Can you guess which Slovenian company has won the Customer Satisfaction Award for the fifth time in a row as judged by British consumers? Which Slovenian company has developed a camera able to process images of the manufacturing process in real time? Whose power transformers have convinced the largest energy giants in Europe? This is only a handful of the products with which Slovenian companies have been paving their way in the global markets. Some of them are presented below.
Our customers want 100% recyclable packaging
Aluminium production, driven primarily by the strong auto industry, has had an average global growth of about 4 per cent annually in recent years. This has been advantageous for Talum, a Slovenian producer of aluminium and aluminium products, which has been increasingly shifting towards the production of higher added-value products. They are particularly successful with packaging slugs for the pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetic industry, with which they have already acquired one fifth of the European market. Talum currently produces approximately 40,000 tons of slugs annually, and after a recent investment in slug production amounting to 7 million euros, the company expects to increase its annual capacity to 50,000 tons per year. In recent years, a lot of attention has also been paid to the sustainable demands of its customers, who want 100% recyclable packaging. With this in mind, they have offered an innovative product – slugs made of waste material that is generated in the production process. An aerosol that can be made of the recycled slugs was reprocessed by Talum’s buyer, Alltub Italia, and presented under the Eco Light Can brand at the recent annual Aerosol and Dispensing Forum held in Paris, triggering a lot of interest.
With e-mobility and electric cars, the door to aluminium, the material of the future, is being thrown wide open. This year Talum presented HEATRAPLATES (Heat Transfer Plates), a new brand with which they want to increase their visibility in the development and production of highly efficient flat-plate heat exchangers, which are used for cooling batteries in electric vehicles, and also in construction and power-driven vessels. “The projections show that all existing and new car manufacturers will present their electric versions of vehicles on the market. In the light of trends, in most cases they will require active fluid cooling systems, which will significantly affect the car charging times at the charge stations and extend battery life,” the company points out.
Optomotive – Conquering the cell phone industry with its intelligent machine vision cameras
Optomotive develops and manufactures fast intelligent machine vision cameras, without which nowadays we cannot imagine mass production and which is crucial for the automation of production processes. The company was created in mid-2008, and its specialty is cameras that can process the image of the manufacturing process in real time and thereby enable customers to avoid bottlenecks in manufacturing. The cameras contain logic circuits with high computing power. Circuits can be customised to the user’s requirements, programmed to process a large number of images in the camera in real time, and to recognise objects or movement on them. This is what sets them apart from the competition, which does not ensure the processing of images within the camera, but with a delay.
“Our major customers are mobile phone manufacturers, who use intelligent cameras for quality control at the production lines. In mobile phone manufacturing, they only have a few seconds to scan a product and determine whether something is wrong with it. The advantage of our quick cameras is that they can scan products with thousands of images per second at a resolution of three megapixels,” explained Barbara Rakovec Gorkič, the Managing Director of Optomotive. The person who came up with the idea for the development of fast intelligent cameras with high computing power was her husband, Aleš Gorkič, who, during the research for his doctoral thesis on aluminium laser treating processes, realised that he needed a smart camera to control the processes and to determine results.
Optomotive’s intelligent smart cameras are developed and sold to fit into larger optical 3D systems. Some 90 per cent of their production is sold abroad. Intelligent cameras are not only an indispensable part of production processes, but also have a wide range of applications, adds Barbara Rakovec Gorkič. “Our second largest customer uses cameras to analyse human movement after head injuries, where one has to learn to walk again. With fast cameras, we also help athletes such as football players in endurance and knee stability tests. We also cooperate with a company that uses our cameras to review the quality of railway tracks, and a food company that uses cameras to scan beverage packaging,” she explained.
Adria Mobil: “We are well-known even in Australia and Japan”
Only a few Slovenian companies can boast winning the Customer Satisfaction Award five times in a row as judged by British consumers. One of them is Adria Mobil, a manufacturer of campervans, caravans, vans and mobile living units from Novo mesto, and the Overall Winner of the Gold Customer Satisfaction Award, for which the British market is of fundamental importance. “Travelling still arouses special feelings in people; these are adventures that enrich us, expand our horizons, and change our worldview. At Adria Mobil, we are convinced that leisure vehicles are the best way to travel and discover the world. They offer a special experience of freedom, spontaneity in route planning, and all the comfort, functionality and connectivity that customers expect today,” added Adria Mobil, which ranks among the three largest caravanning brands in Europe according to its market share, and is present more widely – the Adria brand is also known and “driven” in Australia and Japan.
