opportunities for the company to bid

on further projects. With EgoKiefer XL ®

windows – of course! «

Focus In a nutshell

Moving into the new

Corporate Center

In the period from mid-November to Christmas 2007

the employees of AFG Arbonia-Forster-Holding AG

moved from their previous location to the new

Corporate Center. The fi rst step was to install the IT

infrastructure, after which the building was

occupied on a fl oor­by­fl oor basis. Every Friday

and Saturday, a single department was moved

in a concerted effort into its new offi ces in the

new building. It was like an early Christmas

present when the new face of AFG was fully

occupied and fi lled with life by the start of the

festive period. The date for the offi cial inauguration

of the elegant building has been set for

28 th and 29 th February 2008. «

1,600 AFG employees visit


On the autumnal morning of Saturday 6 October,

around 1,600 employees of AFG Arbonia-Forster-

Holding AG attended the fi rst big event in the AFG

ARENA in Gründenmoos, the ground which will

become the home stadium of St.Gallen football club.

Building work in the AFG ARENA is in full swing; the largest

construction site in eastern Switzerland is increasingly turning

into an impressive stadium. «As the company which has given

the new stadium its name, we are proud that we are able to

contribute to the construction and operation of this sports

complex and meeting place for hundreds of thousands of

people», explained Dr. Edgar Oehler during his address to the

The employees from AFG take great interest in inspecting

«their» AFG ARENA.

Amila Kuc, the 6 ,000 th AFG employee.

AFG breaks through

the 6,000 barrier

In mid-December 2007, AFG had the honour of

welcoming its 6,000 th employee. Ms. Amila Kuc is an

administrative assistant at the drawing plant offi ce of the

Forster Precision Steel Tubes unit. The Group’s overall

workforce has since increased beyond this round number,

which proves not only that the company is doing well

commercially, but that it is also an excellent employer. «

Having a good time (left to right): Michael Götte, Tübach council leader;

Bill B. Mistura, CEO of Betriebs AG AFG ARENA and Dr. Edgar Oehler.


assembled colleagues. «The value of this type of sponsoring

has been underlined by the fact that the name AFG has already

been mentioned more than 100 million times in the

media in the fi rst half of 2007.» This was not only the fi rst

large event at the AFG ARENA at all, but also the biggest employee

event in the AFG Group to date. In conducted groups

of 30, the employees were given the chance to scrutinise the

gigantic construction project in detail. All of the visitors clearly

enjoyed the occasion and felt honoured to have been given

this opportunity to inspect the prestigious building. Many of

them will no doubt have shared their exciting impressions

and experiences with family and friends afterwards. «



Welcome to AFG!

In September 2007, AFG Arbonia-Forster-Holding AG added another

successful international company to the group with the acquisition

of Aqualux, one of the largest suppliers of bath screens and shower

enclosures in the United Kingdom. The new addition is to be integrated

in the Division Heating Technology and Sanitary Equipment.

AFG purchased British company Aqualux Products Holding

Limited, Wednesbury, for CHF 51.9 million. Based near

Birmingham, the company is one of the leading suppliers

of sanitary ware in the UK, offering a wide range of bath

screens, shower enclosures, shower trays and steam cabins.

Aqualux employs about 190 staff and generated sales of

approximately CHF 68 million in 2006.

Growth in the Division Heating Technology

and Sanitary Equipment

As a result of taking over Aqualux, the Division Heating

Technology and Sanitary Equipment is raising the proportion

of international sales generated outside its home markets

from 30% to 37%. For the Group as a whole, the increase

is from 27% to 30%. Ever since AFG was taken over by

Dr. Edgar Oehler, its current majority shareholder and

Chairman of the Board of Directors, one of the company’s

strategic goals has been to expand the company’s strong

position beyond the two home markets of Switzerland and

Germany. This objective applies especially to the Division

Heating Technology and Sanitary Equipment, which is not

only the Group’s largest division by far, contributing 46.6%

of total Group sales in 2006, but which also supplies innovative

products that enjoy strong international demand. By

purchasing Aqualux, AFG has taken a major step towards

implementing its international strategy. The acquisition also

marks a signifi cant move towards two of AFG’s other targets:

strengthening and widening its range of sanitary equipment

products, and improving its position in the wellness segment.

Focus 5

The management of Aqualux (left to right): Neil Gore, Finance Director; James Cadman,

Managing Director; Mike Heath, Operations Director; Mike Jones, Sales Director.

«As a result of taking over Aqualux,

the Division Heating Technology and

Sanitary Equipment is raising the

proportion of international sales

generated outside its home markets

from 30% to 37%.»


Aqualux bathroom products feature a strong emphasis on aesthetics and functionality.

The UK’s leading supplier

For AFG, the acquisition of Aqualux Products Holding Limited

also represents an important stage on the path to becoming

a leading European supplier in the sanitary ware sector.

In the UK, Aqualux is the market leader for the product segments

bath screens and shower enclosures. In recent years,

the company has also managed to build up its position in the

high­end product segment. Aqualux is currently one of the

few suppliers in the UK to offer competitive product ranges

across a broad price spectrum.

Strategic partnership in China

Aqualux has a strategic partnership with a similarly focused

supplier in Huizhou, in the southern Chinese province of

Guangdong, which is a welcome addition to the presence

that AFG is currently building up in the Chinese market.

For the Division Heating Technology and Sanitary Equipment,

as well as for AFG as a Group, this successful alliance which

has been in place for several years creates new opportunities

to speed up the planned expansion of the sanitary equipment

business in Asia. There are also opportunities for similar growth

in the markets of Eastern and South Eastern Europe.

Continued independence

Aqualux will continue to operate on the market independently

and under its existing management. In overall management

terms, the company will be integrated into the Division

Heating Technology and Sanitary Equipment. Aqualux’s in ­

te gration into AFG and the access this provides to Group

resources will have positive effects on the British company’s

mar keting activities and will generate measurable synergy

po tential in purchasing, logistics, IT and research and

development. «


Focus 7

Pure «wellness» – with products from Aqualux.

Ready to deliver: Aqualux is the leading UK

supplier of bath accessories.

«With the acquisition of Aqualux,

AFG has taken a big step

towards implementing the

company’s international strategy.»

Exudes well­being: a shower installation from Aqualux.

Aqualux Products

Holding Limited

With around 190 employees, Aqualux Products Holding Limited is

the leading UK supplier with a wide range of products in the field of

bathroom and «wellness» equipment: Shower enclosures and steam cabins,

bath screens and «wellness» accessories. This also gives the company a presence

in Ireland, Belgium, France, Portugal, the Netherlands and South Africa. Aqualux

is accredited to a number of European quality and environmental compliance

standards, including ISO 9001 – 2000 and ISO 14001 – 2004. Aqualux products

are characterised by superior quality and durability. Aqualux has been a company

within the AFG Arbonia­Forster­Holding AG group since September 2007, where

it is integrated in the Division Heating Technology and Sanitary Equipment. «


Combining thrills with a feast for the eyes:

Rigolo Nouveau Cirque.

«Steel takes

over technology,


and art.»

After the opening address, Dr. Edgar Oehler

is quizzed by Kurt Aeschbacher about the

expansion strategy of AFG Arbonia­Forster­

Holding AG.

Steel – a material with

a promising future

The Forster Steel Forum took place on 7th September 2007

at Arbon, Thurgau. High-calibre speakers like Tilla Theus whisked

the audience off into the world of steel.

Architecture is one field in particular where the excellent material properties of steel

are in high demand. With more than 450 invited guests, the Forster Steel Forum

was very well attended. Forster AG was founded as a public limited company

85 years ago. This anniversary was the perfect opportunity to make steel the star

of a special event, where – in keeping with the majority of Forster’s products – the

focus was on construction and architecture.

Guided tour and welcome address

Soon after lunch, a large number of attendees took the opportunity to tour the

manufacturing facilities at Forster Kitchens, Forster Refrigeration and the Forster

Steel Tubes factory. The visitors were shown around in small groups and given the

chance to find out more about the state­of­the­art production processes in order

to get them in the mood for the topic of the day. After returning to the Seeparksaal,

the guests were welcomed by Dr. Edgar Oehler, Chairman of the Board of

Directors and CEO of AFG Arbonia­Forster­Holding AG, who officially opened the

Steel Forum. In his speech, he gave an impressive account of the history of steel

manufacturing and underlined the importance of this material for the future as well.

Famous names, top quality entertainment

The event was hosted by presenter Kurt Aeschbacher. One of the high points of

the day was the talk given by Tilla Theus, who presented the recently inaugurated

FIFA headquarters in Zurich designed by her. Architect Beat Rothen’s comments

about the different aspects of residential building also generated avid interest.

Focus 9

The renowned architect Tilla Theus during her speech entitled

«The Home of FIFA – a floating object made of steel».

The conversation between Kurt Aeschbacher and artist and iron sculptor Peter

Federer from Widnau emphasised the importance of steel not only as a building

material, but also as a legitimate medium in art. During the podium discussion

which followed, the speakers were joined by architect Michele Arnaboldi from

Lugano to discuss the future of steel as a building material. In the meantime,

visitors were also given the opportunity to find out more about the latest

products both of the Forster companies and the other companies in the AFG

Arbonia­Forster­Holding AG group in the accompanying exhibition in the foyer.

This was followed by an aperitif which was appropriately accompanied by the

steel drum band Extempo from Winterthur, who added a Caribbean touch to

the proceedings. During the evening meal the guests then had the opportunity

to chat among colleagues and discuss the various ideas presented during the

speeches and discussions. Finally, the exciting interludes in which acrobats from

the Rigolo Nouveau Cirque presented excerpts from their latest show were met

with a warm welcome.

Steel as the «star»

The event itself focussed solely on the subject of steel. After all, this is a material

which plays a uniquely important role for AFG Arbonia­Forster­Holding AG.

Forster is the only manufacturer to manufacture kitchens from steel. This offers

a number of advantages, such as a uniquely hygienic surface which is not only very

easy to clean but is also extremely durable. The profile systems and precision steel

tubes from Forster are also made of steel. The profiles are used for windows, doors

and facades, specifically also for elements with special safety requirements such

as fire and smoke protection or for security against burglary. Famous objects like

the Statue of Liberty in New York have been kitted out with doors featuring Forster

systems. In addition, Forster also manufactures tubes for the furniture industry

and for the automotive industry, and exports its products worldwide. «

The podium discussion about the possibilities and the future of steel as a building

material was followed with great attention by the more than 450 invited guests.

A graceful dance performance by Lara

Jacobs from Rigolo and an outstanding

display of acrobatic feats during the show

by the Rigolo Nouveau Cirque.


