At a festive event on September 26 in Vienna, the ZKW Lifecycle Management concept was awarded the ICT Austria Jewels Award. With the sustainable concept, end devices such as notebooks, PCs, smartphones and docking stations are collected by partner companies after their useful life and reintroduced into the circular economy. “The ZKW Group has set itself the goal of continuously reducing its ecological footprint. The lifecycle management concept can be used to extend the lifecycle of IT equipment and promote a sustainable corporate culture,” says Dr. Wilhelm Steger, CEO of the ZKW Group.
Stefan Hornivius (53) will take over as COO of ZKW Group GmbH on 28 August 2023. Born in Germany, he succeeds Wolfgang Muhri, who is leaving the company at his own request at the end of August. Hornivius has more than 25 years of management experience in the automotive industry and related sectors. He has held senior positions at MAN, Siemens VDO (Head of Quality), Continental (Head of Industrial Engineering), Leistritz (Managing Director Technology) and NIDEC GPM (Group COO). Hornivius was most recently CEO at mechatronics specialist Iskra Mehanizmi.
In September 2023, ZKW Elektronik GmbH and ZKW Lichtsysteme GmbH will merge into one company. The respective production operations at the sites in Wiener Neustadt and at the company headquarters in Wieselburg will be continued without restriction. The aim of the integration is, among other things, to bundle the competencies of both locations, to use resources more efficiently and to accelerate decision-making. “By merging the two companies, we want to exploit synergies, strengthen cooperation between the two sites and sharpen our global electronics strategy,” says Dr. Wilhelm Steger, CEO of the ZKW Group.
Following the strict cost-cutting programme, the Wieselburg-based automotive lighting specialist can now be pleased about an important order for the Wieselburg plant. A major order worth millions from a German car manufacturer secures the location in the short and medium term. In addition, the cost-cutting measures are showing the first signs of success. For example, the operating result could be exceeded in comparison to the 2022 period. The recipe for success lies, among other things, in optimised processes in production. This not only increased the number of units produced, but also reduced absenteeism. “Our company headquarters in Wieselburg is the hub for innovative lighting systems for premium brands. The goal is to achieve profitable and sustainable growth through concentration and focus,” explains Dr Wilhelm Steger, CEO of the ZKW Group.
The new all-electric Polestar 3 stands out with its minimalist, futuristic design. The technological highlights of the electric SUV include the HD LED headlights, which are developed and manufactured by lighting systems specialist ZKW. The 1.3-megapixel modules of the front lights automatically adjust the intensity, size and height of the light beam to the light and weather conditions as well as the driving speed. In addition, the intelligent headlamp system prevents dazzling other road users. “The Polestar 3 headlamp system combines the latest technologies and innovative functions into a premium series product,” says Dr Wilhelm Steger, CEO of the ZKW Group.
Together with the University of Leoben, JOANNEUM RESEARCH and the Polymer Competence Center Leoben, ZKW is researching the development of reusable materials, including polymers based on renewable raw materials. In the future, such sustainable materials are to be increasingly used for the production of sustainable vehicle headlights. The goal here is to achieve high durability and improved separability in order to be able to fully recycle the materials. In addition, self-healing plastics are to be used. “The global or European targets for the circular economy are a great challenge for manufacturers of complex systems. The results of this project should enable a broader use of materials. This will enable us to make an important contribution to sustainability,” says Dr Wilhelm Steger, CEO of the ZKW Group.
Automotive lighting system specialist ZKW and REHAU Automotive, plastics specialist and automotive supplier, have decided to jointly drive forward the integration of modern lighting systems in vehicle fronts. In the future, “intelligent vehicle fronts” and possible series products are to be developed. Therefore, REHAU Automotive and ZKW will work together on concepts and pre-development projects in order to be able to offer customers future-oriented solutions for the connection of light, sensor technology and electronics in the vehicle front in the sense of a “seamless intelligent vehicle front”.
61 of the 224 applications from Lower Austria at the European Patent Office in 2022 come from the ZKW Group. The Wieselburg-based lighting systems specialist is thus the frontrunner in Austria’s largest province. In Europe, ZKW ranks third among all Austrian companies that have filed inventions. Last year’s patent-pending developments focused on styling and functionality: among them is a lighting element for front and rear lights that is modelled on a crystal and at the same time extremely efficient. Another innovation from ZKW is a display with controllable foils that can display pictograms as well as be used for large-area lighting. “The cornerstones for high-tech products are intensive research as well as constant further development. In this way, we give our customers more design freedom while exploiting all the technical possibilities,” explains Dr Wilhelm Steger, CEO of the ZKW Group.
For years, the Wieselburg-based lighting systems specialist has been intensively committed to promoting the health of its employees and making the company healthier. ZKW has now once again been awarded the seal of quality for workplace health promotion by the BGF network. The ZKW FIT programme offers employees, among other things, a comprehensive exercise programme, various preventive services and targeted nutritional advice. “The health and satisfaction of our employees is very important to us. The award recognises our activities for the well-being of the workforce,” says Dr Wilhelm Steger, CEO of the ZKW Group.
On 22 February 2023, ZKW Dalian received the Lynk & Co 09 Quality Contribution Award from Chinese vehicle manufacturer Geely. The award recognises the particularly high delivery quality of the lighting systems specialist. Despite the automotive industry struggling with the global chip shortage and the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic last year, ZKW was able to fulfil its supply contracts with Geely in China on time, reliably and with the highest quality. “The award recognises the extraordinary commitment of our employees, who were able to deliver outstanding performance despite difficult market conditions,” explains Dr Wilhelm Steger, CEO of the ZKW Group.