Marek Brys, CEO Castolin Poland: 35 years with the company and a new majestic factory
On 2 December 2014, Messer Eutectic Castolin Sp. z o.o. (Poland) celebrated the Grand Opening of the new factory in Gliwice, in Southern Poland. The relocation had taken place earlier, on 15 September 2014, when production was also resumed in the new facilities. After a guided tour of the new factory, the international guests enjoyed a laser lights show, an acrobatic and traditional dance performance, along with a live opera and piano representation by famous Polish artists. The ribbon-cutting ceremony brought on stage our management, Stefan Messer, CEO and owner of Messer Group, Siegfried Schabel, CEO of MEC Holding and Marek Brys, CEO Messer Eutectic Castolin Poland. The anniversary cake, shaped as the new facility, has been cut using Castolin Eutectic spray and fuse equipment, while protection against the fireworks ensured by our welding helmets.
What was the purpose of the relocation?
Marek Brys, CEO Poland: The main idea behind this was further development! Even though in our old facilities we made huge progress, it wasn’t possible to push the company into the 21st century for some parts of our activity. All buildings were refurbished inside, not very well on the outside and we needed something really modern and under one roof for management to be leaner.
How is the new Castolin Eutectic facility in Gliwice organized in terms of production and services?
Marek Brys, CEO Poland: Practically, within the facility we have an administrative part and a so called “clean factory area”, where we have our demo & training centre, the production of Flame Spray Equipment and Plasma Transferred Arc (PTA) units, repairs of electrical equipment and – very important – our local stock. The main workshop in the middle is dedicated to the production of CDP® wearplates and CastoTubes®. And the last part of the L-shaped building is taken up by our maintenance & repair workshop, with all the necessary equipment: big booths for grid blasting, metallisation and welding stands, with all ventilation equipment around. One of the biggest exhaust installations in Europe, built by Nedermann, is situated in the Castolin Services workshop wall and is completely integrated with the ventilation and heating system of the building.
How many employees do you have in Castolin Poland?
Marek Brys, CEO Poland: We have 72 employees in Poland, but not all of them are based at the new facility. This is due to the fact that we have regional sales managers and regional salesmen based in various areas of the country.
How do you see the development of Castolin Poland over the next 10 years?
Marek Brys, CEO Poland: We have much work to do! My vision and my ambition is to increase third-party plus intercompany sales. This year we should achieve 58 million Polish Zloty – 14 million EUR, so my ambition is to get close to 100 million – 22 million EUR within the next 4 to 5 years. And to increase the number of active customers threefold. Right now we have about 1,300 active customers, with a potential of at least 3,000. In order to achieve this, we must have much better market coverage. Therefore, only this year I hired 8 new salesmen. All of them are welding engineers with a MSc degree - for instance our new Head of Quality Control. All new employees hold a MSc degree and speak English, so we have a very high level of education among our team. Out of 72 employees, about 40 people have university education and 30 are welding engineers.
And – except for myself, of course – we are a very young team. But I feel young, because I work with young people!
Who are your main customers today?
Marek Brys, CEO Poland: The main strategic industry for us is still automotive, with the biggest original equipment manufacturers, as well as all automotive industry suppliers. Besides, we work for the glass industry, cement industry, power generation industry, and many mechanical shops. Also we supply copper mines and copper industry, which is very strong in Poland. So we practically cover all types of industries which are vital for Poland.
What are the most frequent repairs carried out by your Castolin Services Workshop?
Marek Brys, CEO Poland: The coating of boiler tubes. We have done about 80 kilometres of boiler tubes coating. We started this kind of service activity in 2010, 2011 and the biggest job we have done was for the largest power plant in Poland, KWB Belchatow, where one boiler only meant coating of 23 kilometers of boiler tubes over four months. We had our people working round the clock in 3 shifts, including weekends, whilst observing all safety and workplace regulations. Also now, in case of big CDP® wearplates and CastoTube® orders we establish 24/7 shifts.
How many years have you been with the company?
Marek Brys, CEO Poland: On 1st of June 2015, it will be 35 years! I’m a welding engineer and have been working in this field all my professional life.
And how about the new Polish building on Leonardo da Vinci Street, what area does it cover?
Marek Brys, CEO Poland: Roughly 6.500m², which is almost 2.000m² more than we had in different buildings before. Now it is compact, we are all together.
What about the location, does it have any strategic importance?
Marek Brys, CEO Poland: Yes, the location is excellent with regard to communication with our own Castolin Eutectic plants. Via motorways we are very well connected to Kriftel , Germany, where we have our Central European Warehouse and to Kiev, Ukraine, where we have our MEC division. The A1 south-north axis is well developed too, which allows us to get in four hours to our facilities in Vienna, Austria. Nearby we also have the Katowice International airport.
Was the new facility built from scratch?
Marek Brys, CEO Poland: Yes, the owner of Diamond Business Park has designed and constructed this building for us according to our wishes. I am proud to say that I don’t know any other company with such a concentration of different technologies under one roof. This is unique in Europe and probably worldwide. We are unique and different, and to be different is our strength. So, for 2015 I expect at least 400 to 500 visitors, existing and potential Polish customers as well as our colleagues from Market Centres around the world.