A fascinating sight: the new Corporate Center of AFG Arbonia­Forster­Holding AG

was completed on schedule by the end of 2007 and is already in use.

Already in full swing:

the AFG Corporate Center

The AFG Corporate Center, the proud symbol of a growing international organisation,

has already been filled with new life. From mid-November onwards, a new department moved in every

week. The official inauguration ceremony will take place on 28 th and 29 th February 2008.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place on 11 th June 2006,

and by the end of 2007 it was already completed: the «Corporate

Center» project demonstrates that AFG is not only a

dynamic company, but that it is also very single­minded when

it comes to building projects. As a further bonus, this unique

landmark is packed with finest state­of­the­art technology

from AFG.

«The face of our company»

«The new Corporate Center is so­to­speak the new face of

our company», underlined Dr. Edgar Oehler, Chairman of the

Board of Directors and CEO of AFG Arbonia­Forster­Holding

AG. «It highlights and demonstrates the corporate philosophy

by which we live: Innovation, transparency, technology, quality,

ecology and an international outlook.» The successful company

from the eastern part of Switzerland sees the strongest

potential for growth in the markets of Eastern Europe and

Asia. As the host in this unique building, Dr. Edgar Oehler is

proud to be able to welcome business partners, customers

The AFG Corporate Center

Volume 62,000 m 3

Office space 4,600 m 2

Ground floor surface area 2,750 m 2

Max. building height 19 m

No. of floors above ground 4

No. of floors below ground 3

Parking spaces 290

and guests from all around the world. «But of course we aim

to maintain a predominantly personal presence in our future

markets», he underlined.

250 jobs relocated

During the period from mid­November to mid­December

2007, the central services of AFG – including areas such as

cor porate management, finance and accounting, central services,

sales management, marketing and IT – were relocated

from the city centre of Arbon to the Corporate Center in the

Winzelnwies industrial area (also in Arbon). In total, this entails

around 250 jobs. The old buildings on the Romanshornerstrasse

and Zelgstrasse are to be demolished in order to make

way for new residential buildings. During the next few years,

it is planned that all jobs shall move from their peripheral

locations in Arbon into the new Winzelnwies industrial area.

The architecture of the Corporate Center was drawn up by

local architects Gisel + Partner AG, who shared responsibility

for the new face of AFG with general contractor Karl Steiner

AG and other planning companies. «

AFG Arbonia-Forster-Holding AG 11

New director

for the Corporate


Dr. Christoph Schönenberger took over from Dr. Stefan

Holenstein on 1 st September 2007 as the director of the

Corporate Center of the AFG Arbonia-Forster-Holding

AG group.

As the «chief of staff», he is responsible for a number of

different areas at AFG: human resources, communications,

legal matters, estate, strategic purchasing, project management,

transport and logistics. In addition, as the point of call

for the Board of Directors and for the corporate management,

he also performs a number of additional roles at

group level. Before taking on this post at AFG, Dr. Christoph

Schönenberger worked as an attorney­at­law for many years.

His desire to seek out a management role and to work in an

operational role in a first­rate corporation motivated him to

accept this new challenge. Together with his colleagues,

he will ensure that the general secretariat and all the departments

which report to him will meet the varied tasks both

professionally and on time. The new director of the Corporate

Center will continue to be able to make the most of his

considerable legal expertise as the head of the legal department

of the group. He is particularly enamoured with the

streamlined structures and short decision paths within AFG. «

Set to run again in 2008

In response to the enormous demand,

AFG Arbonia­Forster­Holding AG will

be running this event again in 2008.

For more information or to register

please contact:

KMU Campus

Rorschacherstrasse 304

9016 St.Gallen



Tel. 071 282 21 68

Dr. Christoph Schönenberger

Director of the Corporate Center

AFG Arbonia­Forster­Holding AG.


Dr. Christoph Schönenberger

Training and education

■ Lic. iur., University of Freiburg

■ Attorney­at­law, Canton of St.Gallen

■ Dr. iur., University of Zurich

■ Master of Laws (LL. M.), University of Florida,

Gainesville (USA)

Professional career

■ Single judge and clerk, district court of

Ober­ und Neutoggenburg, Lichtensteig

■ Attorney­at­law, Schönenberger Marty Kühne

law firm, Wil SG

■ Attorney­at­law, UBS AG Legal Services, Zurich

■ Attorney­at­law and partner, Probst attorneys­at­law,


■ Since September 2007 Director of the Corporate Center,

AFG Arbonia­Forster­Holding AG


■ Born in 1968; married; 2 children (aged 3/8)

■ Hobbies: Sport and politics

Learning from the best:

AFG shares practical expertise

On 21 st September, AFG opened its doors for around 25 owners, CEOs

and senior managers from a number of different small and medium-sized

enterprises (SMEs). These guests were given the opportunity to take a

direct look at the operational side of the company, where they were shown

how, as a manufacturing company, it is important to help shape the technology

in the market in order to remain competitive. In recent years, AFG

Arbonia­Forster­Holding AG has seen significant growth under the leadership of

Dr. Edgar Oehler – the industry already talks of the «AFG phenomenon». As a result,

the company has been made part of the «Learning from the best» programme

established by the KMU Campus group. The idea is for the most successful com panies

in an industry to demonstrate exactly what it is that they do best during a

1­day event organised on their own premises. The aim is to share practical expertise

and knowledge with the participants. On the subject of «continuous innovation

as a strategic factor for success», line managers from different divisions showed

how AFG uses carefully targeted innovation management to continuously help to

shape the technology in the marketplace, and how this helps the company to always

remain one step ahead of the competition. «


New build: environmentally

friendly coil transfer station

AFG Arbonia-Forster-Holding AG recently opened its new coil transfer station

near the rail station in the port of Romanshorn in the canton of Thurgau.

Weighing around 20 tons, the steel coils are delivered by train.

SBB Cargo (the Swiss Rail freight division) delivers the coils

to the gate of the new transfer station. Using a capstan that

can move loads of up to 650 tons, the railcars are pulled into

the facility where their cargo is then removed using an indoor

crane. The coils are stored on one side of the station’s hall until

they are transported on specially constructed semitrailers

to the production facilities of AFG’s Division Steel Technology

(Forster Precision Steel Tubing and Forster Profile Systems)

in Arbon, Thurgau.

Material for steel tubes, profiles and radiators

Once they have arrived at the production facilities of Forster

Steel Technology, the steel coils are unwound from the

mighty spools, cut and then processed to supply three AFG

units and a number of external clients. The material goes into

the production of Arbonia and Prolux radiators as well as various

Forster Steel Technology products, including steel tubing

and profile systems for buildings, fireproof doors and window

facades. Beyond this, Forster Steel Technology also processes

steel tubing for the furniture industry and the automotive

industry. The close proximity of the various enterprises (all in

Arbon) assures short transport routes. «In terms of transport,

we have secured an ideal allocation of roles», explains Dr.

Edgar Oehler, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO

of AFG Arbonia­Forster­Holding AG. «We use train and ship

for longer transport routes, with precision distribution to our

production facilities handled by trucks which meet the latest

Euro 5 environmental standards»

Remarkable architecture

As a leading technology corporation and globally active supplier

to the construction industry, AFG is committed not only

to innovation, quality and environmental sustainability, but

Facts about the new coil transfer station

Technical data

Basic dimensions (L/W/H) 36.5 m/14 m/11.5 m

Length of rail link 300 m

Indoor crane hoisting power 32 t

Transport volume 75,000 t/annum

Average coil weight 23 t

Using a special capstan, the train is pulled into the new coil transfer

faci lity of AFG Arbonia­Forster­Holding AG. The transfer station is loca ted

in Romanshorn, near to the Romanshorn­Friedrichshafen ferry landing.

also to excellent design – even when it comes to a pragmatic

construction like the new coil transfer station. The building’s

shell, which is 36.5 m long, 14 m wide and 11.5 m high, sets

new architectural standards. During the day, the shell allows

light to flood the building’s interior, thereby reducing the

need for electric lighting. At night, the elegant building cube

emits an elegant blue light that helps to create a compelling

visual accent. The new coil transfer station near the Romanshorn­Friedrichshafen

ferry landing became necessary because

the freight train line to Steinacher Schöntal (where Forster

Steel Technology has been operating a transfer station since

1995) is to be shut down. The steel coils were previously

delivered by train in pre­cut form and unloaded at the Arbon

rail station. The decision made in favour of the new site was

based on a thorough cost­benefit analysis. «

Project schedule and costs

Site investigations Mid 2005 to early 2006

Planning phase July to September 2006

Submission of building proposal September 2006

Construction start 26 th February 2007

Construction duration 6 months

Project completion End of July 2007

Construction costs CHF 2.6 million

AFG Arbonia-Forster-Holding AG 13

Inside the amazing


The steel structures which will form part of the stands in the AFG ARENA

tower proudly above the site. Around 21,000 visitors will find space here.

The completion of the stands marks another important step forwards for the

supersized construction project in the western region of St.Gallen. The grand

opening is already set for the summer of 2008! As the company which is not

only a partner in this project but has also given the stadium its name,

AFG Arbonia­Forster­Holding AG is already right in the heart of the action. «

Marvellous: the ten­storey main stand includes comfortable seating and exclusive corporate boxes.

Ready: the third of a total of four pedestrian crossings has already been completed.

Brilliant: the glazed facade of the main stand

showing a reflection of the motorway.

Timeless: the careful combination

of concrete and steel gives the AFG ARENA

its special appearance.


Heating Technology

and Sanitary


The Division Heating Technology and Sanitary Equipment provides some stylish surprises with its comfortable showers, bathrooms and wellness rooms.

H e a t i n g Te c h n o l o g y a n d

Sanitary Equipment

New underfloor convectors

from Arbonia

With the new Ascotherm series Arbonia extends its product portfolio

with underfloor convectors for private and commercial users. They have been

designed to be unobtrusive and blend in with the respective interior.

Convectors are a mandatory requirement for heating large

rooms in private and commercial premises fast and efficiently.

If placed correctly in front of large window areas, they will be

an effective device for counteracting the cold air drop with its

upwards flow of warm air. Apart from the familiar free standing

convectors, Arbonia now offers the Ascotherm series of

underfloor convectors that are nearly completely hidden from

view in the interior of the room. Not only does this keep the

interior design free from the clutter of radiators, it also allows

free access to the window areas. Only the elegant linear

cover grills are an indicator of the convectors that are hidden

in the floor.

Three operating options

Depending on the heat requirement and choice of heating

up time, the underfloor convectors provide three operating

options. With the Ascotherm KRN 11, heat distribution is

based solely on natural convection whereas the KRN 12 has

an additional air connection. This is used to channel fresh air

to the convector via a separate duct, thus ensuring the very

best in indoor climate. The air volume and hence the convection

output can be controlled via a slide register.

