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6 October, 2022

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PI invests $60m to boost production and ease supply chains

09 May, 2022

The precision motion control specialist PI (Physik Instrumente) is investing almost $60m in locations around the world to boost productivity, expand production capacity and optimise its supply chains. The German-headquartered company is focussing on growth markets such as industrial automation, semiconductors, photonics and life sciences.

PI, which created more than 170 new jobs in 2021, plans to add a further 240 this year. By the end of 2022, PI expects to be employing 30% more people than it did at the start of 2021. At present it employs around 1,400.

“The pandemic has rapidly accelerated growth in our innovation-driven markets,” says PI Group CEO, Markus Spanner. “Developments that usually could have taken ten or more years, were now achieved in just two years.” The result has been unexpectedly strong growth in all of the market segments in which PI operates.

“We are doing everything we can to fulfil our customers’ wishes regarding planning security and on-time delivery, even in the short term,” adds Spanner, who succeeded his father, Dr Karl Spanner, as PI CEO in 2020. “For this reason, last year PI already increased production of its high-precision automation and nanopositioning systems as well as piezoceramic components by 30% compared with the previous year. However, this is still not enough considering that incoming orders are growing even faster. We are trying everything to alleviate shortages in the short term, and, in the mid-term, to provide considerably higher capacities.”

PI says that it can afford the $60m investment from its own resources. Following the 30% growth in production during 2021, it plans to increase its capacity by a further 30% in 2022. It will achieve this through digitalisation, based on Industry 4.0 principles. From 2023, it intends to add more production lines at its sites in Germany, as well as creating additional production capacity in the US.

PI CEO Markus Spanner: doing everything to fulfil customers’ wishes

PI is also identifying and creating regional supply chains. It is setting up an ePortal to enable faster and better communication with suppliers, and, thus, improving vertical integration of the supply chain to boost capacity while maintaining sustainability.

To alleviate short-term pressure on deliveries, PI is developing long-term plans with customers, where demand will determine delivery dates and quantities. This will allow forward planning of manufacturing schedules and capacity. “With this, our customers benefit from both just-in-time advantages and long-term security of supply of PI’s components and systems,” says Spanner.

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