With pioneering spirit and vision: 50 years of Fill – an Austrian success story
The Upper Austrian machine engineering company Fill will celebrate its 50th birthday on July 1, 2016. As the leading machine and plant engineer internationally, the company will be showcasing cutting edge technology at the special anniversary for a wide range of industries. The complex production systems from the Innviertel region are used worldwide by reknowned customers in the automotive, aircraft, energy, sport, wood processing and building industries. In the last ten years, Fill Machine Engineering has invested around 77 million euros in expanding the company headquarters in Gurten. "As a family business, we are proud to have financed our own growth over the last few decades. One of our strategic objectives is to make our customers the best in their fields," explains CEO Andreas Fill, who has run the company since 2000 together with Wolfgang Rathner.
90% of the machines and systems produced in the Innviertel region are exported. Alongside the company headquarters in Gurten and both affiliated companies - Fill China (Shanghai) and Fill Mexico (Puebla) - a close network of sales partners ensure that customers receive sales and service with the tried and tested Fill quality. The company is the global market and innovation leader in aluminum core removal technology, casting technology, wood band saw technology, as well as in ski and snowboard production machines.
Progress and stability
Fill has been family owned since its foundation. Following an apprenticeship as a locksmith, Josef Fill set up on his own in 1966 and with that began the success story. Fill Machine Engineering has been successfully run by his son Andreas Fill and Wolfgang Rathner since 2000 and, as laid down by its founder, is still using the most up-to-date technology and the most modern management and communication methods.
The company achieves the balance between stability and progress in the best possible way: Staff turnover has been less than 3.5% for years. The percentage of women in the company amounts to 18%, while the average age of the employees is 31.5. On average, each employee spends 4.5 days a year on training or development courses.
Impressive figures are proof of Fill's competency in the various fields: 20 million cylinder heads (from 80 million worldwide) and 300 million chassis components are produced every year by the automotive industry using Fill machines. 80% of all cars en route to Europe are made of parts produced using Fill machines. Aircraft components for well-known manufacturers are also produced and worked on using Fill production machines and tested using ultrasound systems from Gurten. Another example of the innovative power of the machine engineering experts from Upper Austria can be seen in around five million ski and snowboards produced worldwide every year on Fill systems. Production systems from the Innviertel region are also used in the wood industry: 75 million square meters of wood are cut on Fill bandsaws every year, 40 million square meters of board repaired using Fill spot repair units. A total of 6% of turnover is put into the development of new products.
Employee success factor
With around 700 employees, the company is among the leading companies in the region and one of the most attractive employers in Austria. Established training and further education in the company's own "Fill Academy" supports the employees in their work in the best possible way. The motivated and optimally trained Fill Team are symbolic of the necessary foundations for the company's sustainable success. Values such as trust, fairness, security, innovation, harmony, dependability, responsibility, acceptance, competency, and tolerance are common practice and form the foundation for lasting and successful relationships.
Plenty of room for the new
The new information and customer center was finished in June 2016 in time for the 50th anniversary of the company's foundation. The ultra-modern building complex, including the “Future Dome” auditorium, is part of the "Fill 2020" project, which envisages large-scale expansion of the Fill site in Gurten and will generate state-of-the-art workplaces in the Innviertel region. The new reception area, two floors of offices in Technical Center 4, nine meeting and training rooms, as well as the generously extended restaurant area go a long way to meeting the needs of the “best workplaces”. A particular highlight is the new event center, the “Future Dome” - a unique venue for different event formats. In September, the “Planet Filli Future” childcare facility will also open its doors. With "Park 21", Fill is creating workspace for young companies and attracting the pioneering spirit of innovation to Gurten. Alongside more workplaces for the region, there are also opportunities to transfer knowledge.
Wir sind 1! We are one!
This is the vision of Fill Machine Engineering. It not only expresses the company’s ambitions and will to hold a leading position in all areas of activity (foundry, metal machining and profile technology, plastics, wood and service). “We are one!” stands equally for togetherness and cross-border tolerance and acceptance. Alongside technological development, the training, further education, health, and well-being of the workforce is of major importance. “We do everything within our power to ensure that our employees feel happy and remain healthy here,” emphasizes Andreas Fill. Specific activities for preserving and encouraging the development of every single employee contribute significantly to this.
The future has already begun: Industry 4.0
End-to-end networking, optimum preparation and processing of production data, intelligent machines and control systems: Intensive research work for the smart factory is making rapid progress at Fill Machine Engineering. Various projects have already been completed, others are in the implementation phase. The merging of information and production technology allows goods to be produced far more efficiently. Ever more machines are now communicating via the Internet. Factories are becoming more and more independent. The foundations for this were laid at Fill several years ago. In the mean time, a third of all successful project gains have been well supported by real-time simulations. Other research topics fuel the development in this field. The focus here is on the automatic generation of control programs from the simulation, virtual commissioning for early development and testing of the control software and for operator training, and on the development of intuitive application programs. The data networking of sensors, machines and production plants will open up completely new possibilities in production. But the human element will still be at the heart of things even in the future.