Of Robots, Saws, Racecars and other Engines
She has style & STIHL, she has passion, she is highly attractive and handles a toy that, too, has style plus an attractive design. But more than that: The “toy” is as sharp as the lady who is sawing her way through the jungle, aided by a typical STIHL high precision and high performance saw, the new MS 661 C-M gasoline chainsaw with M-Tronic. This hot lady is part of this year’s STIHL calendar, for which demand is easily as high as for the Pirelli calendar. Sex and quality will always sell.
Andreas STIHL AG & Co. KG, a German family enterprise in its third generation, is growing continuously regarding all aspects, i.e. product portfolio, employees and worldwide turnover. The company not only prides itself in “made in Germany”, but also constantly reinvests a substantial part of its revenues into Research and Development, R & D. The amounts of money and brainwork the “STIHLists” invest in test labs are well-nigh mind-boggling and compare easily to the car industry. It is therefore surprising that the products are not more expensive. One reason might be that STIHL is and always has been a company firmly based on the principles of sustainability, continuous progress and highly motivated employees. After all, the term sustainability originally stems from forestry.
130 test laboratories in Neustadt-Waiblingen (Baden-Württemberg), the heart of STIHL Research and Development, are proof of how seriously each machine and tool made by STIHL or the one hundred per cent daughter company Viking is developed to its very best. A number of over 200 test stands are unique, and a tour through Fort Knox demonstrates how all STIHL products undergo lengthy and detailed tests regarding safety issues, longevity of the product, pleasant noise level or performance.
Most importantly, the company has a solid base and does not need loans from banks. This year, which so far has been tricky due to a long and severe winter in Europe persevering throughout most of spring, ANDREAS STIHL AG & Co. KG nevertheless increased its turnover by 5.3 percent to EUR 632 million in the period from January to August. And as of
August 31, the STIHL workforce was up to 4,123 employees, which is 1.7 percent more than the previous year. Furthermore, STIHL boss Dr. Bertram Kandziora announced sizable investments of EUR 60 million in a new logistics center and expansion of the engineering centre in Waiblingen in the coming years. “Our German base has a key function in supplying world markets with professional products. With our engineering centre in Germany we take advantage of the fact that our development engineers for products and production processes are close to the suppliers of developments here in the region.” STIHL is dedicated to continue the growth course of the company – in spite of unfavourable weather conditions and consumer restraint in the eurozone. “2013 will be another record year for us,” announced Kandziora at the company’s autumn press conference.
“The Saw Has Made Us Strong” … of Men & Machines
STIHL has never forgotten its origins, and that is the chain saw. STIHL saws have led the company to flourish incessantly and have swiftly become a persistent benchmark in hightech and ground breaking innovations. In the meantime the whole product range
aspires to be benchmark. Back in 1930, only four years after the Swabian company had taken up production, founding father Andreas Stihl presented his first chain saw powered by a gasoline engine. At the time, the two-man saw for tree felling had a power output of six horsepower and weighed a substantial 101 pounds.
Lightweight, which has only recently become paramount for the automobile industry due to severe emission regulations, has always been a key factor for STIHL products. After all, 300 gramms more or less make a lot of difference to a forestry worker, both professional
and amateur, sawing away at trees for many hours day after day. STIHL and Viking focus on power tools for landscape cultivation, forestry and construction sectors. One of the latest additions to the vast product portfolio of chain saws, brushcutters and clearing saws, KombiSystems, MultiSystems, cleaning systems, hedge trimmers and long-reach hedge trimmers, cut off machines, concrete cutter and augers, mistleblowers and sprayers, and last but not least personal protective equipment, the new STIHL MS 661 C-M with a weight of 7.4 kg and a 5.4 kW engine is the lightest in its displacement class. It is extremely powerful displaying a power to weight ratio of 1.37 kg/kW – a specification which is up to now unsurpassed in machines that meet the strict European exhaust gas regulations.
The MS 661 C-M will also be used as a new competition saw in the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series. This year’s competition will take place in Porsche Arena in Stuttgart on 26th and 27th October 2013. A highlight, that is definitely to be recommended. Here are some snippets from last year’s battle for championship in America: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYErVhUUHuw. Some 10,000 spectators will see 100 top athletes from all over the world compete for trophies. No wonder the charisma of STIHL attracts thousands of would-be STIHLists. The company receives approximately 17,000 applicants per year. This is not primarily due to such venues as “Kiss my axe” or STIHL sponsoring activities in DTM, the arts, and many more areas. It is due to the sustainable philosophy of the firm whose employees can furthermore subscribe to participation rights. 69 per cent have taken advantage of this offer.
The STIHL founding company was awarded the “AGP Stars 2013″ of the “Association of Co-partnership in Business (AGP)” for its corporate culture and its “exemplary” system of employee participation in the company’s capital. The total capital of participating rights holders is now EUR 33.6 million – the highest it has been since the scheme was introduced in 1985. Anyone subscribing to participating rights receives a subsidy of two thirds of the purchase price from the company. Interest of 10 percent was paid on the participating rights capital for fiscal year 2012. In present circumstances, one cannot find any bank prepared to pay nearly as much.