For fast heating­up times and an even heat distribution the

model KRN 21 is equipped with a cross­flow fan system for

forced convection, featuring special energy­efficient motors

with three different speed settings.

Model KRN 21 with cross­flow fan system for forced convection.

Elegant: linear grating in anodised aluminium.


Sophisticated design

Ascotherm underfloor convectors are supplied in impact

sound­insulated floor pans that are ready to install either in

raised floors or within the thickness of the screed. There is

an additional height adjustment mechanism to compensate

for unevenness and tolerances. The heating elements consist

of copper pipes and aluminium fins with excellent heat conduction

properties. All Ascotherm underfloor convectors are

available in a comprehensive range of various sizes with

lengths up to 5,000 mm. Delivery includes an installation

cover to protect the convector during the construction phase

as well as a linear anodised aluminium grating. In spite of its

rugged construction, the grating has a large proportion of

apertures to allow free air circulation. «


Prolux premiere

at the «BadeWelten»


Since 1 st July 2007 Heizkörper Prolux AG is marketing

partner of «BadeWelten» and in that function has

exhibited for the first time at the «Bauen & Modernisieren»

trade fair in Zurich. The Swiss association «BadeWelten»

was formed in 1998 and provides advice and expertise from

A to Z regarding bathrooms and utility rooms. It has 54 members

in German­speaking Switzerland and a total workforce

of 985. One of its marketing partners for bathrooms is now

Heizkörper Prolux AG, which supplies beautifully­designed

radiators. The purpose of this partnership is the sale of highquality

products which are used by «BadeWelten» in the design

of their bathrooms. The two partner organisations work

closely together in design, customer advice, products and

services for the perfect bathroom.

At five trade fairs all over Switzerland «BadeWelten» exhibits

and presents its competence in order to make new contacts

and cultivate existing ones. The first of these events was the

trade fair «Bauen und Modernisieren» in Zurich from 30 th

August to 3 rd September 2007. Stylish bathrooms were on

New training centre

inaugurated in Stříbro

On 5 th October 2007 the aim was achieved: the new

information and training centre of Kermi s.r.o was

officially inaugurated in the presence of the most

important partners and business associates from the

business and political community in the Czech town

of Stříbro. Dr. Edgar Oehler, Chairman of the Board of

Directors and CEO of AFG Arbonia­Forster­Holding AG,

Dr. Roger Schönborn, member of the management of

Heating Technology and Sanitary Equipment, as well as

Milan Stoll, Managing Director of Kermi s.r.o Stříbro,

The «Golden Eye» guest bathroom with the Prolux radiator «Galaline».

display to appeal to all life­style groups, showing customers

how to turn their dream bath into reality. Heizkörper

Prolux AG was represented in the three bathrooms «Cool

Day», «Golden Eye» and «Hot Chili». The stylish radiators

Lambada, Galaline and Mambo were the perfect match

for these modern bathroom designs. «

«BadeWelten» with Prolux

WOHGA Zug 13 th – 16 th March 2008

OFFA St.Gallen 2 nd – 6 th April 2008

gave short speeches to the audience of some 40 invited

guests. After an interesting ramble around the state­of­theart

production facility, a festive menu was served in the new

information centre by the spirited catering team. The new

information and training centre has created a platform for

interesting and convincing presentations and demonstrations

as well as practice­oriented training for our customers

and, above all, our members of staff – another investment

into the future of «Enterprise Europe». «

The new training centre in Stříbro.

H e a t i n g Te c h n o l o g y a n d

Sanitary Equipment

Kermi flat radiator Therm X2.

Services engineer Mr. Lembke (on the right)

and Kermi product consultant Carsten

Hänsel check: even though the Therm X2

flat radiator is still wrapped up during

the refurbishment phase and running

at minimum load, it radiates heat at

a comfortable and uniform level.

German Weather Service

relies on Therm X2

For about 4 million Euro the German Weather Service refurbished

a building complex from the 1970s with 4,000 m 2 net usable area

in Hamburg. The potential for saving energy was enormous.

With the help of comprehensive insulation and, above all, a complete new heating

installation with appropriate heat distribution, using over 300 Kermi flat radiators

of the type Therm X2 with optimised radiation features, the energy consumption

in the four buildings will be reduced by around 60% in the future.

Saving money with Therm X2

With just a few clicks on the homepage of Kermi you can calculate your personal

savings potential – in Euro and liters of heating oil – for using flat radiators with

X2 technology. You just need a few input data regarding your heating system and

type of dwelling and you can see directly the amount of energy and costs you can

save when you use Kermi flat radiators with X2 technology in your new building or

renovation project. You may well be surprised at the amount of saving because it

can be up to 11% that the X2 technology can save you compared to conventional

technology. The savings are achieved with the patented innovative function of the

multi­layer flat radiators with valves.

Numbers speak volumes

In contrast to conventional multi­layer radiators, these flat radiators heat up primarily

the front panel during normal operation – which has a positive effect on thermal

comfort and heating­up times. Another cost­saving element are the valves,

which have been matched to the size of the radiator at the factory. There is also

an up­to­date calculation of the personal contribution to climate protection, i.e. the

reduction of CO 2 emissions.

And in order to visualise the pure numeric values,

the energy­saving calculator also shows the results

in the form of graphic illustrations of the

development over the next 10 years, which will

convince even the most entrenched sceptic. «



Bulgaria’s Ambassador visits

Kermi in Plattling

Upon invitation by Mr. Barthl Kalb (Member

of the Deutsche Bundestag) the Bulgarian

Ambassador, Dr. Meglena Plugtschieva,

travelled through Lower Bavaria and paid

a visit to the Kermi facility. From left to right:

District Councillor Christian Bernreiter, Knut

Bartsch (Management speaker), Dr. Meglena

Plugtschieva, Mayor Erich Schmid and

Barthl Kalb.

Upon invitation of Mr. Barthl Kalb, Member of the Bundestag, the Bulgarian

Ambassador, Dr. Meglena Plugtschieva, paid a visit to Lower Bavaria and

the Kermi facility in Plattling as one of the largest employers in the country

district of Deggendorf. After Knut Bartsch had introduced the structure and

products of the AFG group and the company Kermi in a brief presentation, all visitors

embarked on a lengthy inspection of the factory. Dr. Plugtschieva showed

a great deal of interest, judging by the many detailed questions she asked during

the walk through the works. In the subsequent meeting, Dr. Plugtschieva emphasised

that Bulgaria is one of the oldest states of Europe and since the beginning of

2007 a member of the EU. The excitement about her country’s integration into the

EU could be felt like a red thread in the Ambassador’s comments, who views

Germany as Bulgaria’s most important trading partner. She said, Bulgaria was

a country where everything was on the move. The development of the economy

was positive in all sectors. «

The Kermi training centre:

growing more and more popular!

In the summer of 2006, Kermi GmbH opened up a new training centre for heating technology

at Plattling (Germany). On the first floor of hall 28, an attractively designed and fully equipped

facility for customer training was created within the space of just under three months.

Sanitary facilities and a catering kitchen are included to ensure

that longer sessions over several hours can also be accommodated.

This fully equipped facility ensures that the usually

tight time schedules of customer visits can be complied with.

Time­consuming walks through the factory are a thing of the

past. So that delegates can keep a cool head during the hot

summer months, a ceiling cooling system ensures comfortable


Getting to «grips» with products

The new area for theory and practical training creates a new

quality of information. With the standard furniture, the area

for theory training offers space for 24 people; with the additional

chairs for a lecture hall, more delegates can be accommodated.

With equipment such as a PC, an overhead projector

etc. it is possible to carry out all training events in one

room. Kermi product innovations have not only been exhibited

in hall 28 – they can actually be seen in operation. In this

way, the delegates can experience very directly the advantage

of an xnet wall heating system or the ’feel­good’ radiator

Therm X2. The design of the practical training facility was

guided by the idea of delegates being able to come to

«grips» with the products. Whether we are talking about

fitting a radiator or installing underfloor heating: all situations

that come up on a regular building site can be simulated and

re­created in the Kermi training centre. As the saying goes

«the proof of the pudding is in the eating» and so heating

installers, engineers and wholesale representatives can see in

practice how new or established products of heating techno logy

work, and members of Kermi staff can prepare themselves

hands­on for customer enquiries. «

Instructions in handling the roll­off device and tacker system:

the modern equipment of the Kermi training centre allows for

efficient training in any conceivable situation on the building site.

H e a t i n g Te c h n o l o g y a n d

Sanitary Equipment

Bavarian Minister of State

Huber visits Kermi

On the occasion of the first Bavarian lady researcher camp supported by Kermi in cooperation

with Fachhochschule Deggendorf, the then Bavarian Minister for Economic Affairs and now

Finance Minister, Erwin Huber, paid a visit to the company in Plattling.

Bavaria’s first lady researcher camp was held at the Kermi

premises from 20 th to 24 th August of this year. The event

is part of the educational project «Technology – a future in

Bavaria?!» and goes back to an initiative of the Bildungswerk

der Bayerischen Wirtschaft e.V. (bbw e.V.). Its aim is

to inspire young women from the age of 15 years to take

up one of the classic engineering courses, which up to now

have had only about 10% of female subscribers who are

therefore drastically underrepresented in these disciplines.

The project is supported by Kermi, the largest employer in

the district of Deggendorf in cooperation with Fachhochschule


Young people research

The ten participants, A­level students aged between 15 and

18 years, were given five days to approach their task under

the heading «energy­efficient heating» in a scientific way

and to work out a practical solution. They were helped by

students and lecturers from the Fachhochschule as well as

a dedicated project team under the leadership of a female

engineer from the Kermi product management. The young

researchers used state­of­the­art aids such as computer simulation

and thermographic evaluation for solving their task.

It was therefore not surprising that the result of their research

was of an impressive quality.

«Research work of

impressive quality.»

Some pleased faces about the excellent result

and the successful completion of the first lady

researcher camp: Erwin Huber, Knut Bartsch

and the female participants.

Important visitor

This was reason enough for Finance Minister Erwin Huber

to inform himself personally about the implementation of the

heating technology project by visiting the final presentation

of the first ever female research camp in Bavaria. Accompanied

by Bertram Brossardt, Senior Managing Director of

BayME and the VBM, Michael Mötter, Deputy Managing

Director of the bbw e.V., as well as high­ranking representatives

from Plattling and Deggendorf, he paid a visit to the

Kermi factory in Plattling. After an inspection of the factory,

he listened to the young potential engineers who explained

the task and the stages of their research work.

