DI Dorian Wessely, head of the Cleantech Cluster (CTC) at Upper Austria’s Business Location Agency, RM CEO Gerald Hanisch and RM CFO Günther Weissenberger met for an expert talk to discuss the most pressing issues of the recycling industry. With a recycling rate of 88%, Austria ranks among the top performers in Europe. The growing awareness of sustainability, circular economy, and building material recycling is driving growth for RUBBLE MASTER. In 2022, the RM Group recorded a total revenue of around 232 million euros, an increase of 20% compared to the previous year.

“The revenue growth is due to both increasing demand and price increases. We are delighted with the very positive results, which we clearly attribute to our technological lead in electrification. The topic of fuel savings through electrification strikes a chord with the times,” explains Gerald Hanisch, founder and CEO of the RM Group. The current fiscal year is also developing very satisfactorily for RUBBLE MASTER, with orders booked until the end of the year, reinforcing the company’s growth strategy. “We expect further revenue growth to around 270 million euros in 2023, driven by the worldwide strong demand for energy-efficient solutions and circular economy,” adds Günther Weissenberger, Managing Director and CFO of the RM Group.

Expertise from Austria in global demand

RUBBLE MASTER exports its products to 110 countries worldwide, with around 65% of revenue generated in the European market. The RM Group’s technological advantage is a key factor in this market. North America and the Middle East are also important markets. RUBBLE MASTER’s mobile crushers and screens are used in mega-construction projects such as the Maya Train infrastructure project in Mexico, the sustainable urban development project Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, and “The Line” in Saudi Arabia. Southeast Asia is also a growing market for RUBBLE MASTER. In May, the Linz-based company opened a new branch in Singapore to serve growth markets such as India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea and to establish the RM brand and mobile crushing and screening business model even better locally.

In these markets, knowledge transfer and years of experience in the recycling sector play an essential role. Along with their machines, RUBBLE MASTER’s technical expertise is increasingly in demand. The RM Group has already held workshops with the Indian government and a technical university to gather ideas on how to establish construction waste recycling in India and what requirements recycled material must meet for reuse, such as for road sub-surfaces. “Many countries simply lack clear regulations on how recycled material should be handled and what requirements it must meet for reuse, such as for road sub-surfaces,” says Hanisch, adding, “The Southeast Asian market is experiencing an extraordinary upswing. Construction sites and projects are being launched, and there is a high demand for processed material, which is used, for example, in cement production.”

Expanding locations: GreenTech creates more jobs in Upper Austria

Despite a high export rate, the RM Group remains loyal to its production sites in Linz and Dungannon/Northern Ireland and is even expanding its capacities in the Südpark Linz-Pichling. Around 450 crushers and screens left the factories in 2022, and the company plans to increase this number gradually. This year, there should be 550 machines, and the specialist in mobile crushing and screening aims to adjust production to the order situation by 2027.

In terms of sustainability, RUBBLE MASTER also aims to be a role model: “In the coming years, we want to be energy-neutral at our Linz site,” Hanisch confirms. Existing concepts such as thermal-active building elements, which are used as heating, and low-energy and passive construction methods are being expanded. In addition, RM will produce electricity in Linz through a photovoltaic system, which will be installed and put into operation shortly. Through additional energy buffers, the energy released during the startup of plants is fed back and reused at the site.

Digitalization and electrification: Innovation through cooperation

RM hybrid machines or the hybrid crusher’s electric drive can save customers up to 30% on diesel costs. This was already a significant economic and ecological argument for electrifying RM systems even before steadily rising fuel prices. If the crusher drives the screen, the customer also saves time and money, as they only have to refuel one machine or service the motor of one system. In addition to electrification, RM crushers and screens are also becoming increasingly intelligent and can be networked with each other in the future. In such a machine train, each individual machine adjusts to the utilization of the other connected machines. Idle times or overload can be avoided in this way.

“We are actively driving innovations in the electrification and digitization of our machines to solve the pressing everyday problems of our customers, such as rising operating costs. Remote data access, remote service support, and intelligent networking of our machines accelerate service processes, save the operator time and thus facilitate everyday life on the construction site,” explains CEO Gerald Hanisch. A key success factor for innovation is cooperation with universities, start-ups, and the Cleantech Cluster. “Network exchange is a key feature of the CTC. We offer the opportunity to proactively exchange ideas with other companies, address challenges, and learn from the experiences of others in order to make the right decisions early on,” emphasizes Wessely on the benefits of the CTC for entrepreneurs.

New requirements for future skilled workers

RM is consistently driving the topics of digitization and electrification within the company. This means that the requirements for future skilled workers are also changing. In order to train and retain employees, RUBBLE MASTER pays attention to a good mix of experienced workers and young potentials. “Especially with regard to the shortage of skilled workers, we have been training apprentices ourselves for decades. Our strategic goal is to have 10% of our employees as apprentices. Recently, some have completed their training, so we currently have 12 trainees. By August, we want to increase the number of apprentices to about 20,” says Günther Weissenberger and adds, “Another important point is the constant further training of employees, for example through our RM Academy. This is how we ensure our innovative power and ensure that our customers have machines that meet the requirements of the digitized construction site,” said Günther Weissenberger.