SMA Managing Board presents restructuring plans – global workforce to be reduced by around 425 full-time positions

The Managing Board of SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA/FWB: S92) has presented the restructuring measures announced in September to the employees. One of the main planned measures is the discontinuation of China as a location and the sale of the Chinese companies to the management there. The restructuring will involve a reduction of the global workforce by around 425 full-time positions. The restructuring measures are needed in order to return SMA to profitability quickly in an environment characterized by a sharp decline in prices. In addition, SMA will position itself for the future as a systems and solutions provider.

“Our deliberations with regard to restructuring centered on the issue of location. With the measures that have now been resolved, the SMA Managing Board is demonstrating its commitment to Germany as a business location. The measures are aimed at reducing SMA’s fixed costs and making optimal use of our capacity at the headquarters by focusing on our core competencies, outsourcing and automating activities, and reorganizing structures. Unfortunately, the reduction of the global workforce by around 425 full-time positions is unavoidable in this context. It is very important to us to implement the planned staff reduction in a socially responsible way,” explains SMA CEO Dr. Jürgen Reinert. “The sale of the business units in China to the management there will create good conditions for the positive further development of business on both sides. In order to secure SMA’s success in the long term, we will increasingly press ahead with the process begun to develop the company into a systems and solutions provider and will continue to invest in the future-oriented areas of energy management, storage integration, repowering, and digital business models.”

Subject to the approval of the works council, the planned restructuring measures are to be implemented starting from January 2019. Worldwide, the SMA Managing Board plans to cut around 425 of the total 3,307 full-time positions (not including temporary employees) as of December 31, 2018, until 2020. More than 100 of these full-time positions relate to Germany and more than 300 to the foreign locations. The SMA Managing Board is aiming to carry out the staff reduction in a socially responsible way. However, compulsory redundancies cannot be ruled out at present.

The SMA Managing Board is confirming its sales and earnings guidance for the current fiscal year. It anticipates sales of €760 million to €780 million and negative EBITDA in the mid to high tens of millions of euros. For 2019, the SMA Managing Board is aiming for sales growth and positive EBITDA.

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Kardex Remstar adds dynamism to the storage of high-tech parts for FLAMA

Kardex Remstar is the ideal partner for anyone wishing to efficiently store and retrieve electrical components used in the SMT manufacturing process. One company that is well aware of this is FLAMA, one of China’s leading manufacturers of inverter welders. It sought a reliable and high-performance solution for storing components used in its high-tech production operation.

Megamat RS vertical carousels are specially equipped for handling SMT components and provide the optimal solution, which is one of the reasons why FLAMA opted for the intralogistics experts at Kardex Remstar when reorganizing its warehouse.

The high demands made on the new system by FLAMA in terms of efficiency provided another reason. To meet these demands and successfully respond to growing material quantities and product requirements as well as the limited space available, the company decided to integrate the following products:

  • 12 Kardex Remstar Megamat RS vertical carousels
  • 2 Kardex Remstar Shuttle XP vertical lift modules

The Megamat RS systems are used for storing the electrical components needed for the SMT manufacturing process. The assembly area extends across two floors and is directly supplied with parts from each of the two 13-meter-high Shuttle XP units. They have access openings on both floors, allowing the necessary parts to be delivered to the workstation more quickly. This makes it possible to pick goods without having to use the previously required elevator. FLAMA has been able to speed up picking times and cut labor costs by 20 percent as a result of these measures. 

In addition, the highly dense storage systems have a much greater capacity, reducing the amount of space required by 30 percent. At the same time, Kardex Remstar’s Power Pick Global warehouse management software guarantees picking accuracy of 99 percent and efficient management of all storage processes, while the customer has a constant and precise overview of the inventory. Kardex Remstar’s storage systems are individually designed for the customer, thereby ensuring that the high standards of quality at FLAMA are fully maintained at all times.