A resounding success

Huber was full of praise for the enormous commitment of

the students who had sacrificed part of their holidays for the

project and judged the result a resounding success. Knut

Bartsch, Speaker for the Management of Kermi GmbH,

was also thrilled. In his final address he emphasised the

importance of the project to prepare the way for women’s

qualification in the engineering professions. At the same

time he pointed out the many ways in which Kermi tries to

help women to combine a job with a family. «



Kitchens and


High­class marsh oak in a contrasting design.

Kitchens and Refrigeration 21

White lacquered surface for the ultimate lifestyle choice.

Miele Kitchens with Dross & Schaffer

In an excellent position, in the heart of the inner city of Munich, lies the Almeida Palais which was

constructed by Jean-Baptiste Métivier in 1823. For the last 14 years, the company Dross & Schaffer has been

creating and designing exclusive interior living concepts here for customers throughout the world.

Interior designers and furnishing consultants create unique

and comprehensive design concepts for kitchens, bathrooms,

wellness and living areas as well as outside areas. In a combined

effort by architects and interior designers the company

realises individual furnishing designs using high­quality products

and materials from well­known manufacturers.

In accordance with the motto «everything from one supplier»

the firm not only exclusively uses its own designers for the

design, but it also directs and supervises all building and

fitting work with experienced tradesmen that are part of an

established network. The company aims to hand over the

completed work to its demanding customers.

Impressive presentation

240 international guests attended the re­opening on

23 rd June 2007. Over 500 m 2 of exhibition area, the show

demonstrates competence and professionality. Miele Kitchens

is represented with three high­value farmhouse kitchen designs.

An eye­catching position near the entrance is taken up

by the extravagant nearly black kitchen in a high­gloss finish

in the non­standard colour NCS 8500N. The unit doors have

no handles but feature grip recesses on the wall and island

units, adding to the farmhouse character of the kitchen.

The oak bar extension linking with the cooker island is an

invitation to take a rest and have a chat with the cook.

Fascinating light display

This kitchen with its high­quality veneer finish derives its unusual

character from the contrasting combinations. The

smoked oak fronts are contrasted with an easy­care stainless

steel worktop which is 10 cm thick and has the front upstand

in the same finish as the unit fronts. The design is rounded

off with special Miele Kitchens handles in a stainless steel

finish that add the final touch. The kitchen lighting can be

activated via remote control. LEDs with changing colours are

integrated in two recessed panel systems forming the back

of the units.

New sense of space

This kitchen with its white lacquer finish is the ultimate in

kitchens for living. An integrated coloured light strip makes

the worktop appear to be floating whilst the absence of any

handles creates a calm expression on the surface. This is

made possible through the use of electronically controlled

drawers. Contoured side panels on the main units and the

sideboard opposite underscore the living character of this

kitchen. The extra­wide wall units and appliances and sink

flush with the worktop convey the feeling of exclusivity. «


American farmhouse effects combine with a uniform and modern design language without unnecessary embellishments.

The choice of materials and colours underlines the independent effect of this kitchen and the atmosphere of a kitchen for living.

Kitchen mile A30:

top trend kitchen for living

Miele Kitchens continues to set trends: the kitchen as a work space and a living

space does away with the classic boundaries; multi-functional uses take over.

Kitchens that combine functional activities with a feel for

living eliminate the classic boundaries in favour of multi­

functionality. The trend goes towards furnishing with flow ­

ing transitions between cooking, eating and living areas.

The fully functional row of kitchen units hardly looks any

different now from the sideboard with its more living­

oriented look. From the colours and materials through to

the pattern language and lighting, Miele Kitchens convey

a clear image of livingroom furniture.

Impressive new concepts

At the A30 trade fair that took place from 15 th to 21 st September

2007 in «Gut Böckel» near Rödinghausen, Miele Kitchens

presented inspiring kitchens for living as well as new deve lopments

for the future. The exhibition showed design possibilities

for kitchens and beyond. Both trading partners and

interested competitors gave a very positive assessment of

the stand.

Ideal for the transition to the eating area:

the display cabinet from the kitchen style programme.

Kitchens and Refrigeration 23


The focal point of this kitchen is the expressive sweet gum tree veneer, the grain of which runs along the whole length of the kitchen furniture.

Successful presentation allround

The stand was considered successful allround and a comprehensive

presentation with the clear claim of a premium

brand. «The brand character can be clearly distinguished in

this exhibition», that was the confi rming view of the trade

Selecting the most

fascinating Miele kitchen

The competition for specialist trade partners of Miele Kitchens,

which had been organised as part of the trade fair A30 2006,

has come to a close.

The jury of experts, consisting of

designers as well as journalists of the

magazine «Architektur & Wohnen»

and Miele Kitchens, selected the

«most fascinating Miele kitchen»

from numerous entries. The kitchen

designs were judged in connection

with the space design of kitchens

already realised. The most attractive

kitchen, which formed an integrated

part of the whole house design, was

soon found and unequivocally accepted.

This kitchen had been designed and

implemented by specialist trade partners

of Miele Kitchens «Küchen und

Hausgeräte Panitz» in Nuremberg.

The jury was persuaded by the clear

and minimalist lines in the kitchen design

that, together with the open­plan

living features, was a perfect match for

the house design. With its yellow colour

partners. More than 1,500 visitors were agreeably surprised

by the successful brand presentation. You can download the

concurrent news magazine from www.miele­kuechen.de

where you can fi nd all new products as of October 2007

and pictures of the kitchens shown at the trade fair. «

Anne (centre) and Peter Panitz (right), the

management team of «Küchen und Hausgeräte

Panitz» are happy to have won the

prize. They have already had the opportunity

to relax at the wellness weekend.

scheme (programme L10, mat fi nish,

NCS paint) it also blended well with

the wall as the north side of the house

was intended to give a warm and sunny

expression. The food preparation

island was contrasted in stone grey

in order to provide a focus to the

space design. «


As of 1 st October 2007, Peter Holliger has succeeded

Bruno Bernhardsgrütter as managing director of

Bruno Piatti AG. During the last three years, Peter Holliger

was head of Piatti Sales in Switzerland. In that period he

and his team worked hard on the intensely contested

commercial market. He wants to achieve a win/win situa tion

by profiling the company with a unique selling proposition.

This involves a continuing focus on the improvements in

customer advice and quality that have already begun. «

Piatti focuses on

energy efficiency

The current status report about energy efficiency at the largest kitchen manufacturer

in Switzerland was uplifting. The targets determined under the Energy Efficiency Act for the canton

of Zurich were exceeded by 16% by September 2007.

The success has been achieved through focused investments

in new, energy­efficient lighting solutions and more up­todate

machinery. Shortly after receiving the ISO environmental

certificate in the spring, the environment­conscious company

in Dietlikon, Zurich again shows its commitment to environmental

issues. In acccordance with § 13a of the Energy Efficiency

Act of the canton of Zurich, Piatti intends to improve

its energy efficiency by 20% by the year 2016. With an improvement

of 16% for the period from January 2006 to September

2007 the company is doing well. It is predictable that

the 20% limit will be reached within the next few years –

much earlier than had been agreed in the targets.

«Lighting instead of heating»

The success is based on more energy­efficient lighting sys tems

and more up­to­date machinery. Production manager Toni

Zöchbauer laughs and explains: «Now we have lamps that

radiate light rather than heat, and machines that output pro ducts

rather than noise.» Investments in new technologies

make sense for several reasons: more output, less energy

costs and better energy efficiency. Apart from electrical

energy, the overall energy audit also investigates thermal

Peter Holliger

Managing Director

Bruno Piatti AG.

Bruno Piatti AG: a new

managing director Profile of Peter Holliger


■ Vocational training in business administration

■ Höhere Wirtschafts­ und Verwaltungsschule Zurich

HWV, graduation as Eidg. Betriebsökonom HWV

Most important assignments

■ Hewlett­Packard (Schweiz) AG:

various functions, e.g. Head of Administration BO Zurich

■ A.C. Nielsen SA: Key Account Director International

■ Lista AG: Managing Director of Lista Schweiz AG

■ Ensis GmbH: Managing Member

■ Bruno Piatti AG: since October 2007 Managing Director


■ Date of birth 1957, married

■ Hobbies: Family, sport, vintage cars

energy. To generate heat, Piatti uses the wood waste left over

after the production process. For this reason, our energy

efficiency for heat has been exemplary for some time and

can only be improved on insignificantly.

Leading by example

«Helping the environment helps us.» This motto is strongly

represented in the environmental policies of Piatti. Back in

spring, the company has achieved environmental certification

under ISO and thereby documented that its environmental

policy is not just a paper commitment. Piatti leads by example

and wants to be one of the outstanding companies not only

in its products but also its energy efficiency. However, the

good results are no reason for Toni Zöchbauer to rest on the

company’s laurels: «Now we really go for it. Our investments

for the environment carry on.» In the coming years, the company

is planning more purchases of more energy­efficient

lighting systems and machinery. The market­leading company

is convinced that with its thorough, long­term environmental

policies it can make a significant contribution to an improvement

of the environment. «

Kitchens and Refrigeration

Piatti: multi-media kitchen

The multi-media kitchen «Leviato» from Piatti provides

surprises allround: state-of-the-art aids help to make

work more fun – and ensure optimum results for the

cook. The kitchen has been equipped with a flat screen,

surround system, media centre and Internet connection to

make it into a high­tech communication and information

centre as well. This makes it possible to look up recipes at

any time while cooking and of course, online communication

and Internet radio are also possible. If you like good entertainment

in perfect sound quality, you can just press a button

to listen to your favourite music. The fully integrated surround

system covers the living room with invisible loudspeakers;

In 1963, Bruno Piatti AG started to produce kitchen

furniture industrially. In those days, all kitchens were

sold by Piatti directly. The only kitchen exhibition took

place in Zurich-Diet likon. One day, Gaston Etienne from

Porrentruy enquired whether he could purchase kitchen furniture

directly from Piatti. He would take care of customer

advice, design and sales himself. Bruno Piatti, managing

direc tor and owner, liked the idea very much. But he still

wanted to hold on to direct sales. Through additional trade

representations by joinery workshops he saw the chance of

selling Piatti kitchens throughout Switzerland. The advantage

was clear: Customers could find a Piatti exhibition with

a competent advisor near them. At the end of 1968, work

Fascinating: «Leviato»,

the multi­media kitchen from Piatti.


