Against the trend, in 2020, business sectors involved in digitalization and life sciences grew on a global scale due to the pandemic. Particularly the global demand for microchips and other semiconductor elements increased considerably. To fight the pandemic, the whole medical industry invested considerable resources in analyzing the virus, expanding test capacities, and developing vaccinations with the new mRNA method. As a supplier also to these industries, thanks to innovative products and solutions, PI could increase turnover by 1.7 percent to 192 million euros in the financial year 2020. Markus Spanner, CEO of the PI Group is extremely proud: "Thanks to the creativity and flexibility of our employees across the world, we could keep up production despite the pandemic".
In 2020, on an international scale, incoming orders increased by five percent to more than 201 million euros. Markus Spanner pointed out the range of possible developments "At present, we still cannot decide for sure if this positive development is just a one-off, or if Corona will permanently accelerate the social and technological trends of health and digitalization". "Regardless of all the insecurity, we have decided to continue to invest in expanding our production capacities, as well as in international expansion" emphasized the CEO. "Excellent incoming orders in the first quarter of 2021 confirm that we made the right decision."
"One focus of investment in 2020 was to expand the sites in Lederhose, Thuringia, where piezoceramic components are developed and manufactured. "For example, our piezo components are necessary for carrying out PCR tests, and here we can see how demand is still continuing to increase in the numerous other applications" explained the CEO. As well as an increase in capacity, PI also fulfills the customer's wish for a more detailed depth of manufacturing. Additionally, the company group is expanding their site in Changzhou, China. Here, PI plans to set up a central development and production site for the emerging Asian market.
Change of Generation at the Start of the Year
At the start of 2020, the company had already smoothly moved onto the next generation. Dr. Karl Spanner, co-owner and long-term CEO of PI handed over management of the company to his son, Markus Spanner. Markus had already held managerial responsibility at PI for eleven years, most recently as Managing Director of Finance & Controlling. Dr. Karl Spanner will contain to play the role of Chairman of the PI Group.
In 2020, PI entered their 50th year of existence as a company. Founded in 1970, PI initially developed optomechanical components for aligning lasers and controlling laser beams. Already in 1977, the company included piezoceramic actuators for the fine adjustment of optical path lengths in their portfolio. This was followed by numerous other innovations, such as hexapods, piezo walking drives or ultrasonic motors. Also, thanks to various strategic acquisitions, PI can build on an extensive technology portfolio for high-precision positioning technology and motion control. PI's products and systems are equally used in space telescopes as in manufacturing microchips or components for photonics. PI's systems also provide high precision in eye laser surgery or genetic sequencing. In industrial automation, they support the trend towards miniaturization and enable increasingly complex manufacturing processes. The PI Group is represented in Europe, Asia and the USA and produces at nine sites, four of which in Germany.
PI in Brief
PI (Physik Instrumente), headquartered in Karlsruhe, is the market and technology leader for high-precision positioning technology and piezo applications in the semiconductor industry, life sciences, photonics, and in industrial automation. In close cooperation with international customers, PI's approximately 1,300 specialists have been continuously pushing the boundaries of what is technically possible for almost 50 years and developing both standardized and customized solutions. More than 350 granted and pending patents underline the company's claim to its leadership. PI has nine production sites and 15 sales and service offices in Europe, North America, and Asia.