The advantages of the Kardex Remstar solution at a glance:

  • 30 percent less space required
  • 20 percent reduction in labor costs
  • 20 percent faster picking times
  • Optimized warehouse management thanks to Power Pick Global

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USU fulfills the requirements for information security in the automotive industry as a TISAX participant

USU fulfills the new exchange and assessment standards for information security in the automotive industry with TISAX (Trusted Information Security Assessment Exchange). The company has successfully participated in a comprehensive examination procedure conducted by the accredited assessment service provider operational services GmbH. The VDA Information Security Assessment (VDA-ISA) catalog serves as the basis for this. TISAX is a registered trademark and is operated under the aegis of ENX Association, a consortium of European automobile manufacturers, suppliers and associations, commissioned by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) as a neutral authority. The USU result is only available for downloading within the TISAX community via the ENX-Portal.

The TISAX model specifies how the increasingly interconnected automobile manufacturers, including the ecosystem of their partner companies and suppliers, can exchange information within their IT systems in a secure and standardized manner. Maturity and requirement levels are defined for different areas such as information security, involvement of third-parties and data or prototype protection. In addition to technical measures, the implementation also requires processes such as risk management and documentation.

“Confidentiality, availability and the integrity of information are of the utmost importance for USU. Therefore, as a TISAX participant, we orient ourselves towards the criteria specified in the TISAX assessment catalog, for the purpose of fulfilling these exchange and assessment standards. This absolutely represents a competitive advantage, as adherence to information security standards is becoming an increasingly important criterion in terms of the awarding of contracts for our customers from the automotive, pharmaceutical and finance industry. TISAX has evolved into a decisive instrument for ensuring a secure means of working with each other,” explains Sven Kolb, Managing Director of USU GmbH.

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Acando implementing end-to-end monitoring for the webshop of a leading European DIY chain

One of the largest operators of DIY superstores and garden centers in Europe has implemented an end-to-end application performance monitoring system for its web shop. Key figures on webshop traffic and user-oriented performance can thus be viewed on an integrated basis. The selection and introduction of a suitable monitoring tool was the responsibility of the webshop specialists at management and IT consultancy Acando.

To ensure the best possible shopping experience, the performance of the DIY online shop is to be continuously improved as the product range grows. Application performance monitoring (APM) provides the metrics required for this.

With the new solution, the company wants to additionally granulate monitoring of the network, web server and application levels and, above all, gain a deeper insight into the active web shop applications. Consequently, it is now possible to view the performance from the user’s point of view and to render the interfaces, e.g. the checkout or payment process, more visible. The application tracks the shop user visiting and purchasing process from the beginning to the end of the session, providing a complete overview in the form of graphical dashboards and automating regular reporting.

The company was supported by management and IT consultancy Acando in the selection and roll-out of the APM solution. Acando has been supporting web shop development and operation for many years. With respect to the selection of a suitable monitoring tool, Acando not only provided a good market overview but also the necessary technical expertise for the system, software and network architecture as well as project experience.

A number of newly developed dashboards provide important data for maintaining and enhancing the web shop. The DIY chain can now also evaluate shop user satisfaction more effectively on the basis of the key figures, analyze performance fluctuations with greater precision and define appropriate measures.

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Increase of VAT rate to 20%

The Russian VAT rate is very likely to rise from 18% to 20% starting from 2019. The respective draft law was introduced by the Russian government on June 15, 2018.

There will be no change to the reduced VAT rate of 10% on a number of foodstuffs, goods for children, medicines, books and periodicals, explain the Ecovis experts.

The following compensatory measures are being introduced parallel with the rise of VAT rate:

  • reduction of threshold for accelerated VAT refund to exporters. Currently only companies which have paid not less than 7 bln roubles in taxes for the last three years may enjoy accelerated VAT refund; this figure will be decreased to 2 bln. roubles.
  • reduction of 3-month period for carrying out desk audit for the VAT refund
  • abolition of tax on movable property


Sergey Vyssotsky, Director Ecovis Conseco, ECOVIS Conseco, Moscow, Russia

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LumaSense Introduces the New m924 Utility Module for Winding Hot Spot Transformer Monitoring Applications

LumaSense Technologies, Inc. introduces the m924

Utility Module, designed for real-time Transformer Winding Hot Spot and temperature monitoring between -30 and 200 °C. The module is specifically designed and optimized for Transformer System Monitoring providers and Transformer Manufacturers wanting to use LUXTRON Fluoroptic®  DipTip and Quality fiber optic temperature probes, cables, and Tank Wall Plates in their equipment.