The Glory of the Garden
Both STIHL products and above all Viking products focus on the art of gardening – with ease. The robot “iMow” not only takes over the sometimes tiresome chore of having to mow the lawn. It cultivates the lawn, as it only chops off the tips of the grass-blades. Thus, the mulch regularly nourishes the lawn. To this effect, Viking has presented two new products for lawn care. It has launched its new iMow MI 632 and MI 632 P robotic mowers – two models designed and built in-house – which operate quickly, quietly and intelligently. They are powered by highly efficient rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
For those, however, wanting to indulge actively in the care of their garden and with a sizable lawn at hand that possibly is not flat, the VIKING T5 and T6 series lawn tractors present themselves with a technical and optical facelift. The top models in the T6 series are now equipped with an innovative synchronous mowing deck and an uprated gearbox.
Performance, Precision, Perfection, Longevity
After 30 years spare parts are still available for STIHL power tools. Compared to the automobile industry where a car is a classic car, once it is 25 years old and as a result it gets increasingly difficult to get hold of fitting spare parts, this is another convincing aspect of the company’s philosophy of longevity and sustainability.
What may come as a surprise but is further proof of the precision and running smoothness is the fact that STIHL expert tools are also used for sculpturing. The artist Anna-Katharina Hesse, young prize-winner of the European design price for woodcutters, relies on STIHL power saws. We were able to watch her using the new STIHL Carving E which is twelve per cent lighter and slimmer than its predecessor and has laser marks for precise cuts. It is so slender that there are virtually no kickbacks. As far as tree surgery is concerned, this tool allows the healing of rotten parts of trees.
In order to avoid the outbreak of diseases the new SR 200 backpack sprayer has been developed. It protects plants and trees up to a height of 2.5 meters in wine, fruit and vegetable growing. For pruning trees flexibly, quietly and free of emissions while standing on the ground, the STIHL cordless system now also includes the HTA 85 pole saw. In other words, there is a power tool from STIHL or Viking to answer any problem arising in gardens or forests.
Passionists at Work
Passion and power attract passion and power. This is why STIHL figures as DTM sponsor. Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM, German Touring Car Masters) is a Silhouette racing car series based in Germany, with races taking also place elsewhere in Europe.
This year, the battle is among Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Being based near Stuttgart STIHL sponsors a Mercedes car (STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) and its Canadian DTM rookie race driver Robert Wickens. And STIHL was to be in luck. To the surprise of almost everyone Wickens took an improbable maiden DTM victory in a chaotic wet-and-dry race at the Nurburgring on 18th August this year. Durability being another parallel between sponsor and sponsored driver.
The name STIHL has been the epitome of revolutionary technology and innovative ideas ever since the firm was founded. Throughout its 85-plus year history this hightech approach has made STIHL a synonym for state-of-the-art engineering. The STIHL brand is known all over the world for quality and service. In more than 160 countries STIHL products are helping people at work. In short, STIHL has become the world’s leading chain saw brand. Last but not least, here is a glimpse of the fascinating STIHL world, starring the MS 261:
Summary / Zusammenfassung
Die Andreas STIHL AG & Co. KG ist eine jener Erfolgsgeschichten im Schwäbischen, die klein anfing und stetig wuchs. Seit letztem Sommer führt Dr. Nikolas Stihl das Unternehmen in der dritten Generation – wie sein Vater Hans Peter Stihl als Vorsitzender von Beirat und Aufsichtsrat der STIHL Unternehmensgruppe. Davor zeigte Nikolas Stihl seit dem Jahr 1993 seine Führungsqualitäten als Geschäftsführer des Unternehmens Viking in Langkampfen, Tirol. Das Unternehmen für Gartengeräre war ein Jahr zuvor von der STIHL Gruppe als hundertprozentige Tochter übernommen worden.
Hans Peter Stihl bleibt persönlich haftender Gesellschafter der STIHL HOLDING und wurde in Anerkennung seiner herausragenden Leistungen für das Unternehmen zum
Ehrenvorsitzenden von Beirat und Aufsichtsrat ernannt. Seine Schwester Eva Mayr-Stihl bleibt stellvertretende Beiratsvorsitzende. „Mit diesen Entscheidungen stellen wir sicher, dass STIHL auch in Zukunft ein unabhängiges, mittelständisch geprägtes Familienunternehmen im Sinne des Firmengründers Andreas Stihl bleibt”, betonte der Enkel des Firmengründers. Die vier Familienstämme bleiben zu je 25 Prozent an der STIHL Holding beteiligt. Die operative Führung liegt auch künftig in den Händen des familienfremden Vorstands unter Vorsitz des Chemie-Ingenieurs Dr. Bertram Kandziora.