MP3 players and other peripherals can be connected without

problems. The media centre displays images and videos in

brilliant large­screen quality. Sceptics can rest assured: the

primary occupation in the multi­media kitchen from Piatti is

cooking. So that the cook can keep both hands free when

making a phone call, he or she will be connected directly and

without wire to Natel and the land line via Bluetooth. It goes

without saying that the multi­media kitchen also supports

state­of­the­art equipment technology. Complicated online

recipes can be transferred directly to the oven or steamer,

making cooking also a multi­media experience. «

Successful dual distribution system

began on building up a network of regional representatives

all over Switzerland. In November 1968, the first contracts

were signed. These contained a clause stipulating that the

standard range should be bought from Bruno Piatti. To this

day, the first regional representatives Stössel & Co., Brunnen,

Kündig Holzbau AG, Rüti, and Dominik Meier, Schübelbach,

are successfully active in the kitchen market for Bruno Piatti,

by now in the second generation.

Today more than 70 regional partners are representing the

Bruno Piatti AG. The dual distribution system with direct

sales and via regional selling agents has had the effect that

Bruno Piatti AG has been able to remain the number 1 Swiss

kitchen supplier. «


Forster kitchen centre Arbon:

in a new and inviting design

As the first of the total of nine kitchen centres, the centre at Arbon,

which at SWISSBAU 07 had still been presented as a prototype,

was equipped with all new products.

The design reflects the most current trends in terms of materials and colour

schemes, turning the already appealing kitchen exhibition into the most attractive

kitchen centre of the whole region. The twelve kitchens on show display not only

the latest in functional technology but also the new design impulses that Forster

Steel Kitchens keep producing. Notable are the plain and straight­lined CUBE,

a high­gloss kitchen featuring offset cubes, as well as the imposing TWIN,

an extra­class dream of a kitchen in metal. In the coming weeks and months,

the other kitchen centres in Switzerland will also be redesigned and updated.

This means that soon the latest trends for kitchens and utility rooms will be

on view in all Forster exhibitions. «

New product – Forster wash terminal

Apart from the individual solutions for utility rooms, which have been on offer

from Forster Kitchens for some time, a new concept for laundry rooms has now

been launched, the «compact wash terminal».

The wash terminal: a successful ergonomic solution allround.

In contrast to the individual utility rooms, which are individu­

ally designed to meet customers’ needs and for which the

design options with respect to choice of materials and layout

are nearly limitless, the concept of the «compact wash termi­

nal» pursues a very different strategy. The programme of

the compact wash terminals comprises 4 sets that can be

equipped with washing machine and dryer by Electrolux

or V­Zug, depending on customers’ requirements. «

Kitchens and Refrigeration 27

Exhibition at Forster Kitchen Centre Arbon «by night».

Customer benefits at a glance

■ Saving time through thought­out organisation

■ Making work easier with the help of ergonomically fitted equipment

New: CUBE kitchen – Gloss Line.

New: TWIN kitchen – Metallic Line.

■ Easy to keep tidy by providing optimum storage and containers (wash separation system)

■ Hygiene through closed elements and materials that are easy to care for

■ A beautiful solution that is a joy to look at

Offer 1 Offer 2 Offer 3

Offer 4



and Doors

The EgoKiefer plastic window XL ® speaks for itself with its environment­friendly design.

Windows and Doors

Economic value of a window plus

maintenance costs

Eco-efficiency =

Effects on the environment during

production and use

The EgoKiefer plastic window XL ® Light

revolutionises the

world of windows in terms of eco­efficiency and design.

EgoKiefer plastic windows XL ®

with top eco-efficiency

Compared to conventional windows, the EgoKiefer plastic window XL ® is highly eco-efficient,

providing twice the benefits, depending on the conventional windows’ construction.

The money saved in this way can be profitably invested in environment-friendly EgoKiefer

added-value modules so that both customers and the environment enjoy a double benefit.

Owing to a high degree of rationalisation in production and

low maintenance costs during their lifetime, plastic windows

are by far the most economic solution when considered from

purely financial aspects. The economic advantage of plastic

windows is therefore not in dispute. And with respect to eco logy

plastic windows are also above average. The EgoKiefer

plastic window XL ® in particular speaks for itself with its environment­friendly

design. As an example, an eco­audit carried

out by Empa recently confirmed better values for it than for a

conventional timber window. It follows that EgoKiefer plastic

windows are not only easy on the purse of customers, but

are also easy on the environment – in a sustainable fashion.

Decisive advantage: ecological efficiency

When combining economic with ecological evaluations we

obtain the criteria for ecological efficiency:


This calculation results in an eco­efficiency of the Ego Kiefer

plastic windows XL ® that cannot be matched by other materials

and constructions. It also means that EgoKiefer offers the

best­performing energy saving window with the best price/

performance ratio. Likewise, the timber/aluminium window

XL ® is remarkable in its above­average eco­efficiency. The

money saved when buying an EgoKiefer plastic window can

be invested in environment­friendly EgoKiefer added­value

modules, such as the exclusive high­performance insulating

glass Ego Verre ® with triple glazing or in photovoltaic elements.

With these investments the customer benefits from the additional

advantages and does something for the environment

at the same time.

Recognising and using the potential for improvement

When replacing windows, the energy­saving potential varies

in size depending on the number, age and type of windows

to be replaced. However, there is always a potential. For an

easy and quick calculation of the personal savings potential,

EgoKiefer has developed an energy saving calculator. This also

includes information about how to benefit from contributions

of the building programme of Stiftung Klimarappen when

using EgoKiefer window systems. For further information see:

www.egokiefer.ch. «


The EgoKiefer factory in Villeneuve VD.

Increased production capacity

for EgoKiefer plastic windows XL ®

The EgoKiefer plastic window XL ® is probably the best-performing window system

on the Swiss and European window market: leading in design and eco-efficiency.

The eco­efficiency of the EgoKiefer plastic window XL ® is an

outstanding achievement and exceeds that of conventional

windows in some cases by 100%. In terms of design it also

sets new benchmarks: it was given the internationally renowned

iF product design award 2007 and has been nominated

for the Design Prize 2008 of the Federal Republic of


Expansion in the west of Switzerland

The rapidly increasing demand for EgoKiefer plastic windows

XL ® already makes it necessary to expand the EgoKiefer production

facilities. The expansion will take place in Villeneuve

VD in the EgoKiefer facility in the west of Switzerland, where

first steps have already been implemented in recent months.

The necessary conversions of the existing production systems

were carried out in Villeneuve during the summer holidays.

What is new is that all parts for the EgoKiefer plastic window

XL ® can be produced fully automatically in the machining

workshops, including all finishes, steel fastening and even

the fitting of the lock components. This means a significant

rationalisation and optimisation compared to the single­step

production up to now.

To the future!

At the beginning of November the team in Villeneuve was

able to successfully commission the new efficient adhesive

plant that lies at the heart of the EgoKiefer window technology

XL ® . That meant that all prerequisites for a successful

production start in Villeneuve were in place. The first plastic

windows XL ® produced in the EgoKiefer facility in Villeneuve

were delivered as early as the end of November. With an

overall annual capacity of 210,000 m 2 of plastic windows

the factory at Villeneuve is now in a position to produce

90,000 m 2 EgoKiefer plastic windows XL ® .

Opening up new markets

In this way, EgoKiefer has created the conditions for continuing

the success story of EgoKiefer plastic windows XL ® .

The company has laid the foundations for expanding the

market in Switzerland as well as abroad. «

Increased capacity for a highly successful product: the most

up­to­date production facility for plastic windows XL ® has been

created in Villeneuve.

Windows and Doors

EgoKiefer plastic window:

«70% energy saving –

automatic ventilation!»

Everybody talks about climate change and sustainable and efficient use of energy

and reducing CO 2 . As the number 1 in the Swiss window and door market,

EgoKiefer has been actively working for «environmental issues» for decades.

Never before were the will and readiness «to do something»

as prevalent as now. We can say with pride that we are offering

what is probably the best­performing range of energysaving

windows on the market. In its eco­audit 2007, Empa

presents the EgoKiefer window systems even as a source

of energy. The amount of energy saved by using our highperformance

windows throughout their service life is clearly

more than the energy consumed for production and disposal.

The EgoKiefer window systems used in renovation during

2006 reduced the annual consumption of heating oil in

Switzerland by 6,600 t and the CO 2 ­emissions by 20,500 t.

Top materials: Plastic and aluminium

The EgoKiefer window range in plastic and plastic/aluminium

with the EgoKiefer plastic window XL ® is unbeaten in terms

of ecology and economy. With the EgoKiefer plastic and plastic/aluminium

window range it is possible to reduce energy

consumption through the window by up to 70% – depending

on the type of window to be replaced. In combination

with the exclusive EgoKiefer high­performance insulating

glass EgoVerre ® we create an unbeatable and unique product


Special edition SECCO ventilation

Especially in the winter season, during the heating period,

the topic of saving energy is foremost in everybody’s mind

and people are particularly keen to save as much heating

energy as possible. However, at the same time, people need

a healthy and balanced room climate during the dry parts of

winter. But if you open the window in order to ventilate and

let in fresh air, some heating energy is lost. You could say

that your heat goes out of the window. So in that situation

it is nice to know that EgoKiefer can offer a suitable solution.

In time for the winter season, the market leader offers the

special edition SECCO ventilation for all its plastic and plastic/

aluminium windows. This system ensures a permanent fresh

air supply while the windows are closed. Without drafts,

without loss of heat and with consistently high values in

sound insulation and resistance to driving rain. The exclusive

EgoKiefer ventilation system uses the laws of physics.

In time for the winter season, the market leader

offers the special editions SECCO Ventilation and

MONO Security for all its plastic and plastic/aluminium


Fresh air enters through small slots in the window frames,

warms up as it rises through the hollow spaces in the plastic

profiles and finally emerges into the interior.


Special edition MONO to protect against burglars

With the special edition MONO, EgoKiefer offers effective

burglar protection. MONO features additional safety

locking points and a lockable handle. Building up from that,

EgoKiefer offers a multi­stage security system which provides

additional and extremely effective devices for burglar protection.

The special editions SECCO and MONO are available

for all EgoKiefer plastic and plastic/aluminium windows

as of now. www.egokiefer.ch. «


The MINERGIE­P multi­family home in Chur.

Modern, integrated communication

for EgoKiefer sales outlets

From the beginning of 2007, the EgoKiefer sales outlets can use the new window

construction programme PrefSUITE. Already now it is being used by over 90 members

of staff in sales outlets in all regions of Switzerland.

PrefSUITE is a user­friendly tool for processing quotations and

orders and order windows online from EgoKiefer. With this

modern, integrated communication, EgoKiefer takes an important

step towards closer networking of its regional sites.

The solution is called EgoKiefer­ASP for sales outlets.