The LUXTRON m924 Utility Module is a single printed circuit board (PCB) offering four channels that can be included in a transformer monitoring system. The m924 Utility Module offers RS232 with ASCII and RS485 with Modbus digital output for integration with standard PC or SCADA systems. In addition, the m924 Utility Module is guaranteed to be backward compatible with the LUXTRON DipTip and Quality probes and LUXTRON accessories.

The LUXTRON m924 Utility Module is designed to directly monitor Winding Hot Spots. Unlike conventional winding temperature indicators (WTIs) that infer the hot-spot temperature, this module measures the winding hot spot accurately and in real-time without modeling. With instant results, controllers and pumps can act immediately, preventing transformer asset damage.

Leveraging LumaSense’s patented Fluoroptic® technology and designed to replace the LumaSense m600 Series Utility Modules, the m924 Utility Module provides better performance with improved manufacturing and modern architecture. When combined with the LUXTRON probes, the system provides precise and repeatable in-situ temperature measurements and control of processes involving RF, EMI, magnetic fields and high voltages, while the small form makes the module easy to integrate into existing equipment.

LumaSense is introducing the officially released LUXTRON m924 Utility Module into the market during the CIGRE Conference & Technical Exhibition in Paris, from August 26-31.
CIGRE, the Council on Large Electric Systems, is an international non-profit association consisting of over 3500 energy experts for promoting collaboration with colleagues from all around the world by sharing knowledge and joining forces to improve electric power systems of today and tomorrow.
Visit the LumaSense booth #256 on the second floor at Palais de Congrès, Porte Maillot, Paris.

With over 40 years of Fiber Optic Temperature monitoring experience with our LUXTRON brand, LumaSense customers are known to experience low failure rates and better yields using our highly accurate solutions. Unlike competitors who are unable to meet the high- performance and reliability standards, our solutions are designed with a proven reliability history and custom probe capabilities.


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ecsec supports trustworthy digitalisation under hand and seal

The Federal Office for Information Security has published new versions of the Technical Guidelines for "Replacement Scanning" (RESISCAN) and the "Preservation of Evidence of Cryptographically Signed Documents" (TR-ESOR), developed with the support of ecsec, which provide the basis for efficient and secure digitalisation of business and public administration.

Secure digital administration processes thanks to RESISCAN, E-File, TR-ESOR & Co.

As part of the digitalisation strategy of the new German Federal Government, the electronic transaction processing in public administration (E-File) plays an important role. The Federal Government’s E-Government Act has already provided regulations for the "Electronic record-keeping" (§ 6 EGovG) and the "Conversion and destruction of the original paper document" (§ 7 EGovG) since 2013, whereby the systems and processes used must be protected using state-of-the-art security measures. The required and recommended measures are described in the relevant Technical Guidelines of the Federal Office for Information Security, such as BSI TR-03125 (TR-ESOR, "Preservation of Evidence of Cryptographically Signed Document ") and BSI TR-03138 (TR-RESISCAN, "Replacement Scanning"). With the support of ecsec both guidelines were recently updated and adapted, among other things, to the legal framework of the pan-European eIDAS-Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) No 2016/679.

eIDAS-Regulation creates opportunities for secure and efficient digitalisation

Both the substituting scanning according to version 1.2 of BSI TR-03138 (RESISCAN) and the preservation of evidence of cryptographically signed documents in accordance with version 1.2.1 of BSI TR-03125 (TR-ESOR) result in organisational relief. Electronic seals that are assigned to legal persons can now, for example, be used in scanning processes to protect the integrity and evidence of scanned documents. These new options for the implementation of TR-RESISCAN have already been applied by first users in the federal administration, such as the Federal Railway Estate Authority – a federal authority within the scope of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. Thus, the annually scanned 250,000 documents with 1.2 million pages no longer have to be archived in paper form, but can now be electronically stored and processed in an E-File.

