Syntegon looks back on a stable business development in 2022. Thanks to its proven machinery and service portfolio, innovative powers, and global footprint with 37 sites in 20 countries, the company increased both order income and sales last year despite the persistent challenges of the global supply chain crisis. Order income rose by 3.0 percent from 1.50 billion EUR to 1.55 billion EUR, while total sales increased by 2.6 percent from 1.41 billion EUR to 1.44 billion EUR. Global machine sales accounted for two thirds of total sales; the remaining third was earned with Syntegon’s service offering. Sales in 2022 were generated in roughly equal parts in the most important markets around the globe: 32 percent in Europe, 33 percent in North America, and 35 percent in Asia and the rest of the world. America’s share increased slightly, while Europe’s decreased somewhat. “In a year of challenging conditions, we succeeded in developing our business in a stable fashion thanks to our proven customer and supplier relationships, our global positioning, and our innovations,” says Dr. Peter Hackel, Chief Financial Officer of Syntegon.
Trends in 2022
The war against Ukraine, the energy crisis affecting Europe in particular, and the challenges of the global supply chain situation made their mark on the 2022 business year. High inflation rates also had an impact on the economy, especially in Europe and North and Central America. Despite these conditions, Syntegon has succeeded in continuing to develop its business in a stable manner.
The trend towards more sustainable packaging solutions persists in the food industry. Syntegon is seeing this not only in its new machine business, a sector in which the company has been developing innovative solutions with alternative packaging materials for many years; but also increasingly in its services – for example, when retrofitting existing systems to efficiently handle sustainable packaging materials.
The process towards increased automation, accelerated by the Corona pandemic, continued in 2022. Last year, Syntegon experienced strong demand for its processing and packaging technology in the food industry, particularly in North America, and especially in the chocolate and candy bar market segments.
The end of the special Covid 19 stimulus in the Chinese market had an impact on the pharmaceutical industry. Trends that had been overshadowed by the pandemic in previous years rebounded in 2022. These include the shift toward small lot sizes for personalized medicines, such as those used to treat cancer. Syntegon’s Pharma division, which accounts for 54 percent of total sales, has seen the resumption of projects in this area and registered strong demands in regions, where in previous years many investments had been deferred, particularly in Latin America. The issue of sustainability has also become increasingly relevant in the pharmaceutical sector, especially in terms of reducing manufacturing companies’ carbon footprint.
Sustainability and responsibility
In 2022, Syntegon again stepped up its efforts towards environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG). One of the company’s goals is to reduce its CO2 emissions by 25 percent until 2025 compared to 2019. To this end, Syntegon built new photovoltaic plants at its sites in Beringen (Switzerland), Crailsheim (Germany), Dresden (Germany) and Verna (India), among others, in 2022.
The company also supports its customers on their journey to more sustainable manufacturing. A newly developed life-cycle assessment, certified by TÜV Rheinland, a German association for technical inspection, enables Syntegon to offer to manufacturing companies in the pharmaceutical and food industries a totally transparent view of their machines’ carbon footprint.
The process and packaging technology provider also takes responsibility for its 5,800 employees. A worldwide survey of the workforce conducted in 2022 found that employee engagement and commitment rates have again increased, and they had already been well above the industry average in the previous year. The recently published LinkedIn Top Companies ranking confirms this. The professional social network ranked Syntegon second among the 25 best employers for career advancement in Germany.
Research and development
In 2022, Syntegon continued to pursue market-specific research projects at more than ten competence centers. The company’s 1,400 employees in research and development produced many innovations, as is reflected in the increased patent and patent application count of 2,000 (2021: 1,800). At 49 million euros, R&D spending in 2022 was higher than in the previous year (46 million euros).
“Our business is centered on the requirements of our customers. This is why we are always working on new processing and packaging solutions for the pharmaceutical and food industries, and are driving market trends such as sustainability, digitalization and automation,” says Dr. Michael Grosse, CEO of Syntegon.
Systems expertise for food
Several new developments launched by Syntegon in 2022 underscore the company’s commitment to sustainability. It integrated lock-style technology into its proven Sigpack TTM cartoner platform to cut energy and material costs. The new PMX packaging machine for ground coffee and whole beans processes recyclable mono-materials and enables condition monitoring to save energy and materials.
In 2022, Syntegon played a part in shaping the trend towards increased automation in the food industry with various innovations. These included the new DCS discharge station and the innovative IDH (Intelligent Direct Handling) system for processing cookies and crackers in an extraordinarily efficient yet gentle way, as well as the NutraFlash line for the starchless production of gummy and jelly products. Syntegon automates process steps such as handling, feeding, and loading with the advanced version of its highly flexible Robotic Pick & Place (RPP) platform. Selling its 300th bar packaging system in 2022 is yet another demonstration of Syntegon’s ability to meet current market demands for efficiency while maintaining high quality and flexibility.
Innovations for the pharmaceutical industry
Syntegon’s Pharma division garnered a prestigious prize in 2022 when Versynta microBatch won the German Packaging Award. Syntegon is developing the fully automated, gloveless production cell together with Vetter, a global pharmaceutical service provider, to address the need for smallest batches of highly effective liquid drugs.
In 2022, Syntegon also rolled out new solutions – the Solidlab 2 Plus fluid bed laboratory unit and the TPR 200 Plus tablet press – for manufacturing pharmaceuticals in solid dosage forms. Both technologies save time by enabling a quick scale up from R&D to production, particularly for continuous manufacturing processes.
Extended portfolio in the area of services and digital solutions
In 2022, the continuous expansion of the company’s services and digital solutions portfolio played an essential part in catering even better to daily customer needs for Syntegon’s 67,000 installed machines worldwide. Syntegon added service agreements to its portfolio to offer effective asset and maintenance management services to customers at fixed prices.
The new cloud-based software Synexio enables machine and production data to be collected, evaluated, and visualized in real time. Overall, the processing and packaging technology experts pushed ahead with the digitalization of machine connectivity and have interfaced a growing number of customer machines.
Syntegon reorganized its supply chain structure for spare parts last year, which enabled the company to significantly improve its delivery times and punctuality in customer projects. The service business grew in response to increasing demand for service agreements and digital solutions, particularly in America.
Market trends to continue in 2023
The interpack industry trade fair, to be held in Düsseldorf (Germany) on May 4 through 10, will be a highlight for Syntegon in 2023. The company will once again provide answers to the market trends of sustainability, digitalization, and automation with new products for the pharmaceutical and food industries to be featured at this show.
Having recently joined the Science Based Target Initiative, Syntegon is going to have its emissions reduction targets validated in the months ahead. The company will also publish its first sustainability report at midyear.
“We will again contribute in 2023 with our solutions, doing our part to provide people with safely packaged food and medicines produced to the highest manufacturing standards. This we do in keeping with the spirit of our mission – processing and packaging for a better life,” says Dr. Michael Grosse in closing.