Gericke plans further expansion outside Europe

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Courtesy of Gericke

In an exclusive interview Markus Gericke, CEO of Switzerland-based Gericke Holding, tells EuroBulkSystems managing editor Richard Miller about his company’s expansion plans in China as well as in the Americas. He also gives his own interpretation as to why the company continues to enjoy pre-eminence as a preferred supplier of advanced handling and processing equipment to leading European chemical and food manufacturers.

With an unbroken history going back more than 110 years to its early days as a fl our mill constructor in Zurich, Switzerland, family owned Gericke Holding is one of the world’s longest surviving manufacturers of bulk solids handling equipment. As early as 1913 the company had developed its first vertical mixers and it was one of the early pioneers of pneumatic conveying technology.

Another long established specialist manufacturer of bulk handling systems, also based in Switzerland and also with roots in the fl our milling industry, is Buhler.

Gericke took a strategic decision early in its history to focus mainly on the chemical and food industries, being well aware that companies operating in these sectors needed handling and processing equipment that was both reliable and accurate while additionally often requiring bespoke solutions to specific handling problems.

Unrivalled knowledge of product flow behaviour

From an early date Gericke acquired expertise not just in powder handling but also in the handling of granules, flakes and fibres, thereby accumulating specialist knowledge of the differing flow characteristics of these materials. Today the company, supported by its own R&D activities and test plants, has an unrivalled databank of information on handling behaviour of different bulk products going back over many decades. This factor perhaps more than any other gives it a decisive advantage over its competitors.

CEO Markus H Gericke, aged 44, has been at the company’s helm since 1998, during which time it has undergone significant expansion. For example, it was one of the first manufacturers in its field to identify the potential for growth in South East Asian markets. For the past 15 years it has operated a wholly owned subsidiary in Singapore staffed by local people conversant in the languages and customs of neighbouring countries, including China.

Markus Gericke says that a trading company is currently being registered in Shanghai bearing the Gericke name which, in accordance with that country’s statutory requirements, will be licensed to engage in import and export activities. In fact Gericke already has a number of plant installation references in China, with both local companies as well as multi-nationals, supplied through the Singapore subsidiary.

He explains that most Gericke systems and equipment supplied to South East Asian countries are about 50% fabricated locally, with the remaining 50% high-tech components shipped in from Europe. With this arrangement the company is able to take advantage of more favourable local prices, while at the same time establishing useful working relationships with local manufacturers some of which at a later date can be trained to provide a maintenance and repair services to customers in the region.

Mr Gericke also has plans in the near future to establish a stronger presence for his company both in Latin America and the USA. In the former region the company already has agencies in Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile, Brazil and Mexico but these will be expanded and additional agencies in South America will be created.

In the USA Gericke is represented by Powder Technologies, Inc. of Hainesport, NJ, supported by a network of local reps, an arrangement which is currently successful, at least in terms of equipment sales.

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