Vans and travel vans are currently the biggest hit in the leisure vehicle industry. Young people are especially fond of them, and they are becoming increasingly popular with older couples who are thrilled both by the level of comfort and easy manageability of the vehicle. “Certainly, vans are small leisure vehicles, but their ergonomic design, which offers a high degree of comfort for sleeping and living in a small space, is incredibly attractive. British campervan buyers like to choose sleeping in separate beds, and are impressed by glass panoramic roofs that enhance the sense of space,” explained Adria Mobil. In Great Britain, customers prefer to buy the Adria Twin Supreme campervan, which last year impressed the industry media of 16 countries and won the European Innovation Award (EIA). The stars of the British market are the series of Matrix campervans and the Adora caravan.
Kolektor Etra uses artificial intelligence to grow three times faster than the competition
Great Britain is also one of the major markets for Kolektor Etra, a manufacturer of power and generator transformers. Among their major customers are the European energy companies E.on, RWE, Vattenfall, EDF, Statkraft, to name just a few. Their largest single business deal has been the supply of 13 transformers for the largest wind farm on the European continent, built by the Norwegian company Fosen Vind and scheduled to be completed in 2020. Kolektor Etra now has a 2 per cent share in Europe and about 0.5 per cent worldwide. In the last five years, they have achieved an average annual sales growth of 15 per cent, which is three times faster than the average of the competition. They generate 90 per cent of their revenue abroad, more than half of which comes from the demanding markets of Scandinavia. It is also worth mentioning that they enter foreign markets with their own brand name.
One of their important advantages is the use of artificial intelligence, which they use primarily as a tool for optimising the individual parameters of the transformer. They are paving their way to the world market with the development and manufacture of power transformers with rated power of up to 500 MVA and a primary voltage of up to 420 kV, which ranks them in the elite class of power transformers.
Incom rocks on Instagram with rainbow cones and mermaid cones
Among all the food businesses operating in Slovenia, Incom, an ice cream and frozen dessert manufacturer, is the most export oriented. Last year, as much as 90 per cent of their total revenue of 55 million was generated on foreign markets. Their ice creams are enjoyed by people in as many as 48 countries, from America to New Zealand, as well as on the British market, where they cooperate with all the major retail chains, which, in addition to Germany and the Scandinavian countries, are among their most demanding markets.
Among their new ice creams, two particularly stand out – rainbow cones and mermaid cones. The ice creams combine several flavours, they are rich in colour, and their rise to stardom on social media, especially Instagram and Twitter, has been anything but slow. “Last year we were successful in presenting new flavours in several markets, including Great Britain and Australia,” said Boštjan Jerončič, Director of Incom.
In addition to manufacturing ice cream for the largest retail chains in Europe and worldwide, which represents the largest part of its business, two years ago the company put its own brand of ice cream, Leone, on the market. Incom has made its name by manufacturing specially designed licensed cartoon character ice cream, including Hello Kitty, Olaf, Peppa Pig, Minions and many others. It produces between 140 and 150 million ice cream stick bars and almost 200 million ice cream cones.
Door manufacturer wins one design “Oscar” after another in Germany
The family-owned company Pirnar, which ranks among the best manufacturers of prestigious and innovative entrance doors in the world, once again amazed the professional public with its most recent innovation, the Pirnar Theatrica Entrance Wall. At the beginning of the year, the Theatrica impressed the commission of the distinguished German design council. They won a prestigious German design award, German Design Award Winner 2019, 2019, which was the third such accolade for this family-owned company, followed by the Red Dot Design Award in March this year, which ranks among the most prestigious and recognisable design awards in the world.
The company likes to emphasise that the Theatrica Entrance Wall is a technological masterpiece, since it is a contactless and completely automatic entrance door. The Theatrica, suitable for passive houses, attracted the attention of the professional public with the fact that the owner can open it with just a look. The built-in face recognition opens and closes the door for the owner, automatically and without a touch. “With Theatrica we focus primarily on customers who are innovators at heart and want advanced products, such as those customers who bought their first plasma television and their first advanced phone 15 years ago. We are particularly pleased that we impressed the commission of the German council before the door came to the market,” underlined Gašper Pirnar. The series production of Theatrica is planned in 2020. “The German customers welcomed our OneTouch door, which received the German Design Award 2017”.