"The Technical Guidelines of the Federal Office for Information Security provide the basis for the secure electronic handling of economical and administrative business processes," adds Dr. Detlef Hühnlein, CEO of ecsec GmbH. "We are very pleased that the opportunities for trustworthy digitalisation offered by the eIDAS-Regulation are increasingly being recognised and used by authorities."

Current version of guidelines available at and

The current version 1.2 of the BSI TR-03138 “Replacement Scanning” (RESISCAN) is available at and comprises in addition to the main document with the modular requirements catalogue, a test specification (Annex P), the result of a generic risk analysis (Annex A), answers to frequently asked questions (Annex F), non-binding legal advice on the use of TR-RESISCAN (Annex R) and an exemplary process instruction (Annex V).

The current version 1.2.1 of BSI TR-03125 “Preservation of Evidence of Cryptographically Signed Documents” (TR-ESOR) is available at providing recommendations for a reference architecture including its processes, modules and interfaces as a concept of a Middleware, requirements for data, document and exchange formats for archive data objects and evidence data, as well as additional requirements for federal authorities and compliance rules for various levels of compliance

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Co-operation with external partners crowned with success

In February 2018, ECOVIS Colombia was established from a company founded in 2000 providing services in the fields of auditing, taxation and consulting, with clients in different sectors of the economy such as industry, health, education, non-profit organizations, free trade zones and food. Ecovis has entered into successful co-operation with GIA (Gestion Integral de Abastecimiento), a business partner specialized in different projects designed to install systems of integrated supply management.


Our company has developed a method that focuses on looking at ways to make savings within a company.

In 2015, one of our clients, a non-profit organization, dedicated to the provision of accommodation services, gym facilities, social events, restaurants and sports events, among other things, hired us to evaluate some indicators determining the possible existence of opportunities for a positive impact on their cash flow.


As a result of the evaluation, weaknesses were detected in the processes of acquisition of goods and services and in the decentralisation of purchases performed without the existence of policies defining the criteria for the acquisition of goods and services. Together with GIA Integral Supply Management, we devised a plan to achieve early success with measures impacting cash flow, and a parallel plan to integrate the methodology into the client’s organizational culture and build the supply management platform that would allow flow with transparency under policies defined by senior management. The negotiation model achieved savings within the region of 11% of the total of purchases made. This percentage was used as the basis for determination of the cost of the consultancy service provided. CurrentlyCurrently, our client is reaping the benefit of savings achieved by applying our methodology and by making improvements to its technological platform.


Rodrigo Moreno Navarrete, Chief Executive Officer, ECOVIS Colombia SAS, Bogotá, Colombia


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23rd International Congress for Battery Recycling ICBR 2018

The holiday season is coming up and it is now time to make preparations for the months ahead. We hope you have already blocked the time slot from September 26 to 28 in your agenda. At the time battery recycling specialists from all around the world will be getting together for this year’s International Congress Battery Recycling ICBR 2018 in Berlin, Germany.

Don’t miss this opportunity to exchange news, views and ideas with experts from all areas of the battery recycling sector. Again, this year we have put together an interesting and highly diverse program for our visitors. We are particularly looking forward to our keynote speakers, who will open the congress on September 26. This year we will be welcoming

• Prof. Kerstin Kuchta (Hamburg University of Technology, Germany),
• Didier Marginèdes (Blue Solutions, France),
• Gudula Schwan (Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Germany)

Prof. Kerstin Kuchta will be giving us a summary of the battery market and the circular economy. Before the conference we had an opportunity to talk to Prof. Kerstin Kuchta. She gave us a number of interesting insights, which you can read about in the following interview:

Professor Kuchta, the EU circular economy package was adopted just a few weeks ago. Which impulses do you expect it will provide in the field of battery recycling?
The EU circular economy package has triggered a great deal of debate throughout Europe. The main criticism levelled at the package in Germany is that it is not ambitious or specific enough to bring about the intended transformation of the economy. Impulses have undoubtedly been provided towards the fundamental acknowledgement that even complex products do not become waste after the use phase, but are resources that need to be either made available for reuse or recycled for use in the production sector. As a result, product design and the provision and accessibility of secondary raw materials are also becoming more important for batteries.