The failure­proof infrastructure with central servers and

firewall is available from Monday to Saturday from 05.00 to

22.00 hours and on Sundays from 07.00 to 20.00 hours.

Thanks to the encrypted communication between sales

outlet and EgoKiefer and internal screening with firewalls,

the ASP solution is perfectly protected against unwanted


Direct access, customer-friendly ordering

Users in the sales outlets work via Internet on the always upto­date

EgoKiefer application for sales outlets. Each outlet

receives its own individual database for its own quotations

and orders. These data can only be accessed by the respective

outlet. Customer documents are printed out locally at

the outlet. Window orders are placed online simply by converting

the quotation into an order by a click on the mouse

and then releasing the order for EgoKiefer. PrefSUITE checks

the order in detail for technical feasibility and then transfers

MINERGIE-P with EgoKiefer

plastic window MPR3

On 24 th October 2007, the certification celebration of the first certified

MINERGIE-P multi-family home took place in Chur in the canton

of Graubünden. The house features the MINERGIE-certified EgoKiefer

plastic window MPR3 with an unequalled window insulation value

of U w = 0.8 W/m 2 K.

MINERGIE­P has the same meaning as the term «passive house» that is used in

Germany to describe the same performance level as the term MINERGIE­P used

in Switzerland. The advantages of the MINERGIE­P houses are:

■ massively reduced energy costs for interior space heating

■ no threat from the expected high CO 2 levies for oil and gas

■ simpler services installations with lower maintenance costs

■ high sustainability of the building envelope with higher resale value

■ significant contribution to environmental protection as no fossil fuels are used

■ protection against outside noise due to excellent insulation of walls,

roofs and windows

■ improved comfort levels due to continuous fresh air supply

and even heat distribution

it directly into the individual database as EgoKiefer order.

All the person in the sales outlet has to do now is checking

the delivery terms and initialling the procurement and

production process by pressing a button. «

PrefSUITE is clearly structured and easy to use.

Windows and Doors 33


EgoKiefer – pioneer of the industry

EgoKiefer window systems are high­performance products with respect to ecological

and economic considerations. The EgoKiefer plastic window systems in particular

stand out for their exceptional eco­efficiency. As the number 1 in the Swiss

window and door market, EgoKiefer offers MINERGIE­certified window systems in

all materials and is considered a pioneer in the industry. In addition, users of modern

EgoKiefer systems can benefit from significant grants from Stiftung Klimarappen.

The top product in the EgoKiefer range is the EgoKiefer plastic window XL ® .

Depending on the type and age of the window to be replaced it is possible

to reduce the energy consumption through the window by up to 70%.

After receiving the internationally renowned iF product design award and

having been nominated for the Design Prize 2008 of the Federal Republic

of Germany, it is clear that the EgoKiefer plastic window XL ® is setting new

design benchmarks on a European level. «

Product pass for external doors

Surprising: even though RWD Schlatter AG is a relatively small company in Switzerland,

the company was the first in Europe to receive the product pass of the well-known

independent institute ift Rosenheim (Germany) for its external doors.

«This shows that success is not a question of size but of

speed», comments managing director Roger Herzig.

The ift product pass indicates the general performance of

a designated product family in accordance with the provisions

of the product standard SN EN 14351­1. The values

and classes stated refer to the object described in the respective

individual tests and the application area defined in the

ift product pass.

Further step towards CE marking

The application of performance characteristics is governed

by national building legislation and contractual agreements.

This system pass serves as a basis for obtaining the ift

Conformity Certificate, which documents the conformity of

the finished products and the in­house quality control through

regular external audits of the manufacturers by the ift Rosenheim.

In essence this is a further step for RWD Schlatter AG

towards obtaining the CE mark for its doors.

Top products for growing markets:

Window production at EgoKiefer.

The product pass for external doors provides information

about the following characteristics:

■ resistance to wind load

■ resistance to driving rain

■ impact resistance

■ sound insulation

■ heat transition coefficient

■ air permeability

■ burglar resistance

Quality and transparency

In the medium term the product pass will be of great benefit

for the customer. As all the technical characteristics of a

product are defined, this system will make it easy to produce

specifications or requirement profiles. At the same time,

it will become much easier to compare the technical

characteristics of a product with those of others. «


Highly polished chromium steel frames give the impression of value and resist soiling.

Highly polished chromium steel:

the queen of steel frames

Although it does not get used very often, a highly polished chromium steel frame is still

considered an absolute top product. So as to get the most out of it, some important points

should be observed at the design stage.

In recent years there have been repeated efforts at producing

frames from different metals, starting with normal steel

via aluminium through to ground chromium steel or even

variants in nonferrous heavy metal. Once in a while there

have also been experiments with surface finishes, such as

galvanising or even intentional surface corrosion.

Elegant and durable

Now and then, a highly polished chromium steel frame

is used, as for example at the Corporate Center of AFG

Arbonia­Forster­Holding AG. There is often a worry that

this type of frame is very delicate and requires a lot of cleaning.

Interestingly though, practical experience shows that

these frames tend to soil less than other products as people

are hesitant to touch a surface when they see themselves in

the mirror image. Apart from the frame’s elegant appearance

and impression of value, the product has other significant

advantages with respect to durability and, not least, hygiene.

«Robust, refined

and very versatile.»

Important for the designer

When using these frames, the designer should

observe the following:

■ Care must be taken when ordering that all metal sheets

come from the same delivery; otherwise it is possible

that there will be differences in the degree of lustre.

■ A reference sample should be requested at the outset

so that there is agreement on the required degree

of lustre because practical experience has shown:

highly polished finishes can vary considerably in the

appearance of the finish.

■ It is imperative to immediately protect the frames after

installation up to handover of the building to the client.

It is best to protect the frames by fitting a 4 mm thick

plywood sheet. «

Windows and Doors

From left to right: Ferruccio Vanin,

Head of Accounting; Georges Hutter,

Head of Planning and Production;

Monika Gerig, Head of HR;

Roger Herzig, Managing Director.

Cash Employer Award 2007:

2 nd place for RWD Schlatter

In this year’s Cash Employer Award, RWD Schlatter AG has reached

second place in a highly competitive field of entrants. In a turbulent year,

which was affected by the acquisition of RWD Schlatter AG by AFG Arbonia­

Forster­Holding AG, RWD Schlatter took part in the competition for the Cash

Employer Award for the first time – and managed second place straight away.

The members of staff at RWD Schlatter have delivered proof that a well­founded

company culture can also weather stormy times. Of course, to be selected as

the second­best employer in Switzerland also

brings with it a responsibility for the future –

the commitment to become even better. «

New product from Planet GDZ AG

For years, the companies Planet GDZ AG and RWD

Schlatter AG have had a close relationship focusing on

advances in constructing high-specification doors. For

over 60 years, Planet GDZ in Nürensdorf, Zurich has been

developing and producing drop­down seals for single and

double doors in timber, glass and metal as well as for sliding

doors and gates. The company is known in the market for

drop­down seals which, owing to their higher lift, can be

recessed deeper. That means that the lip is protected and it

is easier to trim the doors to fit. The patented double door

solution for edge bolts was their latest innovation.

Perfect seal even on uneven floor

The company now presents a new drop­down seal that is

particularly suitable for uneven and wavey floors in new

buildings and renovations. These products provide a perfect

seal against draft, light, sound, odours, smoke and fire. This

has closed an important gap in the growing renovation market.

RWD Schlatter AG would like to take the opportunity to

congratulate Planet GDZ AG on its trendsetting innovation. «

The new drop­down seals from Planet GDZ are also effective

on wavey and uneven floors.



Steel Technology

Fire prevention doors in the departure lounge of the Munich 2 airport with the newly­approved door

panic bars which have been mandatory in public buildings since 2006.

Steel Technology

Forster precision steel tubes

in fi ne form

Rotary kneading or swaging is a pressure forming method used since the beginning of the 19 th century

for the manufacture of rotationally symmetrical or asymmetrical workpieces. The high-precision safety

components made with this technology require correspondingly suitable semi-fi nished parts.

One possible option: Precision steel tubes from Forster.

Initially used as an auxiliary operation for manufacturing

tubes, the process experienced a renaissance during the

seven ties, when it was used in transfer systems for the

optical industry.

The process

The rotary swaging process is a free forming method for

reducing the cross­section of metal bars and tubes using two

or more split dies which enclose the tube or bar either fully

or partially, and at the same time exert a radial force and

rotate in relation to the workpiece. The fi nal dimensions and

geometry are produced by the relative motion between the

die and the workpiece. There are two different methods of

rotary swaging; infeed and recess swaging. Radially positio ned

die segments exert pressure in quick succession on the workpiece

axis, the force of which is converted into high specifi c

forming forces. The oscillating motion of the dies is controlled

by a roller cage running around the swaging system. The

energy pulse is generated by the displacement of the rams

and is transferred through compensation plates or wedges to

the die and workpiece, which is deformed by this pulse. The

executed stroke is determined by the extra height of the rams

and is generally only 0.25 to 1.5 mm. The stroke frequencies

range between 1,500 and 6,000 rpm, depending on the

machine size and confi guration.

The swaging system with rotating roller cage.

Nice to know


The compensating plates serve for both fi ne alignment of

the die and adjustment of the stroke position. As the fi nal

shape of the workpiece is achieved by a number of individual

steps, swaging is referred to as an incremental forming

process (such as pressing).

Track-proven process for safety components

The advantages of rotary swaging are obvious: innovative

options for component design, optimum component weight

and material savings, a high degree of precision and excellent

surfaces, also enabling the production of components which

are ready for assembly and installation. In addition almost all

metals can be processed. These arguments, combined with

the benefi t of low cycle times, make rotary swaging a process

which is suitable for many automotive applications. One of

the suppliers for the tubes used for the manufacture of lowweight

safety components for automobile construction is the

Precision Steel Tubes Division of Forster Rohr­ & Profi ltechnik

AG. The end products manufactured by the company include

cardan and drive shafts, shock absorber components and also

clutch sleeves. The typical process­related work hardening

of the material and the resulting positive changes in its

stability produce highly­resistant components in spite of

material savings. «

The result – high­precision parts.

Tolerance classes of IT8 to 9 and average roughness values of between 0.1 and

1.0 µm can be achieved with rotary swaging. Changes in form of up to more

than 90 percent are possible, depending on the material. In contrast to most

other pressure forming techniques, during which the strength is only increased

at the border areas, rotary swaging results in homogenous work hardening

throughout the material. If the A5 elongation at break is more than 5 to 10%,

almost all metals (even sintered parts) can be processed.


Examples of automobile parts

made of Forster precision steel

tubes for a van.

