Beumer Group celebrates another anniversary – 80 years of tailor-made and efficient customer solutions

With sales of 680 million € in 2014, Beumer Group, headquartered in Beckum/Germany, can again look back on a highly successful year. Beumer Group continues to concentrate on its core business capabilities, is innovative, and is consistently pursuing its strategic policy of internationalisation. A considerable portion of the credit for all this must go to this family-owned company’s shared values: this is the basis for the system provider’s successful integration of some 4100 employees with greatly differing mentalities and cultures – and of those, in particular, who have joined the group as a result of its corporate acquisitions. This year, the Beumer Group celebrates the 80th year of its existence.

The Beumer Group has achieved an extremely good global market position thanks to its innovative machines and system solutions for intralogistics in the field of conveying and loading, palletising and packaging and sortation and distribution technologies. Its solutions are used in a large and diverse range of industries – cement, bricks, lime and gypsum, agriculture and mining, in chemicals, pharmaceuticals, energy, food and beverages, and also at airports and in logistics centres.

It all started with an idler

The then 33-year-old entrepreneur Bernhard Beumer begins his first working day with four employees on 09.12.1935. He had previously worked for a conveying technology company based in Essen. One of his most important seed assets was the experience he gained from his previous work experiences: having begun as a repair mech­anic, he worked for the mining industry and spent some time working in the industrial region of the Ruhr. He then completed his engineering degree. Bernhard Beumer has long entertained the idea of founding his own business. When he hears that a vacant factory building in his hometown of Beckum is up for sale, he seizes his opportunity. Classic conveying technology was to be the foundation stone of his business activities.

The fledgling entrepreneur starts entirely from scratch. As a young senior engineer, he does know the business, however, and is aware of customers’ needs, in particular. In addition, he has brought with him even at the foundation of his new company the first orders from the building materials and cement industry, and also from mining. A decisive step in the success of the Beumer Fördertechnik company is his development of an idler with a labyrinth seal. The company founder has this innovation patented and integrates it into further products. He also derives from this idler the company logo, still in use today: the circle represents the tube of the idler in cross-section, while the arrow stands for the idler axle and its sense of rotation. The enterprise continues to grow, with already about 100 employees at the outbreak of the Second World War.

Bernhard Beumer junior succeeds his father

Not only the company founder, but also his eldest son, bears the name Bernhard Beumer. He, after completing his studies as a mechanical engineer, works for eighteen years at his father’s side and ultimately takes over the company upon the latter’s death in 1981. His brothers Peter and Ludwig are at his side. Peter Beumer will establish the Sortation and Distribution division, while Ludwig Beumer bears responsibility for finance. In conveying technology, Bernhard Beumer pursues the development, above all, of the company’s bucket elevators, quickly realising that a chain as a traction element is too heavy, its net weight cancels out a major portion of its tractive force. Beumer is by this time already an expert in belt conveyor technology. This gives Bernhard Beumer the idea of using a belt as the traction element for bucket elevators. He chooses a belt with steel wires, to ensure reliable fixing of the buckets to the belt. He arranges the steel wires in such a way that wire-free zones result. This is where holes are punched, to bolt the buckets tightly to the belt.

With these bucket elevators Beumer creates a conveying technology which permits the attainment of significantly higher conveying speeds and larger centre distances. Beumer belt bucket elevators now achieve centre distances of 178 m or more. By the mid-1980s, the supplier has installed around 100 such systems, by 2007 and 2008 this figure has reached around 450 worldwide – every year. Alongside product development in conveying technology, Bernhard Beumer Jr. also accelerates initial developments in loading systems, and sets decisive paths for internationalisation of the group, founding group companies in Brazil, the USA and Asia.

Uphill and down dale – curved conveying systems

In the 1960s, Beumer lays the foundations for curved conveying systems. The first theoretical designs on the market originate from the Beckum company’s Research & Development department. Today the group ranks among the technological leaders in this field – both for open types in the form of troughed-belt conveyors and for its Pipe Conveyor product. One particularly impressive reference project is the 12.5 km long troughed-belt conveyor system in the Chinese province of Sichuan, which started operating in 2008 and currently conveys around 2200 t of limestone per hour from the quarry to the cement plant. Its route features multiple vertical and horizontal curves. This system traverses a total of 1.5 km of water surface and extensive bamboo forests, and also overcomes height differences of up to 100 m within short horizontal distances. The Beumer Group has now been awarded the contract for the supply and installation of a second conveyor of similar dimensions for this same project. And: the customer is already planning a third expansion stage.

