Everything AAGES does is designed and built locally, so they proudly wear the “Made in Romania” label. The quality of products and services matches the highest standards of clients from all five continents of the globe, hence it competes with a handful of enterprises active in the induction heating industry, such as EMA Indutec from Germany, the EFD Induction Group from Norway. “Sometimes I am surprised myself by the machines we are capable of manufacturing, Gábor Molnár, the CEO of AAGES S.A. says, laughing, when talking about the products the company has built or is developing.
AAGES S.A. manufactures and distributes induction heating machinery. It offers heat treatments, surface hardening, and stress relief of welded joints and channel furnaces, alongside shrink fitting, brazing, and strip bluing services. AAGES, an acronym for the Association for the Application of Static Generators, was founded 29 years ago by ten Romanian researchers. The company is headquartered in Marosszentgyörgy/Sangeorgiu de Mures, near Targu Mures in central Romania.
Currently the company has more than 140 employees, generates a turnover of over 6 million Euros and exports over 75% of its production. AAGES is currently listed on on the Bucharest Stock Exchange and currently trades at 2.95 RON per share, lower than the 52-week high of 3.43 RON. The company has recently released its consolidated preliminary financial results, showing net revenue of 36.6 million RON, up 46.27% year-over-year, and profits of 6.5 million RON, up 108.64% compared to 2017.
Hardening machines are equipment used for hardening a type of surface in a process in which a metal part is induction-heated and then quenched. The quenched metal undergoes a martensitic transformation, increasing the hardness and brittleness of the part. Hardening is used to selectively harden areas of a part or assembly without affecting the properties of the part as a whole. Markets in need of such systems are the automotive industry, construction, and machine tool manufacturing, also medical and nuclear industry, windmill, extractive industry etc. Increased automotive field expenditure, more-intense competition, new products, increased spending on general industry, retrofitting and renovation of old technology, and increased adoption of hardening machines will drive growth in global markets.
The story began in 1983 when dr. László Szentgyörgyi established the local branch of the Research and Design Institute for Electrical Engineering (ICPE) in Bucharest, with a group of 50–60 young and talented engineers. The institute gave these rookies the opportunity to become experienced engineers. Molnár was part of the group until 1990.
The idea of founding a company came in December 1989 during the Revolution period when it became clear that a change was coming. “In December I formed a team of nine people, who became the founding members of the AAGES association established it in 1990. A year later a change in regulations allowed us to form a limited liability company, so we kept the name, which had already became known in Romania, and continued the journey we started after the Revolution. We tried to preserve and prolong the players involved by upgrading their machines.
The team’s experience in this field opened new opportunities, and in a fortunate turn of events they partnered with a German company in 1999. Under the new partnership AAGES developed a new family of converters with IGBT transistors of which delivered more than 1,200 units over the years to clients across the globe. This was an important period, because we developed and manufactured products that matched international requirements in terms of quality. It represented an important learning phase.
June 19, 2017 meant a new chapter for the Marosszentgyörgy/Sangeorgiu de Mures-based company: the shares of Romanian induction heating systems manufacturer AAGES [BSE: AAG] started trading on the main segment of the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB). AAGES shareholders raised 5.49 million lei (~€1.29 million) from the sale of 15% of the company’s shares after listing on the Romanian capital market. The decision made by the founding members to take the company to the stock market to raise capital, was a strategic one and (more or less) part of the scenario elaborated 29 years ago when ten researchers and engineers gathered under a legal entity and envisioned a path that would lead to a company that improved the lives of all who want to participate in it.
The company started its early days in the old synagogue building located in Braila street in Marosvásárhely/Targu Mures. “We value the approach of the local Jewish leaders who leased the synagogue building that housed the AAGES Company for many years,” he says. The building was originally leased to the research institute, but after the political turmoil the building’s lease costs fell on the local branch, and ultimately the AAGES team took responsibility and along with it the goal to rebuild the building. “We cannot thank the local Jewish community leaders enough for their positive attitude, ” Molnár adds.
Since 2005 AAGES has been located in Sangeorgiu de Mures, near Targu Mures. When you enter the facility, which covers more than 4,400 square meters, and see the machines at work, you’ll be amazed by the huge spaces dominated by machines of all kinds. All these machines are part of a puzzle that forms an entity that manufactures and distributes induction heating machinery. But all these machines and spaces would be useless without the human workforce that gives them life, Molnár says. These people are the core value of the company, he adds.
Title image: surface hardening process at AAGES