Forster tubes

on the road

Since 3 rd July 1886, when Carl Benz set out on the road

with a petrol-driven vehicle for the first time, the industry

has experienced an unparalleled exponential

development. The AFG is also intricately interwoven

into this global automotive construction network, and

is a supplier of precision steel tubes as semi-finished

products for manufacturing components which set the

world in motion.

New applications are constantly being found for precision

steel tubes due to the ongoing innovations in the automobile

construction industry. For some time now lightweight construction

of dynamic automotive components has been a hotly

discussed topic, as the focus is concentrated on increasing fuel

efficiency due to the continuous increases in crude oil prices.

Uncontested quality

In Europe precision steel tubes to the value of more

than CHF 250 million are purchased for the drive train,

steering system and chassis product groups.

Active in automobile construction for many years

If we take a look at the number of automobiles produced

around the world each year – in 2006 this exceeded

67.6 million – and considering the fact that on average

such a vehicle contains 200 kilos of steel tubes, which totals

13.5 million tonnes last year, it would be negligent in economic

terms not to participate as a producer in this tremendous

market volume. For this reason the Precision Steel Tube

Division of Forster Rohr­ und Profil technik AG already joined

the ranks of suppliers of welded and drawn precision steel

tubes for automobile construction in 2004. These high­quality

products are used in a value added chain to produce highly

resilient automobile components, including chassis stabilisers,

cardan shafts, drive shafts, steering shafts, piston rods and

safety retention systems, etc.

Substitution by innovation

In 2006 Forster Precision Steel Tubes experienced the highest

level of growth in the automotive sector. Due to the process

innovations in tube welding which make subsequent production

stages such as drawing unnecessary, Forster is able to replace

drawn products by those which have only been welded.

In this way it is also possible, for example, to produce semifinished

products for steering systems, drive trains or chassis

much more inexpensively than before. As these are vehicle

components which are subjected to high loads, and as the

semi­finished product has normally undergone substantial

forming work, modification of the material properties by

means of heat treatment is essential. «

Due to the high quality and deadline compliance

requirements, neither Asian nor South East European

competitors currently constitute any threat.

Steel Technology 39

Faster processing for

enhanced customer service

The Cold Drawn Tubes/Cut to Lengths Production Shops will be restructured to create an independent

profit centre to enable competent and fast reactions to customer enquiries. This ensures that there is

no difference between the calculated and the actual manufacturing processes.

As a result all key functions such as product management

and development, drawing up of calculation and process

schedules as well as production from the first prototypes

through to the series are combined in one area of competence.

Several steps have already been undertaken to achieve

this aim: two years ago Ingo Merten, Production Manager

of Cold Drawn Tubes Production, also assumed responsibility

for drawn pipes and profiles. This means that proposals for

manufacturing­related solutions for new products can be

discussed with customers more speedily, and these can be

immediately implemented. The dies are defined in direct

collaboration with the design department, the processes

stipulated within the profit centre and the optimum tubes

planned. At the same time the production plant capacity

potential can be fully utilised.

Exciting challenge

After the organisational merger of the Cut to Lengths

Production and Cold Drawn Tubes Production in January

this year, the responsible members of staff of the Production

Planning section will answer directly to Ingo Merten. The

team was reinforced in September by the new Cold Drawn

Tubes Production materials planner Walter Stirnimann.

In the next step, calculation for drawn products will be

performed directly in the department. In order to shorten

Production range for cold-drawn steel tubes

mm wall

New, fully automatic separator for the tapering hammer AVS65:

the possible outer diameter of drawn round tubes is between

8 and 76 mm, with wall thicknesses of 0.8 to 5.8 mm. The focus

is on outer diameters ranging between 12 and 25 mm with wall

thicknesses of 1.5 to 5.5 mm.

distances even more effectively, a joint office was set up

for all six administrative members of staff by the inclusion

of a former conference room. «


6 – 7


1.0 1.2 1.5 1.8 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 3.9 4.5 5.0 5.5 5.8


Drawn without mandrel


Drawn with inner mandrel




14 – 16



19 – 20

21 – 25

26 – 50

51 – 76

Main focus

The production of colddrawn

steel tubes opens

up a tremendous range

of possible options.

One speciality is drawn

profiles of all kinds with

the same or varying wall

thickness throughout

the cross­section.


Attentive listeners: the metal construction planner seminar was a resounding success.

Successful metal construction

planner seminar

The Forster metal construction planner seminar was held in Arbon, Thurgau on 6 th and 7 th September 2007.

The seminar was in great demand and every chair was occupied. As part of the seminar the attendees were

able to observe the assembly of a unico profi le in a «live show».

The specialist planners were also shown a number of innovations

such as the automatic sliding fi re protection door EI30

without fl oor rails, the multifunctional facade and the new

laser­welded Forster unico full steel, insulated profi le system.

Additional advantages were also demonstrated with the new

Forster planning CD and the specially developed «Forster

u­value Calculator» software for u­value calculations.

Theory and practice

The attendees were also able to observe the assembly of

a unico profi le in a «live show». With the new system technology

this world’s fi rst offers additional benefi ts regarding

dimensional accuracy and stability combined with low weight

in addition to the outstanding system features. The specialists

were extremely interested in the unique trelliswork design

and were quick to recognise the design and planning advantages

which the new Forster unico profi le system offers. «

Hans­Ulrich Lindenmann (right) explaining

the technologically advanced production system.


Steel Technology

Security and personal

protection with Forster unico

The new Forster unico window and door system has been successfully launched as a standard

version and will now be subject to continuing development in the security sector. Recent trials on windows

(in a wide range of versions) to test burglar-proofing and also window elements were run in recent

months with very successful results.

Burglar­deterring elements are classified in various resistance

classes (RC) on the basis of their resistance time and the

break­in tools. A window or window element with the classification

RC2 must resist an attack for three minutes, during

which wedges and large screwdrivers are used in addition to

small tools. This corresponds to the attack of a casual burglar

with little knowledge of the area. An RC3 window withstands

a five­minute attack with a large crowbar and a large screwdriver.

This test mimics the attack of a burglar with local

knowledge who is also familiar with the design and construction.

These properties are proven in individual tests on the

basis of the following three criteria:

1. Static test: Test with constant stress on the locking points,

the frame construction and the glass.

2. Dynamic test: Test with a 40 kg sand bag, dropped from a

height of 1.2 m onto the frame and glass corners; this corresponds

to a situation in which the attacker attempts to

crash the element open with the momentum of his body


3. Manual break­ins: Attempts are made within a defined

time (in accordance with the classification) to break open

the element with defined tools and knock out an opening

large enough to enter.

In spite of strenuous attempts, the tester is unable to break into

the burglar­resistant Forster unico within the set time.

These tools are used for the burglary attempts (yellow marking for RC1, red marking additionally for RC2 and all tools in the picture for RC3).


All tests passed

Forster unico passed all tests for single­winged elements

of classes RC1, RC2 and RC3. For these security requirements

no additional components apart from the security fitting and

the special glazing are required. For processors this means

tremendous savings in production and assembly – an additional

advantage of the new system. «


«My job? To stand

around and look good»

A special exhibit was made for the Batimat in Paris – held from 5 th to

10 th November 2007 and the most important construction trade fair in

the francophone region – which demonstrates the possible applications

of the new Forster unico profile systems for renovating buildings. Here is

a report written from the viewpoint of this remarkable exhibition item.

«I was created at one of the meetings held to discuss the planned Forster show

stand. As in other countries, the emphasis of work in the construction sector in

France is shifting more towards renovating existing buildings and conservation

projects. These often focus on the development of old industrial buildings to create

new office property and conference centres. Apart from the ubiquitous topic of

security, the presentation at this show was focused on highlighting the new Forster

unico and door and window system and its applications.»

High standards met

With the extremely filigree profile of the new Forster unico system, planners are

able to replace old uninsulated windows and glazing with elements which meet

the latest standards with regard to thermal insulation. At the same time it also

meets all – often wide­ranging – requirements to be met with regard to conservation

and compliance with planning regulations. The show exhibit continues:

«The original sketch was then used to make a detailed drawing of me. Markus

Büchel, member of the Product Management department, drew up the final

drawings after various discussions with our test workshop and suppliers, and

placed the order for my construction. I was definitely not an everyday assignment,

even for the experienced metal engineers in our test workshop. The shaped sections

were carefully welded together and then lacquered. When I had been

mounted into the supporting construction, I was visited by a tiler who covered

the surrounding walls with bricking.»

Passed the test!

«I was hardly finished before I was packed up carefully and loaded onto a glass

transporter with the many other exhibits, and then sent off to Paris. I didn’t see

much of the city, as I was taken straight to the show. At the exhibition grounds

I had time to recover from the journey for two days at the site of the stand.

I will never forget the excited faces of the fitters when I was pushed to my final

position! They had to use a lot of muscle power to manoeuvre my 350 kg weight.

During the opening hours of the Batimat from 5 th to 10 th November 2007 I was

the main attraction of our stand, much to the delight of our sales team, who were

able to use me to show the many visitors all the advantages of the system. My exciting

debut was already one month ago. After the show I was transported back

home again and am now waiting for my next assignment in Belgium in January.» «

«Now I’m standing around – looking good –

and enjoying the admiration of the many

visitors to the stand.»

Steel Technology 43

There were also many other interesting exhibits at the show.

Six strong men set the element up in the right position.

Franck Roussel, technical consultant in France, explaining the many

advantages of the Forster unico system to a visitor.

An overdimensional Forster unico profile

shows the unique design.




Perfected technology: a hard chrome plated roll.

Surface Technology 45

Selective influence

on the surface structure

Technical hard chrome plating is a well-known and widespread process used

for countless different applications. Chrome is not, however, simply chrome.

It is a little known fact that during hard chrome plating it is

possible with selective optimisation to obtain contrasting

characteristics from the same chrome bath. It is, for example,

possible to create hygroscopic and also water­repellent hard

chrome layers. The properties are optimised by selectively

influencing the structure of the hard chrome layer. Both the

topography of the surface as well as the microstructure of

the hard chrome layers are decisive for their properties.

Such reproducible, application­related optimisation offers

customers outstanding economic and functional benefits.

Selective influence on the layer structure

The term «structure» is in itself slightly misleading. It covers

both the layer structure, i.e. the microstructure, and also the

surface topography of a layer. During technical hard chrome

plating it is technically almost impossible to use the standard

chemical additives common in other electroplating processes

to influence the structure and topography. In classic electroplating

processes – in contrast to hard chrome plating – it is

customary to specifically influence the layer structure by the

selective use of interlacing agents, inhibitors (brighteners

and levellers) as well as doping with other metals. These

influencing variables affect both the grain size and the

preferred orientation of growth. Copper and nickel layers

are such examples.