Changes in the transportation sector, in energy supply and the trend towards a generally more mobile lifestyle are placing growing emphasis on the production and further development of batteries and thus to the supply of raw materials.

In the view of the EU, the task of the circular economy is to supply industry with raw materials. Which role can battery recycling play in achieving this aim?
Raw materials for making batteries such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and manganese are scarce or critical raw materials and demand for them cannot be met by mines in Europe. Primary extraction largely takes place in a few regions worldwide and in politically unstable situations. The recycling of batteries helps to reduce supply risks. At the same time, recycling minimises
energy intensity in the production chain. The recycling of metals requires up to 80 per cent less energy compared to primary production, thus protecting both the environment and the climate.

Some time ago, Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke out in favour of Europe setting up its own battery cell production capacities with the aim of reducing dependency on imports from Asia. Is that a good idea?
Battery and storage systems support key technologies, strengthening Europe as a production location through sufficient, efficient and innovative availability. The recycling and reuse of batteries and the materials from which they are made as a means of supplying raw materials will impact production technologies and promote the establishing of innovative manufacturing within Europe.

To which extent could battery recyclers benefit from battery manufacturing in Europe?
The creation of a largely closed added value in circular systems not only promotes the mutual appreciation of all stakeholders, but also innovations in the system as a whole. That includes recycling, reuse, processing and, not least, product design. Geographical proximity generally promotes mutual understanding, greater interest and the development of business models. Legal or economic accompanying measures introduced to promote the reuse of materials and the exclusion of hazardous materials, for example, can be implemented in Europe.

Your keynote speech at the ICBR 2018 is titled "Batteries and a Circular Economy". Which points will your speech mainly focus on?
Unlike plastics, organic wastes or construction waste, batteries have a comparatively low mass flow. However, in terms of the quality and value of their components, their complexity and their growing importance, they constitute a significant material flow in a circular economy. The focal points of my speech, i.e. the opportunities and limitations of the circular economy, product design and quality as well as reuse, recycling and cascade utilisation are presented and discussed for both battery materials and their systems.

Do not miss this opportunity to exchange news, views and ideas with experts from all areas of the battery recycling sector. We look forward to welcoming you at this year’s industry meeting! For all the details on the program and how to register, go to:

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Kardex Remstar: How Merck stores temperature-sensitive material under controlled conditions

Merck KGaA is one of the world’s leading pharma and chemical companies. Its biggest research and development center is located in Darmstadt. The company needed an efficient concept for its new research building to allow it to store the pharmaceutical substances used in the course of its research in a climate-controlled environment. The solution from Kardex Remstar ensures that sensitive substances can always be safely stored and retrieved.

The main elements of the special solution developed by Kardex Remstar are three Vertical Lift Modules from the Shuttle XP series, which have been adapted with a climate-control function for use in chilled conditions. The challenge was to integrate three storage zones, each with a differently controlled climate for the sensitive substances, including a chilled zone and a deep-frozen zone.  Due to the very high safety standards at Merck, measures had to be taken to guarantee that the controlled storage conditions could be permanently maintained. Kardex Remstar made sure of this by integrating a redundant system featuring its own refrigeration units and sensor technology, which takes over in the event of a fault.

A range of additional measures provide maximum protection. The air within the unit is dehumidified by a drying system to prevent the presence of humidity and frost. The Shuttle XP units are housed in insulated cells so that the laboratory staff can access the chilled products at room temperature from their workstations without affecting the climate-controlled environment. Additional laser pointers and position indicators ensure that items are picked with maximum precision. The space-saving concept is also extremely ergonomic.

The advantages at a glance:

  • Secure storage in both chilled and deep-frozen conditions
  • Maintenance of controlled storage conditions assured by a redundant system
  • Simple and precise access to items from areas at room temperature
  • The smaller footprint occupies 66% less space
  • Ergonomic operation

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