AgieCharmilles to Cut EDM Output

Sept. 10, 2009
Georg Fischer expands downsizing effort in response to outlook forecast

Citing declining global demand for machine tools, and expecting no near-term increase in that regard, GF AgieCharmilles plans to reduce output of electric discharge machines and reorganize its four plants in Switzerland. However, each of the plants will continue to have a role in the organization, the machine builder stated.

GF AgieCharmilles is one of the world’s largest producers of EDM systems, and maintains plants in Meyrin, Losone, Nidau and Luterbach, Switzerland.

The Georg Fischer group — which also produces ferrous and nonferrous automotive castings and plastic pipe, joints, valves, and fittings for industrial conveying and treating of liquids and gases — is in the process of downsizing in response to the global industrial demand slump. Earlier this year GF said it would reduce its operational structure and cut corporate operating costs by 350 million Swiss francs (est. $330 million).”

Now, the group says that the measures taken to date are not sufficient to bring GF AgieCharmilles’ capacity in line with the expected business volume, so it will further reduce its output. Production of EDM equipment in Switzerland will be concentrated at the plant in Losone. EDM development will be adjusted to the streamlined product range.

The Geneva site will continue to conduct EDM R&D, and will be GF’s Centre for New Technologies, international marketing, customer service (with a worldwide spare parts business), and headquarters for GF AgieCharmilles global management and support functions.

The plant in Losone site will host consolidated EDM production, some research and development, and the GF AgieCharmilles sales organization for Switzerland and several other countries.

GF states these cutbacks will reduce its employment total by 242 jobs, 168 in Meyrin and 74 in Losone. Also, 27 jobs will be eliminated at the Luterbach spindle plant, and 12 jobs will be eliminated at the milling machine plant in Nidau.

"We firmly believe in the strengths of Switzerland as a place for research and manufacturing," stated Yves Serra, CEO of Georg Fischer. "We regret very much the impact of the announced measures on the affected employees. We have made every effort, in a difficult situation, to find a balanced, objective and economically viable solution for all the sites."

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