Punch Powertrain catches big fish with PSA
Punch Powertrain, the Sint-Truiden-based (Limburg province) Belgian gearbox manufacturer, has signed its biggest contract yet in Europe. It will produce gearboxes for the PSA Group from 2022 onward.
Punch Powertrain, a former company of Belgian entrepreneur Guido Dumarey, has been taken over by Chinese Yinyi Group in the beginning of 2016 and mainly produces CVT transmissions (Continuously Variable Transmissions) for the car industry.
CVTs are not popular in Europe, that’s why the company started the development of another type of gearbox, the so-called DCT or Dual Clutch Transmission, a robotized manual gearbox with two automatic clutches.
Today the company has found its first big European client for this new product: the PSA Group, which sells the Citroën, DS, Opel en Peugeot brands. The group wants to accelerate the launch of several hybrid, plug-in hybrid and purely electrical vehicles.
Therefore it needs a new gearbox and preferred Punch Powertrain above Aisin, Getrag or ZF. “Innovation is the key word here”, says Gert-Jan Vogelaar, marketing director at Punch Powertrain. “Our electrified DCT counts less separate pieces and is not only lighter and more compact but also cheaper.” This e-DCT also uses the new 48 Volt electric system for cars.
The contract with PSA is following the take-over purchase of Apojee, a French technology company that produces components for electric drive (with clients like Renault, BMW, PSA, Continental, Delphi and Valeo).
The contract means big growth for the Sint-Truiden-based company. In 2017 Punch Powertrain produced 735.000 gearboxes and realized a 800 million turnover. “The new contract will make us grow consistently the following years”, says CEO Cor van Otterloo. “We expect a turnover boost to 2,5 billion euro in the next 5 years.”
What the impact on workforce and on the Sint-Truiden plant will be, is not clear yet. “The problem is that the Sint-Truiden site is fully occupied now, expansion is barely possible. “We’re stuck there”, admits van Otterloo, “we don’t know yet where we will go next.”