Interview with Christian Schmeing, Chairman of Dehonit
Germany, Berlin: Transformers Magazine presents Christian Schmeing, Chairman of Dehonit (Deutsche Holzveredelung), in an interview held at CWIEME Berlin 2022, which took place 10–12 May 2022.
Mr. Schmeing, please introduce yourself and your company in a few words. What are your major projects and how do you run your business in general?
First of all, thank you for this interview. Dehonit is a Germany-based, family-owned company founded in 1934 by my grandfather and his brother. We have been supplying to the power transformer industry since 1950 and our customers include all of the major transformer manufacturers worldwide.
Today, the company is owned and operated by my brother Marc and myself with each of us having equal shares. Marc heads up the production side of the business and I am responsible for the sales and marketing. We have two plants, the main headquarters and production plant in Germany and a second plant located in the Czech Republic. The Czech plant, founded by my brother in 1996, handles and processes the beech veneer, which is the base material for dehonit compressed wood. All of our laminated compressed wood is made with red beech veneer as this has proven to be the best veneer for material intended for use in the power transformer industry as it has excellent oil absorption capability.
We employ around 60 workers in our Czech plant and another 60 at our main plant in Germany. One of the key components that we manufacture is the tangential dehonit ring. This is an important product for the transformer industry, used by transformer manufacturers as a pressure ring to clamp the windings. The plant in Germany has a modern machine shop with a variety of specialist machines for cutting, thicknessing and machining all grades of our material to detailed drawings. Currently, we have nine CNC machines with plans for further expansion and we work a three-shift pattern.
Our current capacity is around 7,000 tonnes per annum but, in the coming years, we plan to expand the business to increase this by approximately 30 %. We have recently invested in, and upgraded, a press machine, to give us approximately 15–20 % more press capacity and we have an additional CNC machine on order.
You have also mentioned you want to expand the space in your factory. What are your plans with the expanded area?
Many of our major clients have reduced the number of their insulation kit centres and wood machining shops with the intention to outsource this part of their business. Therefore, with the available space and our skill in this area, we aim to target this business and see it as an opportunity to grow.
Please, tell us more about the position of your products. In which types of transformers are they used?
It has always been our intention to supply to the highest voltage and HVDC transformers. Most of our materials are used for transformers above 400 kV and in HVDC applications. Our target is to be the market leader on quality and quantity in these areas.
You supply transformer manufacturers in Europe directly. What about other regions of the world?
We supply in Europe directly from our main plant. For overseas clients in the USA, South America, South-east Asia, China, Japan, and India, we work with trusted partners such as Canduct, Isoletri, Faxolif, Sanyu and AGYA. Most of our partners have an insulation kit centre and we supply blank rings, or standard sheets in various sizes, for them to process in their kit machining centre for supplying the local transformer market at reduced lead times.