Thanks to the good order situation, the sheet metal specialist Graepel is expanding its US factory. “Well done”, said the Governor of Nebraska to celebrate the groundbreaking ceremony in mid-March.
And this is not the first expansion, in fact Graepel is really making a mark: The factory will be expanded to more than 8,000 m2 of produc-tion space. "This means we are doubling our capacity in the USA," says Carlo Graepel, who runs the Löningen-based Friedrich Graepel AG with his brother Felix.
In 2006, the family business ventured into the States. Mark Zumdohme has been there from the very beginning. From Lastrup in Lower Saxo-ny, started as a dual student at Graepel and sensed opportunity there. Today his business card reads President & CEO of Graepel North America. "We currently have 50 employees," he reports. What grew out of the former one-man sales office is to a large extent his doing. “The expansion will allow us to increase our headcount by 30 percent". Most of the employees are locals. Eight colleagues from the factories in Löningen and Seehausen/Altmark provided long-term support for the construction in Omaha. Metalworking occupations are particularly in demand.
Full production in the USA
In America, it was initially “only” about attracting US customers. The location was a clever choice: Omaha is considered the “Gateway to the West” and is close to the important centers of American vehicle con-struction. The investment climate is also favorable, and the area wel-comes companies who wish to relocate or build a site there. Initially, the German factories were delivering the products. Then the first steps towards manufacturing were taken. Today, the factory can produce complete orders. Most of the products are components for American sports cars, trucks and agricultural machinery. "The value-added Ger-man work is greatly appreciated," emphasizes Carlo Graepel. "Above all, however, we offer technical expertise".
One of the domains in which Graepel operates is perforated metal sheets for the ventilation of “clean” motors. The company also produc-es material-sparing structural components. Another area is products for “underfoot safety”.
Graepel is the first manufacturer in the industry to operate production facilities on three continents, according to Executive Board member Carlo Graepel. The Indian factory entered operation in 2021. However, foreign factories only comprise a smaller portion of the total output of the company, which generates around 100 million Euros in annual turnover with around 800 employees.
The factories back home are also making progress and hiring new workers. Production, sales and logistics at the Löningen and See-hausen/Altmark locations are constantly being refined. Currently, much of their efforts revolve around dealing with the challenges posed by the Corona Virus and the Ukraine conflict. Interestingly, these topics are hardly an issue for Graepel in North America.
Caption: Happy about the plant expansion: Mark Zumdohme with his wife Heike and Pete Rickets, Governor of the State of Nebraska (from left to right) (Photo: Graepel)