ZKW received the SAP Digital Procurement Excellence Award 2022 at the SAP Purchasing Forum, which took place in Vienna on 20 September 2022. The award recognizes the rapid implementation, high level of integration into the SAP system and the wide range of functions offered by the project. “As a central, digital procurement and supplier platform, SAP Ariba facilitates all operational purchasing processes at ZKW,” says Dr Wilhelm Steger, CEO of ZKW Group GmbH.
At the end of September 2022, Andreas Nix (58) will be responsible as the new General Plant Manager of ZKW Lichtsysteme GmbH. Nix succeeds Stefan Hauptmann, who will assume the global position of ZKW Group Vice President Program Management. Andreas Nix most recently successfully managed the ZKW site in Dalian, China, as General Plant Manager. He has over 25 years of expertise in the automotive industry and has also worked in sales, production, quality and development. “My goal is to continue and secure the successful development of the Wieselburg site,” says Nix.
The ZKW Group is massively expanding its site in Silao, Mexico. The plant, which went into operation in 2016, is now being expanded by 15,700 to a total of 48,700 square meters of production space. At the same time, 830 additional jobs will be created. The site manufactures high-quality headlights for premium car manufacturers such as BMW, Ford Lincoln, General Motors, Mercedes Benz, Nissan Infiniti, Volkswagen and Volvo. By 2025, ZKW Mexico plans to produce around 3.5 million headlights per year with 2,522 employees. Total investment since the establishment of ZKW México will be around 255 million USD. “One of our main goals has been to work on innovations in terms of performance, quality, design and solutions, and thanks to the trust of our customers, this 3rd Phase expansion will not only increase the turnover, manufacturing capacity and quantity of team members, but also the possibility to develop and produce in our site more complex and cutting edge headlights”,” explains Dr. Wilhelm Steger, CEO der ZKW Group GmbH.
ZKW is committed to sustainable business with a variety of activities. The lighting systems and electronic specialist also promotes sustainability and environmental protection. For example, employees at the ZKW plant in Wiener Neustadt cleaned up the area around the plant during a “hallway cleaning event”. The company also supports the integration of refugees. On the platform “jobs-for-ukraine.at” ZKW offers vacancies in the areas of research & development, production environment and quality control. At the Mexican plant in Silao, ZKW employees promote and took part in fundraising activities for nonprofit foundations that focus on helping children and families fighting against cancer. In addition, the annual reforestation will take place in the Presa la Purísima nature reserve area again. The workforce at the ZKW site in Olomouc, Czech Republic, also set an example of sustainability by planting 4,000 trees. “Sustainable business has a central priority. With the various social and ecological projects, we are assuming social responsibility,” says Dr Wilhelm Steger, CEO of the ZKW Group.
The new Volvo C40 relies on LED lighting technology from Wieselburg-based automotive specialist ZKW. The headlight of the all-electric electric crossover has a pixel module with 84 individually controllable LEDs. The high-tech light illuminates the road particularly efficiently, adapts dynamically to traffic and avoids dazzling other road users. A front camera and radar permanently scan the road, allowing up to five vehicles to be blanked simultaneously. The design of the high-quality pixel LED light is unique: the hammer-shaped light arc sets visual accents that are distinctive for Volvo. “For Volvo, we develop distinctive headlight designs that impress with their innovative technology and memorable appearance and increase road safety,” explains Dr. Wilhelm Steger, CEO of the ZKW Group.
The ZKW Group filed a total of 74 innovations for international patent in 2021 – 41 of which were new entries. This puts ZKW in second place in Europe among all Austrian companies that have filed inventions. In Lower Austria, the lighting systems specialist leads the 2021 patent ranking. At the top of the patented developments are high-resolution LED lighting systems and sensor solutions that mark the path to autonomous driving. “Research and development are of central importance at ZKW. Innovative solutions are crucial in order to bring premium lighting systems to the market and stay ahead of the competition,” explains Dr Wilhelm Steger, CEO of ZKW Group GmbH.
ZKW has received no less than three top-class awards in recent months. At the German Innovation Awards, the lighting systems specialist’s “Black Box” won in the “Excellence in Business to Business – Machines & Engineering” category. The fully automated robot station accelerates and simplifies the processing and quality inspection of headlight lenses. In addition, the ZKW sites in Krušovce (Slovakia) and Dalian (China) received awards for their excellent delivery reliability and quality. ZKW Slovakia received the “GM Customer Care and Aftersales On-Time Shipping Award 2021” from General Motors, while ZKW China received the “Outstanding Contribution Award” from vehicle manufacturer Geely. The awards reward the lighting systems specialist exceptional performance in Europe and China. Despite pandemic-related restrictions, ZKW was able to fulfill its supply contracts with GM and Geely on time, reliably and in high quality. “We are particularly pleased with the awards because they reward the efforts of our employees for customers worldwide,” explains Dr. Wilhelm Steger, CEO of the ZKW Group.
As of May 16, 2022, Dr. Wilhelm Steger has taken over the position as CEO of the ZKW Group. The renowned manager most recently worked as a top management consultant in the automotive industry and in the private equity environment. He has more than 25 years of management experience in the automotive industry – including well-known companies such as Siemens VDO, Continental Automotive, Delphi, Panasonic Automotive & Industrial Systems Europe and Nidec AMEC Europe. Wilhelm Steger replaces the previous ZKW CEO Oliver Schubert, who successfully led the company for six years and has decided to take on new professional challenges. “My goal is to secure a future-proof and stable development of the ZKW Group as a system supplier for premium lighting systems on the international market. At this point, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Oliver Schubert for his commitment to ZKW,” said Dr. Steger.
The all-new Range Rover illuminates the road with a new type of lighting system from ZKW. The “Digital Light Processing” LED headlights not only produce stepless, glare-free high beams that automatically block out oncoming or other road users. The smart, digital front lighting also enables animated images to be projected onto the road. In addition to the “Digital Light Processing” modules, stripeZ light modules are also offered, which are significantly smaller than conventional LED headlights – with the same performance. This enables a particularly slim design as well as a wide range of new functional options. “The digital headlights on the new Range Rover reflect our current developments and technologies. Intelligent lighting systems increase comfort, enhance road safety and mark the way towards autonomous driving,” explains Oliver Schubert, CEO of the ZKW Group.
ZKW is a partner of the Swedish electric vehicle manufacturer Polestar. The aim of the “Polestar 0” project is to develop and launch a completely climate-neutral automobile by 2030. For this ambitious project, the Wieselburg-based lighting systems specialist will develop electronic and electrical components for Polestar. ZKW is also converting to CO2-neutral production worldwide by 2025. This goal is to be achieved with energy savings, waste avoidance and the switch to green electricity. “As part of the joint project, we are investigating the potential of the circular economy to reduce the ecological footprint of our products to zero in the future. We are therefore stepping up sustainable, environmentally friendly production. By 2038, all our products are to be manufactured in a climate-neutral way,” explains Oliver Schubert, CEO of the ZKW Group.