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GTG – A Success Story Made Of Rubber

Interview with a DESMA customer

When the company GTG was founded in 1980 by Mr. Wolfgang Bartelt, nobody could foresee this entrepreneurial success. From small beginnings, with his wife as only employee, and self-made vulcanizing presses, GTG has grown to become an internationally acting family enterprise with a total headcount of 380 and 4 locations. All started with the production of sealing frames for the construction industry.

DESMA:
Mr. Bartelt, what prompted you to found the company?

Bartelt:
Since 1966 I have been working in the rubber industry and 10 years of it as "General Sales Manager Germany" for a prestigious Swiss company. At that time I saw very good future prospects in the field of corner- vulcanized rubber seals and, what's more, thought that something fundamental should happen in my life again.

DESMA:
What were your first orders about?

Bartelt:
I was not satisfied with the then quality of sealing frames for the construction industry which was mainly due to unsuited lever presses. We therefore began very quickly to develop own distinctly improved presses to produce with them high-quality products with a minimum of rework.

DESMA:

Is GTG still manufacturing for the construction industry only?

Bartelt:

No, my philosophy was from the very beginning to avoid dependence on one single market. For many years I have been pursuing a 3-pillar strategy, i. e. around 50 % of sales are made in the automotive, 25 % in the construction and another 25 % in the white goods industry (dishwashers). Thanks to this strategy, we are more insensitive to trade crises and have been doing well by it over the past 24 years.

DESMA:
What are the strong points of GTG?

Bartelt:
Our highly motivated team of employees, the great flexibility combined with an implementation speed which can only be achieved in family-owned enterprises.

DESMA:
Could GTG be described as manufacturer of mouldings only?

Bartelt:
Clearly no! First of all we have a GTG-owned product development. In the automotive area companies such as VW, Daimler Chrysler, BMW, Smart, Lamborghini and Ferrari put their complete car bodies in our factory and entrust us with the development of body sealing systems up to the complete sealing; the new "smart fortwo" is an example of it. This means that development capacity is available for all areas and consequently we view it as our core competence.

From left to right: Markus Bartelt, Hanns Tillmann, Wolfgang Bartelt, Dr. Bernd Scholz
Mr. Tillmann, Dr. Scholz and Mr. Hurrle

DESMA:
In recent years you have substantially invested in building operations and even more in production plants - and this all at the location Germany. Do you take a production shifting to low-cost countries into consideration?

Bartelt:
On account of a large-scale order for door seals for the VW Golf with 8,500 seals a day, a new factory with a production area of 7,500 m2 was built in Gundelfingen. This factory is mainly dealing with profile extrusion and is operated by my son Markus Bartelt. For the facilities Gundelfingen 1, Lauingen and Waltershausen (Thuringia) we also invested in new production plants and injection moulding machines. In my opinion we first should do our homework in Germany, before thinking about shifting. Of course we have wage-intensive jobs, such us trimming, already done abroad. Decisions like this, however, are made in our company, when there is no other choice. We are clearly backing up the location Germany, as we have major locational advantages due to the proximity to our customers and the know-how of our staff.

DESMA:

As far as the topic injection moulding machines is concerned, we would like to know your main arguments in favour of a cooperation with DESMA?

Bartelt:
For more than 12 years we have been excellently cooperating with the company DESMA and are very satisfied with customer care and the high machine quality. Our Works Manager, Mr. Tillmann, can surely state more reasons, therefore I pass this question on to him.

Tillmann:

I can only emphasize again the high quality, but this alone would not be enough. I like the uncomplicated cooperation, the very quick spare parts supply, the flexibility to develop customized solutions and above all the best-equipped technical facility. We have already used it frequently for pilot productions or procedure optimizations. Innovations, such as the needle-shaped shut-off cold runner block, are gladly applied by us. The expert consultancy also in case of complex projects is highly appreciated.

DESMA:
How do you assess the current situation of your company?

Bartelt:
It is very good! This year we are expecting as in the years before a growth of 15 - 20 %. We do not strive for growth at any cost, but are mostly focussing on existing customers to intensify these business relations to mutual profit. The same holds true for the cooperation with our suppliers and thus also for DESMA.

DESMA:

Mr. Bartelt, Mr. Tillmann, we thank you for this interview and wish you good luck.

View into the production of sealing frames for BMW / Daimler Chrysler
Smart Roadster bodyshell