No more heavy lifting

In the field of loading technology, Bernhard Beumer Jr. develops new products, such as the three-dimensional loading machine, for example, for loading of bagged cement onto trucks. This relieved the physical burden of the workers. During the 1970s Beumer engineers continued to develop the loading machine to the point of complete automation. The result is the first stationary palletiser. The Beumer paletpac nowadays stacks paper, PE and PP bags on pallets of a range of formats flexibly, accurately and stably, equipped - depending on the requirements set by the bagged product - either with a clamp-type or a twin-belt turning system. The latter permits the particularly fast, gentle and accurate stacking of bagged bulk products onto pallets. The Beumer Group’s product range also includes the Beumer stretch hood, a tried and proven high capacity packaging system, which wraps the palletised stacks efficiently and cost-effectively. The functioning, cost-efficiency and ergonomics of this technology have now been further optimised, and it was shown in its new form for the first time at the Interpack in May 2014. Beumer Group has since reported extremely good customer response to this machine.

Rigid items as well as bulk products

Returning to Beckum from a period in the USA in the late 1960s, Peter Beumer pursued “flow systems” further. Beumer had, for example, installed circular conveyors for slaughterhouses, incorporating ball tables and telescopic belt conveyors, and also special overhead conveyors: here, chains bearing brackets are suspended on rails, which are loaded manually. Peter Beumer then quickly encountered manual sorting carousels. These are circular roller tables into which the packages for conveyance are fed. Workers stood at corresponding terminal points and removed the packages accordingly. Such machines were in use, for example, at the Schöpflin mail order firm. Beumer took up this idea and developed it further, with the aim of automating the sorting carousel. Beumer engineers developed the familiar tilting elements into so-called 3D tilting elements: the trays not only tilt to the sides, they also rotate in such a way that the items carried are discharged longitudinally. The great benefit here: the terminal position is smaller. These 3D Tilt Tray Sorters have now enabled Beumer to break into established markets on which the Danish company Crisplant – later to become a member of the Beumer Group – was formerly a market leader: logistics, CEP and airports.

The third generation

Dr.-Ing. Christoph Beumer, grandson of the foun­der, has been managing the company since the year 2000. Beumer ensures the company’s long-term success with a policy of controlled growth, a broad range of products and services, and a global positioning. Beumer machines and systems are in use in all regions of the world. The group consistently pursues internationalisation, setting up local group companies and even, in China and Thailand, local production facilities. The result is that the company has exhibited extremely stable growth in recent years. Undeterred by the impending financial and global economic crisis, Beumer in 2009 purchased shares of the Danish sorting systems specialist Crisplant, followed later by yet other companies in India, the USA and Belgium. Hundreds of thousands of suitcases every day pass through Beumer baggage handling systems at airports in Frankfurt, London, Beijing, Singapore and other global locations. Thousands of packages traverse conveyor belts supplied by this intralogistics specialist at parcels centres operated by Hermes, GeoPost, Deutsche Post/DHL, UPS and FedEx. With Indian Enexco Technologies, a producer of grinding systems and packaging machines for the cement industry, Beumer has reinforced its presence on vital markets and simultaneously systematically expanded its portfolio, without abandoning its traditional segments.

The road to the turnkey supplier

In 2013, Beumer launches the Beumer fillpac, an innovative packing machine which also permits the bagging of bulk products such as cement, mortar and gypsum, thus enabling the group to provide complete packaging lines for the building materials industry. Users can integrate and adapt these systems flexibly into existing packing lines. Finally, for the first time Beumer makes an appearance as a turnkey supplier of filling, palletising and packing systems for the chemicals industry at the 2015 Achema: its latest development is an innovative Form-Fill-Seal (FFS) machine. The Beumer sealpac reacts extremely flexibly to variations in flow characteristics and grain distribution.

More than just service

Beumer does not just supply and install machines and systems, however. With highly qualified specialists deployed around the globe, the company also ensures trouble-free operation worldwide. The Beumer Group has therefore established a fourth, independent business unit, in the form of its Customer Support division. The group thus ensures high machine and system availability. Its specialists support the customer, starting with the first project discussion, up until the system is commissioned and in operation. Customer Support can offer various service agreement models, tailored individually to the customer’s needs and with contractually agreed service intervals and reaction times. Such agreements range from “simple” maintenance and inspection up to the continuous presence of service personnel on site. The Beumer Group also offers a residential service as part of its comprehensive customer support. Customers can then entrust the responsibility for the availability, performance and cost-efficiency of their equipment to Beumer’s specialists. This all-in provider is on hand with thoroughly founded technical and logistical know-how and can therefore assure high levels of machine efficiency. In order to provide trouble-free operation, Beumer employees come to customer sites world-wide, even long-term, if required.

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