Functional hard chrome plating

Functional hard chrome plating is performed almost without

organic additives. By means of specific control of the electrolytic

composition and concentration, temperature, flows,

current density and catalyst system, it is possible to influence

the «active window», the crystalline structure (= microstructure),

the cohesion and the homogeneity of the layer, the

hardness and brittleness and also the crack characteristics.

The pre­treatment and type of activation as well as the possible

scope of action, which also depends on the base material,

influences the layer adhesion, the preferred orientation of the

structure and the surface topography. Customised layers are

then «designed» on the basis of these influencing variables

for the various applications and then produced in series. «

STI ResistCoat ® : Ground (right) and non­ground (left). STI AlpineCoat ® : Examples of various topographies.


The planned «STI Westside Center» in Steinach with a new production area of more than 10,000 m 2 :

the ground­breaking ceremony took place on 23 rd November 2007.

New premises:

STI Westside Center in Steinach

The demand for continuity gains a new dimension in an environment of dynamic further

development. STI | Hartchrom regards continuity as an assignment for the continuous further

development of added value – innovative surface solutions, new technologies and modern

infrastructures characterise tomorrow’s successes.

STI | Hartchrom was marked by this continuity in 2007. On

1 st January 2007 the group was integrated into AFG Arbonia­

Forster­Holding AG, a listed company, and on 1 st October

2007 operations management was handed over to the longterm

CFO Thomas Reifler. After the development of a new

generation of processing technologies in the STI Surface

Center in Sternenfels­Diefenbach (Germany), STI | Hartchrom

The «STI Westside Center»

Building dimensions

Length 172.10 m

Width 68.00 m

Height 14.65 m/12.00 m/8.40 m

Volume 120,000 m 3

■ Grinding shop,

large and medium components

■ Thermal spray technology

and sandblasting plant

■ Piston section

■ Electroplating mould construction

■ Logistics centre

Ground floor

Building services 470 m 2

Cloakrooms 290 m 2

Power supply 140 m 2

Parking (90 spaces) 2,540 m 2

Electroplating (production) 2,060 m 2

Total 5,500 m 2

Ground floor

Production 7,000 m 2

Logistics 3,000 m 2

Total 10,000 m 2

First floor

Warehouse 850 m 2

Building services 800 m 2

Total 1,650 m 2

set out on new technological paths this autumn in Steinach,

St.Gallen with thermal spray coating. The new extension of

headquarters in Steinach also started with the ground­breaking

ceremony on 23 rd November 2007. The new «STI Westside

Center» with an additional production area of around

10,000 m 2 almost doubles the capacity of the Steinach site. «

Surface Technology

Highlight: 20 m long

application roll

STI | Hartchrom processes components with very complex

forms to a high degree of precision and quality.

One highlight this autumn was an application roll

with a length of 20 m – the longest of its kind since

the foundation of Hartchrom AG Steinach. This roll,

weighing 48 tonnes, is used for the production and coating

of a high­tech fabric. The fabric serves as a filter medium in

the screen section of a paper machine, where it separates

solids and liquids. Decisive paper properties such as the formation

and filler distribution are fundamentally influenced

by this fabric. During paper manufacturing sheet formation

starts at a material density of approximately 1% – i.e. a

moisture content of 99%. The screen section passes the

Thomas Reifler – new CEO of

Hartchrom AG Steinach and head

of Division Surface Technology of

AFG Arbonia­Forster­Holding AG.


Thomas Reifler therefore also assumes responsibility for the

business operations of Dr. Edgar Oehler. As majority shareholder

of AFG, Edgar Oehler also headed STI | Hartchrom.

Dr. Oehler, who integrated the Surface Group into AFG as of

1 st January 2007, has therefore taken the first step in making

arrangements for his succession. He will remain Chairman

and Delegate of the Board of Directors of STI | Hartchrom

and will continue to act as CEO, Chairman and Delegate of

the Board of Directors of AFG. Thomas Reifler has been Chief

Financial Officer (CFO) and member of the Executive Board of

Hartchrom AG Steinach since 1999. In this capacity Mr Reifler

– a business administration graduate – was responsible for

major investment projects of the STI | Hartchrom Group.

A record in the STI | Hartchrom history: the application roll

with a length of 20 m.

paper on to the couch roll with a solid matter content of

20 to 22%. To ensure that the roll can perform its task,

it must meet high requirements, in this case a surface

roughness of < 0.4 µm and a concentricity of < 0.05 mm. «

On 1 st October 2007 Thomas Reifler was appointed as the new CEO

of Hartchrom AG and as head of the Division Surface Technology of AFG

by the Board of Directors of AFG Arbonia-Forster-Holding AG.

Successful pioneering projects

Under his leadership the company also reorganised the

German sites, extended its existing premises and built and

started operations of the new STI Surface Center in Sternenfels­Diefenbach

(Germany). During Mr Reifler’s time as CFO,

STI | Hartchrom invested around CHF 85 million in the advancement

of the company to its current position as the

global forerunner in the surface finishing sector.

The company expanded its production capacity considerably,

founded six new companies and acquired six others.

Thomas Reifler has many years of management experience

as controller, CFO and member of the executive board of

various industrial companies. «



The latest process diagnostics

in thermal spray technology

With thermal spray technology STI | Hartchrom has extended its range of processes by

an innovative technology. Apart from the actual process technology, the quality and functionality

of the layers are also continuously enhanced with selective process control and diagnosis.

The online diagnostics system analyses the layer quality, stability

and fluctuations caused by the scatter range during the

entire spraying process. A simple, fast tool for the analysis of

the distribution and density of the particles is online analysis

of the particle velocity. STI | Hartchrom used the online diagnostics

for the development and qualification of their HVOF

(high velocity oxygen fuel) process, and adjusted its parameters

precisely on the basis of the results. The oxygen and fuel

quantity, powder type, the carrier gas and the spray distance

are the most important HVOF process parameters, which

require exact control. In addition, the layer quality is subject

to continuous further development by means of comprehensive

metallographic tests and hardness monitoring.

Diagnosis process for R&D

The Particle Velocity Imaging process (PVI) is a system for

measuring particle velocity. A CCD camera with a zoom lens

photographs the luminous stream of particles of the process.

As the camera works with a very short exposure time, the

individual particles appear as a thin, luminous stripe. The

advantages of this process are mainly the very high data

rate (number of particles/image and the high image rate of

15 images/second) as well as online evaluation. The measuring

process is suitable for all thermal spray processes characterised

by a luminous stream of particles (e.g. HVOF/HVAF,

plasma, wire and flame spraying). The results are velocities

for various process parameters, depending on the spraying

and measuring distance.

The PFI­s is a diagnostics system which runs during the process.

Here: the burner and diagnosis device with the flame on the display.

Diagnosis process for production

A diagnosis process is used for production which can provide

information on the process quickly and simply. The device

registers changes in the spraying jet without measuring discrete

values. So­called PFI­s (Particle Flux Imaging) is a diagnostics

system which runs during the process. The system

optically records the stream of particles and the spraying

point, the point at which the melted, liquid particles make

contact with the substrate. This particle diagnostics method

can be used to determine properties of the spray particle

during the flight phase at a certain point of the spray jet.

At the same time the device measures the surface temperature,

the flow rate, the diameter and velocity of the particles.

A special process unit of the sensor also determines the

two­dimensional distribution of the particle properties and

the characteristics of the spray jet. An optical change in the

jet indicates deviations in individual parameters (e.g. faulty

gas flow rate measurement) or is an indication of wear on

the burner components.

The HVOF process

The common feature of the various spraying processes is

a powerful heat source (flame) into which the spray feed

stock is introduced and accelerated onto the substrate

surface in the form of melted particles at high velocities

(approx. 500 m/s). During the high­energy HVOF process

the powder feed stock is sprayed onto the substrate

at supersonic speed. «

Surface Technology 49

STI | Hartchrom provides surface

treatment for Maybach

There is a good chance that your car attained its shapeliness with the aid of

a specially finished tool. Mercedes-Benz Cars also uses the surface treatment technology

of Hartchrom Teikuro Automotive GmbH for its luxury brand Maybach.

STI | Hartchrom offers unique chrome plating technology for

the deep drawing moulds and dies used in the automotive

industry. The so-called Teikuro Process is globally acknowledged

as the premier surface treatment for moulds and dies.

The technology has been developed by the Teikuro Corporation

in Japan and the USA over the past 30 years and has been

adapted to the specific needs of the automotive industry.

Internationally recognised plating method

The cooperation with Teikuro Corporation led to the foundation

of Hartchrom Teikuro Automotive GmbH, a subsidiary of

STI | Hartchrom. Since then, tools have been surface treated

at the new STI Surface Center in Sternenfels-Diefenbach

(Ger many) for almost all automotive manufacturers, including

the premium brands. Worldwide customers include BMW,

Daihatsu, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Läpple and VW.

Mercedes-Benz Cars also uses the surface treatment techno logy

of Hartchrom Teikuro Automotive GmbH for its luxury

brand Maybach.

The Teikuro hard chrome plating process

In the Teikuro hard chrome plating process, the working

surface of the tool is plated with a thin and extremely

low-friction coating of hard chrome. This protects

the shape of the mould, and any friction effects

are absorbed by the layer of chrome. The fineness

of the surface guarantees that friction

is reduced to a minimum. Thanks to the

low chrome plating temperature of

less than 60 degrees, there is absolutely

no risk of thermal distortion.

Even with multiple chrome plat -

ing, the geometric shape of the

mould remains permanently

Surface treatment of automotive moulds and dies in the

STI Surface Center in Sternenfels-Diefenbach (Germany).

intact. Process reliability, availability and service life of the

tool are increased, while maintenance requirements

are kept low. The resulting commercial advantages

are significant and offer customers a key advantage

over competitors. If the tool is recoat ed,

then this process also emerges as

the most advantageous in the long

term. In order to minimise downtime

in the pressing plants to an abso-

lute minimum, Hartchrom

Teikuro Automotive GmbH

works seven days a week,

24 hours a day. «

Division Heating Technology

and Sanitary Equipment Heating Technology

Division Kitchens and Refrigeration

Division Windows and Doors

Division Steel Technology

Division Surface Technology


AFG Arbonia-Forster-Holding AG

Amriswilerstrasse 50

P.O. Box 134

CH-9320 Arbon, Thurgau

T +41 71 447 41 41

F +41 71 447 45 88



H e a t i n g Te c h n o l o g y a n d

Sanitary Equipment

Heating Technology

Heating Technology

Sanitary Equipment

K i t c h e n s

and Refrigeration


Windows and Doors


Steel Technology

Surface Technology


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